Today I thought I’d pop up a quick tutorial on how to make this eye-catching planets learning board for your toddlers and children.
As we’re home educating Lily, or will be officially come the start of the next school year, I’m always on the look out for fun and exciting ways for us to learn through play and so when Bostik asked us to come up with a space-themed craft tutorial this month as part of our ongoing role on the #BostikBlogger team, I had brainwave as this quickly popped into my mind.
The idea is that the planets are attached to the board by small velcro sticky tabs and so you can take them off and help your children to learn the names, sizes, properties and order of the planets in our solar system.
Lily is obsessed with ALL things moon-related and she knows that the moon orbits the earth together with a very basic idea of moon phases. She also knows that the earth is always spinning on its axis and that the sun is the biggest star in the sky. However, beyond that, she is yet to learn the names of the planets and their order so this is a great way to introduce her to simple space concepts at such a young age.
If you’d like to make your own planets learning board, please follow the instructions below and if you have any queries feel free to get in touch.
You will need…
— A board. We used a plain white foam board from Hobbycraft that I’d previously used as a backdrop so it was covered in a sticky pattern. I simply glued A4 sheets of paper over this to get it back to a blank canvas. You could use a corkboard, a large sheet of cardboard or anything else that seems suitable that you might have hanging around.
— Planet shapes. If you haven’t got a printer, your local library should be able to do this for you for a small charge. Alternatively, you or your children could draw your own if you’re feeling particularly creative!
— Scissors (and if you’re using the cardboard/foam backing method rather than the laminator method, you’ll also need a pencil and some glue). If you’re colouring in your own planets you might like to use paints, crayons or colouring pencils as well.
— Hook and loop velcro stickers.
— Laminator and A4 plastic sheets. Again, your library may be able to help with this. If you don’t have a laminator, you can use another piece of foam board or some cardboard as a backing to your planets to keep them sturdy and in good condition.
— Paints, tin foil and sequins for decoration.
(1) Have a look for some planet shapes that you can print off. I used Twinkl to source our planets and I like how the name of each planet is also shown to help with recognition. To get your kids even more involved, you might like to print the planets in black and white so your little ones can colour them in.
(2) When you’ve printed the planet shapes, cut them out using a pair of scissors and then pop them through the laminating machine before cutting around them again or if you haven’t got a laminator, draw around the planets on another piece of foam board or some cardboard, cut out the outlines and use glue to stick each planet on to its corresponding backing shape.
(3) Decorate your foam board to look like the solar system. You could paint this or simply print out a suitable starry background and stick it on. I let my three-year-old go wild with the paints and then we’ve also used tin foil to make some big shiny stars and glued some sequins around the edges for some added sparkle (and to loosely represent stars, asteroids and so on).
(4) Using your hook and loop velcro tabs, line the planets up in the correct order so that when you’ve finished, you’ve got a sticky pad for each planet in the right place on the board and the other side firmly attached to the back of each planet ready for placing on.
(5) That’s it! Your space and planets learning activity board is ready to be played with! I’ve hung ours up on the landing with a piece of string and Lily loves to stop and play as she comes downstairs in the mornings. Some examples of ways you can try to help with learning include asking your child to add the planets in order to an empty board, taking some away and asking them where they go, counting how many planets they are away from the sun and discussing the planet’s individual features and properties etc.
Do your little ones have a keen interest in space? Will you be trying this with your children? Let me know!