Every afternoon, while I work on my laptop and my 3-year-old takes his nap, my daughter reads anything that she fancies. For weeks, the books I saw her read were about the solar system. So, when she asked me if we could learn about stars and constellations, I knew it was time to focus on the topic. Her dad sparked this interest by pointing out, or at least talking about, the different constellations every time we would go out for some fresh night air.
Immersing ourselves in the sun, stars, and planets was easy, since interest was already there. Here are the highlights of our two weeks in space. Enjoy the solar system activities for kids!
I always make sure that we have a good mix of reference and picture books when learning about anything scientific. Here are good titles to look out for. (Please note that these links are Amazon affiliate links and we would earn a bit of commission if you buy any of these books after clicking on the links.)
- Big and Busy Space by Roger Priddy
- Exploring Space: From Ancient Legends to the Telescope to Modern Space Missions
- I Wonder Why Stars Twinkle and Other Questions About Space by Carole Stott
- The Sky is Full of Stars by Franklyn M. Branley, Illustrated by Felicia Bond
- The Sun Our Nearest Star by Franklyn M. Branley
- The Big Dipper Franklyn M. Branley and Molly Coxe
- Greek Beasts and Heroes series
We truly enjoyed the activities in our KaHone Outer Space Box. We made a simple paper rocket that we blew to space with a straw, an alien headband (no chance that I’ll post a photo of me wearing that!), and the Earth, Sun, and Moon,
studied using a flashlight how the Sun lights up the Earth and Moon,
and lit up a fire with the power of the sun using a magnifying glass. Silly me, I first let the kids try it with a fresh green leaf instead of a dry one!
We were also finally able to install our Uncle Milton Solar System In My Room, which I had my mom give the kids last Christmas (hehe). Itcomes with an audio CD presentation about the planets and a light pointer for you to shine on the planet being talked about in the CD. It’s nice to just lie down and stare at the planets whir around the sun.
We attempted to look at the stars with our low-tech telescope (it says National Geographic on the box) but we couldn’t focus it. We could not even see the moon! So, we checked out the constellations with the iPad app Sky Safari, which guides you in looking for the constellations.
And of course, we visited the Philippine Science Centrum for the second time to specifically look at their space exhibit. It’s a truly interactive museum that is great for kids as young as 5 years old. We checked our weight in the different planets,
looked at the constellations,
experimented with the phases of the moon (the exhibit is really simple and clear),
and donned a spacesuit (it’s really just a video camera that shows your face on the screen inside the astronaut’s helmet).
Oh, and we read the book The Magic School Bus Sees Stars and watched its video version.
We also memorized the order of the planets through this handy mnemonic: My Very Earnest Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles for Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Have you studied the solar system with your kids? What other fun activities did you do?