There’s a reason for each season, and around here, we are quickly approaching the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. But what is the winter solstice, and what are the winter solstice traditions or rituals? Below, you will find many great kid-friendly winter solstice activities and winter solstice crafts to celebrate the day. The darkest day of the year brings about wonderful winter activities for everyone to share at home or in the classroom.

When is the Winter Solstice?

To truly celebrate the winter solstice, you need to understand what is called the winter solstice and how the seasons work.

How Does the Winter Solstice Work?

Remember we talked about a reason for the season? The tilt of the Earth and its relation to the sun, as it spins around, creates our seasons. When the northern hemisphere approaches winter solstice days, it tilts away from the sun. We explore the Summer Solstice here.

At this time, the South Pole is enjoying the rays, and the southern hemisphere is enjoying the summer solstice instead. Only two times a year, one of the earth’s poles is at its maximum tilt. There you have the summer and winter solstices.

On December 21st, here in the northern hemisphere, we experience the shortest day and, inevitably, the darkest day of the year. This is called the winter solstice. After the winter solstice, we get back our sunlight little by little until we reach the summer solstice when the North Pole is feeling the sun’s rays.

What are Some Traditions of Winter Solstice?

This goes ages and ages back, but one of the main reasons for the winter solstice celebration is to celebrate what will be the return of light after the darkest day. Now I think that’s something to celebrate too!

Different religions and cultures celebrate these specific winter days for many reasons. Winter solstice celebration ideas are about celebrating light, celebrating outdoors, and celebrating with food and feasts. I can get behind all of that!

Try one, two, or all of these ideas to celebrate the Winter Solstice!

Bonfire or Candle Lighting: Light a bonfire, gather around a fireplace, or simply light candles to symbolize the return of light and warmth. You can make a wish or set an intention as you do so.

Solstice Feast: Prepare a special meal with seasonal ingredients, such as root vegetables, hearty soups, and winter fruits. Share this feast with friends and family to celebrate togetherness.

Nature Walk: Take a winter nature walk to connect with the natural world. Reflect on the changing landscape and the promise of spring to come.

Yule Log: Create or decorate a Yule log, a piece of wood that can be burned in the fireplace as a symbol of the returning sun. You can also use a small log to decorate your home or try this yule log paper craft.

Solstice Decorations and Crafts: Deck your home with winter solstice decorations, such as evergreen boughs, pinecones, and candles. These can bring a festive atmosphere to your space. Find more DIY ideas below.

Stargazing: If weather permits, go stargazing on the solstice night. The long night is perfect for observing the winter constellations and appreciating the beauty of the night sky. Constellation activities.

Exchange Gifts: Consider giving and receiving small, thoughtful gifts with loved ones to celebrate the spirit of giving and gratitude. Homemade gifts or items that represent the season work well.

Drumming and Music: Incorporate drumming or music into your celebration. The rhythmic beat of drums can symbolize the heartbeat of the Earth and the return of the sun.

Meditation and Reflection: Take some quiet time to meditate or reflect on the past year and set intentions for the upcoming one. What do you want to achieve or manifest in the coming months?

Winter Solstice Activities

Check out our winter solstice project pack to make it easy and stress-free!

Some great traditions and activities have been passed along with the preparation for the winter solstice. I chose some exciting winter solstice activities for the classroom or at home. Everyone can enjoy participating in them together!

It’s time to brew a cup of coffee and add a pinch of cinnamon, or make a warm cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and get cozy.



There are three major structures and buildings associated with the winter solstice. They include Stonehenge, Newgrange, and Maeshawe. Make sure to take a closer look at each of these places and read more about their connection to the winter solstice.

It is believed that these three places are aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice. Click on the links above to read more about each of the structures/buildings. My son and I enjoyed researching these places to share with you.

Even if you can’t visit England for the winter festivals at Stonehenge, check in with this youtube channel, which will be live-streaming the event!

2. WINTER SOLSTICE STEM CHALLENGE: Build A Replica Stonehenge!

You will need Cardboard, cards, Dominoes, cups, index cards, woodblocks, and even LEGO! Check the recycling bin too. Use your design skills to come up with your version of this monument.



Learn about the rich history that connects the Yule log to the winter solstice here. You can use your log or make this yule log decoration. Maybe you can even burn your log in an outdoor fire pit while roasting S’mores as your feast and celebration. Do you know the tradition of the Yule log carries on in the form of yule log cakes?

Try our printable Yule Log Craft for a quick and fun solstice decoration.


The tradition of making luminaries, lighting candles, and creating ice lanterns for the winter solstice can be entertaining for kids to light up the dark day.

Try our super simple paper cup luminaries or these Swedish Snowball Lanterns. Grab a few battery-operated tea lights and mason jars. Try white paper bags and cut-out designs. Let the kiddos design their own luminary. Then add a battery-operated tea light.



Spend an afternoon making our super easy bird seed ornaments to hang around your yard or even along a favorite hiking trail. Have you ever decorated an outdoor Christmas tree? Build a DIY bird feeder to share with the winter animals and birds. Make simple ice ornaments to hang on your trees.





Enjoy a selection of winter solstice books to mark the change in seasons! Note: these are Amazon Affiliate links.

Celebrate and learn about the winter solstice with your kids! It’s an educational experience and full of traditions and beautiful winter crafts and activities for kids and families to do together this winter season.

Grab this FREE Winter activity pack here!

Printable Winter Solstice Pack

Explore the winter solstice with STEAM! Perfect for the classroom, clubs, home, or just for fun! Full directions and pictures are provided for each STEAM activity. Print and GO!

Hands-on activities include:

  • Fun facts
  • Solstice Information
  • Coloring Page
  • Stonehenge Challenge
  • Yule Log Craft
  • Word Search and Secret Codes
  • Luminaries
  • Bird Seed Ornaments
  • Ice Lanterns
  • Snowflake Projects and Snowflake Facts Mini Pack
  • And more…


  1. A new free 3D virtual manipulative for exploring solstices, equinoxes and much more:

  2. Pingback: Winter Science Ideas for Fun Winter Science Theme Lesson Plans
  3. Pingback: Ice Ornaments for Celebrating Winter Solstice and Decorating Outdoors
  4. Pingback: Let’s Learn About the Winter Solstice | Memoirs Of An Astro-Nut

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