There was a time in man’s history when we thought our world was actually the center of the known universe. And then somebody came along and disproved this theory and said that our world is just but a big chunk of rock that is revolving around the sun, the center of our universe. Then many more years and we began to understand that our so-called heliocentric existence is actually just a drop of water in the ocean known as a universe. It is thus, very difficult to imagine just how big the real universe is. Can you imagine a tiny water droplet in the middle of the Pacific, Atlantic, Antarctic or Southern, Arctic, and Indian Oceans combined? Well, that tiny speck is our Solar System. Astronomers and other scientists have been studying our relationship with the universe and we haven’t even covered 0.000001 percent of it. That is why the school curriculum would like us to teach our kids about the Solar System to help define who among our brightest young minds will finally hold the key to unlocking the secrets of the Milky Way and the Universe. Let us start with the 10 cool Solar System toys in 2017 to help our kids have a better understanding of the system in which our planet is located.
10 Best Solar System Toys
- 1 Great Explorations 3-D Solar System by University Games
- 2 GeoSafari Motorized Solar System by Educational Insights
- 3 Solar System Planetarium by 4M
- 4 Giant Magnetic Solar System by Learning Resources
- 5 Smithsonian Our Solar System Large Tin Fun Box by Aquarius
- 6 Glow-in-the-Dark Solar System Mobile Making Kit by 4M
- 7 Solar System in My Room Remote Control Home Décor Night Light by Uncle Milton
- 8 Solar System Adventure by SmartLab Toys
- 9 2-in-1 Stars & Planet Space Projector by Discovery Kids
- 10 The Solar System 100 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle by EuroGraphics
Great Explorations 3-D Solar System by University Games
Age Range: At least 5 years old
For so many eons, man has always looked up to the sky at night to gaze at the stars and streaking luminous objects. Various stories were told of how ancient Gods and Goddesses put those sparkling gems in the sky in an attempt to provide even the dimmest of light in the darkness of the night. Comets and meteors have their own share of stories that have been passed down across generations. Today, viewing these stellar bodies have become very efficient, thanks to the use of very powerful telescopes. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford such gadgets. So, why not give your child the Great Explorations 3D Solar System toys for kids instead? It’s like bringing the whole family of heavenly bodies that comprise this interstellar molecular cloud right inside your child’s bedroom. He or she will get to hang planet toys as well as 200 or so other heavenly creations like stars, cloud dusts, asteroids, and comets that can be firmly and easily attached to your kid’s bedroom walls. It’s like having the entire system inside a box of several tens of feet square. Simply turn off the lights and your child will be treated to a really out-of-this-world experience. While the Great Explorations 3D toy Solar System is, technically not a toy since your kid will not really be playing with it, it nevertheless, is a very useful and very fun tool for appreciating the placement of these planets as well as asteroid systems, moons, stars, and comets. The Great Explorations comes with its own Planetary Guide so kids can still learn about these cosmic creations during the day including fascinating facts like the sizes of each of these planets in relation to the sun, their relative distance to the center of the system, and how life would be like in such a cosmic body.
What We Like about It – The Great Explorations is an impressive way for children to learn about the cosmic cloud they live in while, at the same time, turning their rooms into one fabulous galactic bonanza.
GeoSafari Motorized Solar System by Educational Insights
Age Range: 8 to 10 years old
It is one thing to hang planet toys and plaster glow in the dark toys solar system stickers on your kid’s bedroom wall while it’s an entirely different matter to have the planetary bodies rotating on a beautiful tower in your kid’s bedroom. The GeoSafari Motorized Solar System from Educational Insights is a fantastic table or desk top décor that can turn any drab bedroom into a state of the art, almost magical, planetarium. The GeoSafari is one Solar System toys for kids that are really marvelous to look at. The GeoSafari tower provides a sturdy base for 8 rotating disks that serve as attachment to the black-finished rods which function as the axis for each of the 8 planets. The black finish allows for a more superb night viewing as the rods won’t be clearly visible, giving an impression that the balls of planetary ingenuity are indeed those stellar bodies that revolve around our sun. And speaking of the sun, the GeoSafari’s version of the great ball of fire is powered by a very powerful bulb that is guaranteed to keep on giving you superb sun-like illumination for more than 10,000 hours. The ultra-bright artificial sun allows the revolving planets to cast shadows on your bedroom wall. The good thing is that your kid will also appreciate the effects of a planet’s position relative to the sun, with the planetary surface facing the “sun” as “daytime” and the surface facing away from the sun, as “nighttime”. But the GeoSafari doesn’t stop there. It also comes with a clear stardome which is adorned with the different constellations that we often gaze in the sky. These are effectively projected onto the walls and ceiling of your child’s bedroom turning it into his or her personal planetarium. Studying the space outside the Earth’s atmosphere has never been this fun and ultra-realistic. GeoSafari literally transforms children’s understanding of cosmic creations.
What We Like about It – The GeoSafari is a splendid tool for elevating the understanding of older children about astronomy and other related branches of science. The integration of a stardome and the artificial “sun” right in the middle of it all are things that no other 3D playsets can match.
Solar System Planetarium by 4M
Age Range: 7 to 15 years old
Kids love craft kits. The chance to build something is superbly appealing especially to kids whose imagination can literally fly through the roof. This provides an excellent foundation for the continuing development of their cognition, particularly in their ability to solve complex problems. While the 4M Solar System Planetarium is less than what we can consider as a true intelligence-building craft kit, it is one of those Solar System toys for kids that are greatly favored by a lot of parents. It is quite small enough to be turned into a desktop décor once completed. In fact, it is more like the hobby models that we are very familiar with. The 4M Planetarium comes with all the different pieces which children will have to combine to form the different planets of our galactic cloud. Upon assembly, kids can then paint each of these planets according to their knowledge of the stellar bodies’ unique geographical features. They can paint Mars red and Earth blue and white. Or, they can also choose to be as creative as they wish. They can then place each of these globular creations into their respective planetary “axes” as they make their way around the sun. The 4M Planetarium already includes in its packaging everything that children will need to complete this galactic system we are in. It includes stencils, rods, pens for squeeze glow paints, and even a wall chart that contains many interesting and fascinating facts. There are also Kidz Quiz questions that come in 10 sets to help enhance your kid’s understanding of the Solar System. It may be small but the 4M Planetarium can surely provide the punch.
What We Like about It – The 4M Planetarium is a great instrument for kids to show their understanding of certain planetary features such as their placement in relation to the sun as well as their unique physical features.
Giant Magnetic Solar System by Learning Resources
Age Range: At least 5 years old
Sometimes you really have to think “BIG” if you want to teach your child something. For instance, while smaller sticker-type or even 3D model versions of the Solar System is quite adequate for learning about the different heavenly bodies on a more personal level, there are situations when bigger or larger representations can help drive the concept home. If you have several children trying to learn about astronomy, using small planet toys may not really be appropriate since those who are at the back may not be able to see the planets being represented. A better approach is to get a ref magnet-type of toy Solar System to help provide a very visual presentation. The Learning Resources’ Giant Magnetic Solar System is one great example of such a tool. We can always look at it as the ref magnets we have at home but with planetary designs of varying sizes relative to the actual sizes of the planets. This package from Learning Resources comes with 13 duly magnetized and elegantly detailed pieces that include the 8 planets, the sun, Pluto, our moon, and even the asteroid belt that’s sitting right between Mars and Jupiter, separating the inner from the outer planets. Of course, the heavenly creation comes with an activity guide to help direct the learning of children should they choose to learn by themselves. Each planet and other stellar bodies come in full color and pattern detail, giving realism to the magnetic learning tools.
What We Like about It – The Giant Magnetic Solar System is an easy way to teach children about this concept in astronomy. You only need a metallic surface and your kid can be on his or her way to understanding these cosmic concepts.
Smithsonian Our Solar System Large Tin Fun Box by Aquarius
Age Range: At least 14 years old
When it comes to the generation and preservation of knowledge, one of the organizations most trusted by experts is the Smithsonian Institution which was established in 1846 specifically to increase and expand on the wealth of knowledge that we now have. Through the years, the institute has amassed a wealth of knowledge that has helped define man’s future. One of the most sought after information from the Smithsonian is their interpretation of how the Solar System actually looks from way up in the heavens. The imagery has provided man with an understanding of the placement of the Earth in relation to the other stellar objects in the System. While the Smithsonian Our Solar System Large Tin Fun Box is a lunch box by nature, we believe it can serve other purposes as well. For instance, it can be a great tool to keep and organize little toys and trinkets that kids possess. This is pretty much the way the Solar System actually holds together the 8 different planets, the asteroids, the moons, and the sun as well as other stellar bodies that are not permanent residents of this galactic system, but nonetheless pay us a visit every few hundred years. The Smithsonian Tin Fun Box does not only come adorned with the official imagery of the Solar System, it also comes with many fascinating tidbits about everything in our system. So, while Junior is chowing on his or her lunch, he or she can also feed his or her brain with enough information on the galactic clustering where our planet belongs.
What We Like about It – The Smithsonian Tin Fun Box may not be a toy but it really is a worthy item to have especially for kids who are fascinated with everything that makes up the known universe.
Glow-in-the-Dark Solar System Mobile Making Kit by 4M
Age Range: 8 to 15 years old
If you have bought for your child an infant mobile when he or she was still a baby, chances are you are already familiar with how the 4M Glow-in-the-Dark Solar System Mobile Making Kit works. Like the other 4M product in our list, the Glow in the Dark version is pretty much a build it yourself kind of kit which 4M already supplies with all the materials that will be needed in the process. The only difference with the other 4M product is that the Glow in the Dark has all of the planets and the sun hanging or suspended from two 16.5 inch rods that form a cross in the center. They resemble more like Christmas balls we hang on the Christmas tree except that these are hand painted by your own kid. This is actually where the fun part is. The 4M kit gives your kid the chance to design the Solar System especially when it comes to bringing to life the different stellar bodies. The planet toys can be painted using the squeeze glow paint that comes with the package. There are also Kidz Quiz questionnaires to keep your kiddos very much interested in the subject. And if he or she is tired or bored, there’s a wall chart that’s filled with many interesting facts.
What We Like about It – There really is nothing fancy about the 4M Glow in the Dark except for the fact that it helps foster creativity and imagination among kids while also giving them a chance to learn more about this particular system.
Solar System in My Room Remote Control Home Décor Night Light by Uncle Milton
Age Range: 6 to 15 years old
More than 3,000 reviewers from Amazon wanted their voices to be heard, especially the two-thirds who gave the product 5 stars for an impressive 4.4 general average – the Uncle Milton Solar System in My Room Remote Control Home Décor Night Light is simply phenomenal. It’s not one of those ordinary planet toys. In fact, it’s not a toy at all. It’s a very fascinating, elegant, and, best of all, truly educational night light. The Uncle Milton Home Décor Night Light can be easily installed on any ceiling. The main lighting fixture serves as the “sun” while the 8 planets are attached to the “sun” via specialized rods that are, in turn, connected to a motorized mechanism. With a press of a button from the accompanying remote controller, the Uncle Milton planets slowly make their way around the “sun” mimicking the relative speed that they make in one complete revolution. After about 20 minutes of stellar “performance”, the Uncle Milton automatically shuts itself off. And if you want to add an auditory experience to the visual spectacle, simply download a web code so your kid will be treated to an audio presentation of the Solar System, all the while the planets are revolving around the sun.
What We Like about It – The Uncle Milton Solar System in My Room is a very sensorial way of learning this part of the Milky Way. It’s very soothing to fall asleep to as well.
Solar System Adventure by SmartLab Toys
Age Range: 8 to 15 years old
Want something your kids can really play with? Then get the SmartLab Toys Solar System Adventure. This toy Solar System comes with 21 pieces that children with have to snap together to form the most famous part of the Milky Way. It also comes with several curiosity model pieces which also help to enhance your child’s ability to solve problems in a convergent manner. The entire system lights up to give kids a visual spectacle of their creation. A poster has also been included to help teach children about other fascinating aspects of this Milky Way cluster. We’d like to believe the SmartLab Toys Adventure is their answer to LEGO’s space model building play sets.
What We Like about It – The SmartLab Toys Solar System Adventure effectively puts the fate of the system in your child’s hands. The toy component of the kit is really amazing, to say the least.
2-in-1 Stars & Planet Space Projector by Discovery Kids
Age Range: At least 6 years old
Instead of climbing up the wall to plaster some glow in the dark stickers on your kid’s bedroom ceiling, why not get the Discovery Kids 2-in-1 Stars and Planet Space Projector? Simply place the projector on a stable and flat surface, flip the switch on, and watch nebulas, stars, planets, and galaxies get projected majestically onto the ceiling. You also don’t need to manually cycle through the different images as the Discovery Kids already cycles automatically on its own. The kit comes with 3 interchangeable discs to give your kids a stunning display of 24 stellar bodies beautifully projected on his or her bedroom wall or ceiling. There are also no cords to worry about. Unfortunately, you do have to get 3 AA-sized batteries for the projector to do its magic.
What We Like about It – The Discovery Kids Stars and Planet Space Projector is a unique way for kids to really appreciate the universe beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
The Solar System 100 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle by EuroGraphics
Age Range: 6 to 15 years old
Jigsaw puzzles provide two fundamental purposes: to stimulate convergent thinking and to produce a stunning wall décor. For kids, getting the 100 piece The Solar System Jigsaw Puzzle from Eurographics is definitely designed for the former. Made of kid-safe materials, each puzzle piece has been printed using only the safest vegetable inks you can find. Such pigments have been duly tested and certified by recognized organizations especially the Forest Stewardship Council. The EuroGraphics puzzle not only helps children learn about the Solar System, it also helps enhance their mastery of their fine motor skills as well as promotes their ability for picture or image recognition.
What We Like about It – The EuroGraphics Jigsaw is a novel approach to teaching kids about the Solar System. It’s also an important tool for enhancing other developmental competencies of kids.
How We Chose the Solar System Toys in Our List
Studying the Solar System is largely theoretical simply because it is quite difficult to imagine planets and stellar bodies aside from Earth unlike the way we can study plants and animals and other objects up close. This is where the value of educational toys comes in. And this formed the basis of our choice of the cool Solar System toys in 2017. First and foremost, it was imperative that these Solar System toys for kids can make it really easy for children of a particular age group to learn and understand the fundamentals of this cluster of stellar bodies. It was crucial, then, that these products – especially planet toys – can also be used as a teaching aid in astronomy classes.
We also considered what other people are saying about a particular toy Solar System. We would have opted for a higher cutoff score; however, knowing the rather complicated and quite technical nature of this heavenly body, we lowered it down a bit to 3.5 stars. Come to think of it, it is still more than the average so we’re quite confident about the products that we have just shared with you. Additionally, we had to evaluate the score in relation to both the negative and positive comments about it, especially the criticisms as these can significantly affect the overall score. Unfortunately, not all criticisms have intrinsic value that can substantially impact the real value of the product.
Lastly, since we’re still technically talking about children’s playthings, it was crucial for us to look at the usual parameters we factor in our choice of stuff for kids. These included developmental appropriateness, safety of the product, and the product’s overall quality and integrity or soundness of construction, design, or manufacturing. These cemented our first two parameters together to form a really objective assessment of the items just presented.
Do We Need to Teach Astronomy to Kids?
Compared to biology where kids can experiment with a lot of living things and chemistry where they could just as easily identify a chemical, learning astronomy is quite difficult to grasp. This is perhaps because of the “inaccessibility” of such stellar bodies as the sun and other planets. Many parents are often faced with the question, “Do I have to teach my kid astronomy?” While the answer to this question can be as varied as the number of stars on a cloudless night, there are many reasons why teaching astronomy to kids is important. Here are some of them.
- It is considered as an integral part of classical education. We have already said earlier that man has always looked to the stars to make sense of his life and his existence.
- It helps introduce the concept of navigation by the stars. Many of ancient navigators don’t have GPS technology to tell them where they are. Instead, they relied on the stars and the position of their ship in relation to these stars.
- It may be a great way to encourage self-discovery and creative thought. Astronomy is considered by many as largely dependent on one’s cognitive abilities. Since the “bodies of evidence” are not at hand but, instead up in the skies, one must have a certain level of cognition to turn these “metaphysical” truths into something workable. This fosters creative thinking.
The Bottom Line
The Solar System is that part of the Milky Way where humans exist. This is something that kids need to understand. Giving them one of the 10 cool Solar System toys in 2017 can help you pave the way for a much clearer understanding of this and other facts.