These sensory planets are a great way to learn about the solar system in a hands on way. Set them up in an invitation for children to explore and be delighted as the planets fizz and create a colourful, fun mess.
We chose to include Pluto.
What you will need:
- Bi-Carb soda (baking soda)
- Droppers and jars
- Liquid watercolour paints
- A paint brush
We used the Usborne Space fact cards with this activity. I will list great books on the solar system at the bottom, as we discover them.
If you have a tuff tray, this activity is perfect!
- Play with your water colours to get your desired shades for the planets. Mix them with a little bit of water and add it a little at a time to your mixture as you are forming your bicarb-water mix.
- If you make your bicarb mixture too runny, your planets will not keep their shape so be mindful of this when adding your watercolour paints and when you are adding final details with the paints.
Preparing the planets
- Put some bi carb soda in separate bowls and add a little water at a time and paint colour to each, mixing until you are able to squash a ball shape in your hands with it keeping its shape. If your mixture is too runny, add some more bi carb. If your mixture is too dry add a little more water. You can combine different colours for planets such as green and blue mixtures for Earth.
- Lightly paint your planet details on at the end, such as Jupiter's spot, any stripes etc. As you make your planets put them aside on a tray, plate or board.
- To create your ring for Saturn, cut out a paper circle, then the center from that circle. Tape a toothpick either side and poke them into your Saturn ball.
Place your planets out on a tray/board in order (you can include children in this process to get familiar with the order), with jars of vinegar and droppers. Invite your child(ren) to use the droppers to put the vinegar on the planets. As they make them fizz, discuss the planets names and any added information you'd like to include. Which planets can they name?
- Usborne Look inside Space
-The Planets by Gail Gibbons
-Hello, World! Solar System by Jill McDonald