North American Total Solar Eclipse 2017: Just for kids!

The National Park Service has long supported the notion that kids are often more engaged in an experience if they have a guide. The popular Junior Ranger program is an age-appropriate method of pointing young visitors to their parks, national monuments, or historical parks through booklets full of activities that reap a badge reward upon completion. So it should be no surprise that just in time for the North American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017, the NPS has created a sun-moon-specific guide that will knock your young astronomers’ socks off. 

Sticking to the “Explore, Learn, and Protect” mantra of Junior Ranger-dom, this eclipse Junior Ranger book was created in cooperation with the Planetary Society (hosted by Bill Nye the Science Guy, even!) and provides a unique tool for viewing the eclipse, OR just thinking about it, as families explore their national parks or other public lands. 

If your family, like ours, lives a bit too far north or south for good eclipse-viewing, the Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer book also provides a connection to an event that has caused so much excitement, helping youngsters feel part of the action even if they can’t be there in person. 


Where to get the book: Download the PDF right HERE

What do you do? Fill out the directed activities, do a bit of digging on your own (perhaps creating one of the cool crafts also listed on the NPS page), and invite your family and friends to participate with you.

Where do you take the completed booklet? Take it to your local public lands center, national park visitor center, or historical park/national landmark visitor center, and take the Junior Ranger pledge! From there, you’ll receive an honorary park ranger badge celebrating your participation!

Other activities are available on the Junior Ranger official page, including this amazing craft  tutorial about making a pinhole projector for safely looking at the sun. 

Outdoor Families Magazine also has a great “need to know” list of important eclipse-viewing strategies for those who may be heading to the Lower 48 for the experience.

While we Alaskans may not be able to experience the eclipse in person, we can take a few steps toward understanding the why and how of one of the universe’s most mysterious, magical events. 


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