Saturn for Kids

Want to help your kids learn more about Saturn? There are many great resources out there, which I’ll get to in a second.

But first, have you – or your kids – ever actually looked at Saturn with your own eyes? Many amateur astronomers say that seeing Saturn through a telescope was the moment that turned them onto the hobby that lasts a lifetime.

Chances are you’ve seen Saturn many times in the past, but you just didn’t realize it. When Saturn is high in the sky, it looks like a very bright star, easily visible with the unaided eye.

But to really appreciate it, you’ve got to see Saturn in a telescope. Find a friend with a telescope, or find your local astronomy club, and learn when they’re having an open telescope night. Ask to see Saturn, and then anything else they’re able to find for you.

Build a scale model of the Solar System
We’ve got a tutorial here on Universe Today that helps you build a miniature version of the Solar System. The Sun fits on a piece of paper, and then the rest of the planets fit within about 1 km from the Sun – easy walking distance for the kids. We even made little rings for our Saturn.

Learn about Saturn’s density
Saturn’s the only planet in the Solar System that would float if you could find a pool of water large enough. The density of Saturn is very close to the density of apples. So put some rings around an apple, and toss it into the tub.

Learn about their weight on Saturn
The gravity of Saturn is about 90% the gravity on Earth. Have your child stand on a bathroom scale, and then support them to the point that they’re 90% of their weight. Now let them walk around the room with you supporting a little of their weight. What does it feel like?

Draw Saturn
Take a look at some pictures of Saturn, and then try drawing your own. See the different bands on the planet, ranging in color from white to yellow to orange. And draw the rings, with different colors, and gaps in between. Try drawing completely different planets with rings.

Want more information about the Solar System for kids? Here’s some material on the Moon for kids, and Jupiter for kids.

And there are more great resources for kids on the Internet. Check out Kids Astronomy. From grown-ups, here’s Hubblesite’s News Releases about Saturn

We have recorded two episodes of Astronomy Cast just about Saturn. The first is Episode 59: Saturn, and the second is Episode 61: Saturn’s Moons.