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What is the Earth Made of? Playdough Earth Layers

Kids are going to love learning about the Layers of the Earth for Kids with this fun lesson on what is the earth made of.  This lesson for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd graders will use some fun Earth Science Experiments to study the layers that make up our planet Earth.  Take a peak at our easy playdough earth layers, books, earth layers worksheet, and a fun core sampling activity for kids.
Kids are going to love learning about the Layers of the Earth for Kids with this fun lesson on what is the earth made of.  This lesson for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd graders will use some fun Earth Science Experiments to study the layers that make up our planet Earth.  Take a peak at our easy playdough earth layers, books, earth layers worksheet, and a fun core sampling activity for kids. 


What is the Earth Made of

This what is the Earth made of lesson is a fun, hands-on earth science unit for preschoolers, kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3 students. We will explore the 4 layers of the Earth using a fun, informational, and easy-to-read book. Then we will dive into some hands-on earth science experiments to help the information click and make sense including a super cool playdough earth model that helps kids really visualize what the layers look like. Next up students will learn how scientists take a core sample to deterine what the Earth is made of. This is such a fun way to play and learn while having FUN! These ideas are great for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers alike.

4 layers of the earth

We started our Homeschool Earth Science unit by reading Planet Earth / Inside Out by Gail Gibbons. I found this to be a good resource with nice clear illustrations. I often make the mistake of trying to procure 4-5 books per topic and then never use all of them. This was my favorite of all the ones I read through at the library. I will point out that if you are a Creationist who believes in a young earth (as we do) you will want to skim over a couple parts.

Layers of the Earth for Kids

To help the kids really understand the layers we did an Earth Science Experiment for kids. I wanted to help them visualize it. Studies show we remember better if we see, hear, say & do things! So we made a model of the earth’s layers out of playdough. We talked about each layer as we made it. Then we repeated the layers again after we cut it open. As a visual learner myself this unit really helped me retain the information and it was such a pretty earth!

playdough earth layers

Playdough Earth Layers

You will need 6 balls of play dough (store bought or homemade playdough).  Make the red ball the smallest and increase slightly in size for each remaining color (yellow, orange, purple) ending with the blue ball being the largest. You will also need some green to shape the planets on the outside of your earth.

adding layers to the earth

Now begin layering up your earth by flattening the yellow ball and putting it around the red ball layer.

science is fun

Pinch the ball closed so it looks like you just have a yellow ball. Repeat with the remaining layers one by one ending with the blue layer. Use Planet Earth Inside Out by Gail Gibbons to make your layers as accurately as possible.
Earth Day Playdough Preschool Actiivty

Now use the green playdough to arrange planets on the outside of your earth.  (this would also make an excellent project for Earth day!)

Playdough Earth cross section

Now for the fun part of this earth science experiment. Using a knife cut the playdough earth ball in half. Now you will see all the earth’s layers!

Layers of the Earth for Kids

Above you can see a view of the inside of the earth with the parts labeled.  Isn’t it pretty!

What’s Inside the Earth

Taking a Core Sample Experiment

Next I posed  a question to the kids, “How do we know what is in the middle of the earth?” Goofy (7) immediately remembered how HOT it is and that we couldn’t “go there.” So we talked about how Scientists (Geologists) take core samples.  To help them really understand what a core sample is we did a Cupcake Core Sample. I made cupcakes with several different layers and then frosted them brown (dirt) on top.

Earth science experiments for kids - taking a core sample   Whats Inside the Earth

Earth Science Experiments

The kids used a straw and stuck it straight in. They pulled it out and could see a sample of what was in the cupcake.  If you look carefully you can see a brown, purple, green, and yellow layer in the straw. They thought it was VERY cool! Then to help them really get the correlation with the cupcake and playdough earth model I cut the cupcake down the middle.

our core sample homeschool experiment

Earth’s Core for Kids

They both immediately said Ooooh!! I get it! I couldn’t wish for anything else! Science fun that my kids GET!

Earth Layers Worksheet

To help kids reinforce what they learned, don’t miss our free printable earth’s interior worksheet – coming soon!

Printable Earth Day Hat Earth Day Worksheets Earth-Day-Craft earth day activities for kids

Earth Day for Kids

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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