10 Ways To Teach Children About Planets: A Guide for Parents and Educators

Written by Dan

Teaching children about planets can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Not only does it provide an opportunity to explore the wonders of the universe, but it also encourages children to develop an interest in science and astronomy. With so many resources available, it can be difficult to know where to start. This article provides ten ways to teach children about planets, from fun crafts to educational games.

A solar system model with colorful, rotating planets orbiting around a bright, glowing sun. A telescope and books on space sit nearby

One way to teach children about planets is through hands-on activities. Making a model of the solar system or creating a planet-themed craft can be a fun and engaging way to learn.

Another approach is to use educational games and apps that allow children to explore the solar system in a virtual environment. By combining different methods, parents and educators can create a comprehensive and enjoyable learning experience for children of all ages.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, or caregiver, teaching children about planets is a valuable and enriching experience. By using a variety of methods and resources, children can develop a deeper understanding of the solar system and the universe beyond. With the right tools and guidance, children can become enthusiastic learners and explorers of the cosmos.

1) Create a Solar System Model

One of the best ways to teach children about planets is by creating a solar system model. This activity can help them understand the relative size and distance of each planet in our solar system. There are several ways to create a solar system model, ranging from simple to complex.

One of the easiest ways to create a solar system model is by using everyday items such as Styrofoam balls, paint, and string.

The Styrofoam balls can be painted to represent each planet, and then attached to the string in the correct order to show the distance between each planet. Another option is to use playdough or clay to create the planets and then place them in the correct order on a flat surface.

For a more advanced project, children can use a variety of materials such as foam board, wire, and paint to create a 3D model of the solar system. This project can be more time-consuming and challenging, but it can provide a more realistic representation of the solar system.

Regardless of the method chosen, creating a solar system model can be a fun and engaging way to teach children about planets. By allowing them to create their own model, they can take ownership of their learning and develop a deeper understanding of the solar system.

2) Read ‘There’s No Place Like Space’ by Tish Rabe

In the book "There's No Place Like Space," a rocket flies past colorful planets and twinkling stars in the vast expanse of outer space

One of the best ways to teach children about planets is through reading. ‘There’s No Place Like Space’ by Tish Rabe is a great book to introduce children to the solar system. The book is part of ‘The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library’ series, and it is written in a fun and engaging way that children will love.

The book takes the reader on a journey through the solar system, introducing them to the sun, the planets, and other celestial bodies. The book is filled with colorful illustrations and interesting facts that will capture the attention of young readers.

Reading ‘There’s No Place Like Space’ with your child is a great way to start a conversation about the solar system. You can ask your child questions about what they’ve learned, and encourage them to ask questions of their own. This will help to build their curiosity and encourage them to explore the world around them.

Overall, ‘There’s No Place Like Space’ is an excellent book to teach children about planets. It is a fun and engaging way to introduce them to the solar system, and it will help to build their curiosity and love of learning.

3) Visit a Planetarium

Children gaze at a domed ceiling, stars twinkling above. Planets orbit a central sun, while a guide points out constellations. Models and interactive displays engage curious minds

Visiting a planetarium is an immersive experience that can enhance a child’s understanding of astronomy. It offers an interactive way to explore and learn about the universe. A planetarium is a simulated environment that recreates the night sky and celestial objects. It is a great way to spark a lifelong interest in space science.

Planetariums offer a range of educational programs, including shows that cover topics such as the solar system, galaxies, and black holes. The shows are usually presented in a dome-shaped theater and are accompanied by stunning visuals and sound effects.

Many planetariums also offer hands-on exhibits and activities that allow children to explore and learn about space in a fun and engaging way. For example, children can touch real meteorites, build their own rockets, or participate in a virtual reality experience.

Visiting a planetarium can be a memorable and educational experience for children of all ages. It can inspire a love of science and astronomy that can last a lifetime.

4) Use Planet Flashcards

Planet flashcards are a great way to introduce children to the planets of the solar system. These flashcards are designed to help children learn about the planets in a fun and interactive way. They can be used in a variety of ways to extend children’s learning, including printing two sets to use as a matching game, a memory game, bingo, or a space theme.

Flashcards can help children recognize and name the planets in the solar system. When teaching about the planets, it can be useful to assign each planet with a specific adjective like small, red, or cold.

Then once the children tell you the planet’s name, ask them if they can describe the planet. This technique can help children remember the characteristics of each planet.

There are many free printable planet flashcards available online. For example, Nature Inspired Learning provides a set of free solar system flashcards that can be used to create a scaled model of the solar system. Kids Activities Online offers free printable solar system planets flashcards that include interesting facts about each planet.

In conclusion, planet flashcards are a fun and effective way to teach children about the planets in the solar system. They can be used in a variety of ways to extend children’s learning and help them remember the characteristics of each planet.

5) Watch ‘Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’

Another way to teach children about planets is to watch the TV series ‘Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.’ Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, this 13-part series explores the wonders of the universe, including planets, stars, galaxies, and the Big Bang.

The series uses stunning visuals and engaging storytelling to make complex scientific concepts accessible to children. It covers a wide range of topics related to planets, such as the history of astronomy, the search for extraterrestrial life, and the formation of our solar system.

Watching ‘Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’ can help children develop an appreciation for the vastness and beauty of the universe, as well as an understanding of the scientific principles that govern it. It can also inspire them to pursue careers in science and technology.

Overall, ‘Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey’ is a fun and educational way to teach children about planets and the universe. Parents and teachers can use it as a tool to spark curiosity and encourage learning in their children.

6) Play Planet-Themed Board Games

Playing planet-themed board games is a fun and interactive way for children to learn about the solar system. These games can help children understand the order of the planets, their names, and their unique characteristics.

One popular planet-themed board game is the DIY Planets Board Game. This game allows children to learn about the planets in our solar system by rolling a die and working their way around the path to the finish line. The game comes with free downloadable planet cards, making it easy to create and play at home.

Another great option is the Ecosystem Board Game, which helps children understand the importance of balance in the environment. This game is equally at home at family game night or a classroom game collection.

Playing planet-themed board games can also help children develop important skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making. These skills can be valuable in many areas of life, making planet-themed board games a great investment in your child’s future.

In conclusion, playing planet-themed board games is a fun and educational way for children to learn about the solar system. These games can help children develop important skills while also increasing their knowledge and appreciation of the world around them.

7) Download NASA’s Space Place App

The Space Place app logo floating in space with colorful planets orbiting around it

NASA’s Space Place app provides a fun and interactive way for children to learn about planets. This app is available for free on both Android and iOS devices. With the app, children can explore the solar system, play games, and learn about the latest NASA missions.

One of the best features of the Space Place app is that it is designed for children ages 6-11. The app includes easy-to-understand explanations of complex topics, making it accessible to young learners. The app also includes interactive features, such as a virtual planetarium, that allow children to explore the solar system in a hands-on way.

In addition to the app, NASA’s Space Place website also provides a wealth of resources for parents and educators. The website includes articles, videos, and hands-on activities that can be used to supplement children’s learning about planets.

Overall, NASA’s Space Place app and website are valuable resources for parents and educators looking to teach children about planets in a fun and engaging way. By downloading the app and exploring the website, children can gain a deeper understanding of the solar system and the wonders of space.

8) Conduct a Planet Scavenger Hunt

Children explore a colorful, alien landscape, searching for hidden planet-themed objects. A rocket ship hovers in the sky as they eagerly hunt for clues

A planet scavenger hunt is a fun and interactive way to teach children about the solar system. It can be done indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather and the space available. The aim of the scavenger hunt is to find objects that represent the planets in the solar system.

To prepare for the scavenger hunt, create a list of the planets and their characteristics. For example, Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and Saturn has rings around it. Then, hide objects that represent each planet around the designated area. For example, a red ball can represent Mars, and a yellow balloon can represent the sun.

Once the objects are hidden, give the children a list of the planets and their characteristics, and ask them to find the objects that represent each planet. The first team to find all the objects and match them to the correct planet wins the scavenger hunt.

A planet scavenger hunt is a great way to get children excited about learning about the solar system. It encourages teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. It also helps children remember the characteristics of each planet in a fun and engaging way.

9) Make Planet Fact Sheets

A colorful solar system with labeled planets orbiting a bright sun, surrounded by educational materials and books on teaching about planets

Creating planet fact sheets is a fun and educational way to teach children about the planets in our solar system. Fact sheets can include information about each planet’s size, distance from the sun, number of moons, and more.

To make planet fact sheets, children can use a variety of resources such as books, websites, and videos. They can also use the search results from this query, which includes links to websites with planet facts for kids, such as Little Astronomy and National Geographic Kids.

Once children have gathered their information, they can use their creativity to design and decorate their fact sheets. They can include pictures, drawings, and even fun facts about each planet.

Fact sheets can be used as a reference guide for children to study and learn from. They can also be shared with friends and family to show off what they have learned about the planets.

Overall, making planet fact sheets is a fun and engaging way for children to learn about the planets in our solar system. It encourages creativity, research skills, and a love for science.

10) Watch ‘The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space’

One of the best ways to teach children about planets is by watching ‘The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space.’ This classic animated show takes children on a wild ride through space with their eccentric science teacher, Ms. Frizzle. In this particular episode, the class goes on a field trip to the planetarium to watch a show about the solar system. However, things take an unexpected turn when they end up getting lost in space.

The episode is not only entertaining but also educational. It teaches children about the different planets in our solar system, their unique characteristics, and how they orbit around the sun. The show also introduces children to important scientific concepts such as gravity, the tilt of the Earth’s axis, and the phases of the moon.

Children will love the colorful animation, catchy songs, and humorous dialogue. The show is suitable for children of all ages and is a great way to get them excited about science and space exploration. It is a perfect way to supplement classroom learning or to watch as a family for a fun and educational experience.

Overall, watching ‘The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space’ is an excellent way to teach children about planets. It is an engaging and informative show that will spark their curiosity and inspire them to learn more about the universe.

Understanding The Solar System

The solar system with colorful planets orbiting around the sun, each with unique features and sizes. A child-friendly visual representation of the solar system, with labels and fun facts for educational purposes

Basic Structure of the Solar System

The Solar System consists of the Sun and all the celestial objects that orbit around it. The objects that orbit the Sun include planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and meteoroids. The Solar System is believed to have formed about 4.6 billion years ago from a giant cloud of gas and dust. The Sun, which is the largest object in the Solar System, is at the center of the Solar System and has the most mass. The planets in the Solar System are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. These planets are classified into two groups: the inner planets and the outer planets. The inner planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, and they are also known as the terrestrial planets. The outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and they are also known as the gas giants.

Importance of Learning About Planets

Learning about the Solar System and the planets is important for children because it helps them understand the world around them. By learning about the Solar System, children can develop an appreciation for the vastness and complexity of the universe. They can also learn about the different physical characteristics of the planets, such as their size, composition, and distance from the Sun. This knowledge can help children understand the conditions necessary for life to exist on a planet. Additionally, learning about the Solar System can help children understand the impact of space exploration on our daily lives. For example, space exploration has led to the development of new technologies and has increased our understanding of the universe.

In conclusion, teaching children about the Solar System and the planets can be a fun and engaging way to introduce them to science and inspire their curiosity about the world around them. By using interactive and hands-on activities, children can learn about the basic structure of the Solar System and the importance of learning about planets.

Interactive Learning Methods

Using Educational Games

One of the most effective ways to teach children about planets is through educational games. Games can make learning fun and engaging, and they can help children retain information better. There are many educational games available online that can teach children about the solar system and the planets. Some games allow children to explore the solar system and learn about the different planets and their characteristics. Other games may focus on specific topics, such as the phases of the moon or the orbits of the planets around the sun.

Hands-On Activities

Another effective way to teach children about planets is through hands-on activities. Children learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process, and hands-on activities can provide a fun and interactive way to teach children about the solar system and the planets. Some hands-on activities that can be used to teach children about planets include creating a model of the solar system, making a planetarium, or using a telescope to observe the planets in the night sky.

In conclusion, interactive learning methods such as educational games and hands-on activities can be effective ways to teach children about planets. These methods can make learning fun and engaging, and they can help children retain information better. By using these methods, educators and parents can help children develop a lifelong interest in science and astronomy.

Resources For Teaching About Planets

Teaching children about planets can be a fun and exciting experience. There are many resources available that can help make the learning process engaging and informative. In this section, we will discuss some of the best resources for teaching children about planets.

Books and Literature

Books and literature can be a great way to introduce children to the wonders of the solar system. There are many books available that are specifically designed for children and are written in a way that is easy for them to understand. Some of the best books for teaching children about planets include:

  • “The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System” by Joanna Cole
  • “National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space” by Catherine D. Hughes
  • “There’s No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System” by Tish Rabe

These books are not only informative but also engaging and fun to read. They use colorful illustrations and interesting stories to capture the attention of young readers.

Online Tools and Applications

In addition to books, there are many online tools and applications that can be used to teach children about planets. These tools are interactive and can provide children with a hands-on learning experience. Some of the best online tools and applications for teaching children about planets include:

  • NASA’s Solar System Exploration website: This website provides a wealth of information about the solar system, including images, videos, and interactive simulations.
  • Stellarium: This is a free open-source planetarium software that can be used to create a virtual sky on a computer. It can be used to show children what the night sky looks like and to teach them about the different planets and constellations.
  • Space Place: This is an educational website created by NASA that is designed specifically for children. It includes games, videos, and activities that can help children learn about the solar system in a fun and engaging way.

These online tools and applications are a great way to supplement traditional teaching methods and can help make learning about planets more interactive and enjoyable for children.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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