If you are the parent of a toddler or preschooler, you must be familiar with the awe in their eyes when they look up into the sky, search for the moon, or count stars. Yes, that curiosity and love starts young!
But how much can a 4 or 5-year-old understand about something so complex? Does teaching them about the solar system from such a young age help? And how can we make these lessons fun? — Read on to answer all these questions about introducing your child to the solar system!
Benefits of learning about the solar system
Image source: Pexels
1. Teaches the importance of Earth - When your child learns about all the planets, one of the first things they will understand is how special Earth is. From being the only planet with water to having the perfect temperature to sustain life, there’s no other home like Earth for us! This will motivate your child to love and look after our environment from a young age.
2. Lays the foundation for endless curiosity - Is there a story more ancient than that of our universe? Hearing about the origin of each planet and the earliest forms of life on Earth will pique your child’s natural inquisitiveness. This may go a long way, pushing them to ask intelligent questions about everything they encounter as they grow!
3. Cultivates a love for science - Astronomy is the perfect mix of physics and math! When it comes to slightly older children, learning about our solar system is a great way to get them interested in understanding the power of precise calculations and different scientific phenomena.
4. Perfect bonding activity - From star gazing to solar system-themed games to watching awesome space documentaries, there are so many exciting and interactive ways to learn about our solar system. If you have a space nerd in the family or just want to learn more as you teach your child, cultivating this love together could be the perfect bonding activity!
At what age should kids learn about space?
With complex concepts like time and space, the solar system is not easy for even adults to understand! So of course, a young child is not going to comprehend the depths of the subject. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until they grow a lot older to talk about it.
While a child may be formally introduced to the solar system when they are 9 or 10 years old, you can start talking to them about the planets, sun, and moon from the time they are preschoolers.
Want to draw the solar system? Watch this video to find out a quick and easy way to do so with just a stencil and some colourful crayons!
Explain with simple examples. Young children understand what they can see, so pointing at the stars or using solar system playsets is an excellent way to help them visualize. You can start by talking about our planet, the 8 planets who are ‘our group of friends’ and our loving, nurturing sun! As your child grows interested and starts asking questions, share a little more each time.
5 playful ways to introduce your child to space!
1. Use the sky as your canvas
There’s an instant sense of wonder that occurs when we look into the sky, isn’t there? Use this opportunity to play some simple games. Count how many stars you can see in the night sky, join the dots to make different shapes, or teach your child about the different constellations.
Whether you visit a planetarium, go camping in a pollution-free area, or just look out of your window at night, the sky is a perfect, ever-present canvas to play with!
2. Play solar system-themed games
Another fun way to introduce your child to the solar system is with simple games. At shumee, we have a special range of solar system toys and games that we co-created with Dia Mirza. You can race wooden planets on wheels, play a card game of Solar Snap, or whip out our Take Me Home board game on family game night!
These games are not only oodles of fun, but will also help your little one learn about our planet, its environment, and how they can be its lifelong stewards.
3. Enjoy space-themed books
No matter what the subject you’re trying to teach your child, there’s nothing like a good story to get them intrigued! As we all know, children love books and an engaging storytime can get them curious about anything from animals to math to outer space!
Children’s books like Jane DeSuza’s The Party in the Sky and Swetha Prakash’s Padma Goes To Space are filled with adventure, wonder, sing-song verse, and stunning visuals that are sure to keep any little one hooked!
Looking for stories and characters your child can relate to? Check out our collection of Indian story books for Indian children!
4. Share fun facts about the planets
Every planet is unique in its own way and your child will love knowing strange and awesome facts about each planet! From Jupiter’s many moons to Saturn’s rings to how Uranus rolls sideways, there is endless potential for play and learning when getting to know our solar system.
If you’d like to help your child memorize some easy facts, our solar system snap cards come with rhymes for each planet, the sun, and the moon!
5. Make a DIY solar system
Nothing beats creating your own solar system! Use this as a chance to do some upcycling – paint a cardboard box black as the base add painted paper mache balls as the sun and planets around space! You could even check out this lovely DIY space kit if you’re looking for a no-mess DIY session to get started.
This could also be a chance to ask your child to create their own planet. What shape, size, and colour would it be? What would they call it? Get them to make a little model and place it in our solar system!Does your child have a favourite planet? Or do you have other inventive ways you've been using to teach them about our solar system? Comment below and share your space stories!