Making a solar system model for kids requires nine Styrofoam balls of varying sizes, dowels of graduated lengths, and paint or markers to color the planets. You need a large Styrofoam ball about the size of a basketball, about 2 feet in circumference; two 1-inch balls to represent Mercury and Mars; two 2-inch balls for Earth and Venus; a 3-inch ball for Neptune; a 4-inch ball for Uranus; a 5-inch ball for Saturn; and a 6-inch ball for Jupiter. The dowels should be 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 inches long.
- Paint the Sun and planets
Paint Mercury's 1-inch ball orange and Mars' 1-inch ball red. Earth should be blue, and Venus is yellow. Neptune is also blue, and Uranus is green. Saturn is yellow with a red ring, which can either be painted on the Styrofoam or represented by a red rubber band wrapped around the ball. Jupiter is brown with a red spot. Let the planets dry. Paint the Sun yellow and orange.
- Insert the dowels
Start with the 3-inch dowel. Insert it into the dry sun Styrofoam ball. Turn the Sun around 180 degrees, and insert the 4-inch dowel on the same plane. Turn the Sun 90 degrees, and insert the 5-inch dowel. Turn the Sun 180 degrees again, and insert the 6-inch dowel. Insert the 7- inch dowel halfway between the 3-inch and 5-inch dowels. Insert the 8-inch dowel halfway between the 5-inch and 4-inch dowels. Insert the 9-inch dowel halfway between the 4-inch and 6-inch dowels. Insert the 10-inch dowel halfway between the 3-inch and 6-inch dowels.
- Attach the planets
Attach the Mercury ball to the 3-inch dowel sticking out of the Sun. Venus gets attached to the 4-inch dowel; Earth is attached to the 5-inch dowel; Mars is attached to the 6-inch dowel; Jupiter is attached to the 7-inch dowel; Saturn is attached to the 8-inch dowel; Neptune is attached to the 9-inch dowel; and Uranus is attached to the 10-inch dowel. Your solar system is now complete.