Build a Solar System

Anybody studying astronomy knows that building a solar system is practically a homeschool must-do, and our house is no exception. I didn’t love the many variations I kept finding online so I put my own project together and wanted to share a little photo gallery and how-to if you’re looking for ways to make a solar system for yourself.

homeschool solar system project
Our solar system model is underway

I wanted each planet to stand on its own, rather than bunched together in a single display. Here is what we used:

  • A variety of foam balls
  • Package of bamboo skewers
  • Small plastic cups
  • Paper plates and sticks to mix up paints
  • Variety of paints

We literally got all of these supplies at the local No Frills grocery store’s housewares department.

After we got our materials together, my daughter did some research online to find good color photos to work from. A book would do just fine if you’re not tablet-obsessed.

homeschool solar system project model
Research and photos to help guide us

We poked the skewer up through the base of the cup, and then mounted each foam ball on the sharp end of the stick. You can really work this anyway you like. A little clay may not hurt for the larger planets for added weight, or you can just use clay in the first place (we didn’t have any, so we used cups).

Get creative and start painting up your planets. Our collection of foam balls was a mix of sizes, so we did our best figuring out which planets were which sizes. I think it worked out nicely.

homeschool astronomy models
Planets are beginning to form!
homeschool solar system
More progress

And we’ve finished all the planets, including a creative set of rings for Saturn. Pipe cleaners were stuck into the ball on either side, to create a pair of half rings. Worked great as long as you only look from one side  🙂

solar system craft project
Our solar system is done, and testing out the new telescope while we’re at it.  🙂

We had really small balls to add some moons, but it put everything off-balance. We scrapped that and may be adding an asteroid belt in a few days when we’re doing asteroids and comets. I’ll update if that works out.

So with a few simple craft supplies, you too can make a solar system for your homeschool. We took most of one day to do this but it could be spread out over a few afternoons depending on how detailed your painting is.

Terri Wilson

Terri Wilson

Terri Wilson is a secular homeschooling mom who is making up a website because she apparently doesn't already have enough to do. She lives on a small hobby farm and spends too much time making printables and talking about homeschool stuff.

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