Wednesday, 28 May 2014

10+ ways to explore The Solar System

There is just something about the topic of space that has captivated my son's imagination since he was very small. I remember the first time he saw stars and how his little face lit up with wonder. Now, so many years later, space still remains one of my son's on going interests. So I want to share with you some of the ways I have supported and encourage my sons interest in space over the last few years. 

1. Interest Shelf
Just recently, we were able to see a lunar eclipse and this sparked many questions about space. So I put together, what I call an interest shelf, with any learning resources I could find that would encourage the exploring of space. The learning resources included a solar system poster, models, information books and readers, space game and some planet three-part cards. The idea of using an interest shelf allows my son to independently explore his area of interest and direct his learning. 

2. Books
Books are always the first thing I look for when there is a new interest and there are plenty of books about space. No Time For Flashcards have a wonderful list of 16 Books about Space that you can view for more book ideas. Here are some of the picture books, readers and information books that we have used to support my sons learning:

3. Board Game
Board games, such as the Space Race, have always been a popular hands-on learning activity in our house. My son has played this game many times and has developed his understanding of the solar system from playing it. This game is fantastic for learning the planets in order as well as other facts about the solar system.

4. Crafts
Before we purchased a model solar system, we made our own hanging solar system out of cardboard and paint. We used these planet templates as an outline. We recently labelled each planet and have hung them again, in our learning room.

Some other fabulous solar system crafts that I had seen include:

5. Writing
Writing, of any kind, is not my sons favourite thing to do but he is more inclined to write when it is on his topic of interest. I put together this planet report template and the questions helped to guide and direct his research. You can download my planet report template.

6. Three-part Cards
The Helpful Garden has generously made available FREE Solar System Nomenclature Cards that we have used to learn the planets in our solar system.

We used these cards with some small planet icons that can be purchased in the Solar System set from Mini Zoo.

7. Solar System Lapbook
Although my son hasn't used a solar system lapbook just yet, I think lapbooks are a wonderful way for children to explore the topic of interest and to write down and record what they are learning. Over at Homeschool Share, they have available a FREE Space Lapbook if this may interest your learner.

8. Rocket Ship Building
Building a rocket ship is SO much fun. We started small rocket ship made out of cardboard rolls, similar to these Space Rockets
This lead us into making a BIG rocket ship which quickly became a place for creative and imaginative play as they travelled to different planets in our solar system. You can read about how we made our DIY Rocket Ship.

9. Planet Spotting
Depending on where you are on this big wide planet and what season it is, you are able to see different planets in the night sky. Venus, been the evening and the morning "star", is one of the first planets we started watching together. We have also used the Star and Planet Finder app to help us locate Jupiter, Mars and Saturn in our night sky as well. This is a fantastic bonding experience and a wonderful way to support the little space explorer.

10. Planetarium Visit
Visiting a planetarium is one of the most exciting field trips we have taken. We were on holiday when we were able to visit a planetarium where my son learn more about the solar system and got to see and touch items that have been in space.

Another way that we have encouraged our son with his learning of space and planets was with lego. Lego has an amazing range of space related lego such as the Space Shuttle and The Space Center. Lego is a wonderful way for children to engage in imaginary play as they learn about their solar system. 

If you would like more space related ideas, you can visit my Space Science pinterest board.

This blog post has been linked up with: I Can Teach My Child


  1. So many great ideas!! I am not even sure where we will start ;)

    1. Thanks Sarah! I would start with an interest table and let your child/student direct the learning :)

  2. Awesome suggestions that use a wide variety of the senses to cover many different learning styles! Thanks for the great post!

    1. You're most welcome Carmelle and thank you for your lovely comment.

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  4. It's a very nice suggestion to explore solar system in country. thanks for sharing this informative article. it is very helpful to me as well as others. keep posting !!!!!

  5. What is the difference, if all energy sources presented at the chart, use same measurement units? And that falling curve in the present would not change it's direction, nor it's angle towards the axis. Gareen Technology Blog Even if we turn to cost of electricity as a method of comparison, I doubt it we would see much of a change.