Friday 3 February 2012

Making the planets

Cakey and I have been reading Martian Rock by Carol Diggory Shields. In this book a group of martians visit the planets looking for life in the solar system. It is a cute book that started a conversation.

We thought it would be fun to make some planets. I took the easy way out and bought styrofoam balls. For a split second I considered paper mache but decided that I would end up doing all the work – to ask Cakey to paper mache nine planets would be pushing it! By the way, I am including Pluto here as the ninth planet even though it has been re-classified as a planetoid.

I stuck the stryofoam balls onto wooden skewers and propped them up in playdough so that Cakey could paint all around them. I did guide Cakey towards particular colours and sizes for each planet – some she was happy to go along with and others she did what she wanted. I wouldn't call this scientific but it was fun. We based our information on some images found on the website Views of the Solar System.

from Views of the Solar System

This is what we ended up with:
  • Mercury, small and brown
  • Venus, small and pink
  • Earth, small and blue and green
  • Mars, small and red with glitter
  • Jupiter, big and pink with red glitter stripes
  • Saturn, medium and orange with a red glitter stripe (Saturn is supposed to have rings but that was all too hard)
  • Uranus, medium and blue (also supposed to have rings)
  • Neptune, medium and blue
  • Pluto, medium and red with glitter (it would have been more accurate if it was small and grey but that was not enticing to Cakey)
  • Stars, we had a couple of stars that we painted too

After we had finished painting all the planets Chris pointed out that we had forgotten the sun. Sigh! We had no stryofoam balls left so out came the paper mache. After 5 minutes of gluing on yellow, orange and red paper Cakey left me to finish it!

Our forgotten sun... kind of important for a solar system.

A couple of days later I attached cotton to our planets with a pin for the small ones and a screw for the larger ones and then we hung them up in Cakey's room.

If this is your first visit to at home with Ali – welcome. If you like it, you can follow along through our facebook page or subscribe via email or RSS. Cheers Ali

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  1. What a fun project! They look so pretty too

  2. What a great idea I have pinned them onto my World Space Week board on Pinterest and come next year will be featuring them in the round up.

  3. See NASA website for a fairly simple ideas on adding rings...

    1. Thanks for the tip, I had a look and there is a huge amount of info and links.

  4. Great looking results! I really like your idea of using play dough as a support while painting. Will definitely borrow this great tip. Thanks!

  5. What fun! My older daughter is super interested in space, and our solar system right now, too. I will have to check that book out. We watched a Youtube clip of an astronaut on the moon, to which she replied, "Uh-oh, he's not being safe, IS he!" Gotta love it! <3

    Neat to find out your kids are the same ages as mine. I am following you now, and I think it will be really fun to compare and share the projects we come up with for their ages. :)

    1. Kids say the funniest things. It will be great to to share projects. I don't have your sewing skills though!!

    2. Ohh, I don't have any sewing skills! I'm sure you can do anything I do that has anything to do with sewing. :)

  6. This is great! My son is also into planets and stars right now, so we're surely going to copy this.
    Would you like to link this up at my blog?

  7. So much fun and so colorful :) Thanks for sharing this with us at Sharing Saturday.


  8. I have a son that would love to do this! Thanks for sharing!
    New follower ;)


    1. Thanks Jen, I am heading over to your blog to visit.

  9. My kids are 5, 8 and 10. When my oldest was around 5 we also paper mache to make our own pinata. I remember doing a lot of work. - I love the way the finished product looks hanging up.

  10. Just found you via have some super ideas :)!!

    Love little guy would too.