My first son was born on the summer solstice. And my second, within three days of the spring equinox. Oh, and there’s me…born three days away from the autumn equinox. Unfortunately, no winter solstice babies here. So, around my house – we’re fans of both solstice and equinox! We are beginning to create our own summer solstice traditions!
How Cultures Celebrate The Solstice Around The World
Cultures around the world pay homage to the longest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) in various ways. Many traditions involve being outdoors in nature, dances, and even bonfires!
Sharing books about the solstice with our children reminds them that our calendars are, ultimately, designed by Mother Nature. Ancient peoples paid close attention to the sun’s movement in the sky as they timed planting and harvesting of crops, telling time, and so much more!
*You can find any of these books at your local library, or use the Amazon links that I’ve added here for your convenience. I do make a small commission if you buy through the links here, but there is no difference in price to you whatsoever!
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Family Activities Rooted In Summer Solstice Traditions
For family activities focused on the traditions of the summer solstice, check out the history, songs, crafts, recipes, and games in The Summer Solstice by John Matthews.
Humans oldest rituals have been inspired by the warmth and life of the sun for centuries. This is never more true than at the winter and summer solstices, when the sun’s strength signals a change of seasons.
John Matthews explores the earliest celebrations, from people around the world, that honor the sun. From ancient sun gods and ceremonial dances, to the European customs of the Maypole and the love magic of Midsummer Night, to rituals for harvesting rice in the Far East.
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Picture Books About The Summer Solstice & Its Traditions
Summer is the glorious time when butterflies emerge from silky cocoons and daylight hours stretch longer and longer. With lyrical prose and vibrant illustrations, The Longest Day takes us on a journey through the history and science behind the summer solstice.
I love the book’s focus on summer solstice traditions from various cultures around the world.
This book strikes a perfect balance between lots of great learning and fun activities included in the back!
Wendy Pfeffer’s books are all perfect teaching kids about the seasons as well as cultural traditions surrounding each season. She has also written beautfiul books about spring, fall, and winter which are sure to delight!
The Solstice Badger tells the tale the earliest summer solstice – of the days when the Sun shone all day long, every day. In the beginning, The Sun roamed the earth happy, but eventually he became terribly lonely, and his light began to dim.
Aware of his plight, many of the earth’s creatures tried to befriend the Sun. To the Sun’s great joy, one day there came a creature that found a way to get close, and soon the two became great friends.
Staying longer each day with his friend, the Sun’s absence from the sky eventually caused the skies to darken and snow to fall.
Would the Sun realize his impact on the world’s suffering before it was too late? Would he have to leave his only friend and new found happiness forever in order to to save the world?
This book is gorgeously illustrated celebrating the light and warmth of the sun.
It’s so perfect for reading aloud and you get the bonus of recipes, and craft activities to start creating your own summer solstice traditions.
The Midsummer Mouse tells the tale of a summer solstice tradition – the Midsummer’s Eve festival – which is taking place on Farmer John’s land.
Tom Nutcracker and June Berry’s whole school is coming to celebrate. June Berry forgets a basket (with a cookie inside) when they are helping their dad build the wood pile.
Meanwhile, Pine Cone and Pepper Pot are not opening their door to anyone other than Tiptoes. Their beards, it seems, are hopelessly entangled. This sends Tiptoes all over the forest to find a way to get pine resin out of beards.
Finally, the Summer Queen begins to appear here and there. In the end, she joins the festival and tells ‘The Tale of Turana’ before mysteriously vanishing before the crowd.
Non-fiction master Gail Gibbons introduces young readers to the four seasons and explains why they change throughout the year.
Clear, simple diagrams of the earth’s orbit are labeled with important vocabulary. The Reasons for Seasons introduces the solstices, the equinoxes, and the tilt in Earth’s axis that causes them.
I love that Gibbons gives examples of what each season is like across the globe from pole to pole.
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History’s Most Famous Summer Solstice Story!
And finally Shakespeare, the great bard himself, wrote the most famous summer solstice story of all. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The summer solstice marks the “middle of summer” or “midsummer.” Most of us know a bit of Shakespeare.
Here’s a great video to start teaching your kids a little Shakespeare!
Here are some fun ways to get started with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
Resources for Even More Summer Solstice Activities
So, I’d love to know about your family’s summer solstice traditions, how you and yours celebrate the longest day of the year, and midsummer tradition you have! Let me know in the comments below…
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