There’s a reason for each season, and around here, we are quickly approaching the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Find out when summer solstice is and celebrate with lots of kid-friendly summer solstice activities and crafts. For many the longest day of the year brings about wonderful summer fun for everyone to share at home or in the classroom.
When Is Summer Solstice?
To celebrate the summer solstice, you need to understand what is the summer solstice and how the seasons work.
Remember we talked about a reason for the season? Well, the tilt of the Earth and its relation to the sun as it spins around is what creates our seasons. When the northern hemisphere approaches summer solstice days, it tilts towards the sun.
At this same time, the South Pole is away from the sun, and the southern hemisphere is moving towards the winter solstice instead.
There are only two times a year when one of the earth’s poles is at its maximum tilt. There you have the summer and winter solstices!
On June 21st, here in the northern hemisphere, we experience the longest day of the year and for some, what feels like the official start of summer. This is called the summer solstice.
After the summer solstice, the hours of daylight decrease little by little until we reach the winter solstice when the South Pole instead is feeling the sun’s rays.
Fun Facts About The Summer Solstice
It Is A Specific Point in Time
On this day, the North Pole is tilted towards the sun, resulting in the sun’s rays striking the hemisphere at the most direct angle possible. This phenomenon leads to longer daylight hours and shorter nights.
The summer solstice happens when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun. It usually falls on June 21st or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Sun ‘Stands Still’
The word “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “sistere” (to stand still). The term
refers to the apparent pause or stillness of the sun’s movement in the sky during this time of the year.
What Are Some Summer Solstice Traditions?
The summer solstice holds great cultural and historical importance in various societies. Many ancient civilizations considered this event sacred and associated it with fertility, harvest, and sun power.
Built between 800 and 900 CE, the Pyramid of Chichen Itza, an ancient city in Mexico, was designed to be aligned with the summer solstice. Learn more about it in our Landmarks download here.
Stonehenge, an ancient site in the United Kingdom, was built to align with the sun on the solstices. On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone in the northeast part of the horizon, and its first rays shine into the heart of Stonehenge. Many people travel to Stonehenge to see this.
Summer solstice celebration ideas are also about celebrating with fire, celebrating outdoors, and celebrating with food and feasts. I can get behind all of that!
Summer Solstice Activities
Check out our summer solstice project pack to make it easy and stress-free! You’ll find exclusive activities not listed below, plus a few favorites. The pack has fun facts, information, activities, instructions, templates, and photos.
Perfect for the classroom, remote learning, homeschooling, or just for fun at home!
10 Hands-on activities include:
- Fun facts
- Solstice Information
- Coloring Page
- Word Search and Secret Codes
- Sun Themed Art Projects
- Sun Themed Science/STEM Projects
Some many great traditions and activities have been passed along with the preparation for the summer solstice. I chose some exciting summer solstice activities for the classroom or at home. Everyone can enjoy participating in them together!
Build a LEGO Pyramid
Add these LEGO landmark STEM challenges to your Summer Solstice celebrations and build a model Stone Henge or Chichen Itza!
Can you tell me what time it is by using the sun? Let’s find out!
Make your own solar cooker from a pizza box for a fun summer solstice project.
This colorful sunflower project, inspired by famous artist Vincent Van Gogh, is a fun way to learn about famous art!
We all love a sunny day and an outdoor STEAM activity with these LEGO paper sun prints. Quick and easy to set up, make prints using only sun rays. The perfect activity for the longest day of the year!
Create your own sunrise painting inspired by famous artist, Roy Lichtenstein’s “Sunrise” painting in a pop art style.
Kids can make this cheerful summer sun craft using their handprints. Extend the activity with older kiddos by having them cut out their own handprints.