There are many wonderful ways to represent the solar system but we chose a simple one that will stay with us as a reference point for the rest of the year.
Unless you are a keen stargazer you may want to refresh a few interesting points about the planets before you start. This is a good place to start.
With research book (or iPad) in hand tell your kids the most interesting things you know about the first planet from the sun. Ask them how best to represent these qualities in their planet and get those paints mixing!
Repeat this process for each of the planets as you work your way out from the sun. To re-enforce the idea of colour mixing I encouraged the kids to choose at least 2 colours for each planet. (The delight of kids learning red and yellow forms orange never grows old!)
Depending on your kids you may like to mix up your paining technique to ensure each planet is a unique; we started with brushes, moved onto squish painting (where you put dobs of paint, fold the paper and squish to see what happens) and then ended up making hand prints to decorate the last of our planets.
Once all are dry, cut your planets to scale. I referred to this site, with the diagram below, to get approximate scale, though found that accurate scale was not necessarily practical (I didn’t want to smallest to be the size of a pin head, nor did I want the largest to be the size of an umbrella – we compromised and made them all a little closer in size for practical reasons!)
These planets now decorate our upper walls and we have a small paper rocket (left over from our straw spaceship adventure) that visits a different planet each day, finding facts and reminding us that we are just a tiny part of this huge universe!