We made the Solar System.

The girls and I took another stab at flour dough crafts this week with a solar system mobile. I found several nice pictures of the planets and their relative scale, thanks to google image search, and mixed up some dough. This was a fun project for too many reasons:
1. Because my kids love anything outer space-y
2. Because we all love to get our hands into something
3. Because, unlike last time we played with flour dough, this time I used food coloring to dye the dough, so there was no messy painting involved
4. Because, I didn't have to buy anything
5. Because, it combined arts, science and math
6. Because, its so pretty!

My flour dough recipe came from an 80's Childcraft (the Make and Do volume) with awesome illustrations. We baked the dough for about 2 hours at 250 degrees. You don't have to bake the dough, unless you want to speed the process, but the idea is to dry it out with out browning it - so don't set the oven any higher than 250.

The school-y part was talking about scale and colors. We mixed colors, learning how to mix green, gray, orange and brown. Plus, we talked about big and small and all the sizes in between. Ours aren't really to scale (especially the sun as you may notice) - we had a limited amount of dough and cookie cutter sizes, but the variation in sizes was on the right level for their age group.

We flattened the dough and cut circles from biscuit cutters, jar lids, chap stick caps, and pen caps - all providing various sizes of circles. We added distinguishing marks - the red spot for Jupiter, the rings for Saturn and Uranus, water and land for earth, tails on the comets. Once they were on the pan, I made a hole in each by wiggling a straight pin near the top. After they were baked, I used this hole to hang them like ornaments from a tension rod.

Our actual discussion of science was integrated into the making. We talked about how close a planet is to a sun affects how hot it is, how tiny the moon is compared to the other planets, how Earth is the only planet people can live on, etc, etc. They are really into space, so most of this is repeated facts they already know - but of course, little ones like this like repetition. 

Ready for the oven. We made a (not to scale) rocket ship from leftover dough.

Earth and her moon

Saturn - the ring wraps all the way around, of course.

Jupiter with her red spot.

We all loved the finished product, and I hope it hangs in their window for a long time to come. At least until their old enough to do another one. :)


Martha said...

They turned out beautifully. This would be a fun and valuable lesson to do with my 9 and 11 year old, even!!! ♥

Michelle M. said...

My children would love this! It is beautiful as well. I have that Childcraft set, so I need to look through it and see what we cna use for homeschooling.