How to build Earth & Sun models for kids

Making a model of the Sun and Earth is an excellent way to help children understand the importance of the Sun and how it influences the Earth's environment. You can purchase planetary modelling kits and customise the models yourself at a science store or toy store. However, these kits can be very expensive. Fortunately, you can make your own models of the Earth and Sun using affordable items you can purchase at an arts and crafts shop.

Earth model

Print a flat map of the Earth in black and white. Cut out the continents carefully.

Glue the cutout continents to one of the foam balls. Apply glue to the backside of the cutouts and press gently against the polystyrene foam. Don't worry if there are wrinkles. The wrinkles will look like mountain ridges when you paint them later. Find a 3D view of Earth to help you know where to place the continent cutouts.

Create land mass and oceans. Paint the continent cutouts using brown acrylic craft paint. Let the ball dry for one hour. Apply green acrylic paint to some areas of the continents to create fertile green soils. Avoid painting Antarctica green because this continent is any icy continent. Paint the rest of the foam ball with blue acrylic craft paint to make the oceans.

Sun model

Paint the entire second foam ball with yellow acrylic paint. Set aside to dry for an hour.

Pour some orange acrylic paint into a plate. Dip a sponge in the paint and dap it all over the polystyrene foam globe to create swirls and streaks. These will be the solar flares.

Sprinkle plenty of orange glitter all over the Sun model while the paint is still wet. This will create shiny Sun spots.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 polystyrene foam balls
  • Paint brush
  • Sponge
  • Plate
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Green acrylic paint
  • Blue acrylic paint
  • Yellow acrylic paint
  • Orange acrylic paint
  • Orange glitter
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About the Author

Frank Dioso is a trained medical technologist working for prominent research institutions such as Quest Diagnostics and California Clinical Trials. He has, for many years, ghostwritten clinical trial reports for confidential pharmaceutical drugs and is currently contributing his clinical laboratory science knowledge to online how-to articles.