During the summer when the days are warmer and longer, kids and adults alike love spending time outside. But have you ever got your child to stop and think exactly why the days are longer in the summer than in the winter? Well, now’s the time to think about summer solstice and how we can celebrate this fun occasion with our kids.
Summer solstice for kids: what’s it all about?
Summer solstice is the first day of summer, usually around the 20th – 22nd June. It signifies the longest day of the year, as it’s the day we receive the most sunlight. As the Earth orbits the sun throughout the year, different parts of the world are tilted towards the sun during the different months. When the Northern Hemisphere, where the UK is, experiences summer (June – September), countries like Australia in the Southern Hemisphere will have their winter. So instead of celebrating summer solstice in June, Australia celebrates it in December.
Teaching kids about summer solstice and seasons around the world is simple to do and helps them learn a little about geography. Why not help them to understand by drawing a simple diagram of the sun orbiting the earth, and explain to them where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are?
Summer solstice activities and crafts
Once your kids have a basic understanding about why we experience longer, sunnier days in summer, you can celebrate the occasion with some summer solstice activities for kids. We’ve put together a list of fun activities and crafts you can do together this year:
- Visit a historic monument. A popular activity for summer solstice is to go to Stonehenge to watch the sunrise – let your kids sleep while you’re en route and pack a picnic basket filled with breakfast treats.
- Throw a summer solstice party. Deck your garden out with sun themed decorations – yellow and orange paper chains, sun shaped bunting – and make sure there’s some summer food on the menu – homemade ice lollies, orange juice, and fruit salad. Garden parties also give you the opportunity to play some fun summer sports activities suitable for both kids and grown ups.
- Dance around a maypole. Known as ‘Midsummer’ in Sweden, summer solstice is traditionally celebrated by Swedes with maypole dancing. Set up your own maypole in your garden by using a tree or the washing line pole, and then decorate it with ribbon, tissue paper, and flowers.
- Create a flower crown. Get a plain Alice band and wrap different coloured ribbon around the band, leave the ends loose so that they’ll flutter in the wind. Then glue on natural or fake flowers and greenery, alternatively you can wrap vines of flowers and leaves around the hair band and glue where necessary. Your little ones will love wearing their flower crown when taking part in summer solstice activities.
- Make a mosaic of the sun. Cut coloured pieces of paper into small squares and let your child create their own mosaic tile sun picture. We’ve got some tips on making mosaics with kids here.
- Create a sun necklace. All you need for this craft is some scrap materials, card, or homemade clay. Using your chosen material help your child create a sun shape – you can draw a template on the material or card and cut around this, or get your little one to mould their sun out of clay. Once you’re done, create a hole at the top of the sun and thread through some string or wool so the necklace can be worn.
- Paint a picture of the sun. Take a trip to your local park with your paint supplies in hand and get your little artists to paint the sun as they see it. Don’t forget the sun cream, and our paint stain removal tips may come in handy too!
Remember – all kids’ activities need adult supervision. Always supervise your kids when using scissors or glue, and read all instructions before starting a craft or game.