The summer solstice, or the longest day of the year, is usually celebrated on June 21. With the sun is at its height, we can enjoy early mornings and late evenings.
The day designates a tipping point when we reach the longest day and shortest night and it marks a reversal as days shorten following the solstice.
I love to acknowledge the summer solstice because there are so many sweet traditions around it, and anyone who knows me knows I love a reason to celebrate. (Also, it’s the eve of my wedding anniversary and I have fond memories of a great rehearsal dinner!)
Following are a few fun activities we like to plan to honor the extra sunlight:
- Watch the sky and learn about Earth’s orbit. At the June solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that the North Pole is leaning most toward the sun. This is as far north as the sun ever gets. I think we all enjoy talking about astronomy at night when the stars are visible, but this is an interesting daytime lesson!
- Host an outdoor dinner party. All locations north of the equator have days longer than 12 hours at the June solstice. (Meanwhile, all locations south of the equator have days shorter than 12 hours.) We love to use the extra daylight to dine outside!
- Practice yoga. Many yogis practice 108 sun salutations to welcome in a new season. This heat-building meditation helps you detoxify and reground as you move buried emotions out of the body and let go of what no longer serves you. I find this is a great way to recenter my mind; and the timing always seems to be appropriate.
- Play outside. The days are long, but the years are short. When the days are exceptionally long, get outside and wear the kids out! I know that my children will be up late and probably up early on these long days (they were up at 5:30 am today) because who wants to sleep when it’s sunny! When they are tired from playing hard, they sleep better and longer.
- Make a flower crown. This is a good way to discuss nature and learn why we need to respect it. My mother used to teach us how to tie flowers together from our own yard, but you could go for a hike and learn about all different kinds of plants too. As the kids collect flowers and leafs, talk about what they are, why they are useful and why the children chose those plants. Although you don’t need to make a perfect flower crown to bond with your kids, there are lots of tutorials available online.
How will you spend the longest day of the year? Please add your traditions to the list in the comments sections – I love new ideas!