Teach kids about planets with a DIY solar system

A totally cosmic craft activity

Here’s a fun way to teach kids each planet and what makes it special – and make a super cool solar system at the same time!

You will need:

Polystyrene balls OR Papier-mache balls in different sizes
Pipe cleaners
Googly eyes
Felt tip pens
Cardboard box
Black or clear thread
Sticky tape
A universe-sized dollop of imagination

Step-by-step solar system

Step 1

Gather your materials. First we’re going to make our planet characters. You can teach your kids (sorry, astronauts-in-training) fun facts about each planet, and then get creative as you like with the decoration.

Step 2

First, meet Madcap Mercury. Mercury goes through the most extreme temperature moodswings of all the planets – ranging from -170°C (-280°F) during the night to 430°C (800°F) during the day. So he can be sad one minute, and happy the next. (Sound like anyone you know…?!)

Step 3

Bejewelled and bedazzled, Queen Venus is the brightest planet in the night sky. That’s because her atmosphere of thin clouds reflects about 70% of sunlight back into space. Can you see Venus in the sky on a clear night?

Step 4

Edible Earth is the only planet in our solar system that supports life – and lots of it! Earth is teeming with animals, nature and edible delights of all kinds. What tasty treats will you top yours with?

Step 5

Mardy Mars is always in a sulk, and famously bad at cleaning his room. He goes round the sun in an oval shape in such a huff, it creates huge and fierce dust storms. These can last for months! Imagine!

Step 6

Jolly Jupiter is a big friendly giant of a planet, and loves making new friends. In fact, she’s got at least 67 moons that like to hang around with her. (You can use some creative license when making your own moon friends!)

Step 7

Snazzy Saturn is a snappy, smart dresser. The first thing you notice about him is his glorious rings. These rings are made up of billions and billions of ice crystals – some as small as a speck of dust, and some as huge as a mountain! Pretty cool.

Step 8

Undercover Uranus is a mysterious fellow. His pale blue disguise made him invisible to human eyes for hundreds of years – until he was discovered by a clever chap with a telescope. He spends 42 years of his 84-year orbit in total darkness.

Step 9

Elsa’s got nothing on the fabulously frosty Nippy Neptune. She’s an ice giant, with an average temperature of –214°C (–353°F). If you’re paying her a visit, make sure to take your woolliest jumper and thickest socks!

Step 10

Now you can hang up your planet characters. Paint the inside of a cardboard box black, and add little white dots for stars. Put a thread through each of your planets (with a knot at the bottom to hold it in place). Make 8 holes in the top of your box, and thread the planets through. Secure with a bit of sticky tape. Voila!

Send us your snaps

We’d love to see what cosmic creations you and your co-pilots have made. Share your snaps with us on Facebook or Instagram – and make sure to tag #wonderbly!