Neptune is a gas planet first recorded as a star by Galileo when he was looking though a small telescope. In 1846, Johann Gottfried Galle discovered that the star was actually a planet. The planet is bright blue and takes nearly 165 years to orbit the sun. In 1989, NASA's Voyager 2 flew by the dark and cold planet, providing much information on the planet. Have kids make a variety of Neptune crafts to aid their understanding of the solar system.
Solar System Model
Perhaps the best way for children to understand where Neptune is in regard to the other planets and the sun is to have them craft a visual representation of the solar system. Have students use a compass to create a large cardboard circle. Then draw eight orbits on the circle. Mark where the planets are by punching small holes with nails. Then cut smaller circles out of card stock to represent each of the planets, punch a hole in each planet and hang the planets on string by placing the string through the respective holes in the cardboard circle and taping the string in place. Hang the model to the ceiling with fishing line.
Use clay to teach kids about the physical characteristics of Neptune. Mix two tones of blue clay together to get a marbled blue mixture. Then add texture to the planet by poking a pencil into the clay. This will help teach kids, that like Earth, Neptune has terrain and is not smooth to the surface.
Coffee Filter Neptune
Teach young kids about Neptune by crafting a planet out of a coffee filter. Spread a coffee filter flat on top of a paper plate. Then have kids scribble the filter with a few shades of blue washable markers. They don't need to color the entire filter. After coloring, spray the filter several times with water in a spray bottle. This will make the marker color spread and give a water color effect to the planet. Repeat the craft for each of the planets using the appropriate colors. This will help small children to remember planets such as Neptune based on the color of the planet.
Create an outer space themed bedroom with a glow-in-the-dark Neptune. Paint a Styrofoam ball with blue glow-in-the-dark paint. Then create a ring that fits around the ball from craft foam. Paint the foam as well in blue glow-in-the-dark paint. After it dries, slip the ring around the ball, turn off the lights and you'll have a glowing planet Neptune. You can even hang Neptune from the ceiling with fishing wire.
- Nine Planets: Neptune
- NASA: Solar System Exploration: Neptune: Overview
- Enchanted Learning: Solar System Model
- KidsSoup: Space Crafts, Space Preschool Activities, Universe Preschool Craft, Lesson Plans, Games, and Printables
- DLTK's Growing Together: Planet Earth Coffee Filter Craft
- Disney Family Fun: Gorgeous Galaxy
- Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images