We are totally geeking out over the solar eclipse that’s crossing the United States on August 21. In fact, we think it’s the perfect excuse to throw a solar eclipse party! So, if your kids aren’t in school yet, check out these easy solar eclipse party ideas. From snacks and activities to the important gear you need to watch the eclipse safely, this is everything you need to throw a once-in-a-lifetime party. Literally.

Related: How to know how much of the solar eclipse you’ll see, based on where you live

And no, there’s no Bonnie Tyler playlist requirement; though that’s totally up to you.

At top: Moon Cookies by Oh Sugar Events. We need them!

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Know when to throw your party

Easy eclipse party ideas: Start by finding out when it passes you, at Vox

First things first: know when the eclipse will be passing over your town. The clever team over at Vox has an interactive guide so you can find out exactly when you’ll see the eclipse, based on your zip code. So, plan your party for that moment.

Bonus: it also shows an animated video of how much of the eclipse you’ll be able to see from where you live. Because sadly, unless you’re in the direct line you won’t see a full eclipse.

Research your best viewing spot

Solar eclipse party ideas: Picnic party at Catch My Party

Now that you know exactly what time the eclipse will happen where you live, you can do some early recon work to find your best viewing spot for the event. At our house, it’s the top of the driveway.

Once you know where you’ll want to watch, lay out blankets and throw pillows so people can sit (or even lie) down instead of craning their necks standing up. I love this picnic setup we found at Catch My Party, with some really fantastic ideas. Because of course, you’ll want to fill each basket with solar glasses, snacks, and drinks to pass the time while you wait for the big moment.

Related: We’re celebrating the total solar eclipse with these fun gifts. Yay darkness!


Have the right gear on hand

Solar eclipse party tips: Make sure you have solar eclipse viewing glasses on hand for everyone

Of course, you can’t just stare straight at the sun without permanently damaging your retinas. So, check out our guide to the best solar eclipse glasses for eclipse viewing — from disposable paper glasses (which make great souvenirs, BTW) to reusable glasses that will actually stay on your child’s head.

Remember, you’ll need filters for your camera or binoculars too, if you’re planning to watch through a lens. SUPER important!


Serve solar eclipse themed snacks, of course

Easy eclipse party ideas: Galaxy Cookies at Sugar Spun Run

Obviously, you’re going to need some themed snacks for this event. If your style is keeping it simple, swing through the grocery and grab some Sun ChipsMoon Pies and Rocket Pops. Easy!

Maybe some Sun Drop ice cream floats to go with them?

For something special, we looooove the super cool Moon Cookies which you can order by the dozen by O, Sugar! Event Planning (at very top).

Related: 23 of the coolest back to school items for kids who love space

Or, get clever in your own kitchen with some amazing homemade solar eclipse-themed desserts for your party, like Total Eclipse of the Tart lemon tarts from a recipe at BraveTart (yum, and…hilarious) or these ZOMG homemade Galaxy Cookies at Sugar Spun Run — though I’d use a moon cookie cutter for this particular party.

Busy mom tip: you can always use these DIY cookie decorating techniques on plain store-bought cookies too, to save some time.


Have fun eclipse activities for kids on hand

Easy eclipse party ideas: A simple eclipse craft from Books and Giggles

Here’s the sad news: After all this planning, the actual eclipse is going to last less than 3 minutes.

In other words, that’s not much of a party unless you plan a whole lot of extra activities.

I love this eclipse craft for kids (above) at Books and Giggles that teaches kids how an eclipse actually works. Also, it’s incredibly simple — perfect for a big crowd of kids.

Related: 5 expert tips for watching the solar eclipse with kids

DIY moon sand recipe from parenting chaos: Fun for an eclipse watching party or...anytime!

If you’re having little kids on hand, think about setting up a couple of shallow buckets of DIY moon sand for them to play in. The recipe we found at Parenting Chaos is great because it’s actually safe to taste. And you know kids.

But you can also just put out simple sketch pads paper and crayons to ask kids to draw what they see around them. Or give journals for older kids who can write about the day or try to write a poem starting with the letters in ECLIPSE.

But even if you plan nothing at all, make sure your camera or phone is charged to take pictures and document the event. One day, our kids may be asking each other, “so, where were you during the full solar eclipse?”

We hope you have the best time safely enjoying the eclipse and making memories with your kids. Go science!