For our latest post in the Homeschool Unit Studies series, we’re talking planets with a lesson on teaching the solar system for kids!
Many kids are fascinated with space. I know, when I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. We’re from Florida originally and I really, really, really wanted to go to space camp. But, alas, it never happened. I did ride one of those anti-gravity swings at Church Street Station in Orlando, though. Not quite the same somehow. 🙂
Now that my kids are developing an interest in space, I thought I’d put together a few resources for learning the solar system. There are videos, books, and activities below that make learning about the solar system even more fun!
Learning the Solar System for Kids
Watch the YouTube video and have your kids answer the following questions:
(Note: The last two minutes of this video include a hypothesis that states the solar system will cease to exist in 500 million years. Personally, I don’t think that’s true. And really how would any human even think they know what will happen that far into the future? But I just wanted to give you a heads-up in case you want to skip it. None of the questions below are about that part of the video.)
- How old do scientists think the solar system is? Answer: 4.5 billion years old
- How often does the solar system circle the galactic center? Answer: Once every 250 million years
- Name the four terrestrial planets in our solar system: Answer: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars
- Name the four gas giants in our solar system: Answer: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
- Why does Mercury experience large temperature fluctuations? Answer: Because a Mercury year is shorter than a Mercury day.
- How hot does temperature get on Venus? Answer: Up to 497 degrees Celsius
- Why is Earth able to sustain life? Answer: Because temperatures are moderate enough to retain a water supply.
- Name the largest mountain on Mars: Answer: Olympus Mons (It’s also the largest mountain on any planet in the solar system.)
- What two gases comprise most of Jupiter? Answer: Hydrogen and Helium
- How many moons does Saturn have? Answer: 62
- What makes Uranus unique? Answer: Its axis of rotation is tilted sideways.
- How long is a Neptune year? Answer: 164 Earth years
- How much of the solar system’s mass is made up by the sun? Answer: 99.86%
- Where is Pluto located? Answer: In the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the solar system
And for all of my oldheads, here’s a classic way to teach kids about the planets:
Books about the Solar System:
Read these great picture books as a way to introduce the solar system for kids!
- There’s No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)
- National Geographic Kids: First Big Book of Space
- Solar System: A Visual Exploration of All the Planets, Moons, and Other Heavenly Bodies That Orbit Our Sun
- The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System
Solar System Crafts for Kids:
These solar system crafts and activities are fun, hands-on ways to make the solar system real to little ones!
- Paper Mache Solar System – Red Ted Art
- Flashlight Solar System – Kids Activities Blog
- Solar System Bracelet Craft – Still Playing School
- Solar System I-Spy Bag – Research Parent
Don’t miss our free printable Solar System Flashcards!
And see more of our solar system activities below!
Get more ideas for homeschool unit studies on my Unit Studies Pinterest board!
This post is part of the Solar System Unit Study Roundup! Check out more great ideas to teach the solar system for kids below!
10 Fun Children’s Books about Space from Crafty Mama in ME
Learning about the Solar System for Kids from Look! We’re Learning!
Children’s Astronaut Books from The Jenny Evolution
Melted Bead Planet Mobile from Schooling a Monkey
Stargazing Apps for Kids from iGameMom
Space sensory salt tray activities from The Usual Mayhem
How to Spot Meteors When Camping from FrogMom