2017 Solar Eclipse

On Monday 21st August there will be a total solar eclipse of the sun in the United States, visible in a band right across 14 states of the country. Nicknamed the "Great American Eclipse", anyone living in the 70 mile wide path of the moon's shadow, or "path of totality", across the United States will be lucky enough to witness the total eclipse.  In the United Kindom, we can expect to see a partial eclipse, skies permitting!

Here at Activity Village you can learn a little about solar eclipses in general and the Great American Eclipse in particular, and of course we've got some interesting and fun printable activities for Members that you can use to get the kids involved.

This is an exciting eclipse because so many Americans will be able to see it. All across the country, hotels are fully booked in the path of totality as people will be travelling to see the total eclipse!

2017 Solar Eclipse for Kids

Who will see it?

  • You can download a map showing the "path of totality", which covers 14 contiguous (touching) states of America, below. If you are in the path of totalilty at the right time, you will be able to see a total eclipse of more than 2 minutes. How exciting!
  • The total eclipse will start in Salem, Oregon and end in Charleston, South Carolina. The time between the first glimpse and last on American soil will be about 100 minutes.
  • The path of totality crosses through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • Outside the path of totality, Americans will be able to see a partial eclipse.

What about the rest of the world?

  • Parts of South America, Africa and Europe will see, weather permitting, a partial solar eclipse.
  • A partial eclipse will be visible, if we have clear skies, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from around 7.30pm.

Did you know?

  • More than 12 million Americans live inside the path of totality! No wonder the 2017 Solar Eclipse is being called the Great American Eclipse!
  • We have a very long wait in the UK before we see a total eclipse - not until September 2090!

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when the moon moves between the Earth and sun, blocks the sun's light, and casts a shadow on the Earth. A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely covers the sun. This happens about every 18 months somewhere on Earth. A partial solar eclipse happens at least twice a year.

Nasa diagram of the 2017 solar eclipse
Nasa diagram of the 2017 solar eclipse, nasa.gov

Because the moon's shadow is small, we rarely get to see a total solar eclipse. In fact, a particular spot on Earth might only get to see a total solar eclipse every 375 years! The fact that the 21st August eclipse will cover so much of America is what makes it so exciting!

Don't get confused between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse! A lunar eclipse is when the moon moves behind the Earth. The Earth therefore blocks the sun's light on the moon and a shadow, with a red tint, is created. A solar eclipse makes the sun darker. A lunar eclipse makes the moon darker.

This video explains it all very well!

Eclipse Safety

It is important not to look directly at the sun while waiting for the solar eclipse, or while the eclipse is taking place - unless wearing proper solar eclipse glasses. Glasses should be checked for scratches and holes before wearing and children must be instructed on their proper use. For example, they must be taught to look away from the sun before taking the glasses off.

Our 2017 Solar Eclipse Activities

A special thank you goes to Midori Feldman, one of our members, who contributed some of these materials! Explore below.

2017 Solar Eclipse Crossword

2017 Solar Eclipse Crossword

Can the kids puzzle out the answers to this crossword, specially made for the 2017 Solar Eclipse? With thanks to our Member Midori Feldman for the clues!

During the Eclipse Colouring Page

During the Eclipse Colouring Page

Woodland animals are enjoying a picnic while watching a total solar eclipse - well protected with their special eclipse-watching glasses! Colour in this delightful colouring page, which was designed for us by one of our Members, Midori Feldman.

During The Eclipse Story Paper

During The Eclipse Story Paper

Here's a story paper with a beautiful illustration all about a solar eclipse - the animals and flowers all look ready for the eclipse with their special safety glasses!

Great American Eclipse How Many Words

Great American Eclipse How Many Words

Here's another Great American Eclipse activity for the kids to enjoy. How many smaller words can the kids make from the letters in GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE? This is a fun activity for kids to do on their own or as a challenge against their friends and class mates!

Great American Eclipse Poster

Great American Eclipse Poster

What will the kids include on their poster about the Great American eclipse? This printable is a great way to get them researching this fantastic astronomical event and then creating their own poster design.

Great American Eclipse Word Search

Great American Eclipse Word Search

There are many excellent places to view the Great American Eclipse across the Path of Totality (and hopefully the skies will be clear!). Here's a challenging word search puzzle ideal for older children - can the kids find the 14 states that fall within the Path of Totality?

Great American Eclipse Writing Prompt

Great American Eclipse Writing Prompt

Use this fun story paper with a child watching the Great American Eclipse (wearing safety glasses of course!) for the kids to write about their own experience of watching the eclipse. We've included a worksheet with extra prompts to help younger children with their writing.

Moon Finger Tracing

Moon Finger Tracing

Our finger tracing worksheet for the moon is a great way for the kids to practice their letter formations and the spelling of the word.

Moon Word Tracing

Moon Word Tracing

Learn to spell the word moon by tracing over the letters on this word tracing worksheet.

Path Of Totality Colouring Page

Path Of Totality Colouring Page

On August 21st 2017, millions of people across the United States will see either a partial or total eclipse of the sun - a truly wonderful sight!

Path Of Totality How Many Words

Path Of Totality How Many Words

Here's a fun solar eclipse themed activity for the kids to have a go at. Total solar eclipses only exist along a very narrow path on the earth's surface traced by the moon's shadow, known as the Path of Totality.

Relative Size Sun And Moon Activity

Relative Size Sun And Moon Activity

Here's a super activity to help kids understand the relative size of the sun and moon using A3 paper, pens and maybe some tissue paper and glue to decorate the sun. They might be surprised by the end result!

Sleeping Sun Colouring Page

Sleeping Sun Colouring Page

This colouring picture of a sleeping sun might be perfect for younger children watching a total solar eclipse. Colour the face of the sun black and the flames - or corona - yellow.

Sleeping Sun Story Paper

Sleeping Sun Story Paper

Use our lovely sleeping sun story paper to get the kids writing creatively! Is the sun dreaming, and what happens when the sun wakes up? Lined and handwriting lines versions are available for different ages and abilities.

Solar Eclipse Booklet

Solar Eclipse Booklet

Kids can print and fold this Solar Eclipse booklet then maybe write a report about the eclipse detailing what they experienced during this amazing celestial event? They could also write some interesting facts about the eclipse or perhaps a poem?

Solar Eclipse Notebooking Page

Solar Eclipse Notebooking Page

Anyone who has ever experienced a solar eclipse will know it's a truly memorable event! The kids can write down their own experience of the solar eclipse on our Solar Eclipse notebooking pages.

Solar Eclipse Safety Poster

Solar Eclipse Safety Poster

It's so important for everyone to stay safe and protected when watching the incredible moment the moon moves in front of the sun. Here's a printable for the kids to design their own solar eclipse safety poster.

Solar Eclipse Word Scramble

Solar Eclipse Word Scramble

Unscramble the words and match them to the pictures on our fun solar eclipse word scramble worksheet. Some of these are quite tricky, so it's a great challenge for older children! We've included the solutions to check the answers once the puzzle is completed. 

Solar Eclipse Word Search

Solar Eclipse Word Search

Can the kids find all the solar eclipse themed words in this printable word search puzzle? Some of them are quite tricky! We've included the solution too.

Solar Eclipse Worksheet 1

Solar Eclipse Worksheet 1

A solar eclipse is a fascinating astronomical event and a great learning opportunity for kids.This Solar Eclipse worksheet has some challenging questions to really get them thinking and it'll test their research skills too!

Solar Eclipse Worksheet 2

Solar Eclipse Worksheet 2

Here's an interesting and challenging solar eclipse worksheet that will require some brain power from the kids to complete! Can the children draw paths of light from the sun to show where on the earth will see a total or partial eclipse?

Space Cutting Shapes

Space Cutting Shapes

This space cutting shapes worksheet has so many uses. With two pages and all the planets of the solar system, once cut out the planets can be used to make a mobile or collage.

Sun And Moon Size Sorting

Sun And Moon Size Sorting

Here's a fun activity to help the kids learn more about a solar eclipse. Print the pages onto some card, cut out the suns and moons (and laminate if you wish)  - then see if the children can match the suns and moons by size to create their own solar eclipse! 

Sun Dot to Dot

Sun Dot to Dot

This simple introduction to dot to dots is a perfect way to introduce them to young children. Have them follow the dots slowly counting out loud as they complete our sun dot to dot.

Sun Finger Tracing

Sun Finger Tracing

This finger tracing word use a good one for very beginners, featuring a simple CVC phonics word for them to trace over, first with their finger and then with a pencil.

Sun Handwriting Worksheet

Sun Handwriting Worksheet

Our Sun handwriting worksheet is a good one for beginners, featuring as it does a simple CVC phonic word. Use it with your weather topic or as part of a space theme.

Sun Word Tracing

Sun Word Tracing

Trace over the letters of the word sun, and colour in the picture. You might want to use this word tracing worksheet for a weather topic, or when learning about the planets.

Watching the Eclipse Find the Differences

Watching the Eclipse Find the Differences

Here's a fun activity for the kids, contributed by Member Midori Feldman. Can the kids find the differences between the two pictures of an eclipse-watching picnic? Did you know that birds stop singing during a total eclipse?

Watching an eclipse through special glasses
Watching an eclipse through special glasses

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