Getting Lost in the Milk Way


R was 18 months old at the time of this activity


The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklyn M. Branley – The vibrant illustrations kept R engaged while I read this long book.  Along with the many facts about the solar system, there is a description of how to make a solar system mobile, a planetary distance activity and a variety of other activity ideas.


1. Milky Way Marble Run

IMG_0801R thought this activity was hilarious.  She enjoyed placing the marble down on the board and watching it roll around while shouting “wooo”.  Sometimes she just dropped the marble into the centre and would look up at me with a mischievous grin.  I kept the board up on both of our legs and showed R how to rock the board back and forth to make the marble move.

I made the marble run by putting circular hot glue lines onto cardboard and covering the entire surface with aluminum foil before painting it.  I used my black and white paint dabbers to paint the surface and added yellow paint spots to represent stars.  I cut a hole in the centre so that it could be the target for the marble run.

Extension Activities:
a. Instead of using hot glue, the marble run track can be made with small cut up pieces of straw that get taped down.  This way, a child can be involved in the constructing process without worry of using a hot glue gun.  Before starting the construction phase, show the child photos of the milky way galaxy, a sample of a marble run using straws, a demonstration of how to tape down the straws (add a strip of tape over the straw) and allow the child to problem solve how to align the straws into a circular arrangement so that the marble can find its way all the way into the hole. Continue reading