Young children can learn about the solar system more easily when you provide them with craft activities that are centered around the planets and the astronomical systems around them. By learning through doing, kindergartners will gain a better understanding of the solar system than if they were lectured to.
Solar System Display
Young children can create visual representations of the solar system by making a display out of different sizes of foam spheres. Collect ten foam spheres, ranging from small to large, which can be arranged as the sun and its eight planets and one dwarf planet (Pluto). Paint the outside of the foam balls with acrylic paint to resemble the bodies of the solar system. Paint the sun yellow; Mercury black; Venus brown and yellow; Earth blue and green; Mars red; Jupiter with orange, yellow and red stripes; Saturn with white and brown stripes; Uranus light blue; Neptune turquoise; and Pluto brown. Allow the planets to dry completely. Stick a chopstick halfway into each planet. Place a large foam sheet onto a flat surface and arrange the planets in order by sticking them by their chopsticks into the foam sheet.
Solar System Necklace
Students can deepen their understanding about the order of the planets by making a solar system necklace out of polymer clay. To make a solar system necklace, create ten balls out of polymer clay. Make one ball large and yellow, which will be the sun. One should be small and black, which will be the planet Mercury. The next ball should be a combination of yellow and brown, which will be the planet Venus. Make one ball a combination of blue and green, which will be the planet Earth. Fashion a ball from red clay, which will be the planet Mars. Make one ball larger with stripes from orange, yellow and brown, which will be the planet Jupiter. The next ball should be striped with brown and white, which will be the planet Saturn. Make one ball light blue, which will be the planet Uranus. The planet Neptune should be a small turquoise ball. Make the last ball small and brown, which will be the planet Pluto. Use a toothpick to poke a hole through each ball. Then, bake the balls in the oven on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. String the beads onto a necklace to represent the solar system.
Glow-in-the-Dark Solar System Painting
Students can enjoy the solar system even as they are going to sleep at night by creating a glow-in-the-dark solar system painting. Using glow-in-the-dark paint, paint each planet onto a piece of black construction paper in order from the sun to Pluto. Allow the paper to dry completely. Students can then hang the pictures in their bedrooms. The paint will glow when the lights are turned out.
- planets image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com