You’d be hard-pressed to find a kid who isn’t drawn to space exploration. The solar system is filled with endless wonders and mysteries that help grow children’s interest in science. We have, however, come a long way since the days of hanging mobile solar system models. From edible solar systems to large-scale chalk outlines, we found plenty of creative solar system projects to inspire budding astronomers.
1. Create an edible solar system
We love solar system projects that are equally effective as a lesson on healthy eating and science! Grab a variety of fruits, veggies, and meats, then have students get to work creating their solar system snack.
Learn more: Kids Activities Blog
2. Make play dough planets
Firstly, you’ll want to make some play dough from one of many recipes available or, if you’re in a pinch, buy some in a variety of colors. Then, show your students different photos and renderings of what the various planets look like so they can mold them. Finally, draw rings with white chalk on a sheet of black construction paper to represent the solar system.
Learn more: Good to Know
3. Create a solar system on a paint stick
Solar system projects that are simple and require minimal preparation and supplies are some of our favorites! This one fits the bill since all you will need are paint sticks, painting supplies, clothespins, and some markers.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me
4. Build a space snow globe
Surely every adult remembers making a homemade snow globe at some point in their childhood. Re-create these memories with your children or students while also learning about the planets and solar system.
Learn more: Red Ted Art
5. Learn about constellations with free printable cards
First, download the free PDF of these constellation flash cards. Then, print them and cut them out. Finally, have your students test their knowledge of the various constellations found in the sky. If they have access to a telescope at home, they can use them to identify what they are looking at.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me
6. Simplify the solar system
We love solar system projects that demonstrate how close each planet is to the sun. A yellow button makes for the perfect sun while paper dots work great as the planets.
Learn more: Fun Family Crafts
7. Use plastic lids as planets
We especially love that this project puts the concept of upcycling to good use. Have your students save all their various bottle caps and lids before you plan to do this project. Finally, paint them as necessary and lay them out on some black paper to represent the various planets in the solar system.
Learn more: Still Playing School
8. Build a solar system out of LEGO
Kids love LEGO and they love anything space related, so this project is a win-win in our book. Ask friends and family to donate LEGO bricks that their kids have outgrown so you have plenty of blocks for your students to work with.
Learn more: Kitchen Counter Chronicle
9. Wear a solar system
Have students paint different size wooden beads to look like the various planets. Once the paint is dry, seal them with a clear coat. Finally, have students string them onto a chain or string.
Learn more: Rock It Mama
10. Use balloons and rice to build planets
Watch these adorable twins explain how to build models of the planets using rice and balloons. Once the models are complete, display them on plastic cups that are labeled with each planet’s name.
Learn more: Daily Motion
11. Create mixed-media-art solar systems
You will need several days to complete this project, but the end result is just so cool! First, use a pipette and liquid watercolors to paint cotton rounds to resemble the planets. Then, use dark fabric to fill an embroidery hoop. Supply your students with acrylic paints so they can paint the fabric. Students should be encouraged to add sequins or glitter to the wet paint since they will make for a more realistic-looking night sky. Finally, have them glue their planets wherever they want.
Learn more: Art Bar Blog
12. Paint rocks to resemble planets
Since rock painting is always fun, why not try painting rocks to resemble the planets and the sun? Once done, you can lay them out on a piece of black card stock. Be sure to use fine-tip permanent paint pens so you can really capture the details and even leave them outside for friends to find!
Learn more: Artistro
13. Play solar system bingo
Print the free bingo cards, then gather some glass gems or buttons to use to cover the spaces. This game would make for the perfect reward for good behavior since it is so fun!
Learn more: Artsy Fartsy Mama
14. Map out the solar system on the floor
Some solar system projects require considerable preparation but are totally worth it. We especially love that this one is interactive!
Learn more: The Kavanaugh Report
15. To Pluto or not to Pluto
Begin by having students read two articles: one about why Pluto should be reinstated as a planet and one about why it should not. Then have them pick the best fact from each article and make their own personal decision on the issue. Once they make their decision, they’ll create a poster stating their opinion and the reason for it. Finally, have them create an astronaut of themselves to show how they voted.
Source: Amanda Christensen, Grade 5 Science Teacher, Limestone Middle School
16. Use stickers to create a space scene
Use a splatter technique to create the backdrop for your solar system scene. Purchase planet stickers like these in bulk so kids can easily build their solar systems.
Learn more: The Crafting Chicks
17. Craft a solar system garland
While not a free printable, we think this affordable solar system coloring page is perfect for creating a garland you can display around your classroom or home. Have plenty of colored pencils and markers on hand so students can engage in some stress-reducing coloring!
18. Read books on the solar system
There really is no substitute for a good book when teaching students about a topic like the solar system. Stock up on some popular titles, then display them in your classroom library so students can read up on the planets and stars!
Learn more: Our Favorite Books About Space
19. Make pipe cleaner planets
If you’re a pre-k or elementary school teacher, odds are you already have a drawer or box full of a variety of pipe cleaners. Put them to good use by having your students make these adorable pipe cleaner planets.
20. Create and wear a solar system hat
It’s probably best to pre-cut the black strips before doing this project with your students. Once the strips have been cut, have your students splatter paint on them. While the bands are drying, have your students cut and color the planets using a free printable like the one here. Finally, glue the sun, planets, and labels onto the hat.
Learn more: Primary Theme Park
21. Map out the solar system outside
We love that this project incorporates math as well—you will need to measure the planets for an accurate comparison. We also love that all you need is chalk and some space.
Learn more: Geek Dad
22. Play a game with a fidget spinner
Print this free game board, then place the fidget spinner in the middle. Finally, have your students play and see how quickly they can recognize the various features of the solar system.
Learn more: EnglishWSheets
23. Make a Styrofoam planet model
You can’t have a list of solar system projects without the good old-fashioned Sytrofoam ball model! Grab some Styrofoam, paint, and skewers and get to work!
Learn more: Scout Life
24. Pass out solar system bookmarks and fact cards
Use printable solar system fact cards to have kids quiz each other or as writing prompts for research projects. The bookmarks are great way to reinforce what they learned while reading!
Source: 2nd grade teacher, Ireland
25. Fashion planets from yarn and papier-mâché
This project is going to take a lot of time and you will need a few days to complete it, but these yarn planets will be totally worth it. You can even get some command strips and string and hang them from your classroom’s ceiling once done!
Learn more: Art 4 Little Hands
26. Line the planets up
This simple project demonstrates to students how far each individual planet is from the sun. All you will need is construction paper, glue, and markers.
Learn more: Pinterest/Boy Scouts
27. Make planets from coffee filters
Place paper plates under a coffee filter to contain any mess, then have students color the filters with markers. Once colored, spray water over them to get the final watercolor-like effect. Finally, cut them to size and display them around your room.
Learn more: Fun-a-Day
28. Explore NASA’s website
NASA has an excellent website that includes so, so many resources to explore all about space and the solar system.
Learn more: Solar System Exploration/NASA
29. Do some stargazing
This is a project that can either be done at home or during an evening outing. The Museum of Natural History’s website has an entire section full of tips for kids on stargazing.
Learn more: American Museum of Natural History
30. Make marshmallow constellations
Get some books and other resources on constellations, then challenge your students to create constellations with marshmallows and toothpicks. Be sure to have plenty of extra marshmallows since you know little stargazers love to snack.
Learn more: Steamsational
31. Make some solar system slime
Kids love slime but be prepared for a day filled with mess! Solar system slime and clay planets are a fun (and messy) way to explore space.
Learn more: Mini Monets and Mommies
Can’t get enough space? Check out these 36 Out of This World Space-Themed Classroom Ideas.