5 Summer Solstice Traditions To Do With Your Kids
Celebrate and honor the longest day of the year with these traditional activities you can do with the fam.
After the year we’ve had, we should be celebrating anything and everything, including the longest day of the year coming up — if you’re in the southern hemisphere. The Summer Solstice occurs every year between June 20 and the 22, and it’s when the sun reaches its “zenith” in the sky. While it’s a day of personal reflection, cleansing, gratitude, and happiness, it’s also a great day to have some Summer Solstice traditions to do with your kids.
From an astronomy standpoint, the Farmer’s Almanac says the day of the summer solstice depends on when the sun reaches the northernmost point from the equator. And in 2021, that day will be June 20. “The term ‘solstice’ comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). At the solstice, the angle between the Sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator (called declination) appears to stand still,” the website notes.
From a more spiritual and folklore standpoint, in addition to being the longest day of the year, “The Summer Solstice signifies the time when the Earth is at the fullness of her strength, fertility and abundance,” per exploredeeply.com. In fact, many European countries hold “midsummer celebrations” that include lighting bonfires on hilltops and attending gatherings at Stonehenge. It’s a time to focus on your own personal growth during this time of light and growth in nature, and it’s when the light is most available to us to take advantage of it.
“In terms of consciousness, it is when we are the most present to ourselves and who we know ourselves to be — the Sun represents the light of all life and consciousness. Seeds are planted in the Earth as well as the seeds of our souls,” the website says. “It’s a time of renewal and abundance, a time of love and expansion, as the summer sun unfolds the leaves on the trees, so do our souls open to receive the light of source to illuminate that which is within each of us.”
Learn Religions notes that many Pagans and Wiccans perform rituals on this day — which they call Litha — that include preparing an altar with seasonal herbs to honor the fertility gods and the fiery sun, setting up a drum circle with friends and family, meditating in nature, pulling some tarot cards, and cooking with traditional Litha foods.
Spend the Day Outdoors
If it’s not unbearably hot where you’re located, 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 sundial and learn how to use shadows. from the sun to tell time, per the Backwoods Mama Blog.
- Go on a natural walk and have older kids journal about their findings.
- Build a bonfire — this is a good one if you’re wanting to celebrate in a more traditional way. Pagans used to walk their animals through the smoke and people would hop over the flames to cleanse themselves and their livestock. Maybe skip the jumping over the fire.
- Make chalk art featuring flowers, suns, and other Solstice symbols.
- Create nature mandalas featuring sidewalk chalk and nature.
- Build a backyard fort with beads of red, yellow, and orange.
- Say goodnight to the sun — stay up late with sparklers, storytelling, and music.
Every year, have a crafty afternoon on the 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.
- Flower Crowns
- Pressed Flower Tissue Paper Lanterns
- Fairy Garden in a Jar
- Paper Plate Sun and Rainbow
- Squish-Painted Suns
- Sunny Monoprints
- Paper Plate Suncatcher
Enjoy Themed Food
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.
- Make a recipe with summer squash, which is definitely in season during this holiday.
- 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.
- Summer solstice rolls
- Homemade ice cream
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.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Kids by Lois Burdett
- The Wonders of Summer by Kealy Connor Lonning, illustrated by Lora Look
- The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer
- Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee
- The Sun Egg by Elsa Maartman Beskow
- Little Fairy Can’t Sleep by Daniela Drescher
- The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer by Davide Cali, illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
- In the Garden by Emma Giuliani
- Super Summer: All Kinds of Summer Facts and Fun by Bruce Goldstone
- The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
- The Flowers’ Festival by Elsa Maartman Beskow
- The Midsummer Mouse: Midsummer Tales of Tiptoes Lightly and the Summer Queen by Reg Down
- Spiritual sweeping of the home — Per Learn Religions, a “besom” or broom is used to sweep out not only physical dirt and clutter, but also the spiritual space and cleanse the area from negative energies that may have accumulated in the area. Now that it’s the beginning of a new season on the Wheel of the Year, take the time to get out any bad energy that may have accumulated last season.
- Make a prayer stick or prayer tree — Write out prayers or wishes for the upcoming season and place them on the prayer tree or stick, per exploredeeply.com.
- Keep a sacred bonfire burning — You can also write down things you want to release and negative energies that you want to extinguish on sheets of paper together and throw them into the fire.
- 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.