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Friday, May 25, 2012

Solar System - Summer Style

I love when play continues to evolve and as a result learning continues to evolve as well.  As many of you know after reading THIS post, my son is very interested in the planets/solar system.  He spotted these ice cube trays at the dollar store yesterday and said, “Look, Mommy.  Can we get these and make stars to go with my planets?”  YES!   

Star molds - Dollar Tree

My initial thought was – ‘ice brick planets’ – inspired by THIS post from last summer.  As we walked to the car with our new star ice molds I was brainstorming things to create our ice planets in.  My first thought was the obvious – some kind of round baking pans – but then I thought – BALLOONS!!  Could we freeze water balloons and have round ice planets??  I guess we’ll find out!

When we got home my son asked me if we could make the stars edible, so we used a mixture of lemonade and water.  Of course, he filled the molds.

Pouring into the molds

Then we got out his Space book to take a look at the planets again and come up with a plan.

  • “So, how many planets are there again?”
  • [Counting planets in his book] “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.  We need a sun, too.”
  • “So how many balloons do we need to fill up?”
  • “Ten.” [He gets out ten balloons, counting as he takes each one out.]

We used THIS balloon pump to fill up our balloons.  It was the best option for him to play an active role and it was the easiest way to get color into the water/balloons. 

Filling up balloons.  This was another opportunity for us to talk about the colors of the planets as well as the size.

Its important to check the balloons at least once every 20 minutes to see if they are frozen.  LOL - not yet!

Day 2 - sometimes things don't go as planned.

 Even us PAHMs have to remind ourselves not to go into activities/projects/invitations with our own agenda.  In my mind I thought this would be so cool.  We could explore our ice planets, put them in orbit, talk about their sizes, expand on our learning together, etc.  My 3 year old had other plans..... 

"I want to smash them, Mommy."

He was initially interested in using his book to place them in orbit (toddler style) and adding the stars to his "outer space", but that was about it.  Sun in the middle....then the planets/stars.  Some of our planets are oval - oh well, it was still fun and he had a blast smashing them to bits and eating the stars.

Our solar system

Eating the planets



  1. Awesome!! I want to try this for sure! Thanks!

  2. Great idea! So fun learning this way =)

  3. I came back to this again and had to say I love it when they have their own ideas and show such creativity. Of course, I always think in the back of my head what we can talk about or am so excited about the educational aspect then it all goes out the window when he decides what to do. It's the best way to learn though!! He often teaches me so much.

  4. This is exactly what happened when I set up the paint with food colored ice cubes invitation. Boys!

  5. Great idea! And wise of you to let him play HIS way. So... have you made your own stars and planets yet?? :)

    1. http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com/2012/05/push-light-planets.html?showComment=1338346720886#c5315100516574845447

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