Easy hands-on activities are an engaging and fun way to learn about the vast and beautiful space with astounding mysteries. Children are fascinated by the solar system. They love to look at the sky and wonder about the planets and the moon. A project involving the solar system is a way to nurture their natural curiosity and encourage a deeper fascination for astronomy.
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Rock or Gas Planet
Make a model of one rock planet and one gas planet. Use play dough to make the rock planet and insert a stone to represent the core of the planet. Make a round ball approximately 3 inches in diameter. Cut the ball in half and place the stone in the middle of one of them. You should see the stone in the middle. Use gelatin dessert to make a gas giant. Make the dessert according to the instruction on the package in a suitable colour. Let the mixture half set. Then fill it into a zip-up bag. Place a grape in the middle to represent the core of the planet. Place the zip-up bag in a clear plastic saucer or dish and allow the mixture to set. Use an old shoebox to display the two planets.
Add a couple of dwarf planets such as Pluto and Eris to your project to make it stand out. Free colouring pages of the planets are available online. Use pencils to colour in the planets and the sun; cut everything out. Use tagboard in a dark colour and draw stars over the paper. Place the solar system on the cardboard with the sun in the middle and the planets in the order from the sun. Use craft foam pads to fasten the planets. Place the pads in the middle, so that the planets and the sun come out a bit from the tagboard. Draw a couple of dwarf planets on a piece of paper. Decorate them and glue them onto the model.
Seeing a comet is an exciting event. Comets are icy, small bodies with a long tail of gas. Most comets spend their time far away from the sun and the only time you can see them is when they come close to the sun. Including a colourful comet enhances a solar planet project. Use a large sheet of black tagboard. Draw the largest possible circle and cut it out. Use crayons and draw a huge comet with a long tail in the circle. Draw the sun and all the planets on white paper and colour them in. Cut out and glue them on the tagboard. Place them so that you can see as much as possible of the comet.
Playing your own homemade board is fun way to learn more about planets. Use white tagboard and draw a 4-inch-wide border using a ruler. Divide this border into several squares on each side. Mark one square as the start. Draw circles in the squares and paint 1/3 of them black using a marker. The black circles represent black holes. Draw different planets in the rest of the squares and colour them in bright colours using pencils or markers. Decorate the middle of the board by drawing the sun. Draw thin lines of circles around the sun and add the orbiting planets in the solar system. Children roll dice to move their markers along the board, in the fashion of Monopoly, trying to avoid black holes.
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