Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Solar System: Playdough and Planets

"Why is the moon still out Mommy?  It is morning time.  Why can we not see the sun when it is night time?"  These are frequent questions I hear from the curious minds of Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean.  These curious minds prompted me to look for fun activities to teach about the solar system, and I found this fun playdough activity from I Can Teach My Child.  The activity is quite simple, especially if you use store bought playdough, but it is still a great way to teach about the planets in our solar system. 

Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean begin by making playdough for our activity.  They wanted to make their own so the playdough could be black.

 As you can see, our playdough is not black.  We added all the food coloring we had and this is the color we got.

As we watch a short you tube video about the solar system,  Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean add different sized balls, pom poms, and even a kernel of corn to represent the planets.  They place them in order along the orbital rings- Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

We can't forget to put rings around Saturn and Uranus.  Rubber bands were added to represent the rings.

And the final product- our playdough solar system!  This activity is really easy and quick to put together, but so much learning is involved!



  For the playdough:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups salt
  • 1 1/2 T cream of tarter
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • food coloring (optional)
  • glitter (optional)
  For the solar system:
  • playdough
  • different sized balls, pom pom, corn kernel
  • 2 rubber bands
  • toothpick

  1. Make the playdough- mix all the dry ingredients in a large pot.  Add the water and food coloring to the dry ingredients.  Cook over medium heat until the ingredients form a ball.  Remove the playdough from the pot and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Knead the dough until fully incorporated.
  2. Add glitter to the playdough.
  3. Pat out the playdough to form a circle about 18 inches in diameter.
  4. Place the largest ball in the center of the circle- this is the sun.
  5. Draw 8 rings around the sun to represent the orbital rings.
  6. Place one ball or pom pom on each orbital ring.  These are the planets. 
  7. Optional watch the solar system you tube video as you place the planets on your solar system. 

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