Create Fun Solar Eclipse Masks, Jet Packs, Free Name Tags, & More!

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I’m sharing my top ideas for celebrating a Solar Eclipse in style from party planning tips to what the children should wear! This blog post will also keep your students safe. Whether you are in the path of the eclipse or will be enjoying a partial solar eclipse, your kids will love celebrating with you. Solar Eclipse Safety Masks, Jet Packs, & More!

We have been busy getting ready for the Great North American Eclipse of 2024. This is a once in a lifetime experience for many Americans. The next total solar eclipse won’t happen in the contiguous United States for 20 years. In 2017, a narrow path of totality stretched from coast to coast. In 2024, a partial eclipse will be visible by 99% of Americans. Remember that if you are not in totality, it is not safe to look at the eclipse with the naked eye. You can buy solar eclipse glasses with special-purpose solar filters through this link (affiliate link at no extra cost to you).

I can’t take how cute this little one is in her Solar Eclipse wear!

In 2017, I created 17 jet-packs, protective eye-wear, and astronaut name-tags, but it was totally worth it for that unique opportunity. I wanted to share some of my ideas and a FREEBIE with you!

I collaborated with Deedee Wills to update our Solar Eclipse resource. You can use it to review different types of eclipses. It is jam-packed with crafts, activities, interactive teaching slides, math and literacy centers, differentiated writing prompts for BEFORE & AFTER the eclipse, party ideas, costume ideas, nonfiction books, templates to make your own class books, vocabulary cards to help you lead discussions, & so much more!

You can click on the picture or here to grab it before (or after) the upcoming solar eclipse.

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Due to requests, I added this resource for 3rd – 6th grade which you can find by clicking the picture below! Older children will love the research, opinion writing prompts, low prep crafts, the shirt and cupcake instructions and writing pages, class books, and so much more! I wanted students to understand the scientific event while also having so much fun! You’ll find editable party letters for parents along with so many different ideas for having fun with your students!

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As we prepare for our big eclipse day, we will review the vocabulary cards included in the resource.

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When I spoke about the last total solar eclipse with my kindergarten students, many of the kids pointed out that the moon will be “on top of” the sun and that it was not safe to look at it or you will “burn your eye up”. 🙂

I loved having a sample of the craft ready which is included in the resource to demonstrate how the solar eclipse actually occurs. We also spent a long time talking about how dangerous it is to look at the sun without certified protective eye wear with special filters. That is the only safe way to have a solar viewing of a partial eclipse.

In 2017 during this rare opportunity, I read them the simplified class book and then students created their own. This year we will use the interactive teaching slides to talk about the great North American Eclipse of April and discuss the event in more detail. I am also planning to do multiple crafts with them. One of my favorites is the Little Moon Activity that you can see in the photo above. This really helps students understand how the moon’s apparent size seems larger than it really is. Even though the moon is so much smaller it can still cover the sun’s bright face. I’ve found that the Little Moon Activity is one of the best ways to demonstrate different types of solar eclipses. It also helps students understand how the moon’s distance allows it to cover part of the sun or all of it!

In 2017, I collected 2-liters from the sweetest man. He actually saved all 32 for me! I sprayed them all with a metallic spray paint I grabbed at Home Depot.

Of course, my daughter had to jump in and pose! 🙂

I rotated the bottles after they dried and sprayed them one more time. I had precut the “plate masks” and this time I sprayed them as well. They just needed one quick coat.

Our school purchased special solar glasses for the event. It took a little time to make the first mask, but once you had your template, the next ones weren’t bad at all. I made sure that the glasses were nowhere near the scissors as I didn’t want to accidentally cut the lenses. When I arrived at school and tried them on my students, I realized that we definitely needed to add a rubber band in the back. The glasses we have are not sized for young children! A rubber band across the back keeps them safe when students take a Quick Look at the sun’s corona.

Here is a shot of the back for reference! You are basically cutting a small line on the sides of each plate, a triangle out for the nose, and small ovals/rectangles out for the eyes. Don’t try to put your glasses in until you are finished cutting! I hot-glued a rubber band we cut in half to the back and stapled it to make sure it stayed put. I also added tape to be sure there were no gaps or holes for sunlight to creep in.

I felt really comfortable in 2017 with my kindergarten students wearing these. I knew they wouldn’t be peeking around the edge of the glasses at the bright face of the sun!

Okay, back to the jet-packs. I hot-glued the 2-liters upside down to each sheet of cardboard that was cut to be the size of a small backpack. I added some red tissue paper and orange felt to look like flames. (I would have rather used tissue paper for both colors but wasn’t able to find orange at my store.)

I used wide ribbon that I had laying around as the straps. I hot glued these on. Our fabulous interpreter happened to be walking by and popped in to help me. She went around and stapled the ribbons to be sure the ribbons wouldn’t easily be pulled off. After I tried them on my students I had to go back and make the straps much larger than I had originally thought. I think it would be a good idea to grab a child’s backpack to help you estimate how large you should make the straps.

As a final touch, I created these editable astronaut name tags which are available FREE in my TPT store! You can print them out and write your students’ names on them or I’ve included easy-to-follow instructions to type in your own names.

I used that same silver colored cardboard on the back of these. (Don’t judge my uneven cutting skills. I was in a mad rush to get these finished!)

Click on the photo to grab this FREEBIE for your classroom!

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Deedee and I also created this editable color by code freebie and a couple of centers for you to enjoy! I love how you can differentiate the color by code according to the needs of your classroom. I created mine with look-alike words. This is such a great practice because it encourages students to pay attention to all of the letters in the word. I can quickly create different ones for different small group abilities. For example, one group might work on CVC words, others on words with blends or digraphs, and others on words with 2 or more syllables. You just have to type the words in once by the crayon and it will auto populate.

Kids love dressing as astronauts to study the total eclipse of the sun!

I’ll let you imagine how excited they were when they came in to find the classroom like this.

I hope you have the BEST POSSIBLE eclipse experience with your students, family, or however you choose to spend it (whether it is watching a live-streaming event from indoors or SAFELY viewing it outdoors). I know so many will head to national parks and over 31 million people will experience totality with this rare event! We will be driving to some state parks weather permitting with our eye protection to experience the Great American eclipse!

Want to learn more about our preparations for the eclipse? Head here!

Do you love science as much as we do? Head here to read about some very simple science projects you can try with your kids.

Happy teaching & parenting this week!

hilarystatum
Author: hilarystatum

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