Science-Lab Playroom

A dull playroom is transformed into a cool science lab for two young boys.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe kids painted foam balls to represent the planets then hung them from the ceiling.
The ceiling is painted dark blue to resemble the night sky. The globe over the light, the sun (right), is actually a security-camera dome found at a plastics store for just $9. Here are the instructions on how to create your own solar system.

Materials and Supplies
hard foam balls of different sizes
paper cups for water
very thin string
straight pins or needles
screw hooks
molding clay

1. Lay newspaper down on a flat work surface.
2. Have each child choose a foam ball (planet) and paint it in their choice of color. Don't use spray paint - the solvents in the paint will dissolve the foam making a gooey mess!
3. Let the paint on the planets dry.
4. While drying, place small screw hooks in the ceiling where you want the planets to hang.
5. Take thin string and thread it through the eye of the hook. Tie off the string.
6. Take the molding clay and make tiny balls with it.
7. Push your threaded needle all the way through a tiny clay ball so that the clay ball is on the tip of the needle.
8. When the planets are dry, take the needle and gently press into the top of the foam planet. Smooth the clay ball along the top, so that it holds the needle in place.
9. Hang the planets from the ceiling and enjoy your very own solar system!