Aliens and their pets are hiding all over our solar system!
There are a couple of ways that G and I have played with this deck of cards, and you can certainly come up with more. Both ways are simple games of chance, and are intended to help our kids visually recognize the different planets, along with their positions relative to the sun and each other. Since the smaller planets have less hidden aliens, while the biggest ones have more, the games also hint at the different sizes of the planets.
How To Play:
- Download and print the free printable double-sided, using card stock, preferably in color. There are eight (8) sets of cards, one for each planet, and 9 cards per set. * The images have a lot of black, so make sure you have enough blank ink!
- Cut the individual cards. Use the front face as guide since the back of the cards do not have visible cut lines. The face cards will have “lose a turn” cards, planet surface cards (actual photographs from NASA!), and aliens. The number of aliens hiding on a planet depend on the size of the planet:
- Mercury : 1 hidden alien
- Venus : 3
- Earth: 4
- Mars: 2
- Jupiter : 8
- Saturn: 7
- Uranus: 6
- Neptune: 5
Set-up (for both games):
You, the copalette, sort the cards by planet. Stack each planet set face-down, arranging in their order from the sun, i.e. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Sorry, dear Pluto. You are not invited to this party. *Note: When your child has become familiar with the planets, you can ask him/ her to sort the cards.
- Start with the Mercury stack and arrange them in a grid of 3x3, face down, planet photo up.
- The youngest player starts by flipping one planet card over. The card will either be 1) the surface of the planet, 2) a “lose a turn” card, or an alien. If it is an alien, the player keeps the card. If it’s a “lose a turn”, the other player takes two turns. If it’s a surface, do nothing. *Note: If player #1 gets a “lose a turn” card, and player #2 also gets a “lose a turn” card on his first turn, then player #2 does not get the free second turn.
- The next player flips a different card. This continues until all the aliens for the planet are found.
- When all aliens from one planet are found, set aside those planet cards and travel to the next planet.
- The player with the most aliens found after traveling through all the planets wins!
You will need a regular six-sided die and tokens to mark you spot in this game.
- The youngest player rolls the die, and counting 1 from Mercury, moves down the planets. Player picks the top card from the planet where his/ her token landed. The card will either be 1) the surface of the planet, 2) a “lose a turn” card, or an alien. If it is an alien, the player keeps the card. If it’s a “lose a turn”, the other player takes two turns. If it’s a surface, discard the card. *Note: If player #1 gets a “lose a turn” card, and player #2 also gets a “lose a turn” card on his first turn, then player #2 does not get the free second turn.
- The next player rolls the die, and does the same.
- Continue until all the cards are gone. When all cards from one planet are used up, that planet is skipped from the moves.
- The player with the most aliens found after all the cards have been flipped open wins!