Our planet system and the night sky it inhabits are fascinating fields of science that have kept scientists and astronomers looking skywards. Unfortunately, as wonderful as the planets and planetary systems are, they’re not as easy to grasp for kids, especially if taught as dry theoretical concepts. This is why toys and toy sets based on the solar system theme are essential teaching aids when introducing your kids to space science.
You can use these toys as an entertaining way to help kids learn about the complexities of space and planet systems. There’s a solar system-themed toy kit aimed at every stage of learning, from toddlers to tweens. This guide will help you pick out the best solar system toys for your kids based on their age and learning requirements.
- How to Pick the Best Solar System Toys
- Top 10 Best Solar System Toys for Kids 2023
- 1. 4M DIY Glow in the Dark Solar System Planetarium Model
- 2. Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle
- 3. Learning Resources Giant Inflatable Solar System
- 4. ERWEI 3D Solar System Model Crystal Ball
- 5. The Purple Cow - Magnetic Space Mission
- 6. Educational Insights GeoSafari Motorized Solar System
- 7. Learning Resources Shining Stars Projector
- 8. jackinthebox Space Educational STEM Toy
- 9. MasterPieces Solar System Glow Jigsaw Puzzle
- 10. Great Explorations 3-D Glow in the Dark Solar System Kit
- Final Words
How to Pick the Best Solar System Toys
Solar system toys are based on different concepts to help kids learn about our planets, Sun, asteroid belt, satellites, and more. Some offer visual aids, while others are activity-based. So, what should you look for before you buy a solar system-themed toy for your children? Here’s a quick checklist that will guide you through the process of picking the perfect gift for the space enthusiast girls and boys you know.
1. Age Recommendation
These STEM toys are recommended based on the age of the target audience. Simplified concepts like a set of the Sun and nine planets are aimed towards kids below five years old, while advanced concepts like relative planet sizes, distance, gravity, etc., are explained in toy sets aimed at kids above the ages of six. It’s essential to keep this in mind so youngsters aren’t put off from learning more about space science if they have difficulty grasping the basic concepts.
2. Concept and Execution
Solar system toys range from simple light projector models that project the heavenly bodies for kids to identify and remember to slightly advanced puzzles that can be assembled with a bit of guidance from adults. More complex toy sets include DIY kits to construct 3-Dimensional (3D) models of the solar system that have provisions to explain concepts like rotations, revolutions, phases of the moon, etc.
Mere visual aids are suitable for early learning and introduction to new concepts. Puzzles and projectors are aimed at retention via repetition. Activity-based solar system games, DIY projects, and arts and crafts projects are designed to introduce kids to complex space concepts. Conducting these experiments, playing activity-based games, and creating projects from scratch simplifies space concepts for kids and improves their understanding and retention of these complex phenomena.
3. Material and Make
Most solar system toys are either made of thick cardboard materials or lightweight plastic. Bits and pieces of metal like hooks and pins might also be included in a few toy sets. Toys that include light projectors will have glass orbs and LED lights. You’ll rarely see solar system toys made out of wood or other higher-grade materials. Since most of these heavenly bodies need to be easy to spin, hang, or float, the plastic used in making them is of decent quality. Cardboard-based Solar System toys are usually made of thick cardboard with glossy and sharp prints, so durability is already factored in.
If you pay attention to the first two critical aspects stated above, you can never go wrong in choosing the perfect solar system toy for your kids. In order to make your search even simpler, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best solar system toys available for kids. This list contains toys aimed at different age groups and has an option or two for all kinds of space toys. So, read on to pick one for your kid today.
Top 10 Best Solar System Toys for Kids 2023
What better way to teach your kids about the solar system than helping them make a 3D model of it? This toy set is a complete kit that will help you teach your kids about the basic facts and wonders of the Solar System. It contains white plastic balls for eight planets and a sun, stencils, glow-in-the-dark paint, a paintbrush, a few colors, rods to assemble the kit, a platform stand, and strings to secure the planets in place. In addition to these materials, the kit also includes a ‘Kidz Quiz’ questions set and a chart full of solar system facts.
Assembling the kit is easy if you follow the instructions leaflet included in the package. You can make the planets, and the sun glows in the dark by using the special paint provided for the purpose. The rotating arm fixtures allow the free movement of the planets around the sun. This is a one-time DIY project that can be used to introduce kids to the solar system and help them retain their learnings as the model can be used as room decor.
It takes an hour maximum to assemble the model and paint every planet and the sun. The model is quite compact and can be stored on a shelf or left on your kids’ study table, so they can play with it even as they learn more about the solar system and ignite their passion for space studies. There are a total of ten quiz questions in ‘Kidz Quiz,’ and you can add more of your own to make it more interesting. The fact chart included in the kit can be stuck on a wall in the kids’ bedroom so they can learn all the essential facts and figures about our planetary system.
Keep in mind that this 3D model of the solar system isn’t designed to scale – as in the ratios and proportions of the various planets to the other planets and the sun are not accurate. However, as far as easily assembled 3D models of the solar system go, this is one of the best options available.
Although some STEM concepts and ideas are better relegated to children above a certain age, toymakers Melissa & Doug have found a unique way to introduce kids at the tender age of three to the concept of the solar system by way of an attractive puzzle.
Featuring original artwork, this puzzle has 48 pieces in total made of thick cardboard. The pieces are easy enough for preschoolers to put together and take apart. The puzzle also features the asteroid belt and the moon’s cratered surface, apart from the eight planets and big bright sun. This puzzle is an excellent way to let your kids know about the rough surface of the moon.
Kids will find it easy enough to begin with if they start by putting together the pieces around the sun. It might get a little challenging to assemble the planets, but this puzzle poses just the right level of difficulty for kids this age to tackle.
The surface of the puzzle is glossy and can be wiped clean in case of accidental spills. The packaging is also great, and the box doubles up as the storage for the pieces. Playing with puzzles improves hand-eye coordination and motor skills. It also encourages logical thinking, goal-setting and teaches kids to be patient when executing a plan. In addition, it improves their problem-solving skills and promotes critical reasoning.
This particular solar system puzzle will also introduce your kids to space and planetariums and help them learn cool facts about the universe they live in. If they show a keen interest in STEM subjects, your kids will love this gift.
If you’re looking for a model of the solar system that’s not limited to being a mere display item for demonstration purposes, this giant inflatable solar system model by Learning Resources is the way to go. The kit includes all nine planets, the sun, the moon, a foot pump to inflate the balls with ease, a repair kit if the balls get damaged and need some quick patchwork, and a guide that lists various uses and activities. The kit also includes hook loops attached to the tops of the balls if you want to hang them or string them together on a rope.
Although the planets aren’t made to scale, they’re more or less proportionate relative to each other and the sun. You can use them to demonstrate the size difference between the different planets as well as the Sun. The balls are made of plastic that doesn’t lose its shape despite repeated inflation and deflation cycles. All the balls are bright and colorful, and effort has been made to make them look as close to their real counterparts as possible.
You can inflate these and construct a solar system model by hanging them from the ceiling in the proper order. Kids can use this set to decorate their rooms, classrooms, or play areas. The frequent viewing of the system will help them learn and retain essential facts like the names, order, the relative sizes of the planets, their respective distances from the sun, and much more.
You can also use them as individual props to teach about the planets and the Sun separately. For example, demonstrate the difference between rotations on their own axes, revolutions around the Sun, planet tilts, and more. Since these balls are also buoyant, you can even use them in the swimming pool for a fun quiz or learning activity in the water.
These balls are easily portable as they can be deflated, folded, and stored in a compact space. You can carry them around with ease and use them for outdoor activities on school trips, family picnics, summer camps, and more.
If you’re looking for a unique gift to light up your space-loving kids’ day, look no further. This 3D Solar System Crystal Ball is a gizmo that will make your kids jump with joy. It is a unique crystal ball made with K9 glass – known for its excellent clarity, high refractive index, and ease of cleaning and polishing. Suspended inside the crystal ball is a 3D model of the solar system, complete with labels etched beside the celestial bodies, orbital paths, and a galaxy of stars surrounding the model.
And that’s just the crystal ball. The package also includes an LED light-up base that consists of three batteries and a USB port for charging it. A standard plug and a data cable are also included in the package to charge the base if you don’t want to use the batteries. It’s a little square platform with a top surface that lights up when switched on. The crystal ball is balanced on this base, and the different colored lights emanating from the bottom also light up the solar system model. An operation manual is also included in the package.
This set-up can be used as a night light, desk lamp, or to enhance the room decor. It’s not so much a toy as a keepsake for kids who love everything about space. It would make for a perfect gift for someone already aware of most solar system facts and figures. Since the set-up includes a glass item, it is strictly recommended for kids above thirteen and needs to be handled with the utmost care.
How about a multiplayer solar system-based activity game that’s compact, looks like a smartphone, and can be carried inside your back pocket? This magnetic travel game from The Purple Cow is a foldable board game made of a magnetized tin box and the game printed on the inside. The game is played with miniature dice that fit snugly inside the box and magnetic spaceships that can be moved across the game board. The tin box lies flat and feels like thick cardboard when opened. It’s the size of a standard smartphone when closed.
The game itself has players travel across space in a spaceship through the solar system. A vibrant and colorful solar system model is printed on the inside, along with the game pattern, steps, and points. The goal is to reach Earth or the Sun to win the game. Roll the dice and move your spaceship forward or backward – as luck would have it, and keep playing until one player reaches the finishing line. Apart from the rules, fascinating facts about our planet system are also printed on the outer sides.
Besides the mini dice, you don’t have to worry about losing any parts as the spaceships securely hold onto the magnetized tin. Your kids can stay busy with this game on long flights, car travel, bus travel, and even indoors on lazy afternoons. The printed enamel is attractive, colorful, and long-lasting, so you don’t have to worry about the game’s durability. This compact game would make the perfect gift for girls and boys above five who enjoy activity-based games, board games, multiplayer games, and space games.
This GeoSafari Motorized Solar System kit combines a 3D solar system, night light, and projector into one interesting package by the Educational Insights.
Astronomy fans will find this kit fascinating and fun to enhance their knowledge about the solar system further. They’ll also learn about other objects in the night sky like constellations, meteors, and much more. The kit includes a detailed guide to put it together and exciting facts and figures about space that span 28 pages! All the planets rotate around the sun and revolve on their own once the motor is turned on. Planets can also be turned manually. The inner planets complete their revolutions around the sun faster than the outer planets to replicate their actual movements.
The dome for the sun is made of an LED light that has an automatic shut-off feature. Besides illuminating the solar system, it also doubles up as the night light. The model also includes a moon that revolves around Earth. Other planetary satellites are not included in this model.
The central sun dome cover can be swapped out for another cover printed with constellations, stars, planets, and other objects from the night sky. This turns the LED light into a night sky projector with brilliant results. You’ll require standard lithium-ion batteries to operate the motor, the LED light, and the projector ball.
It’s an educational and entertaining toy set, perfect for space enthusiasts and kids interested in a career in the field of astronomy.
One way of introducing toddlers and preschoolers to the wonders of space is via puzzles. Yet another exciting way is to project the night sky onto their ceilings. Kids love light shows, and this Shining Stars Projector is designed to attract the attention of three-year-olds with its fun projections of space objects.
This Learning Resources projector keeps it simple with projections like single planets, astronauts, Earth, the Sun, a bright swirling galaxy, and more. It projects one image at a time so as not to confuse children, allowing you to introduce them to each object. It is an early education toy that is perfect for teaching preschoolers about the marvels of space.
Besides encouraging STEM learning, this solar system projector will enhance their general knowledge, pique their curiosity, improve their vocabulary, and broaden their horizons. The images projected are bright, clear, have sharp edges, and the projector can be used in any closed space.
The package consists of three image slides with eight images per slide, adding up to a total of 24 different space objects. The rest of the box consists of a bright purple display stand, a colorful projector, and an activity guide. Batteries to operate the projector are not included in the package, and you’ll have to buy batteries separately. When the image discs are not in use, they can be stored in the space provided in the base stand.
You can teach your kids how to operate this projector on their own. It is designed to attract them and keep them focused on their task. Once your kids have learned to correctly identify all the 24 images, you can extend the fun by downloading HD images from the internet and creating new slides. Here’s a helpful tutorial that will show you how to make projector slides.
This solar system and space-themed toy set will make for the perfect gift for kids who’re enthusiastic about all things space. The activity games in this kit require kids to perform experiments, think outside the box, and create projects by following instructions to learn about planets and the solar system. An included board game requires kids to exercise their critical reasoning skills to win.
The activity box contains six projects in total. A rocket science experiment involves making a rocket from the materials supplied and launching it into space using vinegar and baking soda. This requires adult supervision and some creative thinking to execute.
The second activity involves the creation of a constellations streamer. Constellation printed paper leaves, and string are included in the package, so all you have to do is string them together and hang them up at a place where the kids can look at them frequently. This way, they’ll remember the names of the different constellations and identify them in the night sky with ease.
The third activity is the making of a solar system-based wind chime. Once made, it can hang in your kid’s room or classroom as a fun educational toy. The fourth activity guides children through making their own night sky kaleidoscope.
The fifth activity involves actual baking – it’s a basic cookie recipe that has children creatively turn their cookies into phases of the moon. The added space-themed board game rounds up the list of activities included in the box.
Activity-based learning leads to better knowledge retention due to increased engagement and immersion. This fun kit of activities makes learning about space and the solar system infinitely more interesting for kids by helping them retain a lot of what they’ve learned while performing the games and tasks. It also introduces them to STEM concepts like thrust velocity, force, refractive indices, constellations, light source obstruction, and more.
This is the perfect gift for little space enthusiasts as it is an educational teaching aid masquerading as a fun toy.
This puzzle game is slightly more advanced than the Melissa & Doug puzzle aimed at three-year-olds. This one has 60 puzzle pieces that are a little more challenging to put together. A colorful insert with fun facts about the solar system and space is also included in the package. The finishing of the card pieces is glossy, and they glow in the dark.
The puzzle pieces fit together seamlessly and keep kids engaged for a long time as they observe the brightly colored planets and the asteroid belt. It will also compel them to figure out fun facts like the density of Saturn and how it would float on water, the high temperatures in the proximity of the sun, life on planet Earth, satellites and escape velocity, meteor showers, and much more.
The pieces are made of thick, durable cardboard. The puzzle is packaged in a brightly designed box with a space theme that doubles up as the storage box when the puzzle is not in use. You can use this jigsaw puzzle to teach your kids about the nine planets and help them identify and remember the planets’ names, order, and orbital trajectories. Expand their knowledge of the solar system by pointing out the various facts mentioned in the insert and improve their understanding of the universe around them.
As far as DIY projects go, this one is a stellar choice for decorating your kid’s room with the night sky. It combines the traditional method of using brightly printed stickers to decorate the walls and ceiling with a 3D solar system model to enhance the overall effect. It isn’t a toy as much as it is a decor-enhancing kit for space enthusiasts.
Although aimed at kids above five, this kit can’t be put together without adult supervision as it requires affixing the decals on the ceiling and high on walls. Besides being hard to put together, it also has many small pieces and moving parts that need to be assembled correctly to complete the project.
The package includes 3D models of the nine planets, crystal push-pins in the shape of stars, 25 inches of string and hardware to hang the planets, and putty for gluing. Assembling and hanging this set-up requires a good few hours. Also included in the package are 200 stickers that glow in the dark and are made of a proprietary formula. This Glominite formula is known for its long-lasting glow factor that doesn’t dim with time. In fact, the package assures a lifetime glow guarantee based on the strength of this formula. The stickers are easy to remove and do not chip the wall paint.
You can hang the 3D model around a central wall or ceiling light that can stand in for the sun to complete the solar system model. Stickers with the names of the planets are also included in the package. Use them as labels to help your kids learn the names of the planets, identify them quickly, and remember their order and size with ease. Use this set as an arts and crafts project for your kids to improve their room decor while helping them learn more about the night sky.
Space exploration begins by learning about the immediate vicinity of our planet and the system it is a part of. First, use these solar system-based learning toys to introduce preschoolers and toddlers to the heavenly bodies around us. Next, build upon their knowledge about the planet system as they grow older with advanced activity-based solar system toys like puzzles and projectors. Finally, use the STEM-based educational solar system toys to simplify complex space concepts like distance in light-years, escape velocity, phases of the moon, etc., for young adults as they embark on their space journey in young adulthood. At every stage of learning, these toys will help your kids navigate the intricacies of the solar system with greater understanding, ease, and knowledge.