Oh, how I envisioned creating this post three, four, even five weeks ago.
But life got in the way.
So here it is: eclipse 2017 resources for families–even if you’re last-minute, like me.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that on August 21, we’ll experience a total solar eclipse.
I am going to hit you quickly with everything we’re doing on the big day so that you can do it, too. Grab a friend or two, a few other neighbors or families, or your students if you’re back in the classroom already.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Eclipse 2017 — Free Resources for Families (Even If You’re Last-Minute!)
I’m no scientist, believe me, so I have had to do a bit of digging for information about what this eclipse is, what it means, and why it’s such a big deal.
In order to save you a bit of time, here’s the absolute basics of what you need to know . . .
1. You need to know what it is.
What is a solar eclipse? A solar eclipse occurs when the new moon passes between the Earth and sun. When the moon covers the entire disk of the sun, we see a spectacular total eclipse of the sun with the corona glowing. During the eclipse, the moon’s shadow is cast upon the Earth and travels across the surface at more than 1,000 miles per hour. (Thank you, NASA.)
2. You need special eclipse glasses.
A lot of the eclipse glasses are sold out now–really and truly you cannot buy them on Amazon anymore unless you want to pay an arm and a leg, but you may be able to grab a pair at your local library or school. I would definitely call around to see if anyone has a pair that you can borrow or use.
If you don’t have eclipse glasses, you can:
- Learn how to make a pinhole projection with your hands
- Set up an optical projection of the eclipse
- Make a sun funnel
- Buy a pair of sun-oculars.
Really you need to know that viewing the sun is not safe for your eyes, and there’s a whole lot you can read about the safety of viewing eclipses on the NASA site.
3. You need to know when you’ll be able to see it.
Visit the interactive map on the NASA site so you know exactly when you will be able to view this spectacle.
Or just view the detailed map of each and every state and how the eclipse will appear there.
The last page of this amazing eclipse activity guide tells you when you should be able to see either the full or partial eclipse, depending on where you are.
4. You need to keep the kids focused.
We’re just having a few friends over, and since we have a bunch of kids in the group, we’re going to have the kids complete this super easy Solar Eclipse Capture Sheet just so they are a little focused during the event.
You can grab your own copy right here, simply by putting your name in the box.
A Capture Sheet is super-simple–it simply allows a person to ‘capture’ all of the important information they can, and quickly.
But great news! I also added the following to the Capture Sheet:
- Eclipse printable fun facts from myths and legends (taken from an article in the Washington Post!)
- Eclipse corona craft printable that we’re doing today (from the NASA site)
- Eclipse crossword from Washington Post
- Eclipse social printable–everything we need to remember to do today to connect with those on social media!
So you get a lot when you sign up. FUN!
5. You need cool snacks.
My mom knew we were having an eclipse party, so she picked up some Moon Pies for us. Remember them?
Kind of shortbready-sugar cookie sandwich with marshmallow inside and covered in chocolate? Yum. So yes, here’s our menu:
- Moon Pies (buy them on Amazon or at the grocery store or make cheater moon pies with vanilla wafer cookies, marshmallow cream, and dip ’em in chocolate!)
- Oreos (because black and white. . . light and dark. . . sun and moon? And we may bust out a few Phases of the Moon books!)
- Star Fruit
- And anything star-related or galaxy related we can find. But probably that will just mean some green Gatorade, Doritos, and pizza. Who am I kidding? The kids are getting so big now that they’d gobble my cute and pinteresty snacks in a heartbeat.
6. You need activities.
- First, invite friends (or just invite your kids!) using the free invitations on the NASA site. Share any and all of your party photos with #EclipseParty.
- Remember to print out the Capture Sheet above.
- Then download the GLOBE Observer/ Citizen Scientist app and put your kids to work! This app allows them to be ‘citizen scientists!
- Watch the eclipse live stream on the NASA site.
- Use the NASA’s eyes simulation so you can see what it should look like from anywhere in the world! (See below!)
- Have the kids make bleached-out eclipse shirts, the way we made the Disney ones a few years back.
- Do other cool crafts. NASA has a ton of other cute and fun eclipse-inspired crafts to consider.
- During the eclipse, capture a short video (less than 1 min) of yourself, or you with others, doing an original dance inspired by the eclipse. As a reminder, avoid any kind of copyrighted music or materials in the background that would prevent us from posting your video. Share your video with NASA in the Flickr group or on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by using #EclipseDance. Don’t forget to include a brief description with your image. To learn more about, visit go.nasa.gov/2qTrUCt.
- Bling out your eclipse glasses! And share them on Facebook and Twitter by using #MyEclipseGlasses. Don’t forget to include a brief description with your image. To learn more about this project, visit go.nasa.gov/2r4rmbn.
- Print out some state-specific Pinhole Projectors and have the kids take photos with them. Tag photos #EclipseSelfie. Leave a 1-2 sentence description of your image/idea. To download your state pinhole projector, visit go.nasa.gov/2rUx9jI
- We are totally going to jam out to the eclipse play list–yes there’s one!–and it’s pretty darn good!
7. You need to stay connected.
Whatever you do, don’t just hole up alone in your house! Show the kids how connected we really are, especially when something as amazing as a solar eclipse occurs!
- Visit the NASA live stream page to find the best way for you to share your experiences. Are you on twitter? Instagram? Facebook? Tag NASA and let them know you’re watching!
- Visit the Flickr page to see a whole other set of ideas and how you can participate by sharing your own photos, videos, and more!
The NASA site has absolutely everything you need for this event, my friends. Everything.
These science-happy gals and guys have been waiting ages for this. AGES. So they’ve got everything from party invitations to crafts to citizen scientist ideas to music playlists to you name it. The site is awesome. It’s everything eclipse that you need.
Let me know what I’m missing here!
And do let me know how YOUR party goes!
Check out a few other posts that may help you develop strong and healthy habits for your family:
- wait time
- my day, your day
- frozen peas
- kids who rock the kitchen
- kids who rock the laundry
- rest time
- gem jars
- arm circles
- noticing kids
- homework routine
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