Solar System Craft for Kids


Inside: This solar system craft for kids is educational and fun! It includes an asteroid belt, and it actually spins. Use it to reinforce the concept that the earth and planets revolve around the sun.

black paper plate with model of a solar system and asteroid belt, titled "Spinning Solar System Craft for Kids"

Solar System Craft for Kids

We live near Houston, home of Johnson Space Center, and learning about space, rockets, and all things NASA has always interested my kids.

Over the years, we’ve made rocket crafts, a solar eclipse craft, learned about the moon, and read about Mars.

This latest craft was born when my kids started talking about the asteroid belt. Our conversation inspired me to figure out how we could make a solar system craft for kids that includes that feature.

black paper plate with small silver pebbles glues onto it

Whether you have a space-obsessed kindergartner or are trying to teach older children about the relationship between the Sun, Earth, and other planets, this solar system craft for kids is lots of fun.

This craft has a secret spinner hidden underneath the sun. So you can hold onto the “sun” and spin the solar system around it.

Use the Craft to Teach Kids about the Solar System

I’m old enough that when I was first teaching, we used the mnemonic “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” to teach the names of the planets.

Then, Pluto got demoted.

And now whenever I think about it, this cute song lyric runs through my head:

Luckily, “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos” works just as well now.

I think the harder concept for kids to get is the Copernican idea that the Earth and planets revolve around the sun.

That’s where this solar system craft comes in! Kids can hold the sun and spin the planets around it. You can talk about these concepts:

  • Everything that revolves around the sun is part of our solar system – even dwarf planet Pluto.
  • It takes one year for the Earth to go around the sun.
  • The sun is hot, so of course, you couldn’t really hold it.
  • The asteroid belt is between Mars and Jupiter.
  • This solar system craft isn’t to scale.
illustration of the relative size of the planets
The relative size of planets in our solar system. Image source: Wikipedia

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How to Make the Solar System Craft for Kids

If you can’t get silver floral pebbles, you could dare to use sliver glitter to create the asteroid belt.

Materials

  • Paper plate
  • Black paint – acrylic is great, but tempera is less likely to stain
  • Paint smock
  • Paintbrush – wide
  • Decorative silver pebbles (like these – affiliate)
  • Glue
  • Yellow pompom
  • Colored paper
  • Scissors or circle punch
  • Hole punch or screw punch (affiliate)
  • Paper fastener/ brad (like these – affiliate)
  • Thin cardboard such as from a cereal box
  • Optional: hot glue

Instructions

You’ll want to plan in some time for the paint and glue to dry after steps 3, 4, and 7.

Also, if you’ll be making this craft with younger children, you’ll want to prep steps 1 and 2 ahead of time:

  1. Cut out small “planets” from the colored paper. Use a hole punch to make the smallest planets. Also, cut out a pompom-sun sized circle from the thin cardboard.
  2. Cover the work area to protect it from paint.
  3. Paint the plate and the cardboard circle. Let dry.
black paper plate with dots of glue in a circle
  1. Glue the asteroid belt on. (keep small pebbles away from children who may put them in their mouths)
  2. Have an adult carefully poke a hole through the paper plate. Then, attach the cardboard circle with a brad/fastener. If necessary, use scissors to clean up any rough edges around the hole – that way the plate will spin more freely.
closeup showing the spinner that the sun will be glued onto
  1. Glue the planets on.
  2. Glue the yellow pompom “sun” on top of the cardboard circle. (I ended up using hot glue for this step, but regular glue should be fine too. Hot glue is nice because then you can play with the craft almost right away, rather than waiting for glue to harden.)
child's hands holding finished solar system craft up

Playing with your Solar System Craft

Remind kids to be gentle with their craft, and to keep it away from any younger siblings or others who might put loose pebbles in their mouths.

You might enjoy singing “The Earth Goes Around the Sun” and learning about this Montessori birthday song.

Happy Teaching,

Heather

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