Every so often we do a refresher of the solar system. The Engineer knows the names of the planets, of course, and he’s working on various moons (unprompted, by the way!) I get Callisto and Io mixed up, but he’s pretty good about it.
But that planetary order thing is a bit sticky. Tricky, it is! He generally gets the first 3 correct, but can’t remember if Jupiter is before Mars, or if Saturn is after Neptune.
Enter: the Solar System Bracelet (ta da!)
Of course, distance and scale is NOT accurate in any way. It’s an artistic, general attempt to assist memorization.
You will need:
- Beads for the appropriate planets, planetary bodies, and sun. Are you a Pluto fan? Include it. We even added a tiny wanderer for the asteroid belt.
- Stretchy string – in black.
- Finicky fingers.
Now, what I did here is a special technique called “Plan A failed.” No, seriously, this technique is used for stringing pearls. It keeps the beads from cascading onto the floor if the string breaks. Need a visual? Go watch this video (and ignore the clasp part.)
It’s pretty simple: tie knots before and after each bead. Because this is stretchy cord, pull the cord a few times to stretch it out and set the knot.
If this seems too annoying, try stringing black seed beads between the planets. You’ll need a fishing-line type string to make that work, plus a clasp because the fishing line doesn’t stretch.
Try to keep the first group of planets closely bunched, and then adjust Neptune and Pluto if you need more room.
Once you’re done stringing the beads, tie a knot. And another one. And one more – pulling tightly each time. If it starts loosening, keep tying knots. Once you’re sure the knot isn’t going anywhere, trim it down to 1/4 ” ends. Add a dab of glue if you’re paranoid about the knot slipping.
We’re also working with our space memory cards to quickly label planets and planetary bodies. This set includes both labeled and unlabeled cards for the planets, the sun, earth’s moon, asteroid, asteroid belt, a comet, and our galaxy. Gameschooling makes our lives much easier!
Note: you can adapt this idea and make a necklace – which I’m going to do for me! We went in whole hog and bought all the different beads because the Engineer is making bracelet kits to sell at a kid’s craft fair. If you don’t need this many, look for a multi-color strand instead.