Can you walk on Jupiter? You can if it’s a picture of Jupiter on a floor puzzle.
My Astronomonsters’ love Solar System floor puzzles. We have a few different kinds of Solar System floor puzzle, all of varying quality. My kids will assemble them and use them for play mats for toy space shuttles or cars. They also like to “space travel” and pretend they are floating in space by rolling across them or by stepping on each planet. I found a way to turn this play into learning about the planets. When they stepped on the Sun, I’d say, “Ouch! Too hot! You’ll burn your feet!” They would giggle and move onward. “Ah! Cool those feet in Earth’s oceans. Careful, you’ll sink through Jupiter’s clouds! Saturn’s ring particles will hit you! Brr! Pluto is so cold!” They would laugh, and go back to the Sun to do it all over again. I’d try to add some different information about the planets each time.
Another way we get silly about our planets is “eating” them. Yes, I know it’s bizarre, but the kids are 2 and 4. We have a magnetic Solar System set, and one day the kids decided to hold magnetic Jupiter in my face and say, “Eat Jupiter?” “I said, “Ew! Too smelly!” (With ammonia and hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere, it could smell like window cleaner and rotting eggs.) My Astronomonsters found this hilarious, so they started offering up ALL the magnetic objects to me.
“Eat the Moon?” “Aah-Choo! Too dusty!”
“Eat the Earth?” “Mmmm, tasty plants and water!”
“Eat Neptune?” “Too windy!”
“Eat Venus?” “Ouch! Too hot! It burned my lips!”
They found it all too funny and laughed their cute little laughs, but they remembered their planet facts for the next time we played with these planet toys. Do you have other “teaching astronomy through silliness” activities of your own to share?