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Making the Solar System interesting for Kids

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 25-06-2007

Inflatable Solar SystemNote: To receive great ideas for activities with kids subscribe now to the free GreatDad newsletter for dads of 4-8 year olds.

Killing aliens with the x-box may not be the only way for your
kids to step outside the planet. Dads and kids can still share the thrill of a darkened planetarium
or the awe of a star-bright night sky. Such experiences can make the universe seem within our reach,
help dads bond with their children.

The solar system with its colorful planets and exotic
names is always a good place to start. Here are some things dads can do to make the universe a more
interesting place for kids:

  • Take a trip to the local planetarium—look out for special
    shows and exhibits.
  •  Science parks are fun too. Let your kids travel through simulators
    and get their hands dirty in space. Make sure they get to crank-up those miniature models of the
    solar systems that go round and round.
  • Buy your kids a small telescope (‘that’s awesome
    dad!’). Teach them how to set it up in their room and take care of it.
  • Ask your children
    about their favorite planet and help them locate photos and information about it on the
    Internet.
  • Purchase a top-of-the-line start-up kit that can help your kids build their very
    own planetarium right at home. Make sure you get the glow-in-the-dark model that lights up at
    night.
  • If you think your kids are born astro-nuts, take them to the nearest library to
    browse through some huge space encyclopedias. That should give them some big, colorful, and serious
    stuff to handle.
  • Sign them up for the summer space camp. It’s a bit expensive but the
    experience is worth it.

Younger kids are often inquisitive about the nature of the
universe, how things work, will they break, will we all disappear etc. While dads may not have all
the answers at hand, they can certainly help explain the solar system with a simple model using
colorful balls of varying size in the backyard and take the young ones for an imaginary space walk.
Make sure they learn (say ‘hello Pluto’) all the names of the planets on the way back home.

Also See

NASA info for Dads and Kids

Astronomy for kids 4-10