Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Planets and the Solar System

The Solar System craze started about a half a year ago (August 2014). Planets caught her attention while having the usual pre-dinner-youtube-video-watching session. Since then she's been an expert in this field just like we needed to become.



The very first song in the line:


She liked it so much that we had to watch it several times and of course more came:


She quickly learned the next one, so at bedtime I had to sing this song 7/11:


After What shape is it? here is another video from the same youtube channel with the title: What planet is it? Annoying for parents, fascinating for kids :) You can also learn about some dwarf planets like Pluto, Ceres, Makemake, Charon etc.




E. loves the next video too, although the colours of the planets are not so accurate. She mentions it every time we watch it. I guess it is an Indian video, and the pronunciation is a little funny. Still, we watch it a lot. She knows exactly how to pronounce the names of the planets and I want her to listen to as many different accents as possible.


These videos are not only about the names of the planets in our Solar System but also give some interesting information about them.

Then, we found Storybots on youtube. It's hilarious. Even for parents. At last something I and Daddy love watching, too. Well, the next videos are not typical children videos. First: The Solar System Rap
(For a week we were playing the "Microphone game" i.e. throwing a microphone to each other - E. was the Sun, I was Mercury, Daddy was Venus (!) and  Doggie was Mars. The game always ended with Mars as the dog couldn't catch the microphone :) By the way, Daddy made the microphone out of a kitchen roll tube, a deodorant cap and some duct tape.)


I'm hot - the Sun song


Beautiful Earth 



I could go on and on adding more videos in the topic. But if your child is intereted in the planets you'll find them anyway through the above mentioned examples.

After the videos, I had to make the Solar System on her plate. The following is just one occasion. The Solar System made out of frankfurters, but I've already made it out of fruit, cheese and bacon, vegetables etc.:



Here is a link where you can find a fruity solar system snack for kids together with a colouring sheet of planets.

I love the asteroid belt :)


If something is in the  middle of E.'s attention, she recreates it in all fields of life - like drawing:
(While she was drawing the picture below she was in English, later we changed languages and she asked me to write the names of the planets in Hungarian)

Why did she put the cotton buds on the planets?  - It beats me...
I prepared a pom-pom colour sorting activity for her one afternoon (in September), which turned into a Solar System activity again. (It's a kind of size comparison as well.)


Here is a video about her naming the planets in English and at the end she also sings one of the planet songs.


video


At the playground (at the beginning of October) we made the Solar System out of sand. It wasn't my idea, but hers.

Sand Solar System

Destroying the Sun

Destroying all the planets



I made her a magnetic Solar System to play with. I found the following printable online at 2teachingmommies.com. You can find their Planet shadow match in their Space unit. (After downloading a zip file you need to print the Planet_shadow_match.pdf)

I printed and laminated the shadow sheets (2 x A/4) and the planets (1 x A/4). I cut out the planets first then I laminated them and cut them out again. In this way they are more durable. Adding Velcro is recommended in the explanations of the original planet shadow matching task but I used small magnets (you can buy them in Creative Hobby Shops) which are sticky on one side (I couldn't glue the Velcro on the laminated sheets)





Sometimes we play with it on the floor, but nowadays the Solar System is on our fridge:

Here is a video how we play with it in Hungarian


video


Last, but not least - salt dough planets. I'm sure the time comes in every family when they make salt dough, or some sort of home-made dough but you can use any kind of modelling clay as well. In this way E. could see the sizes compared to the sun (which is a yellow plastic ball). Originally we wanted to paint them, but somehow they disappeared during Christmas time.

E. wanted Pluto added. It's made out of kitchen foil
For Christmas, E. got a Solar System Model Making Kit.



On Boxing Day the three of us were working on it all day.

mixing the right colours
We needed to paint and assemble the planets, then hang them on rods with fishing lines placing them around the sun in the centre.
drying the planets

putting the planets together  needs concentration

"hooked"
Let's read how we should put the whole thing together

measuring the fishing line

I added some glow plaint (which was included in the set. The planets glow in the dark.) It was a great family activity (in English). It looks nice in our living room hanging from the central lamp. (Sorry, the photo was taken with my mobile phone.)


This post has turned out to be a long one, but my main aim was to show you how many different activities you can do around a subject, let it be the Solar System or fruit or cars. You don't need to spend a lot of money on buying props or toys (see the sandpit or the pom-pom or the drawing fun). And there are just a few activities which needs preparation (planet shadow match or the model making). So let your and your little one's imagination fly and build the topic of interest in your everyday playtime.

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