If you have or know a little boy, you will be passing through a space fetish stage. It’s a simple fact of life! We’re currently in a space-loving stage, in hyperdrive! He’s been fascinated by it since he was 3, but the more he learns and understands, the more he loves it! We have some planets hanging over his bed (just from a bulletin board set, hoping to make 3D ones soon!), a sun on his wall, and small astronauts and rocket models galore!
We’re doing more “official” homeschooling this year, at his request, and much of it is certainly space-themed! There are many pictures and printables for the planets of our solar system, but I wanted to find some that were to scale. The scale of space is so gigantic, that it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to make maps of it or drawings on normal paper.
I ran across a great website from Berkeley with “At Home Astronomy” activities. My 4.5yo is a bit young for at least half of them, but they provided scaled planet printables. The image quality isn’t the best, given that they used a picture and shrank or enlarged it, but it is great for understanding the relative planet sizes. And once you understand their relative sizes, you understand why the bulletin board sets are nowhere near to scale!
We cut ours out, glued them onto blue construction paper, cut them out again, laminated them, and cut them out one more time! Here they are:
And to give you an idea of scale, here they are with a small book – I chose one in a series you likely have at home, especially if you have a boy!
I made the planet printables bilingual, since my son speaks and is schooled in both Spanish and English. If you’re interested in a bilingual version, here they are:
We put these in order by size, smallest to largest and largest to smallest; named them; put them in their solar system order from the sun; and simply observed similarities and differences between them. You can tell just by looking that Earth is best suited for life; help your child understand why! We’ve demonstrated their orbits around the sun as well; though not a scaled sun, because according to my calculations, a model sun using this same scale would have a diameter of 7 feet 4 inches!!! I do believe we’ll go outside and paint a 76-inch-diameter sun in the grass one day though, and then do some orbiting! Exercise and science at the same time!
Happy space travels to you!