Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cookie Solar System

Most days, the girls and I do a project together at some point in the day. The girls have numerous ongoing pursuits--Magic Tree House, dinosaurs, ballet, space, the desert biome, Tibet, etc.--and I usually have a few projects relating to these subjects, or to stuff that I'd like them to do (nature activities, art projects, science experiments), or to stuff that needs to be done (bread baking, pumpkin preserving, holiday prep) already figured out, with materials obtained and instructions at the ready, for whenever the mood hits.

Some days, the mood never hits. Some days, Willow reads all day, and Sydney plays JumpStart all day. Some days, they just play all day. Some days, we all decide to have a Land of the Lost marathon.

Other days, however, we just may do something extraordinary.

Like this day, when we made a cookie solar system.

The idea for our cookie solar system came from the article "Cosmic Cuisine" in the July-August 2010 issue of Home Education Magazine, which I read at the library. The article was handy because I was able to copy all the pertinent numbers from it into my planner (where most extraordinary ideas reside until their time comes for fruition), but really, it wouldn't be hard to recreate: let the diameter of the Earth=1", then adjust the diameter of all the other planets accordingly. Give each planet the correct number of moons, but do not attempt to measure distance from each other or from the sun, and don't attempt to recreate the sun. If Earth=1", then the sun is as big as your kitchen. It's bigger than my kitchen.

The girls and I used our favorite vegan sugar cookie recipe from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar (I actually just got this book for free from Amazon thanks to my swagbucks, so the library can FINALLY have its copy back), and I made the vegan icing from John & Kristie again. Srsly, that is THE best icing to use with this, on account of it dries so nice and firm.

I divided the icing into four parts, and used professional-quality food coloring to do each of the primary colors, and I left one part white. With that, we can do EVERY color that we'll need!
Yes, you can see cookie Jupiter in that photo. Yes, it is over 11" in diameter. 'Nough said about how cool this project is?

With their research books and vividly-colored illustrations at their sides, the girls got to work:
 Syd did Neptune while Will worked on Jupiter, and Jupiter took so long that Syd got to do Saturn, too:
Since it was afternoon by the time we finished decorating the cookies, I decided that we'd use the afternoon sun shining through our living room window as The Sun. One by one, Willow read the entry for each planet out loud from her research guide--
--and then we place it in its spot:

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars (and a little of the asteroid belt)

Jupiter, with its Many Moons and its Cookie-Crumb Ring

Saturn, Also with Lots of Moons and an Even Better Ring

 Uranus and Neptune

 It was such a beautiful art installation, there on the table in the evening sun--
--that it was almost half an hour before we could bring ourselves to eat it.

Most delicious solar system EVER!


Phyllis said...

Excellent idea!!

Heather@Cultivated Lives said...

OMG, this looks like such an incredibly fun, yummy and educational idea! My little boys are obsessed with everything planetary. We will definitely have to give this a try!

julie said...

It was definitely the kind of activity for obsessed kiddos! It ended up taking up so much of the day, that next time we do it (and we totally will do it again), I'll probably just go ahead and make it a theme-party kind of day--planet pancakes for breakfast, planet pizzas for lunch, solar system documentaries, etc.

Tina said...

I love this idea! Might be a neat way to get kids interested in the solar system if they are not already :)

julie said...

It was such an elaborate project, and I'd been thinking about it for so long, that I was rather relieved when we'd finished, and then I realized--we are DEFINITELY doing this project again!


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