Schae Richards, community editor 

This year, we have the unique opportunity to see a Total Solar Eclipse, and people will be coming from all over the country to witness this rare event. If you live in Eastern Idaho, you might be wondering how to celebrate the eclipse while avoiding the huge crowds and heavy traffic. Here are some activities, education ideas and safety tips that will help you enjoy the eclipse with your families.


1. Backyard campout:No need to prepare food or pack supplies ahead of time. Create a campsite in your own backyard. Roll out sleeping bags, pillows and blankets, and sleep beneath the stars the night before the eclipse. Make a few snacks and play night games. You can even do an outdoor movie. Set up a screen and projector, and watch some of your family’s favorite movies.

Wake up early the next morning, and make breakfast together as a family. For some breakfast ideas, visit

2. Picnic at the park: Want to get away from the house for a few hours? Plan a family outing to a city park or playground. Prepare a light meal and a few games to play. Head to the park the next morning to see the eclipse, then continue to enjoy the day. Eat food, play games and enjoy nature! If you want to avoid the crowds, have a picnic in your own backyard.

3. Indoor family fun: You don’t have to “go out” to have fun for the eclipse. You can stay in the comfort of your own home. Organize an indoor scavenger hunt, do a craft or make a favorite recipe. Plan some sort of lesson to go along with each activity, so the kids learn a little something, too!

4. Outdoor water party: Beat the summer heat and cool off in the water. Fill up the pool, get out the squirt guns, set up the sprinklers, and come up with a few water activities to play throughout the day.

What kind of party doesn’t have food? Turn on the grill to barbecue, or prepare a few snacks for people to munch on before and between activities. Here are a few of our favorite summer recipes:

Main dishes

Side dishes



5. Family relay race: If you have a lot of family coming to town, it’s the perfect opportunity to do a family relay race. Map out an obstacle course, or invent a few games to play. You can even make it a competition between families, and give out prizes at the end of the day.

Capture the fun – and the chaos – by taking photos before, during and after the relay. These photos will make for a good laugh later on!


The eclipse is also a great opportunity to learn more about the solar system, and the interaction among the sun, Earth and moon.  Here are five quick facts, according to NASA, about the eclipse:

  • All of North America will see a partial eclipse.
  • More than 12 million people will be able to see the eclipse.
  • A total eclipse happens where you live once every 375 years.

Kids can learn more about the eclipse through local resources and fun activities:

  • Visit your local library to learn more about the eclipse. Libraries a part of the Star Library Education Network also have been given an official 2017 Eclipse Guide, which can be downloaded at
  • Do some sort art project like a quilt, time capsule or decorate your eclipse glasses. You could also do a math of science challenge. Get more activity ideas by visiting

Your safety for the eclipse is the most important thing. NASA recommends the following tips to keep you and your families safe:

Eye safety

  • Do not look directly at the sun.
  • Wear a pair of eclipse glasses. Your regular sunglasses won’t give you enough protection. You can find a pair of eclipse glasses at grocery stores, libraries and other local businesses.
  • Do not look at the eclipse through binoculars, cameras, telescopes or other visual devices.

Travel safety

  • Avoid traveling during the eclipse.
  • Be mindful of other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Make travel plans in advance. Most hotels and other lodging places are booked, so stay with family and friends if you can.
  • Traffic will be congested before and after the eclipse. Make sure you have plenty of food, water and other supplies in your vehicle.

Visit for more safety tips.