Have Fun Exploring, Playing & Learning!

Most children can’t help but be fascinated by Astronomy and Space in general. I think it’s just the coolest subject out there with so many fascinating places to explore and discover. And that’s just in our solar system, let alone out Milky Way Galaxy or further out into the universe. I know I’ve been fascinated by space since I was a child so loved to learn and be amazed by any astronomy activity where I could learn more!

Telescopes

How to Make Your Own Solar System!

Making a homemade solar system is a great activity to learn about the Sun, the planets and moons of the solar system. Kids will enjoy making the components, painting them all while they’re having fun learning. It can even be good idea for a school science project!

All you need to build your own solar system mobile are some simple arts and crafts supplies and a selection of paints. Anyone can make it whether at home or school. Read on and I will explain the steps. So, let’s get started!

To make the mobile solar system with the Sun and the 8 planets (with the dwarf planet Pluto and Earth’s Moon) to hang from the ceiling, you will need the following items:

  • You will need a total of 11 different Foam balls;
  • You will need one long strong rod which is about 1.5 m (5 feet) long
  • Piece of thick cardboard
  • An assortment of paint colours (I recommend yellow, orange, brown, green, blue, red, black and white)
  • Paint brushes and a clean sponge
  • Nylon fishing line or thin string
  • Super glue
  • Pictures of what the Sun, and planets look like

First we need to take one of the large foam balls we are going to use for Saturn and place it on the flat piece of cardboard. Draw an outline of the ball on the cardboard which matches the diameter of the ball. Now draw a circle around this circle you just drew that is twice as wide. Cut this ring out carefully along the lines you have just drawn. Now you will have a ring we will stick on Saturn!

Now it’s onto the fun part of painting the Sun, planets and Earth’s Moon! For painting the balls, I first started with a wide paint brush and finish using the sponge to give some texture but you can freelance here and do as you wish. Remember it’s meant to fun and your solar system! I recommend following these colours for each;

  • The Sun – start with a yellow base then splotch red and orange on top
  • Mercury – this little planet would look best with in grey which you’ll need to mix (or buy as grey)
  • Venus – Due to its thick atmosphere a mixture of yellow and brown would look best for Venus
  • Earth – start with blue and then paint on the continents with green & polar caps
    • The Moon – mix up some white & black to make two types of grey. For best effect paint on various sized craters!
  • Mars – the Red Planet should really be red and brown don’t you think! You can even put some white polar caps like the Earth!
  • Jupiter – go crazy with this one with bands of colour, but make sure you include the Big RED Spot!
  • Saturn – if you mixed up yellow with a little bit of brown this would look great!
    • Saturn’s ring – this can a mix of yellow and brown
  • Uranus – mix up some blue and white to make a light blue
  • Neptune – A deep ocean blue would look perfect for the Ice Giant!
  • Dwarf planet Pluto – a light brown with a light yellow heart painted on it would resemble Pluto well

Finally, don’t forget to paint the rod, I reckon black would be a good colour!

Now you have to wait for everything to dry…

*  Top Tip: For an extra cool effect, get some luminous paint and use these on the Sun and planets so that they glow in the dark once hanging from your ceiling!

Once Saturn’s ring has dried, I would then fit the ring (that you previously made out of cardboard) over the ball & super glue it in place around Saturn’s equator.

Finally all you need to do is cut some lengths of fishing line and super glue them the Sun, planets, and Pluto. Once they have dried hard you can attached the other end of the fishing line to the rod (with the Sun in the middle in the planets spread out on either side in order) and secure the rod with all the hanging balls to the ceiling.

And hey presto, you have your very own 3D solar system!

More Astronomy Activities Coming SOON!

 

This Page is Coming Soon! We're just trying to compile a list of the Coolest Activities that you'll enjoy!

 

 
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Solar Eclipse Viewing - Image Credit; Darlene Wendels/ The Collegian
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