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 lots of 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.
WINTER SOLSTICE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
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.
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 winter solstice days, it tilts away from the sun. At this time, the South Pole is enjoying the rays, and the southern hemisphere is enjoying the summer 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 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!
WINTER SOLSTICE ACTIVITIES
Check out our winter solstice project pack to make it easy and stress-free!
Some many 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.
1. SOLSTICE SYMBOLS
There are 3 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 had a great time researching these places to share with you.
Even if you can’t visit England for the winter festivals at Stonehenge, make sure to 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.
3. BURN A YULE LOG FOR THE WINTER SOLSTICE
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. Did you know the tradition of the yule log carries on in the form of yule log cakes?
4. MAKE WINTER SOLSTICE ICE LANTERNS
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.
5. DECORATE THE OUTDOORS
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.
6. CREATE BEAUTIFUL WINTER SOLSTICE CRAFTS
- Make a Crystal Snowflake for winter science that doubles as a pretty window decoration.
- Build a snowflake for a fun winter solstice STEM project
- Craft a Paper Snowflake Table Runner for your next winter solstice feast to set a beautiful scene.
- A simple painting technique using tape resist creates a beautiful piece of winter solstice artwork.
- These woven craft stick snowflakes are gorgeous for hanging all around this winter.
- Create these colorful coffee filter snowflakes.
- Make these fun snowflake ornaments from popsicle sticks.
- Download these paper snowflake templates to cut out
- Try this orange pomander tutorial for a classic wintery project
- Snowflake Coloring sheet (Instant Download)
- Winter Solstice Coloring Sheet (Instant Download)
7. WINTER SOLSTICE BOOKS
Enjoy a selection of winter solstice books to mark the change in seasons! Note: these are Amazon Affiliate links.
- The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice By Wendy Pfeffer
- The Shortest Day By Susan Cooper
- The First 12 Days of Winter By Nancy Adkins
Celebrate and learn about the winter solstice with your kids! It’s not only an educational experience but also full of traditions and beautiful winter crafts and activities for kids and families to do together this winter season.
WILL YOU CELEBRATE THE WINTER SOLSTICE?
Click on the photo below for even more winter activities this season!
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