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Two Simple Solar System Projects for your Astronaut-in-Training

2012-09-13 by Melissa & Doug

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“Back to School” time brings out an amazing curiosity in children, who look to apply what they’re learning in school every chance they can get. One topic that never fails to amaze is the Solar System: endless stars, glowing planets, and the joy of wondering “what exists out there” can make almost any child dream of traveling into outer space. Help them tap into that curiosity with these Solar System-themed projects (while applying what they’re learning in school, as well!)

These projects have been sent to us from our social media community – and we’re always looking for more ideas! If you have project ideas to share, please post them for us in the comments section below.

Using Puzzles

boy and puzzle

One way to bring the Solar System to life is through puzzles, and there are many available that can help your child learn about the planets and stars in a creative, challenging way (a few varieties exist depending on how advanced your child’s puzzle skills are).  We especially love this floor puzzle due to its large scale: 36″ x 24″! (You’ll want to clear off your playroom floor to make room. . . . )

Here are some additional tips for using a solar system puzzle:

–          Have your child read the names of each planet and think of a pattern for remembering them in order of distance from the Sun (like My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos).

–          Ask your child to draw or write down what they imagine each planet would be like to live on.

–          Use this as an opportunity to discuss orbits by getting up and walking around the puzzle in a circle, explaining how the planets rotate around the sun.

–          Create a game among your children or their friends to “assign” different planets to each person or group. Once all the different planets have been created, have the group work as a team to piece it all together.

Using Traditional Arts and Crafts

Using a picture of the Solar System as a starting point (from a puzzle or other image) let your child recreate it using simple arts and crafts tools.  This will allow them to practice the other skills they may be learning at school (depending on their age) such as cutting, shapes, colors, tracing. To really let their imagination run wild, encourage them to create their own unique solar system, with original names for their own planets and stars.

boy and art

Be an Astronaut for a Day!

To see how Julie Kieras of Happy Strong Home created a day of solar system fun for her junior astronauts, CLICK HERE to read her “Be an Astronaut” post!


Space Inspired Math Learning!

Carrie Anne Badov of Everything Mom found a way to inspire math learning, with a homemade rocket! See how she made math learning blast off HERE, in her “4 Early Math Concepts Using Puzzles” post!


What crafts or activities have your junior astronaut discovered? Share their masterpieces and amazing finds with us in the comments below, or on Instagram (@MelissaAndDougToys / #MelissaAndDoug)!


Melissa & Doug

Our team of play experts occasionally enjoys sharing news about our company, new product launches, and some of the #CountlessWaysToPlay with our toys, crafts, and games. At Melissa & Doug, we’re on a mission to inspire the innovators of tomorrow through kid-powered play!

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