The Solar System is made up of the Sun and eight planets, as well as their moons and other non-stellar objects like asteroids. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, also known as the “terrestrial planets,” are composed primarily of rock and metal. The four outer planets, known as ‘gas giants,’ are significantly larger than the terrestrials. The two largest gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn, are mostly made up of hydrogen and helium, while the two outermost planets, Uranus and Neptune, are mostly made up of ices like water, ammonia, and methane. They are frequently referred to as “ice giants.”
The Solar system also includes the asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter and is similar to the terrestrial planets in that it mostly consists of rock and metal objects. Beyond Neptune’s orbit is the Kuiper belt, which is mostly made up of ices. Pluto, Eris, Haumea, Makemake, and Ceres are some of these objects known as dwarf planets. Comets and interplanetary dust are examples of small-body populations.
This solar system craft for kids is great whether you have a space-obsessed kindergartener or are trying to teach older children about the relationship between the Sun, Earth, and other planets.
To teach children about the planets, make a cardboard and construction paper solar system model. Use it as a science project idea in school science classes or at science fairs. You can also opt to make model toy kits as a project.
Using distinct colors and different shapes to create a three-dimensional replica of the real thing is an effective way to entice children who learn best by seeing and touching. Children can better understand the different sizes and characteristics of each planet by using a three-dimensional model of the solar system. Children will gain a better understanding of how planets orbit the sun.
What You’ll Need:
- 14 strands of 20-inch string
- Various colored construction paper
- A large sheet of cardboard
- Permanent black marker
- Paper for construction
- Line for fishing (string will work)
- Stickers with stars (or white crayon to draw them on)
- Sun – Banana Split, Lemon Drop, and Orange Fizz
- Mercury – Pale Grey, Real Grey, and Smoke Grey.
- Venus – Lemon Drop, Orange Fizz
- Earth – Turquoise, Park Green on Earth
- Mars – Claret, Fuchsia Pink, Candy Pink
- Jupiter – Claret, Orange Fizz, Lemon Drop
- Saturn – Lemon Drop, Orange Fizz, and Fuchsia Pink
- Uranus – Imperial Blue, Park Green, and Azure Blue
- Neptune – Grey, Imperial Blue, and Turquoise
Here’s how to do it:
- Using a ruler and a pencil, measure and draw a one-foot line on the cardboard. Measure halfway down the line to find the center, then draw another one-foot line perpendicular to the first one. You should create a cross-shaped drawing.
- Draw a circle around the cross to connect all four ends of the lines. Using scissors, cut out the circle.
- Half a piece of black construction paper (you can make yours bigger if you want). Cut out small circles in black paper – we traced around various-sized spice containers.
- Make planets out of other colored paper. Make the planets as small as the holes in your black paper. We made the earth out of blue paper and a green marker – be creative and leave your planets plain or color them with markers or glitter!
- Construct the sun for your solar system craft. Find a circular item in your house to trace, such as a bowl or saucer. It should be about 5 inches wide. Trace it twice on two layers of yellow paper. Draw on the sun’s rays and cut out the layers together. This will result in two identical suns that will function as the bread in a sandwich, with the yarn hanger for your mobile held in the middle. Apply some gold and orange paint to the center of each sun, focusing only on the areas that will be visible from the outside of the sandwich. Set them aside to dry after the paint has dried.
- Attach a length of string to each of the planets and the Sun. Attach a piece of tape to the end of each string and begin to secure each planet in various places along their orbiting circles. The Sun should be taped in the center, and the first orbit circle should secure Mercury, followed by Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
- Position the Planets in Orbit. Make a hole in the top for each planet. For each of your nine planets, cut a piece of white yarn about 8 inches long. Arrange your planets in the correct order and begin by lacing a piece of yarn through the hole you made in Pluto. Then, thread the two ends of the yarn through the hole in the galaxy mobile base and tie a double knot. It should hang 1-2 inches below the plate. Rep this procedure, working from the outside in, until all of the planets are on the mobile. Remove any excess yarn from the ends of each knot.
- Cut cardboard circles to make tags for the Sun and each of the planets. Because the difference in size between the Sun and the planets is far too great to represent accurately, simply make the Sun the largest. Reduce the size of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune to that of the Sun. Reduce the size of the remaining planets. Saturn has lovely rings.
- Add stars (or draw them with a white crayon) and punch/cut two holes at the top. To hang your mobile, thread a string through the holes. Because construction paper is thin, we used scotch tape to hold a straw above the mobile to keep it from buckling.
- Tape three pieces of string evenly spaced around the edges to the other side of the cardboard. Tie the ends together and secure them with another piece of string to hang your model.