Making DIY planets of our solar system from playdough encourages creativity, promotes fine motor control, and fosters Montessori Cultural and Science learning by doing in preschoolers and kindergartners.
As a tribute to International Astronomy Day, which lands on April 28 and a National Space Day, which is held annually on the first Friday in May, we are making a DIY Playdough Solar System planets. This is a super fun way to make models of our planets from homemade no-cook natural play dough while learning hands-on about planets, its relative size, distinguishing characteristics, and positioning in the cosmos. Besides, you will be using items around your cupboard as well as recycling materials, so the set up should be minimal. Most importantly, your little one will LOVE expressing creativity while strengthening the small muscles of the hands!
To explore our solar system and the planets, we read National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space which is kids’ absolute favorite Space book with colorful illustrations and simple text, explaining basic concepts of the universe as well as its wonders!
YOU’LL NEED to make DIY Playdough Planets:
- ingredients to make homemade playdough ~ download a recipe HERE
- recycled cardboard
- glitter (optional) ~ buy biodegradable HERE
First, to resemble a galaxy, make black play dough. Using playdough provides a wide array of developmental, learning, and especially sensory benefits. In fact, play dough builds fine motor skills, encourages creativity, and fosters imagination, while boasting many therapeutic benefits too. It provides a wonderful tactile and sensory learning experience while strengthening small muscles of the hands. Your little one will love squeezing, poking, pinching, squashing and patting it!
Next, apply glue to a large cardboard piece and spread the black playdough over it.
Leave empty the space for the sun as it will be easier to glue the Sun to the cardboard rather than over the play dough.
To resemble our universe and the sparkling twinkling stars, galaxies, and supernovas, we are sprinkling glitter over the black play dough.
Did you know that stars come in different colors and sizes? From blue to orange to red, depending on their temperature.
Next, make the Sun from play dough.(Glitter is optional.)
Thereafter, to make DIY Playdough Solar System Planets, trace planets on cardboard. We are using this book for size-reference.
As a next step, once you have determined the positioning of the planets, glue the Sun to the part of the cardboard that has no play dough.
Thereafter, make each planet (by spreading the play dough over the cutout cardboard piece) according to each planet’s distinguishing characteristics, size, color, and surface.
Finally, arrange the planets in order: 1) Mercury, 2) Venus, 3) Earth, 4) Mars, 5) Jupiter, 6) Saturn, 7) Uranius, 8) Neptune. Thereafter, discuss the four terrestrial planets, separated by the asteroid belt from the four gas giants. Bring your child’s attention to any distinguishable planetary detail: such as The Great Red Spot on Jupiter (a huge storm raging on for hundreds of years) or Neptune’s The Great Dark Spot (a huge spinning storm in the southern atmosphere of Neptune which was about the size of the entire Earth).
Now, that your DIY Playdough Solar System Planets are done, you can also discuss the solar flares and winds and how the Earth’s magnetic field interacts with the solar wind and acts as a shield to protect Earth from damaging solar particles. See a video from NOVA’s Sun Lab here to enhance your Montessori Cultural and Science study.
We also watched an amazing series NOVA – Origins which presented some startling new answers to questions such as “Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? Are we alone, or are there alien worlds waiting to be discovered?” Both, Julia ( 8 yo) and Adrian (4 yo) were absolutely intrigued and engulfed in this miniseries ~an absolute must-have DVD for any inquisitive child (or an adult)!
See this post on Instagram HERE
FOR MORE Montessori Cultural and Science
See HERE our entire Space and Universe round-up.
Happy International Astronomy Day Day!
Have you downloaded my NEW eBook THE BASICS? It has everything you need to know to get started on your Montessori journey, as well as a CURRICULUM outline reference guide, the order of lessons, and the age when they should be introduced, in my opinion. See details HERE.
Also, check out HERE Homeschooling Montessori MADE-EASY membership in case you are exhausted from swimming in the vast ocean of irrelevant information and saving activities you never get to! And if you sign UP, the eBook is included in the package amongst MANY other perks!
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