Monday, April 9, 2012

Solar System with Button Planets


My son thinks anything space-related is cool. I have to agree. We BOTH learned a lot and had a blast with this science craft.

While shopping at our local craft store, I found this plastic canvas PVC circle in the needlework section. I knew right away what to do with it. Make a solar system model!

Supplies:
9.5 inch plastic canvas needlework circle (cost = less than $2)

Spray paint (blue or black)

White paint pen

9 buttons

Embroidery thread the same color as your spray paint

Sticker paper (or paper and glue)

Needle

The day before we got started, I spray painted the needlework circle with black spray paint.


I grabbed Seymour Simon’s Planets Around the Sun book and asked my son to tag along to the fabric store. 



Simon’s book has a matrix in the back showing the order of the planets in our solar system as they orbit the sun. It shows the relative size and color of the planets.

Oops! Our Venus and Earth buttons are in the wrong order in this photo.

At the store, I pulled out the book and showed my son the matrix. We picked out buttons that looked like each of the planets, paying attention to size and color. (The store was running a phenomenal sale on buttons, which is good because my spare buttons are boxed up in the basement as we remodel it.)

The following day, we read Going Around the Sun: Some Planetary Fun by Marianne Berkes and got started making our solar system model. Each planet has a rhyme of its own that incorporates the planet's order in our solar system. It's super fun and beautifully illustrated.


To start, I gave my son a page of concentric circles I’d made and printed on cardstock. Click on the picture below to download a PDF of this page.

Each of these circles represented the planets’ orbits. (There is no circle for Neptune, as that planet’s orbit would be the outer rim of our needlework circle.)


He cut the largest circle on the line, positioned it on and in the center of the needlework circle, and traced the outer edge with a white paint pen. When done, he cut the next largest circle, placed it in the center of the needlework circle, and traced around it too. This continued until the orbit of all the planets were represented on the needlework circle.


Now he got the buttons out and starting with the sun, used the needle and thread to attach them to the hoop. We made knots and clipped the excess thread after sewing each button.


When they were all attached, I printed a page of labels on sticker paper, cut each, and he attached them next to the respective planet (or the sun).


31 comments:

  1. I've never seen circular plastic canvas, what a great find for this project.

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  2. Oh my goodness...I LOVE this. It is so adorable.

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  3. This is such a cool idea! I bet he had so much fun with it.

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  4. This is very clever! Will have to keep in mind for the next time my kids get interested in space!

    Thanks for sharing with Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles =)

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  5. This is a terrific idea. I pinned it for later. I can see it being a science project for school one day.

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  6. What a GREAT idea!
    First Grade Delight
    imgoingfirst@gmail.com

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  7. This is so clever! I bet with something so hands-on, he'll always remember the order and size of the planets now. Great job, Mama!

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  8. Such a creative idea! I'm not one to be in the sewing section, but next time we learn about the Solar System, I'll have to check it out ; )

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  9. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! We are Space fans at our house too. I'll definitely be on the lookout for one of those needlework circles!

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  10. This is AWESOME!! I love how you had him choose the buttons and sew them on! Thanks so much for sharing at Teach Me Tuesday! I'm going to pin this one!

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  11. LOOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE THIS! Pinning it now. Gorgeous.

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy & Alissa

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  12. I love this idea!! We are just starting our space studies, this is something we may have to add! Thanks for sharing!

    Nicole
    Mama Of Many Blessings

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  13. This is awesome!! We are studying Astronomy this year so this is great! How creative!!

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  14. Neat way to teach sewing while learning about science. You must have quite a collection of buttons if you can find ones that look like all the planets!

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  15. That looks like fun to do! We'll have to try it.

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  16. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. What a great idea! I'm pinning this for when my daughter is older!

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  18. Great idea!! Our TGIF moment is here- http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2012/04/wonderfull-full-of-wonder-wednesday_11.html

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  19. Wow! I love the small motor work that went into this amazing creation! Genius! I pinned this idea!

    Thank you for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

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  20. Super cute! Love this idea and will try it with my "solar system loving" kids, too.

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  21. Wow! Just, wow! This is so creative and i love how you involved your son in picking out the buttons. I love that he is tracing the circles and doing the sewing. Pinned to my Astronomy pin board. We will be doing this one for sure. Thank you for sharing it.
    If you haven't already linked up this post with the Kids Co-Op (I'm one of the co-hosts.), I invite you to join the linky party. I feature two posts on my blog from the previous week's Kids Co-Op and would love to feature this one.

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  22. WOW!!! Love this!! Thanks so much for sharing on Hey Mom Look What I Did at Adventures In Mommy Land!!

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  23. What a wonderfuly fun, clever idea! It turned out SO cute! I shared it with my Facebook readers. Thank for linking up to TGIF! Have a GREAT week,
    Beth

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  24. Brilliant project! Funny thing is I almost ordered some round plastic canvases from JoAnne's but decided not too at the last minute. Now I know that I should order some big ones! Thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

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  25. Hi again! I just wanted to let you know this was one of the most clicked on links at Teach Me Tuesday, and I'm featuring it today!! Congrats!

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  26. My first thought when I saw this was that this would make a really cool pillow if done in felt vs. plastic canvas. Use some fabric pens or paint for the circles and names (an older child could even sew on the circles)! Fun!

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