It wasn’t long after I taught my (then four ~ five-year-old) about the solar system that I learned about the discovery boxes at the Sandy Creek Nature Center.
You can check out a discovery box for two weeks for the cost of $5.00. Though they are created for classroom use and may have more in them than one family can use, they are still worth looking at if you are working on a particular subject. They are for approximately pre-K through 5th grade.
They have discovery boxes for a wide array of subjects such as astronomy, weather, rocks and gems, mammals, animal tracks, creatures of the night, birds, trees, marine life and more… If you stop by the nature center, ask the receptionist to see the list of discovery boxes. There’s an inventory list for each box.
I tried the astronomy box when we were learning about the solar system. There were two children’s books that were perfect for my son, and a bag of planet magnets that he had fun arranging on our refrigerator. We also had fun trying to get the little planetarium star theater to work, but we don’t have the right kind of room for it, and it didn’t look right in our bathroom! (The darkest room in our house.)
There was a lot of stuff that just wasn’t age appropriate for him and materials for a large classroom that I didn’t need. Unfortunately, some of the materials were old, and things like computer programs were not compatible with my computer. The books were outdated and stated that Pluto is a planet, but that didn’t bother me.
I don’t want to discourage you from checking into these boxes, however. If you’re working on a particular unit, or your child has an interest in a certain subject, you should look into it. Every box is going to offer different stuff.