Lunar and Planetary Institute

Solar System

Activity: Solar System on a String'

With the aid of clues found in “The Solar System I’m Rhyme” song children discover information about the planets in our solar system and create their own “Solar System on a String” mobile.

The Activity
Share "The Solar System I’m Rhyme” with the children.

  • Can they identify the Sun, planets, and asteroid belt by their characteristics?
  • What is the order of the planets?
  • What are their relative sizes?

Invite the children to make solar system mobiles using clues from the rhyme. Provide each child with the planets template and have them first color the planets, then cut out and label them. Other than the Sun, the planets are correctly scaled relative to each other.

Give each child a paper plate and mobile template and have them mark on the plate the positions where the Sun, planets, and asteroid belt will be attached.

Have the children cut the string to the appropriate lengths and attach them to the designated bodies:

One – 5-inch string for the Sun
Eight – 10-inch strings for the four inner rocky planets and the asteroid belt
Five – 12-inch strings for the four outer giants and little Pluto

Planet MobileInvite them to tape the unattached string ends of each planetary body to the paper plate in the locations they have marked, so that each planet or body dangles under the plate. The pom-pom Sun belongs in the center. Make sure Jupiter and Saturn are on opposite, outer sides, so that the mobile is balanced.

To hang the mobile, cut five one-inch slits into the end of a straw. Splay the ends and tape the splays to the top of the paper plate. Cut two small slits horizontally, on opposite sides, about a half inch from the free end of the straw and draw a string through the slits to make a hanging loop. 




Children ages 8–12

How Long ?
60 minutes or longer

What’s Needed?
For each child:

  • White cardstock paper
  • Crayons, markers, or map pencils
  • Tape
  • Large Chinette plate
  • A large orange pom-pom (for the Sun)
  • String
  • A pen, pencil, or marker to label the planets
  • A large paper clip
  • Planets Template
  • A copy of the "Solar System I'm Rhyme" song

Connections to the National Science Standard(s)

Standards D (grades K–4): Understand and communicate that objects in the night sky have describable properties, locations, and movements.

Standards D (grades 5–8): Understand that Earth is the third planet from the Sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects. These objects orbit the Sun. Most objects in our solar system are in regular and predictable motion.