What Is Solar System Project For Kids?

Introduce Solar System Projects

A solar system project is an educational craft, art project, or research assignment focused on learning about the sun, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and other objects in our solar system. Solar system projects allow kids to explore astronomy, space science, and our celestial neighborhood in a hands-on way.

These types of projects have many benefits for kids including:

  • Gaining a deeper understanding of the solar system through active learning
  • Practicing research and reading comprehension skills by studying solar system topics
  • Using math and measurement to create models to scale
  • Expressing creativity through art, crafts, writing, and design
  • Having fun while learning science and satisfying natural curiosity about space

Popular types of solar system projects include:

  • Building a physical model of the solar system to demonstrate planetary orbits and distances
  • Designing a poster, book, or collage focused on solar system facts and information
  • Making a mobile of the planets and sun
  • Recreating the phases of the moon with arts and crafts
  • Sculpting the planets out of salt dough
  • Creating a “solar system in a box” diorama

Solar system projects allow kids to explore astronomy in fun and interactive ways. The possibilities are endless for DIY educational projects to aid in learning about our celestial neighborhood.

Model of Solar System

A fun solar system project is creating a 3D model of the planets and sun. This allows kids to see a miniature representation of our solar system and how the planets orbit the sun. To make a model solar system, you will need:

    styrofoam balls of various sizes used to create scale model of solar system

  • Styrofoam balls of various sizes to represent the planets
  • Paint to color the planets
  • Wire or string to connect the planets’ orbits
  • A larger Styrofoam ball painted yellow for the sun
  • A way to hang the model from the ceiling, such as a coat hanger

Start by painting each Styrofoam ball to match the color of the planet it represents. Use the appropriate sized balls for each planet based on their relative size. Attach a wire from each planet ball to the sun ball, adjusting the length to reflect the actual distances between planets in our solar system. You can hang the wire model from a coat hanger attached to the ceiling so the planets can orbit around the sun.

This 3D model is a great way for kids to visualize the layout of our solar system and relative scale of the planets and sun. As they watch their model solar system spin and orbit, it will reinforce what they are learning about space in science class.

Poster of the Solar System

One fun solar system project is to have kids make an artistic poster showing the planets and other objects in our solar system. This allows them to get creative with drawings of the different planets, moons, asteroids, and more. The poster can include both artistry and learning.

Encourage kids to draw each planet, thinking about its size, color, and distinguishing features. For example, Jupiter would be large and have a giant red storm while Mars is smaller and reddish. They can look at images online or in books for reference. Let them add some creative backgrounds, like stars, comets, or galaxies.

While adding art and color, they can also include facts about each planet or object. This ties in science and writing practice. Help them research and write one fascinating tidbit next to each item, like Jupiter’s giant storm called the Great Red Spot or Saturn’s beautiful rings. They’ll end up with a colorful poster covering both art and knowledge about our solar system.

Mobile of the Planets

Creating a mobile of the planets is an exciting way for kids to learn about the solar system in a hands-on, creative way. For this project, children can make each planet out of paper mache and hang them from the ceiling at varying heights to mimic how the planets orbit the sun.

Start by having kids research the order, size, and colors of each planet. Then they can form paper mache balls in proportionate sizes. Crumple up pieces of newspaper into balls and coat them thoroughly with a paper mache paste mixture of flour and water. Let the paper mache dry completely, then paint each planet based on the colors discovered during research.

Attach a string to the top of each paper mache planet. Determine heights to hang each planet according to their distance from the sun. The sun can be represented by a yellow star or light. Use fishing line or thin rope to suspend the planets from the ceiling in order of their orbit.

Kids will love seeing the solar system come to life right in their bedroom or classroom. As a finishing touch, encourage them to get creative adding moons, asteroids, comets or other celestial details to the mobile.

Phases of the Moon

One fun way to learn about the different phases of the moon is to recreate them using papier-mâché. This hands-on activity allows kids to see how the moon orbits the earth and how the changing angles between the sun, earth, and moon create the phases we see from earth. To make it, first create papier-mâché spheres of different sizes to represent the earth and moon. Attach the moon sphere to a wire that can orbit around the earth. Then use glow-in-the-dark paint on the moon sphere to illustrate how the lit-up parts change throughout the phases. As your child moves the moon around the earth, they’ll gain an understanding of new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent phases.

Salt Dough Planets

Making models of the planets using salt dough is a fun hands-on solar system project for kids. To make salt dough planets, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring
  • Paint brushes

Mix the flour, salt and water into a dough. Knead for a few minutes until smooth. Divide the dough into portions for each planet. Add food coloring to tint each planet’s dough the appropriate color.

Roll the dough for each planet into a sphere sized according to the planet’s relative size and diameter compared to the other planets. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake the planets at 200°F for 2-3 hours until hardened. Allow to cool completely. Then paint details on each planet to make them realistic. Jupiter should have swirled cloud bands, Saturn needs rings, Earth should have blue oceans and green/brown landmasses.

Creating solar system models to scale helps kids understand the size differences between planets. Arrange the finished salt dough planets on a display board in order from the sun according to their positions in our solar system for an attractive and educational art project!

Solar System in a Box

A fun way for kids to create a hands-on model of the solar system is by making a shoebox diorama. This allows them to visualize the planets and gain a better understanding of their order and relative size. To make a solar system diorama, you’ll need a shoebox, Styrofoam balls, paint, glitter, and other decorative supplies.

Start by painting the inside of the shoebox black to create outer space. Use glow-in-the-dark paint to give a starry effect. Next, use Styrofoam balls of varying sizes to represent the planets. The smallest balls can be for Mercury and Mars, medium for Venus and Earth, and larger balls for the gas giants. Paint each planet ball according to its colors. Glitter and papier-mâché can add texture.

Cut circles out of cardboard to create rings around Saturn. Use a toothpick to attach the planets to the box in proper order from the sun. Draw or paint space backgrounds like stars, asteroids, and galaxies onto paper and attach to the sides and lid of the box. Get creative with alien figurines, spaceships, and other decorations. The finished shoebox diorama provides an interactive 3D model of the solar system.

Making papier-mâché planets can be a fun alternative to Styrofoam balls. Crumple newspapers into balls of varying sizes to represent the planets. Cover them in papier-mâché using a paste of water and flour or glue and strips of paper. Once dried, paint the planets to be realistic representations of the solar system. Use glow paint for cool effects!

Edible Solar System

One fun way for kids to learn about the solar system is by creating an edible model using snacks and sweets. An edible solar system allows kids to see the relative sizes of the planets and sun, while also getting to enjoy a tasty treat when they’re done!

A popular edible solar system activity is making planet cake pops or cookies. Round cake pops or cookies decorated to look like planets work perfectly to showcase the different sizes of the planets relative to one another. Jupiter should be the largest, followed by Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Earth, Venus, Mars, and finally tiny Mercury.

The cake pops or cookies can be decorated with colored icing or sprinkles to match the look of each planet. For example, Jupiter can be decorated with orange and red icing to mimic its appearance. Kids will have a blast making their own planets out of tasty treats!

Once the edible solar system is complete, kids can marvel at the relative sizes of all the planets before eating them up! It’s a fun hands-on activity that engages multiple senses while teaching about space. And the best part is they get to eat their creative planet models when finished!

Sun and Planets Research

Have your child pick one or more planets and the sun to research and learn about. On notecards, have them write down facts like:

  • What the planet or sun is made of
  • How far it is from the sun
  • How long it takes to orbit the sun
  • How many moons it has
  • What the surface and atmosphere are like

Make sure they include key facts like the order of the planets, which are gas giants, which are terrestrial planets, etc. Have them print or draw pictures to include with each notecard. Then, have them present what they learned to the class or family. This helps reinforce their knowledge while teaching others something new!

Tips for Success

Completing a solar system project with your child can be a fun learning activity for the whole family. Here are some tips to help make the project a success:

Parental supervision – These projects may require the use of scissors, paint, glue, oven baking, etc. Parents should supervise their children accordingly to ensure safety.

Safety with paints/glue – Only use child-safe paints and glues for these projects. Supervise children when using adhesives and clean up spills right away. Work in a well-ventilated area.

Creativity and learning – Encourage your child to be creative with their solar system project. Ask them questions as they work to reinforce learning about the planets and solar system. Make it fun!

By following basic safety tips and making it a creative learning experience, solar system projects can be an engaging way for kids to explore science and astronomy.

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