Science Explorers
Science Explorers

Even though we can’t bring our classrooms to space — yet! — why not bring space to the classroom? Teaching kids about the solar system encourages curiosity, exploration and, of course, an appreciation for science. With our Science Explorers solar system activities for kids, you can facilitate hands-on learning about the mysteries of the universe.

Start lesson planning with these fun activities to teach students about the solar system!

Get Started With These Solar System Teaching Tips

Teaching about space will look different for each age group and learning level. With a strong understanding of the solar system, you can open up conversations about gravity, the four seasons, astronomy and space travel!

Learning about our spot in the universe is a good place to start. When students better understand Earth, they can connect the dots and learn more about the other planets in our solar system. Once you “zoom out,” you can discuss the planets’ relationships with the sun, moons and the galaxy. Here are a few facts and figures to spark your students’ curiosities about the solar system:

  • Over 1,300 Earths could fit inside Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system.
  • The sun’s surface is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the core is over 27 million degrees Fahrenheit!
  • Saturn’s rings are made of ice and rock debris from years of comets, asteroids and even moons!

How to Teach Kids About the Solar System

As you teach your kids about the solar system and space, it’s best to ground the lesson in something your students can see or feel. Here are a few ways to get started with your lessons.

Mnemonic Devices to Remember the Planets

With a mnemonic device, kids can remember our solar system’s planets in order — Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). If you grew up learning “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas,” you may need to brainstorm some Pluto-free mnemonic devices. Here are a few we like:

  • My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us Noodles
  • My Very Excellent Mom Just Showed Us Notes
  • My Very Evil Monster Just Sent Us North

Mnemonic devices are a fun way to incorporate English Language Arts into your science lessons, so encourage your students to make their own! Using M, V, E, M, J, S, U and N in order, your students can create memorable sentences that guide their future lessons.

Create a Solar System Model

What’s a lesson about the solar system without a scale model? Gather your paint and foam balls, and you can teach your students about the planets’ order, appearance and size. To get started, you’ll need:

  • 8 bamboo skewers.
  • 9 foam balls, sized to fit each planet and the sun accordingly.
  • Paint and brushes.
  • Toothpicks.
  • Masking tape.

Cut the bamboo skewers in ascending order to fit the distances of each planet from the sun. Then, paint your foam balls! Use this time to discuss the color and surface of the planets.

As you pierce the skewers in each foam ball around the sun, discuss the planets’ temperature — why is Neptune the coldest planet in our system? (Hint: Because it’s farthest from the sun!) Use the toothpicks and masking tape to create small label flags, or challenge your students to remember the order using their mnemonic device.

Discuss the Moon’s Surface With Sensory Activities

Moons are a crucial part of our solar system, and there’s a lot your students can learn from the one in Earth’s orbit! Did you know that the craters on our moon are from asteroids? We’ve got a sensory activity that helps your student visualize this process. Make sure to lay down some newspaper — this might get messy. Here’s what you need:

  • A cake pan
  • Flour
  • Sprinkles
  • Cocoa powder
  • Small rocks

Layer flour, sprinkles and cocoa powder in your cake pan in that order. These ingredients act as the moon’s sub-surface, rocks and surface, respectively. Here comes the fun part: dropping your asteroids! Let your rocks fall on the moon’s surface, and see how the impact creates craters and displaces the moon’s inner layers. Compare your final product with satellite images of the moon or videos of the moon landing.

Role-Play as Astronauts

Without scientists and astronauts, we wouldn’t know much about our solar system. Encourage your students to take on a new perspective by role-playing your own rocket launch! With younger kids, this may look like a DIY astronaut helmet or spaceship made from cardboard boxes. For older students, try a lesson about gravity or tasting dehydrated foods!

Choose Science Explorers for More Solar System Activities for Kids

Space is vast and the learning opportunities are endless! At Science Explorers, we offer educational experiences for your children to discover the solar system and beyond. Kids ages 4-11 can learn more at our STEM summer camps or after-school clubs. If you have questions or want to know more about our programs, contact us online or call 1-877-870-9517.

Choose Science Explorers for More Solar System Activities for Kids
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