Compiled by Robyn, South Africa Ó August 2006



Mercury       Venus       Earth       Mars       Jupiter       Saturn       Uranus       Neptune       Pluto



Solar means sun. The sun is the center of our solar system. Our solar system consists of the sun, the nine planets and their moons, a large number of comets, asteroids, meteoroids and other rocks and gas which all orbit around the sun.  The nine planets in order from the Sun are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter (the biggest planet in our Solar System), Saturn (with large, orbiting rings), Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The inner planets (those planets that orbit close to the Sun) are quite different from the outer planets (those planets that orbit far from the Sun). The inner planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. They are relatively small, composed mostly of rock, and have few or no moons. The outer planets include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. They are mostly huge, mostly gaseous, ringed, and have many moons (the exception is Pluto which is small, rocky, and has one moon).


For more information see Zoom Astronomy from Enchanted


EASY WAY to remember the order of the planets – make up a little rhyme using their first letters – eg.

Many Very Enthusiastic Monkeys Jump Slowly Under Nine Planets



The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole

Everyone in Ms. Frizzle's class is excited about the class trip to the planetarium. Unfortunately, it's closed when they get there. But, on the way back to school, the most amazing thing happens! The Magic School Bus tilts back and the kids hear the roar of rockets. "Oh, dear," says Ms. Frizzle. "We seem to be blasting off!" The bus zooms through the atmosphere. It has turned into a spaceship! Ms. Frizzle and her class are on their way to the Moon and beyond! Join Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen as they take you on the most outrageous exploration of the solar system ever.


What's Out There? by Lynn Wilson

What is the sun made of? What causes night and day? Why does the moon change shape? Colourful collage illustrations and a easy to understand text bring planets, stars, comets, and the wondrous things out there in space right down to earth in a simple introduction to the solar system. All of the basics are covered such as the 9 planets and their relation to the sun, how the earth travels around the sun and spins, the moon, gravity, the make-up of all the planets, asteroids etc. Each topic is explained in a fun and easy way for a child to understand and the illustrations are wonderful. Highly recommend as a first book about space!



Barney In Outer Space DVD


The Magic School Bus - Space Adventures (1994) DVD (Amazon)




Make Your Own Space Book with each page being a project of a different planet. You could also write some information about each planet on it’s page. Here are some ideas-

Cover - My Space Book - draw or cut out planets, space shuttles, etc. and glue them onto black paper.

Page 1 - Mercury - Glue a circle onto paper.  Cover the circle with glue and grit or sand.  Shake off excess.  

Page 2 – Venus - Make the sulphur clouds of Venus by rubbing cotton balls in yellow chalk dust.  ‘Colour in’ a circle with the yellow chalk from the cotton balls and glue the circle onto the paper. 

Page 3 - Earth - use blue and green watercolours to paint the Earth's land and oceans. 

Page 4 - The Moon – Paint a large white moon onto black paper and use a circle shape to stamp some black craters on the Moon's surface.

Page 5 - Mars - Straw paint with red paint onto a circle and glue onto a background paper. 

Page 6 - Jupiter - Cover a large circle with red and orange tissue paper strips.

Page 7 - Saturn - Colour stripes on a circle with coloured chalk.  Rub a tissue on the chalk to blend the colours.  Glue circle to paper and add rings by gluing bits of foil around the planet.

Page 8 - Uranus - Glue a light green circle to paper and glue pieces of wool vertically over the circle.

Page 9 - Neptune - Finger paint a circle with light blue paint.

Page 10 - Pluto - Cover a small white circle with oatmeal to show Pluto's rough surface.

Page 11 - "There are too many stars in the sky to count”  Stick lots of star stickers or cut outs onto black paper.


Counting backwards from 10 – Make a paper rocket (like a paper airplane) and play a game counting 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then shout blast off and send your rocket up into the air. You could also try counting backwards from 20 or even 100 for older kids.


Rocket Craft using a toilet roll and some cardboard from Enchanted


Create a rocket with Tangram Pieces – See Pattern


Create star shapes with Pattern Blocks


Cover the end of an empty toilet roll tube with a piece of black paper. Gently push a toothpick through the black paper to create tiny holes. Decorate the scopes with markers. To use them, hold the scopes up to the light and look through the uncovered end. This will look like a mini-planetarium.


Draw a moon, planets and stars on large pieces of white paper with a white crayon for each child ahead of time. Children can then paint the paper with a thin layer of blue or black thinned paint. Enjoy the outer space surprises.


Planet Mobile – using paper plates from Enchanted


More Space Crafts from DLTK



A Solar System Colouring Book – Beginners


Enchanted Learning’s Solar System Colouring Book




Planets Song (tune - "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star")

I know the planets one by one
Starting with the one that's closest to the sun.
Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars,
Are the first four among the stars.
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Are the next planets in my tune.
Pluto's the farthest one from the sun.
I know the planets one by one.

~ Cassie Sherman


One Little (tune - "One little, Two little, Three little Indians")

One little two little three little planets
Four little five little six little planets
Seven little eight little nine little planets
Orbiting around the sun.


Mercury Venus and the earth
Mars Jupiter and Saturn
Uranus Neptune and Pluto
Orbiting around the sun.


Nine Fine Planets J. P. Taylor – you can listen to it!


What's in our solar system?

Lots of things!

Here, let's list them -

9 planets around the sun

+ moons around most every one

+ asteroids flying out in space

+ meteoroids all over the place

+ comets soaring

+ dust

+ gas

= our solar system, a giant mass!




Zoom Astronomy from Enchanted


Science in Africa – Online Magazine








Magic Schoolbus Space Unit






Johannesburg Planetarium (011) 717 1392

Travel with Thomas the astronomer in his giant rocket, to the game reserve, then on to the Moon and beyond!

Saturdays 10:30, 5 to 8 years , R15 per person - Tickets are available from half an hour before each show.


Cape Town Planetarium







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