Solar System Sorting Mats – Subscriber Freebie

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Solar System Sorting Mats Free Printable (Subscriber Freebie)

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This set of solar system sorting mats are perfect to introduce young learners to space. The mats feature real photos and are perfect for younger learners who are interested in learning about space.

This printable is free and is a subscriber freebie. Follow the instructions at the end of this blog post to download your copy of this free printable. 

I have included some space resources that you might find useful so make sure to check out these resources as well.


Space is one of those topics that learners are naturally curious about. When I was teaching Trucker about space, I became so immersed into the topic myself that I began to do so much reading about space. I literally learnt so much more than I had ever known about the topic previously.

Solar System Sorting Mats – Free Printable 

I honestly speaking love sorting mats. My initial plan was to create a set of space sorting mats, which which require sorting of information. But felt that would be suitable only for older learners for I created this first for our younger learners. I also prefer sorting mats with pictures rather than for information so that younger learners can make use and benefit from the printable as well.

This printable about the solar system is a little different since it requires learners to sort the cards into sort of like major categories. The printable contains a total of 6 sorting mats with 36 sorting cards.

Learners are required to sort the cards based on the following categories:

  • Planets
  • Galaxy
  • Constellation
  • Craters
  • Moons
  • Comets

The name of the card will display at the back of the picture, so learners can read the name if they wish. This printable is extremely simple to use, but does require a bit of work on the prep side. Not too much I promise.

Materials Required:

Prepping the Printable:

Print out the pages in the printable and laminate them. The sorting mats have two versions, just pick which version you prefer. One version contains the word along with the photo, while the version only has the word.

When printing, print the sorting mats single sided, and print the sorting mats front to back, double sided. This will ensure the sorting cards have the name printed at the back of the cards.

Cut apart the pages to create the sorting cards.

Stick one part of the velcro dots onto the sorting mats and the other side onto the sorting cards. I prefer putting the hook side onto the sorting mats and the loop side onto the sorting cards, but this is up to your personal preference. I also recommend using velcro dots so that the cards do not get lost and can be stored together with the sorting mats.

The sorting mats can be stored onto a ring binder so that the mats can be stored together.

Using the Solar System Sorting Mats Printable:

Before starting this activity, it would be a good idea to go through with your learners about what defines a planet, crater, moon, galaxy etc, and the features of each. This way when they look at the picture they will have an idea of what they’re looking for.

Give your leaners the sorting mats and the sorting mats. If your learner is just learning about space, use only 2 to 3 to prevent overwhelming the learner. 

Get your learner to read the name at the back or you can read it to them. Then ask them the distinguishing features of each. For example, this picture shows a big hole, which is similar to that of a crater, so I can place it in the crater mat. Or this looks like a planet that I have seen before, for planets they can flip the card and read the back. If it is a planet that they are familiar with they can simply place it in the planet sorting mat. 

Likewise for constellations, upon seeing the cluster of stars, they can make a deduction that is a constellation and hence, place it in the constellation mat.

Once a learner becomes more familiar with the things in space, then they can be presented with more mats. Additionally, if the learner is interested you can try and get them to do some research on each sorting card using books or the internet for reference.

Space Resources

So for me, I was on the hunt for space resources that I could use to teach. I don’t deny that there’s plenty of resources out there, but I wanted something that would fit the style I was going for… Large attractive pictures with a small paragraph that would serve as a definition or an explanation. I normally, don’t use worksheets when teaching science, but prefer using task cards. Both of which I actually created just for him when we were learning about space. Click on the images below to see the resources I created.

All About Space Printable Booklet

This printable was created in the format of posters such that it could be bound into a book or be placed around as posters. The large real photos give a very realistic feel. The simple text at the bottom of each picture provides learners with simple background information. There are a whopping total of 41 poster pages, a wonderful opportunity to grow their vocabulary as well.

Space Task Cards

In order to accompany the posters I created these space task cards. I use the task cards a bit differently, in the sense I don’t ask Trucker to record the answers. We just work on a verbal basis. I pick out a couple of poster that we will use and learn about for the day. We then read and talk about the posters. From the set of task cards that I created, I pick out the ones that are suitable for the posters that we went though. We read the question and then quickly answer the questions. He is allowed to read the posters again, if he needs to find the answer.

I personally prefer this method, since it makes more of a mini quiz, rather than having to go through a series of questions and recording down the answers. I must say, I am really pleased with the results that I got with using the task cards. I had a ton of fun both with creating these task cards as well as using them.

If you wish to use these task cards, simply print out the ones you need and get your students to read and discuss the answers together. They can record down the answers if you wish on the recording sheet.

Figurines – Space

I LOVE figurines. I do not know why, but I have an unhealthy obsession towards them. Maybe its simply because they give such a realistic feel to whatever topic we are studying about; be it about oceans, space, wild animals or farm animals. Well, I do have a set of figurines that I collected when we were studying about Space. I have listed some of the ones we used below. We used these either as models nor for sensory play in a sensory bin. Do check them out, figurines never disappoint!


Books on Space

For any unit study, we make sure to read books relating to the topic. I personally loved these books, which I have listed below.

First Space Encyclopedia

This book is more of an encyclopedia book and might be more suitable for older children. It contains a ton of information on space, and is a really fun read. We love looking through the facts in this book and learning something every time we read. The level of detail included in this book make it most appropriate for kids ages 6-12. Children can learn about what it takes to be an astronaut, what it is like to live in space, and what they take with them in their suitcases! They can learn about planets, their unique characteristics and the naming behind each planet.

Our Solar System – Ladybird

This is a simple non-fiction book about the solar system. I love this book, because of its simple nature, making it suitable for younger learners. It covers space related vocabulary with attractive pictures, making this book a good read for children aged 4 to 7 years old. 

Roaring Rockets  – by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker

This book is part of a book series on Amazing Machines by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker. Trucker loves these books so much, I can’t count the number of times we have read through the whole series. These books are really fun, with short sentences and attractive pictures. The sentences rhyme which I simply love and it makes these books so much more fun to read. If you have a vehicle obsessed learner, these books are definitely a must get.

Solar System Sorting Mats Free Printable

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