I can hardly believe that the Summer Solstice is almost upon us. The summer sun has been such a long time in finding us this year, and even today the sky is grey and gloomy as showers pass overhead. It feels like the Summer will have been and gone before we know it, and what a hard Winter that will make for us, without enough time to fully soak in the power and glory of the sun.
Which is why it is more important than ever that we do embrace the Summer whilst it is here, remembering the power that lies within the sun's rays to warm our hearts and nourish the land on which we live. The Solstice itself is such a fleeting moment, a snapshot in time when for a tiny moment the sun prevails and provides us with more warmth in a single 24 hours than it will for another 365 days! If that's not a message to cherish the moment and trust that life ebbs and flows but always comes around again, I don't know what is!
But how do we celebrate that with our children? How do we make it clear to them how important it is to celebrate the sun and rejoice in all that it provides us with, both now and in the future (after all, our Winter stores all come from the Harvest that is currently growing thanks to the Summer sun!) It is quite a challenge to explore all of this with young children, although older children will most likely find it interesting to look more closely at life cycles and why we celebrate what we do.
The answer, I have found, is that it doesn't matter so much how we celebrate, only that we do. What feels right for me and my family may not feel right to you and yours, and vice versa. So with that in mind I have turned to Pinterest to collate a range of kid friendly Solstice activities that the whole family can enjoy. I've chosen some of my favourites to list here, but you can find more over on Pinterest.
Make Dandelion Crowns
I absolutely love the idea of making floral crowns and there are many different ideas and tutorials for this over on Pinterest. But my favourite has to be this fantastic illustrated guide to making a dandelion garland by Oscar Ate My Muffin. There are dandelions everywhere at this time of year, so why not take a walk to your local park for a picnic lunch, and collect dandelions to braid into a garland or crown as your dinner goes down? If you want to take this further, you could talk about how different people may celebrate different religious holidays by wearing certain costumes, and think about who might like to wear a flower garland and what it might symbolise.
Make Dandelion Bread
Talking of picnics, how about packing some of this delicious looking Dandelion Bread by Saving 4 Six. Baking bread using items you have managed to forage yourself from your garden or local area is a fantastic way of exploring how the food we eat is made and why it is so important for us to cherish our earth and try to avoid waste. It could open up an opportunity to discuss how food may seem to be in abundance right now, and that we can rejoice in this, but that it may not always be as abundant - a great message for celebrating the Summer Solstice and all it shares with us.
Get Messy with Feet Painting
There are so many craft activities out there for kids, and I'm sure you have your own favourites, but I have to say that this idea for Painting with the Feet by Home Grown Friends is hands-down (haha) one of my favourite finds yet. What better way to celebrate the warmth of the summer sun than getting outside and doing something barefoot? How many months of the year do we hide our feet away in socks and shoes - let's free them for just a little while, hey? Feet Painting looks and sounds like so much fun, and you could make it as creative as you like. I also love the idea of using the end result as wrapping paper! For the past couple of years we have made our own Christmas wrapping paper and I'm sure that pulling out brightly coloured paper with fun memories of a hot, Summer day might just cheer up those dark, gloomy Winter nights as we race toward the Winter Solstice.
Make Beaded Bubble Wands
Every kid likes bubbles, right? And chasing bubbles on a sunny day has to be one of those wonderful memories we all enjoy, so it seems like such a lovely idea to celebrate the Summer Solstice by having a bubble party, don't you think? Why not make it even more exciting by creating your own beaded bubble wands like The Artful Parent? I love how pretty they are, they could be personalised to each child's individual favourite colours or colours that you all associate with the Summer. Then, as you blow the bubbles, you could imagine blowing all your worries into each bubble and watching them float away on the breeze before popping and releasing it all out to the Universe. Or you could imagine blowing love and light into each one and watch as that spreads into the world around you. Kids are so good at visualisation so the sky's the limit with this one!
Create a Sunshine Spinner
If you're looking for a super easy craft activity that you and your kids can enjoy, then I may have found just the thing for you. Kimbo from A Girl and a Glue Gun shared this fantastic tutorial for a DIY Paper Spinner over on Makes and Takes. Paper spinners are quick and easy to make and can be packed up and taken with you anywhere, so why not make a few and then take them out into the woods or your local park for a little Solstice Ceremony? You could focus on how the earth turns on a daily basis, creating night and day, and that it also rotates around the sun, creating the seasons. Ask your kids to spin their spinners at different speeds, holding it high and then low, and maybe spinning around themselves (have you ever noticed just how much kids love to spin until they are so dizzy they almost fall over?)