7 Lunar Eclipse Videos and Activities for Kids

Learn about a lunar eclipse with these great videos and hands-on science activities!

Kids of all ages are curious about the night sky -- constellations, planets and especially the moon.

And even though we see the moon in its' various phases each evening, every once in while, there's a spectacular reason to look up at night and see the moon 'disappear'!

In 2018, there will be TWO lunar eclipses (and another in 2019) which can be seen from many parts of the world -- so today we're sharing all the details, videos for kids & fun science activities that explore the moon & eclipses.


 

7 Lunar Eclipse Videos & Activities for Kids

While I would LOVE to keep my kids awake to see the full lunar eclipse, I'm not sure they would make it :)

You see, most of the lunar eclipse will happen between midnight and 6 am -- but you can see some of each lunar eclipse late at night and early in the morning too depending on your viewing area.

We have a great set of videos, books & activities so kids can see & learn about what's happening while they snooze!  And we've also included affiliate links for some of the items you'll find useful in exploring lunar eclipses.

 

When is the next Lunar Eclipse?

One of the first things you'll need to know is when this nighttime event will be VISIBLE in your area. 

There are actually a few lunar eclipses that occur every year so chances are you'll be able to see at least a partial lunar eclipse this year! 

And if you're lucky, you might even be in the path of a full lunar eclipse!  These are really awesome to see as the moon turns a deep shade of red when it enters into the Earth's full shadow.

If your kids ask why a lunar eclipse doesn't happen on EVERY full moon, visit NASA's Space Places for details on why this event doesn't occur each month.

Here are the dates for upcoming Lunar Eclipses:

January 31, 2018 -- see viewing map for your area (partial eclipse viewable in US)

March 27, 2018 -- see viewing map for your area (full eclipse viewable in US)

July 27, 2018 - viewable in the southern hemisphere

January 21, 2019 - see viewing map for your area (total eclipse viewable in US)

Oh! and if you happen to be asking yourself "Is it safe to view lunar eclipse?" -- the answer is Yes!

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse IS safe to view with the naked eye!  It's just like looking up at the moon on a normal night.

If you have a solar eclipse coming to your area, be sure to see these Solar Eclipse activities!

 

The Phases of the Moon

You can't really talk about an eclipse without introducing the phases of the moon to kids -- and this is because a lunar eclipse ONLY happens when there's a full moon.

So if your kids or students are familiar with the various phases of the moon -- full moon, waxing, waning, cresent, gibbous, new moon -- use these 7 hands-on science activites to learn about the phases of the moon!

 

         

One of the key reasons to know the moon's phases is understanding the role of the sun's light and the shadows in what we see each evening.  In reality, the moon doesn't really 'change it's shape' each evening -- we just see a certain amount of it depending on the shadows cast across it.

These books are the perfect place to start:

Faces of the Moon - an adorable book that reads like a fiction book but contains loads of non-fiction details! I love the rhymes that help kids to learn about the various moon phases and the illustrations are beautiful.

The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons not only introduces kids to the various phases of the moon, it also shares details about lunar eclipses, science facts and moon legends that have been told throughout history. This is a great book to use with elementary students and even has some good details for middle school too.

The Moon Seems to Change is one of the titles from the Let's Read & Find Out Science Series (we LOVE this series!).  The book includes details about the various stages of the moon throughout the month, an easy experiment and lots of great vocabulary!

 

Lunar Eclipse Vocabulary

There are a few good science terms for your kids to learn during this event:

Lunar Eclipse -- when the Earth moves directly between the Sun and the Moon blocking the sunlight to the moon.

Umbra -- the darkest part of the shadow.  In the case of a lunar eclipse, this would be the darkest part of the Earth's shadow.

Penumbra -- the part of the shadow on either side of the umbra (darkest part of the shadow)

 

Lunar Eclipse Science Activity

Here's a super easy 2-minute science activity you can do with your kids or students!

It can be done inside using just a few items you probably have around your home and will show how the moon moves through the two shadow areas of the Earth, going through both a partial and full eclipse.

All you'll need for this activity is:

  • a globe (or even a large ball will work) - we used a small globe of the world
  • a golf ball
  • a light source, such as a flashlight
  • and a pickle picker (look in your kitchen drawer for one of these!)
 

 

Watch the video to see:

  • how to quickly set it up the activity in your home or classroom and
  • how to identify the various stages of a lunar eclipse

 

Lunar Eclipse Videos for Elementary & Middle School

There are quite a few awesome videos that explain how & why a lunar eclipse occurs!

BrainPOP (one of our favorite science video sites!) has a great 3-minute video that explores the how & why of an eclipse.

PBS & NASA have a wonderful video that includes a view of a lunar eclipse from both Earth and space!

NASA has a great video specifically for the January 2018 Lunar Eclipse which happens on the night of a blue moon (the second full moon in a month) and will be a very rare event!

And if you want to see a live stream of the Lunar Eclipses, be sure to tune into NASA TV

 

More Nighttime & Moon Activities:

Astronomy for Kids: Marshmallow Constellations

Nighttime Scavenger Hunt {with free printable!}

Explore Bats & the Moon with books and activities

 

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Friday, 19 October 2018
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