Ideas for Teaching Primary Students About The Total Solar Eclipse

Blog image of young students drawing out solar system.

Button for downloading total solar eclipse freebie.

The total solar eclipse is coming April 8, 2024!  Anyone else super excited??  We are actually out of school specifically for the event because we would have been right smack in the middle of it during dismissal.  So, e-Learning day it is!  Yay!  Psst.. There is a letter included in the freebie to send out to parents if you are also at home on the solar eclipse day!

The total solar eclipse is really a mesmerizing celestial event for all ages.  It is unique to young learners in that it offers a captivating opportunity to jump into the wonders of space and science. Teaching students about the solar eclipse can be an enriching and educational experience. In this blog post, I will share fun, creative, and age-appropriate ways to engage students in understanding this fascinating phenomenon!  And…  there’s a freebie included in this one!  Let’s get students excited, shall we?  Here we goooo!

Understanding the Solar Eclipse

Of course, it’s super important to provide students with a basic understanding and some background knowledge of what a solar eclipse is. For kindergarteners, simplify the explanation by describing it as when the moon covers the sun. First and second graders can dive deeper into the science behind eclipses, discussing the positions of the Earth, moon, and sun.  

I always like to show a quick video that introduces and explains things in kid’s terms!  This video from NASA Space Place on YouTube is a perfect and quick, to the point way to open up the discussion!  Click on the image below to check it out!

Tablet with a video teaching young learners about the total solar eclipse.

Engaging Activity Ideas for Kindergarten


Photo of picture book Total Solar Eclipse.Use colorful picture books or create a simple narrative to introduce the solar eclipse concept to kindergarteners.  A really cute book that explains the solar eclipse in a kid friendly way is Total Solar Eclipse:  A Stellar Friendship Story by Jayme Sandberg!  You can find it on Amazon, or just click the link and it will take you right to it!

You can even take this one step further and read through a fun, little easy reader with your students!  Once you have read through it together, the kids can color their books.  Being able to read on their own, with a partner, or with the whole class, the easy reader can help students take some ownership over their reading and learning about the solar eclipse!  Need an easy reader for your students, I’ve got you covered.  Just click the freebie! 

Sensory Exploration

Set up sensory bins with sand, rocks, and small toys for students to simulate the solar eclipse experience.  I love, love, love sensory bins!  It’s such an easy, yet rich learning experience for little learners!  

Arts & Crafts

Have students create eclipse-themed artwork using materials like construction paper, crayons, and paint.  Easy peasy!  My kids just get excited when they see construction paper and are told  they can get out their scissors and glue!  This simple craft is included in my freebie where students can color and assemble the sun, earth, and moon in the way it would appear during a solar eclipse.

Images of ideas for how to teach young learners about the solar eclipse.

Interactive Activities for First Grade

Science Experiments

Conduct simple experiments to demonstrate the solar eclipse process using balls and flashlights to represent the sun, moon, and Earth.  This is a super easy way to really show students how the solar eclipse works!


Encourage students to act out the movements of the sun, moon, and Earth to understand how eclipses occur.  You can even break out the flashlight (or a bigger light) here as well.  Students will be made to position themselves so that the “moon” moves in front of the “sun.”  I’m envisioning students wearing the earth, moon, and sun around their necks.  You can also throw in other planets to deepen their understanding and learning experience!  You won’t believe just how much they get into it… So fun!

Outdoor Observation

Though we are not in school on this day, the letter I’m sending out to families mentions watching the solar eclipse in a safe way.  If you are in school on this day, you can always organize a safe outdoor observation session using eclipse glasses or pinhole projectors to view a solar eclipse.  I remember doing this when I was in school and it was seriously one of the coolest things ever and it obviously left a lasting impression!

Image of a family outside observing the total solar eclipse.

Hands-On Activities for Second Grade

Model Making

Have students create 3D models of the Earth, moon, and sun to understand their positions during a solar eclipse.  Doing this creates a very hands-on experience to learning about the eclipse.

Writing Assignments

Prompt students to write short essays or stories about their solar eclipse experiences, incorporating scientific facts and observations.  This can be prompted with research that is done at school and then concluded with discussions about their own personal experiences with the solar eclipse (whether they are learning at home or at school).

Outdoor Observation

As mentioned above, take the kiddos outside to actually view the solar eclipse!  It will be an unforgettable experience for them… and maybe even you!  🙂

Virtual Field Trips

If you cannot get outside, or just feel better about keeping it in, you can take students on virtual field trips to observatories or planetariums to learn more about solar eclipses and other celestial phenomena.  Here is a great and super informative virtual field trip from YouTube!

Image of computer screen with a video of a virtual field trip to a planatarium.

Teaching students about the solar eclipse provides a unique opportunity to spark curiosity, inspire wonder, and deepen their understanding of science and space. By incorporating engaging activities, interactive lessons, and hands-on experiences, we can create memorable learning experiences that ignite a passion for exploration and discovery in young learners.

If you’d like my freebie bundle that includes a letter for families, an easy reader, simple craft, and a fun hat for you little learners to wear, click here or on the picture below!

Image showing the freebie items included in the Total Eclipse Bundle of Fun.

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