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Family Activities

How To Celebrate The Summer Solstice With Kids

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Lucas Ottone

For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, June 21 marks the Summer Solstice, a.k.a. the longest day of the year and the official start of summer. Celebrated for thousands of years, this once-a-year even occurs when the Earth travels its longest path through the sky, resulting in maximum daylight. (The Winter Solstice, or the shortest day of the year, happens exactly 6 months later, in December). With traditions that reach back deep into human history—from the building of Stonehenge to the globally celebrated Midsummer—we love the idea of observing the day and change in season in an extra-special way. Below, we’ve put together several creative ideas on how to celebrate the Summer Solstice with kids.

Research The Summer Solstice.
There are plenty of resources out there—from YouTube videos to children’s books—that explain the unique movements of our sun and Earth that make the longest day of the year occur. You can start with this YouTube read-aloud of The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice (by Wendy Pfeffer) to get a great kid-sized overview of the Earth’s movements and many traditions around the world. Since the star of the day (quite literally) is the sun, you can also read up on facts about the sun, as well as flip through kids’ books that celebrate nature and the wonder of Mother Earth more generally.

Soak Up The Sun.
Depending on if your family is made up of early birds or night owls—think about watching the sun rise together or the sun set together. And/or—in between those hours—devote some time to heading outside and enjoying nature and the official kick-off to the summer season. Pack a picnic, a ball, a deck of cards, and other outdoor activities, and enjoy the simplicity of it all. The Summer Solstice means the sun will rise earlier and set later than any other day of the year, which also makes it a special opportunity to let your kiddos stay up late and not get ready for bed until the last rays of sunshine have disappeared.

Do A Sun-Inspired Art Project.
Put your “Pinterest Mom” hat on and search for the best age-appropriate, sun-inspired crafts that you know your children will enjoy. We especially love these tissue paper sun catchers and using SunPrint Paper to create unique art with objects found in nature. KiwiCo also has a great solar system activity kit that allow your kids to DIY their own system of planets that rotate around the sun.

Eat Sun-Tastic Treats.
Hungry? Make a fun Summer Solstice spread that features fruits and veggies and baked goods in the blazing colors of the sun. Create a sun-shaped cake or cookies. Or, talk to your kiddos about the delicious bounty of summer and choose some of your favorite in-season treats for a special meal at home or outdoors. Whatever tickles your tastebuds.

Dress Like The Sun.
Think orange, red, yellow, and glittering metallic gold. Try out a gold glitter makeup tutorial. Apply sparkling, kid-friendly body glitter and sunny-hued nail polish. Put flowers in your hair. Have fun with it!

Get Creative!
After learning about the many sun-worshipping traditions around the world, brainstorm creative ways your family can ring in the Summer Solstice at home. Perhaps it’s making your own sundial with rocks, hosting a beach bonfire, or decorating and dancing around a Maypole. Research your family’s roots and ruminate on what your ancestors might have done to mark the Solstice and go from there. The sky—and sun!—is the limit.

how to celebrate the summer solstice

Photo by Eloisa Ramos

How would one celebrate the shortest day of the year? Check out our guide to how to celebrate the Winter Solstice for kid-friendly ideas!

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