There are five million solar system kits for kids out there, and our family has tried a couple. To be honest, none of them are that great! But this one is definitely lower on our list.
My nine year old got it for Christmas this year and had fun assembling it and painting it. It was worth a nice morning. But it is not very durable, nor were the planets' plastic the best material for painting. The paint doesn't soak in or dry very well.
There were a couple other upsetting things. First, our kit came with one wrong piece. That was probably just an oversight with our particular kit, but it did require us to get creative in sticking Neptune together... we had to use tape, which messed it up a little.
Second, there were no pieces included to hang the planets except string. Apparently you are supposed to string the planets across your ceiling, but there are no fasteners to hold it up there. It says to get them on your own. I am not that great with fasteners and screws in the ceiling, so we just duct taped it, which was kind of ugly. Also you are supposed to hang the planets in place with string and paper clips, but the clips slide down the string unless you knot them in place first, which is kind of tricky for a kid. Lastly, you are supposed to tie big knots inside the planets' spherical body so the string doesn't pop out when you hang them, but ours kept popping out anyway. We had to tape the strings to the planets which looked bad.
If you want to display the planets on your desk, only the first four planets come with bases. There are no bases for the larger planets, which kind of disqualifies that idea.
This leads to the biggest problem: on the box, the kit says it contains a desk set of planets and a hanging set. This is very misleading. There is only ONE set of planets, not two! Maybe our particular kit was again missing pieces, but ours contained the four larger planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) which were meant to hang. And four smaller planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) which are meant to sit on the desk, on bases. This is a very dumb set-up. What kid wants to hang four planets and have four sitting separately on their desk? When we read the directions more carefully, they said to create the four smaller planets out of Sculpey (included) if you wanted to do the full hanging set. But baking and hanging four Sculpey planets with from the ceiling is not easy. You have to create a hole or way to hang them with string.
Lastly, our kit directions indicated that there should be TWO sets of the four larger planets, but our kit did not have a double set of them. Please comment and let me know if yours did, and I will amend this review.
The point is, I hated the kit. My son liked it enough, however, so I gave it two stars instead of one. And it did come with a nice boring workbook about the planets which he read through. So if you get it, fine, make the best of it. But if you have a choice, buy a different one.