Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lunar eclipse activities for kids

This Sunday there will be a lunar eclipse fully visible from our location that will produce a red supermoon. It's the only time this will happen during my kids’ childhood. That makes my usual Sunday night concerns – laundry, groceries, getting the kids to bed early, drinking wine – seem a lot less vital. A glass of wine makes any full moon better, so that will stay on the to-do list. But everything else has to go, at least once 8 p.m. hits.
That’s when the nightsky show begins in our location (find your start time here). Unfortunately, that also is the time when my family’s collective case of “Sunday-itis” – the anxiety, stress and general bad mood that hits as we face another week -- is often at its worse (thus the need for wine). As amazing as this rare celestial event will be, I know it’s going to be a battle holding my family’s interest until the full eclipse at 10:11 p.m. So how am I going to keep them outside with me?
With snacks and screens, that’s how.
1.       A variety of delicious and snacks and beverages will be served to my fellow eclipse viewers. I won’t be making the snacks – this is not a cooking blog – but picking up our junkiest, garbage-y favorites. And I will be sure to make a disappointing dinner so everyone is hungry (I can already hear the jokes, “How is that different from any other night?” Again, not a cooking blog.)
2.        I will permit, and even encourage, the use of handheld electronic devices. But they must be used to photograph the lunar eclipse.
·         First, we’ll look at tips specifically for this purpose from,  
Nikon and the CBC.
·         We'll set up a tripod for smart devices.
·         Then we’ll shoot away.
3.       Don’t worry, I’m not stupid. My kids will be done with that in about 15 minutes. Next up will be checking out these websites on the lunar eclipse:
·         NASA Eclipse website contains maps, historical data and dates for future eclipses, from 1951 to 2050.
·         NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory site for amateur astronomers.
4. Of course there will also be an educational video on why the moon will look red. 
5.  And because I’m not a cheapskate, I will offer to purchase a free app of my child’s choosing, as long as it is related to the lunar eclipse.
6. If all else fails, then we will watch a movie, that I’m sure will have nothing to do with the lunar eclipse, but that lasts at least the two hours and 10 minutes that I want them to be outside. If the kids complain when I pause the video to check on the moon's progress, then we will go back to Step 1.

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