These Solar system for kids activities are fun, rooted in play-based learning, and easy to set up! Get a free printable and teach kids about outer space too.
“We’re counting down,
“the engine’s on.
“The time is now
As I sat typing at my computer, my kids were seemingly glued to Miles from Tomorrowland. Still engrossed in their one afternoon show, the questions began…
Where is Mars?
Is it real?
Is it really red?
Can we go there?
Quickly, I realized that we never talk about outer space or the planets. Well, once daughter asked where the stars went when it was daytime. So we grabbed a flashlight, went into our walk in closet, closed the door, and turned out the lights. The flashlight represented one star. Then, I left the flashlight on and turned on the lights (sun) to show ‘the star’ remained but its light was way less visible when the sun rose.
But that was it.
Their questions were a great prompt for some solar system fun…
This summer, I’ve been getting a great amount of enjoyment out of creating preschool printables for my kids. On rainy days, I print off a handful of colouring pages and play-based learning prompts. It’s been amazing to see my kids enthralled with my fun versions of preschool worksheets.
Naturally, their questions got me thinking of fun ways to learn about the solar system for kids.
I wanted to create something that would be filled with enjoyment for them but also educational value too.
Sensory bins are one of our favourite ways to play and explore. So naturally, I wanted to recreate space using some sort of sensory medium. My kids have been loving decorating rocks, so I figured we’d do our best to find some round ones and go from there…
Here is how our solar system for kids activity turned out. It’s fun, educational, and really easy to recreate. Moreover, you all you need are basic household items and my free printable to do this simple kids activity at home!
Solar System for Kids: A Simple Sensory Bin Activity
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What you need
- 8 circular-ish rocks or styrofoam balls
- Tempera paint
- Paint brushes
- Mod Podge
- Model Magic Clay
- Hot glue gun
- 3+ cups white rice
- 2 tsp black food colouring
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- Glow in the dark stars (optional)
- Plastic bin
- Kitchen utensils
- Solar system for kids printable
What to do:
How to make a solar system for kids
- Print off the printable packet. Select the pages you want and print out as many copies as you have kids wanting to play!
- Gather 8 rocks.
- Paint the rocks based on the colours of the planets. If you want to be really precise, you can organize the rocks from biggest to smallest and paint them based on which planet corresponds with the size order. (The planets are listed biggest to smallest in the printable pack too).
- If the colours don’t work out perfectly or if your child gets creative with the colour scheme, remember it’s more about overall interest, enjoyment, and exploration than an exact replica of the solar system!
- Add some Model Magic Clay to make Saturn’s rings. After painting the rings, let dry.
- Use glue gun to secure rings to Saturn.
How to make the sensory bin ‘universe’
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Take three cups (or more) of white rice and place it into a ziplock bag.
- Add white vinegar and food colouring.
- Seal and shake well.
- Spread rice out over a baking pan.
- Put in the oven for 10 mins. Move rice around to make sure it’s dry. If it isn’t, return it to the oven for 5 mins.
- Once dry, remove from oven and let cool (takes about 5 mins).
- Place into a bin, container, or cake pan.
- Add stars (optional) and planets.
- Give child tongs, spaghetti spoons and other kitchen utensils to explore outer space!
- Leave the printable beside the sensory bin for the child to refer to.
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