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For kids, anticipation of eclipse goes only so far; bide time with activities.

Byline: The Register-Guard

The historic solar eclipse presents a great opportunity for parents to have some fun and teach children about astronomy.

For example, parents can demonstrate exactly how a solar eclipse works by using a globe, tennis ball and flashlight. Simply turn off the lights and use the flashlight to cast a shadow on the globe when the tennis ball passes in front of it, thereby simulating how the moon passes in front of the sun.

Understanding the differences in size between the moon and the sun can be hard for young children to grasp. After all, when the moon covers the sun in the sky, it may look like the moon and the sun are the same size.

In reality, it's all about perspective. A simple game, using a quarter and a dinner plate, illustrates the difference.

Have one child hold the quarter while their friend or a sibling holds the plate. Up close, it's obvious that the quarter is smaller. But as the children step farther away from each other, or as the quarter is held closer to one's eye, the quarter soon can look like it's as big, or bigger, than the dinner plate.

Ask your child to predict how far their friend will have to walk before the quarter completely conceals the dinner plate. Was the prediction accurate?

This activity is a great way to illustrate how the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, even if they look similar in size when they cross in the sky.

Watch videos together

Today's kids typically love to watch videos online, so put their digital interests to good use in learning about the solar eclipse.

There are plenty of child-friendly, age-appropriate videos online that explain what is a total solar eclipse and why this year's event is so unique.

Search on YouTube or other video sites for fun videos that explain the basics of astronomy, then share your favorites.

Help with baking

Include the children in any plans to bake eclipse-related treats. Of course it can take a bit more time and perhaps create more clean-up work for Mom and Dad, but allowing children to help in the kitchen is not only a way to teach basic life skills but also a great way to make lasting memories.

With careful oversight, children of all ages can mix batters, cut out cookies and pour ingredients. It's a fun way to let them be a part of making the solar eclipse a memorable day.

- Gazette Times

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Title Annotation:Out and About
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 12, 2017
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