When we follow the lead of our children, it allows us to meet them exactly where they are developmentally – and children learn things easily when they are developmentally ready. When we did our PUSH LIGHT PLANETS, my son was interested in the names of each planet and their characteristics….so those are the things we talked about together as he painted the planets. It’s not to say I did not touch on other aspects of the solar system during our conversation, but I tried to focus more on asking curiosity questions rather than simply attempting to “fill him up” with information. Outer space is a recurring theme in our home, and we explore it whenever his interest in it peaks. A few weeks ago he started asking me about what the word “orbit” means in reference to the planets. So, of course, I attempted to brainstorm ways of recreating the planets and their orbits with him.
“I wonder how we could build the solar system. Do you have any ideas?”
“What is in the center of our solar system? “
“I wonder how we could make a sun.”
“What shape do you think the planets are?”
“What is round that we could use to make planets?”
I’m confident that one day he will come up with some fantastic ways to bring his thoughts and curiosities to life, but this time the idea was more mine than his (not for lack of trying, though, and that’s what counts). ;) His contribution was answering the curiosity questions with me, so in many ways he played an integral role in the activity and learned some valuable critical thinking skills.
So, “we” decided to paint some more planets and hang them from the ceiling fan so we could see how planets orbit around the sun. I have some ornament balls from our SENSORY ORNAMENTS POST that are large, so we used 2 of those – one for the sun and one for Jupiter.
Here is a list of our other materials with some links for your convenience….
THINGS WE USED:
- The Planets book (this is a great book….and it rhymes, which we love)
- clothespins to hold the book open
- acrylic paint (You can see the paints we used in the original Push Light Planet post….and if you can get your hands on paint for glass, it might be a better option.)
- paint brushes
- acrylic fill-able ornaments (these come in 60, 80, and 100mm sizes…we used the 60mm ornaments)
- fishing line (for hanging)
- finger lights
My son used the Planets book as a guide and painted each planet. When they dried he put finger lights inside each planet and we hung them from our ceiling fan. With the fan on low – and turning it off just prior to an entirely new lesson on centrifugal force – we would watch our planets orbit around the sun. Our plan was to also add glow bracelets as rings around Saturn, but we never made it to that step….yet.
For the record, we DID have a discussion about centrifugal force – I just love when learning leads to new questions and new concepts and more learning.
It’s been a week or so and our solar system is still hanging in the playroom. We also used our LASER PROJECTOR to make “stars” so we could feel more like we were in space. You can see a VIDEO of us enjoying the show.
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~ AK (MESE, MECD)