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Solar System Project Ideas

Solar system projects are a great way to introduce kids to the solar system and the planets. Everything from a hanging solar system mobile to planets and a sun made of clay help to teach us about space.

Whether your kids need to come up with ideas forĀ Solar System projects for school or if they just have a personal interest in the subject, we have the projects that will amaze them.

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It is not unusual for some kids to become fascinated with the solar system. This seems to be particularly prevalent for kids going to elementary school. In fact, many are asked to produce solar system projects for school at that age. But some become so fascinated with the subject that they will want to work on projects even in their free time.

If you are looking for amazing ideas, you have come to the right place. I have some of the best for you.

The first project is making a solar system mobile. Why? Because it is the best and most effective way of learning how the solar system works. A project such as this will bring alive what most people can only read in textbooks.

Solar System Project: Mobile

Making a solar system mobile is not as difficult as you might first think. That said, there is a whole process that takes a certain amount of time and effort. But, if you follow our instructions, you should be able to teach your kids to make one themselves.

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The first thing that needs to be done is research. Before kids start building something as complex as a solar system mobile, they need to have a solid understanding of the solar system and its planets. Just knowing the names of the planets is not enough. Kids must also know their order from the nearest to the Sun to the farthest: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Notice that Pluto is now classified as a Dwarf Planet, so you should not include it in your model.

No other planet in the solar system is a suitable home for human beings; it’s this world or nothing. That’s a very powerful perception. – Carl Sagan

Kids also need to have at least some information on the Sun.

All the necessary research can be made online these days, but current textbooks will also help.

Once the kids have made enough research they can begin to build the planets. But they will need to ensure that they have the following materials before they can begin any actual work.

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You can also make a 2-D model of the solar system to give children an idea of what the mobile should look like. Image licensed under CC0

The first thing to procure would be Styrofoam balls. Two balls of 1.5 inches, two balls of 1,25, and then one of each of the following sizes: 5, 4, 3, 2.5, and 2 inches. You will use all these balls for the planets, the Sun, and the moon.

Also, a .5 inches and 5 x 5 inches long Styrofoam sheet will be necessary. You will use this sheet to build the rings of Saturn.

Make sure that you get hold of the acrylic paints in the following colors: yellow, orange, red, dark blue, blue-green, light blue, black, white, and cobalt blue. You will use all these colors to paint the planets.

“When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.” — Kalpana Chawla

Once you have procured all those materials, you need to find the objects from which to suspend the planets. Get a wooden dowel but make sure that it is 30 inches long and has a diameter of 1/4 inches. Then, get a string or black yarn. You will use the string to hang the planets from the dowel.

You will also need white craft glue to make sure that the planets are secure on the string. Consider that you will need to have a hook on the ceiling so that you can suspend the mobile model from it once you complete it.

What Tools Will You Need?

Once you have gathered all the materials, you will need to get the right tools for the job.

Image source: Pixabay

So here are the tools that you need to have handy before you begin making the model:

  • A pair of scissors.
  • A knife (x-acto or serrated). Donā€™t let kids use this tool without adult supervision. In fact, it may be a better idea for adults to help with any cutting.
  • Two cups or jars. One must have a diameter of 3 inches and the other one must have a diameter of 4 inches. These you will use to trace Saturnā€™s rings onto the Styrofoam sheet.
  • A teaspoon that you will need to smooth out the Styrofoam sheet.
  • 8 or more wood skewers. You will need to stick these into the Styrofoam balls.
  • A few of plastics cups for paint and water.
  • A stiff paintbrush.

Instructions

What follows are the instructions for making the mobile. The starting point is making the planets.

Stick part of the skewer into one of the balls but do not go all the way through the ball, just about halfway.

Do that with every ball in this order:

  • 5 inches
  • 2 inches
  • 5 inches
  • 5 inches
  • 25 inches
  • 4 inches
  • 3 inches
  • 5 inches
  • 2 inches

Then proceed to cut out the rings of Saturn. Trace a 4-inch diameter using a cup or a jar with a pen or a pencil. Then place the 3-rich diameter cup or jar onto the ring you have just traced and trace around the edge with a pen or pencil.

Once you have the traces, cut out the sing using a knife. But do not let a kid do it, do it yourself for them. Use a teaspoon to smooth out the edges if necessary.

“Our solar system is fantastically bizarre. There are worlds with features we never imagined. Storms larger than planets, moons with under-surface oceans, lakes of methane, worldlets that swap places… and that’s just at Saturn.” — Phil Plait

Now you can go ahead and pant the sun and the planets. The 5-inch ball is the sun, so you need to paint it yellow. Then, the 1.25-inch ball is Mercury, so you should paint it orange. The next ball is Venus, so use blue-green, then Earth, so use dark blue for the oceans and green for the continents. After Earth comes the red planet, Mars. Then Jupiter should be painted orange with white and red stripes and the Great Red Spot. Next, orange for Saturn, and light blue for Neptune. Finally, you should paint the dowel black.

The solar system mobile is the most fundamental solar system project for kids. But there are others that can be made. If your kids were able to make the mobile, they should be able to do most other projects with or without adult help.

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