Summer Solstice

adorable toddler celebrating summer solstice tradition of flower crowns
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Summer Solstice Traditions To Try With Your Kids

Welcome the longest day of the year with these traditional midsummer celebrations.

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The summer solstice occurs every year when the sun reaches its “zenith” in the sky, between June 20 and the 22. It marks the official start of summer, and historians know that humans have celebrated this annual milestone since ancient times. The fact that Stonehenge seems to have been very intentionally built to align with the midsummer sun on the solstice is just one of many things that point to the ancient significance of the longest day. Summer solstice has been celebrated as a time of rebirth and renewal since ancient times around the world, and many Nordic countries are known for their traditional midsummer celebrations, that include maypoles, flower crowns, and often a national day off. Though for many of us, summer is less about agricultural meaning than it likely was originally, celebrating the solstice is still a lovely tradition to take up. Summer is a time of giddy joy and fun that many of us look forward to all year. Why not welcome it with open arms and a little celebration?

Summer solstice traditions to try outside

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The best way to celebrate the summer solstice is to enjoy being outside in the sunlight and in nature. There are nature crafts for outside, DIY activities where you can learn about the sun, chalk art, forts, and even something as simple as a nature walk to appreciate the Earth and all she’s done for us.

  • Make a sundial — use rocks and sticks to make a simple sundial.
  • Go on a nature walk and have older kids journal about what they notice about the sun light.
  • Build a bonfire — a summer solstice bonfire is a classic way to celebrate. If your kids are old enough and you have a place to safely do this, that is!
  • Make chalk art featuring flowers, suns, and other Solstice symbols.
  • Say goodnight to the sun — let the kids stay up late to see the latest sunset of the year. Welcome it with sparklers, and maybe even music (if the neighbors are cool).

Summer solstice craft ideas

Every year, have a crafty afternoon on the summer solstice, where you make crafts related to the sun, to nature, and summer in general. If you have the space, you can save them and use the crafts for summer solstice decoration next year.

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Enjoy special summer solstice snacks

Making a festive feast or snacks with your kids is a really fun way to celebrate the solstice, and this activity produces some delicious rewards the entire family can enjoy.

  • Salad skewers — Using in-season veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, etc.) and mozzarella cheese cubes, skewer the ingredients onto a kebab and drizzle with salad dressing. Kids can help assemble these.
  • Fruit bowl — Nothing screams summer like a fruit bowl. Enjoy a fruit salad today outside with your kids after they help you assemble it with watermelon, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi — the combinations are endless.
  • Heirloom tomato recipes are also a good choice because of the significance of tomatoes and Litha.
  • Bell pepper strip snacks — Choose orange, red, and yellow bell peppers to symbolize the sun and enjoy this crunchy healthy snack with some hummus. Kids love to dip.
  • Grilled food — With the grill flame symbolizing honoring the sun today, fire up the grill and enjoy an outdoor picnic of grilled meats and veggies.

Read summer solstice books

Books are always my go-to activity with my son. Every holiday, season, and event has a set of books for us to read. This list includes summer titles that focus on summertime activities, the solstice itself, and other whimsical characters and stories that both you and your children will love. Spend some quality time inside from the heat reading, or perhaps you can find a nice big shady tree under which to enjoy these books.

Mark summer solstice as a time of renewal

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Think of solstice as a new year celebration of sorts, and welcome it as a time for fresh starts and renewed intentions.

  • Set intentions, wishes or prayers for the year ahead — Write out prayers or wishes for the upcoming season and place them on the prayer tree.
  • Keep a sacred bonfire burning — Again with the fires — be careful, and only do this one with older kids who understand and can really follow fire safety rules. You can write down things you want to release or let go of on sheets of paper together and throw them into the fire to symbolically release them.
  • Watch sunlight come through the stones at Stonehenge — This beautiful moment is absolutely breathtaking and a spiritual journey. As you see the light shine through, focus on your own gratitude and have your kids focus on what they’re grateful for and what brings them light. You can watch the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge from the comfort of your own home.

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