Friday, October 31, 2014

Space-themed craft for toddlers (or planets-on-a-stick)

Space-themed play, planets, solar system, craft, toddler craft,

This fun piece of space-themed craft is now hanging in Dear Boy's room, sitting above his space-themed quilt and next to his *ahem* vintage Star Trek III: Search for Spock poster, a few schematics of the Starship Enterprise and our illuminated DiaNoche Yoda that we won many, many moons ago.

And it's oh-so-easy to make.

All you need are:
  • Eight Nine styrofoam balls (assorted sizes - I know we have the relative scale wrong - Jupiter's meant to be bigger than all the other planets combined, and Mars is meant to be smaller than Earth, but it was what we had and how the balls rolled, so to speak; I'm also counting Pluto as a planet no matter what the 'experts' say)
  • A large-ish bowl you aren't afraid to get paint all over
  • Paint (we ued up the tiny pots of finger paints we had left over from a few other projects
  • Papertowels
  • A skewer
  • Craft wire or fishing line
  • A stick
  • Craft pliers (completely optional but handy)




Step 1. Paint those balls

Put a few splodges of paint into your bowl, drop in a styrofoam ball and then roll those suckers around and around until they're covered. I insisted on green and blue for Earth and red for Mars but Dear Boy chose the others, blobbing things here and there and everywhere. Dear Boy loved this stage, sometimes swirling the bowl, sometimes blobbing at the balls with a paintbrush and sometimes getting his hand right in there.

Place the painted balls on a sheet of papertowel to dry. This is probably the hardest part, getting paint-coated balls out of a bowl and onto paper without ending up with paint tracks all over the kitchen.



Step 2. Skewer and thread onto wire

Push a skewer through the centre of each planet, and then use the hole as a guide for the wire. I made a small loop at the end for the planet to sit on. I used for the pliers for this and to 'snip' the ends, but our craft wire is so soft a little bit of bending back and forth will snap it.

In case it's not immediately obvious, keep the pokey bits away from the kids.

Step 3. Put some rings on Saturn and then hang the lot on a stick.

For Saturn's ring(s) I pierced a piece of wire into the side, bent the wire an inch out from the planet and then curved it round to the other side, straighted out the final two inches and then pushed one of those into the planet on roughly the opposite side from the start. I only put the rings on one side so it would sit flush to the wall in line with the other planets.

Loop the top of each planets wire a few times around your chosen stick. There was quite a bit of 'My Very Earnest Mother Just Sat Up Near Pluto' muttering while I was assembling to make sure they were in some semblance of size order (yeah, yeah, close enough's good enough). I then hung our planets-on-a-stick from two hooks on the picture rail in Dear Boy's room. Easy-peasy and fairly toddler-friendly.

Have you ever made a solar-system model? Let me know if you got it to revolve or light up or something fancy.

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