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Space is a beautiful and mysterious place. Unfortunately, all of the intricacies of space can’t be seen from here on earth with the eye alone. One way to explore space is by using a telescope. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out our guide to the best telescopes for beginners.
Another way to explore space is through model solar systems, which put our solar system right in front of your eyes. Our top overall pick is the Solar System Planetarium because of how much comes with this kit and how easy it makes learning.
- Best Solar System Model
- Best Overall – 4M Solar System Planetarium
- Best for Puzzle Lovers – Space Puzzle 3D Planets
- Best Budget Option – Smoothfoam Solar System Kit
- Best for Younger Children – Learning Resources Giant Inflatable Solar System
- Best for Wall Modeling – Decowall Solar System Wall Stickers
- Best Glow in the Dark Option – Glowing 3-D Solar System
- Best STEM Building Kit – Learning Resources Gears Space Explorers Building Set
- Best for Projecting – Discovery Kids Planetarium Projector
- Best for Future Seekers – Solar System Crystal Ball with Light Up Cosmic Model
- Best for Hanging Mobiles – 4M Solar System Mobile Making Kit
- Best Magnetic Option – Learning Resources Giant Magnetic Solar System
- What to Consider When Buying a Solar System Model
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Solar System Model
Best Overall – 4M Solar System Planetarium
The Solar System Planetarium is our top pick for best solar system model because of how well it introduces astronomy to kids in a hands-on manner. This comes with the planets, squeeze glow paint pen, rods, string, and even a wall chart with planet facts and 10 sets of quiz questions. Your kids will get the chance to paint their own solar system toy and is a great way to improve their motor skills.
This orrery is recommended for ages 8 and up and doesn’t require any batteries to function. As your kid constructs their own solar system, they will get the chance to understand our solar system on a deeper level. Once finished, it can even be used as decorative artwork in their room or in your home.
One of the best parts of this kit is that it can be mixed and matched with other 4M Solar System kits like the Solar System Mobile Making Kit we talk about below or the Earth & Moon Model Kit. The Earth & Moon Model Kit is great to teach kids more about how the moon orbits the earth and is recommended for kids ages 3 and up. 4M has many other solar system toys available for purchase as well.
Best for Puzzle Lovers – Space Puzzle 3D Planets
This Space Puzzle is made for kids ages 5 and up, but can even be enjoyed by adults. It is a high quality educational toy that is a cool model of the solar system. The fun doesn’t stop once assembly is completed, either. This puzzle makes a wonderful diorama of outer space with variations in the size of planets.
Composed of 146 pieces, this product is an easy way to keep your kids engaged and entertained while learning about the solar system. Putting this puzzle together will help develop your kids’ motor skills while keeping them entertained. Not only that, but the puzzle even comes with glow in the dark stars to make your very own night sky. Between the 3-D celestial bodies and stars, this product is a real winner.
Best Budget Option – Smoothfoam Solar System Kit
This Styrofoam Solar System Kit fits the bill for the best budget option for a model solar system. The planet spheres are smooth and less porous than typical styrofoam, making it an easier material to decorate. It can be decorated with paint or permanent marker. This solar system toy is particularly awesome because it allows your kids to get creative with their solar system or keep it more realistic.
This kit also comes with a styrofoam stand for the model, as well as rods and rings to stand or hang the planets. The varying sizes of spheres will help teach your kids about the sizes of the planets, and you can work with them as they learn about the planet sizes relative to each other and their positioning in the solar system.
Best for Younger Children – Learning Resources Giant Inflatable Solar System
The Inflatable Solar System comes with everything you need to make a solar system for kids. It comes with all 8 planets, plus Pluto, sun, Earth’s moon, a repair kit, foot pump, and even an activity guide. The celestial bodies all come with a hook to hang.
The plants, sun, and moon are all proportionally sized so that your child can learn more about their relative sizing and positioning in the solar system. The durable vinyl makes this solar system high quality and ready to last, even in the classroom. This solar system model is recommended for children ages 5+.
By being able to physically interact with and even play games with this solar system toy, your kids will be excited to learn more about the universe. You can simulate orbit with these bodies, and even create a unique decoration hanging from your child’s bedroom ceiling.
Best for Wall Modeling – Decowall Solar System Wall Stickers
These Solar System Wall Stickers are a unique way for your children to learn about the solar system from their own bedroom. The stickers themselves don’t leave any sticky residue on the wall and are made of high quality materials. They also come with fun facts about the solar system.
This can be a great way to introduce younger kids to the solar system and can be used in the rooms of kids ages 3 and up. Kids will learn about the sizes and position of the plants while also getting to add in some extra fun decorations to their wall art.
These educational stickers are bound to not only teach your kids about the universe but also brighten up their room with lots of colors. They can also be used in areas such as classrooms and at home learning spaces to bring the planets, stars, and so much more into the areas.
Best Glow in the Dark Option – Glowing 3-D Solar System
The Glowing 3-D Solar System brings the solar system and planets to life right in your kid’s bedrooms, even when the lights go out for the night. This kit is particularly awesome because it requires much less assembly and works before it is ready to be displayed. It includes over 200 glow in the dark planets and stars to turn your children’s ceiling into their very own night sky.
As the best solar system that glows in the dark, you can expect nothing less than a lifetime of glow. To top it off, this kit even comes with a planetary guide that will give your children fascinating facts about the solar system. This guide will provide information such as the relative sizes of the planets, distance from the sun, and even what the conditions of the planets are actually like.
The universe will come to life in their room or learning area if you so choose, and they won’t be able to wait to show it off to their friends. However, because of the small stars, this kit is recommended for kids ages 5 and up. You should note however, that this kit does not come with a model sun.
Best STEM Building Kit – Learning Resources Gears Space Explorers Building Set
By using the Space Explorers Building Set, your children will get to work on their critical thinking, engineering, and problem solving skills. This kit is particularly great because children can begin thinking about the physics of solar system mechanics.
This kit comes as 77 pieces, including bases, gears, connectors, astronauts, planets, a sun, spaceship, flag, stickers and an activity guide. It is recommended for children ages 4 and up. While this is not a traditional model solar system, the gears will teach kids about cause and effects and encourage open ended play.
Best for Projecting – Discovery Kids Planetarium Projector
This cute Planetarium Projector with stationary and moving modes. Your children will get the chance to view stars, galaxies, planets, and spaceships on 32 different photo slides between 4 reel discs. Not only will kids get to discover the planets, but they can project stars throughout their room to create their own personal night sky.
This projector is one of the best solar system toys for projecting because of how high quality it is and the images that are able to be projected. The projector itself is modeled after a real spaceship, making the experience even more immersive. Kids who are interested in space and the solar system will love this projector because it will fully envelop them in outer space from their very own bedroom.
We also love this device because it is cord-free and battery operated. To deliver its crisp images, it has a built-in focal ring so it can work well in a room of any size without suffering from blurry images. All that is needed to switch from viewing the planets and galaxies to the stars is a flip of the projector. Bring the night sky into your room, even during the day.
Best for Future Seekers – Solar System Crystal Ball with Light Up Cosmic Model
The Solar System Crystal Ball makes for an exciting and cool model planet kit. This particular crystal ball lights up and is laser engraved with the planets and their names. The engraving itself is done with 3D laser cutting technology and the plants and names are clear and high quality so there will be no second-guessing which planet is which.
There are 6 light up orbital modes that allows the ball to give off a variety of colors while your children view the solar system right in front of them. The crystal ball comes with a standard plug and USB cable. It can also be battery operated and is turned on and off with a simple touch switch.
The planets are sized proportionately to their real sizes and locations in outer space. This model can act as not only a super cool educational toy and model but even as a nightlight for the younger kids.
Best for Hanging Mobiles – 4M Solar System Mobile Making Kit
This Solar System Mobile Making Kit allows children to create their very own mobile of the solar system. Your kids will snap together the planets and paint them with regular and glow paints. This kit comes with everything needed, including a paint brush, string, and a frame for hanging.
This kit is recommended for ages 8 and up because of the small pieces and dexterity required to paint and decorate the planets and sun. Because of the painting, kids will get a chance to explore their creativity and enjoy their creation during the day and at night once the lights have been turned out. Children will learn in a hands-on way and be able to hang their creation as a mobile from their ceiling in their room or workspace.
Best Magnetic Option – Learning Resources Giant Magnetic Solar System
This Giant Magnetic Solar System is a wonderful addition to any classroom or home. They can be used to decorate magnetic surfaces, but also can be used to enhance learning. With relative sizes of the planets kept in mind, kids can sort parts of the solar system based on different criteria while going through the activity guide.
This set comes with 8 planets, Pluto, Sun, Earth’s moon, and asteroid belt, along with an activity guide. Keeps kids engaged and begins their learning about outer space early. This product is recommended for kids 5 years and older. We love how easy this product is to use. Simply take it out of its packaging and let the learning begin! The magnetic pieces themselves are durable and will be able to handle lots of attachment and removal from surfaces.
What to Consider When Buying a Solar System Model
Different models will be better for different age ranges. The models with smaller pieces or that require more advanced motor skills will of course be better for older kids; meanwhile those that are larger or less complex suit younger children better.
The different models will also have different amounts of engagement for your kids, pending on their age. It is important to check the age range that the product is designed for when picking out which solar system model and STEM toys are best suited for your kid.
Value, of course, can mean many different things. Maybe you’re looking for a product that keeps your kids busy for more than just a couple of hours or in the afternoon. Or perhaps you’re looking for the product that comes with the most pieces. Some kits require assembly and painting, while others just require sticking the products to the wall.
It all depends on what you are wanting to get out of the solar system toys and models to decide if it is a good value or not. The best solar system toys will meet your criteria for educational, time, and creative values.
Purpose of the Model
Solar system models tend to lean towards being more educational toys rather than play toys. However, that doesn’t mean that your kids can’t still have fun with it. That being said, it is important to think about the purpose of the model itself and determine if its purpose matches what you want to get out of the product. The best solar system toys may fill multiple purposes, such as an art craft while also being an educational toy. However, others can double as something like a nightlight and a projector.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are educational solar system toys?
Educational toys are toys that assist a child in learning something through playing and interacting with the toy. In this case, we are focusing on educational solar system toys so that your kids can learn all about the solar system in a hands-on manner. The best part about these kinds of toys is that your kids will learn more than just facts about the solar system and will be able to understand why the solar system acts as it does with orbits and relative sizes of planets and their locations in the solar system.
What is an orrery?
An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system. It is used to represent the relative distances of the planets from the sun and their relative motions. They can also be models of a singular unit such as the earth or sun. It is also possible for it to model the positions of moons and their motions as well. An orrery will help your kids understand concepts such as distance, orbits, and even relative sizing of the planets compared to each other and the sun.
Are solar system models good for teaching and homeschooling?
Solar system toys and models alike aid your kids in learning about the universe around them. Small models and mobiles work well for group projects and kids working together, while other models such as the wall stickers may be better for individual exploration and learning. By getting your kid a solar system model, you’re letting them explore a part of the universe that we can’t always see with just our eye alone.
Not only that, but by having solar system toys around and nearby, it is easy for children to get captivated by space. If they see the solar system in front of them every day, they will likely become more curious and interested in the topic. It will help to have an educational and solar system toy already on hand to feed this interest and keep your children entertained and engaged in learning.
What else can I use to supplement a solar system model?
Solar system models are great in that your kid gets a chance to learn about the planets right in front of them in their hands. However, nothing beats the real thing. Getting a telescope for your kids is a great way to keep them more interested in space and let them see the real deal. You can check out our guide for beginner telescopes for more information and suggestions.
Why should I encourage my kids to learn astronomy?
Astronomy is less experiential based than many of the other sciences, but it is also the foundation of a lot of our knowledge about the world around us and much of the reason why we are where we are today as a society. From learning to navigate from the stars to expanding creative through and self-discovery, astronomy has it all.
Astronomy can also be one of the harder sciences to grasp because people can’t hold celestial bodies in their hands, and sometimes can’t even see these giants from the earth. However, with solar system toys and models, this science suddenly becomes much more accessible right in your very own home or classroom.
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Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API