Solar system games are a great way to get children interested in astronomy and science. Unlike other science subjects, children really enjoy learning about space, distant planets and the solar system. Exploring the night sky and identifying planets and stars can also be a really exciting adventure for kids. By the way, don’t hesitate to look at our telescopes for kids section if you are looking for kids telescopes.
Learning about the solar system is about learning not only the names of the planets, but also how they look and where they are in relation to one another. Some planets are terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) while others are gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune). There are also small planets also known as “dwarf planets”, much smaller than Planet Earth (Pluto). A solar system game can lead to kids wanting to learn more about the universe, other systems, the different galaxies and other exciting science subjects. It can also evoke many questions: what is gravity, what is a moon, what is an asteroid or a comet?
For younger children (ages 3 and up), we recommend the Melissa & Doug Solar System Puzzle. It is a relatively large puzzle (24” x 36”) comprising 48 pieces. The picture is colourful, includes all the planets, the sun and the moon and even the asteroid belt. It can definitely be used as bedroom decoration once assembled (and glued together). It is a great way for kids to learn the names of the planets and to discuss the solar system (for example, which planet is gaseous, which planets have rings, which is closest to the sun etc). The puzzle is very sturdy and durable, which is another reason why we recommend it.
For school age children (ages 5 and up), we recommend the Planet Quest Game by Learning Resources. This solar system game for 2 to 4 players helps children learn interesting facts about the solar system. Kids earn cards for each correct answer about the planet each time they pass a planet or the sun. The board game includes a spinner and over a hundred question cards. It is another game that we like because children tend to enjoy it and because it has won an award.
Don’t hesitate also to take your child to a planetarium, to watch a movie about space at an IMAX theater or to buy a documentary (DVD) or a book about the solar system.