Solar System for Kids Activity
Maybe your daughter wants to be an astronaut, your son has always been interested in the stars, or maybe this topic has come up in class and you need to help your children study for their exam. Whatever the reason, our solar system activity for kids is sure to be a fun, easy way to teach children about astronomy.
Activities for children
We put together a memory game to help children learn about the Solar System and its planets. With these printable cards you can play this game (click on the cards to download the pdf version).
Step 1 Print and cut out the cards.
Step 2 Once you have all the cards cut out, place them on the table in two different piles and let the children learn about the Solar System and memorise more and more aspects of the cards.
Step 3 The more they look at them the easier it will be for them to play the ultimate memory game with the cards. To play, simply separate the cards with the image of the planet from the cards with the name, shuffle them and place them separately.
And that’s it! Let the game begin.
Do you want to learn even more about the Solar System? Then keep on reading.
What is the solar system?
The solar system is a planetary system found within the Milky Way, a spiral galaxy that is part of the Universe.
It is made up of 8 planets and other celestial bodies such as stars, asteroids, satellites and comets. These eight planets revolve around a central star, the Sun, and, in turn, rotate around themselves thanks to the force of gravity.
Movements in the solar system
The planets in the solar system move in two main ways. The translational movement is the motion that the planets make as they revolve around the Sun due to its gravity. The path that the planets follow as they go around the Sun is called their orbit.
However, not all planets take the same amount of time to make one complete revolution around the Sun. The closer the planet is to the Sun, the less time it takes to go around it. For example, it takes 365 days for the Earth to make one complete revolution, while it takes 687 days for Mars to make one complete revolution.
The rotational movement is the motion of the planets as they spin, rotating on an axis around themselves. Not all planets take the same amount of time to turn around themselves, for example, the Earth takes 24 hours and a day on Venus is made up of 5,832 hours.
The Sun is the great central star of the Solar System and the other planets revolve around it. This star gives off light and heat all the time. Without the Sun, there would be no life on our planet, the Earth.
They are also called terrestrial planets and are mainly made of rock and metal. The rocky planets are the closest planets to the Sun.
Its name refers to the god of shopkeepers and merchants in Roman mythology. It is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun, which is why it is the planet that takes the shortest time to make a complete revolution around the Sun. It has no satellites.
Its surface has many craters and resembles the Moon. One of its faces, the one exposed to the sun, is very hot, reaching 425 degrees Celsius, and the other is very cold.
Its name refers to the Goddess of love in Roman mythology. It is the planet that takes the longest time to turn around itself, so one day on Venus is equivalent to 243 days here on Earth. Strangely, this planet revolves around the sun in the opposite direction to the rest of the planets.
It is the most Earth-like planet in size and, like Mercury, Venus also has no satellites.
Its surface is extremely hot because the gases in its atmosphere trap the heat. It also reflects sunlight, which is why it is so bright that we can sometimes see Venus from here.
Its name refers to a Roman mythological goddess, Terra. Earth is the only inhabited planet in our solar system. You can also read more about the layers of the Earth and the phases of the Moon, in our Community Resources.
Its name refers to the god of war in Roman mythology, Mars. It is the second smallest planet. Its surface has a characteristic red colour due to iron oxide and is therefore also known as the red planet. It has two satellites and it is one of the most researched planets as it is thought that life may exist on the planet.
The gaseous planets are the planets farthest from the Sun and also the largest planets. They consist mainly of helium and other gases.
Its name refers to the Roman god of the same name (in Greek mythology, it is the famous Zeus). It is the largest planet in the Solar System and also the oldest. It has 79 confirmed satellites around it known as the moons of Jupiter. The most important are: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. A curious thing about this planet is that it also has rings, but it is almost impossible to see them.
This planet is named after a Roman mythological god of the same name. This planet is also known as the planet of rings, as it has the most colourful rings. These rings are made of chunks of ice and rocks that rotate at a very high speed. In addition, this planet has 53 confirmed satellites and 29 yet to be confirmed. One year on Saturn equals 29 years on Earth.
This planet is named after a god from Greek mythology. Its atmosphere contains methane, which is why Uranus is blueish. In addition, its atmosphere is also the coldest, at about -224 degrees Celsius. This planet also has satellites and rings around it, although the rings are not as beautiful as those of Saturn. Curiously, this planet rotates around a very tilted axis, so its poles are located at almost the same height as the equator on the rest of the planets.
This planet is named after the Roman god of the sea. It is the farthest planet from the Sun and therefore takes the longest time to go around it (about 165 years on Earth). It has satellites and rings, but these are very difficult to see. Its atmosphere is also made up of methane, which is why it is blue in colour, just like Uranus. It is also the coldest planet in the Solar System.
Pluto used to be considered the ninth planet in the solar system because it was the farthest planet from the Sun. However, years ago, astronomers felt that Pluto could not be considered a planet because it fit better into another family, the dwarf planets, mainly due to its size.
Source: Space place NASA.