By Leslie Lindsay
If you have been awaiting the first day of summer as my children have, then you’re in luck: the longest day of the year is tomorrow, Wednesday June 20th at 7:09pm EST. The idea of “when summer begins” has been a question at my house for awhile now. And the answer isn’t as clear as you’d think.
One daughter thought it was summer back in March when the temperatures in suburban Chicago reached an all-time high of near 85 degrees. No doubt it felt like summer, but it wasn’t. Oh, no…just early spring.
Another daughter–precocious that she is–told me that Memorial Day is the “kick-off” to summer. And she would be pretty darn close to right. Does summer begin when we flip the calendar to June? Well, yes and no…at least we can don our white clothing.
Still yet, I was holding out to call it “summer” when school was officially out for the year–early June, neverminding the fact that preschool ended a full two weeks before elementary school.
See the confusion?
And then there is the discussion about when summer really begins. Alas, that is tomorrow as we in the northern hemisphere celebrate the summer solstice–or the longest day of the year, sunlight-wise.
What will you do to celebrate the summer? Here are a few ideas:
- Let the kids stay up later than usual and catch fireflies and seek out honeysuckle bushes
- Have a firepit moment, complete with s’mores and camp songs/stories (image retrieved from Amazon.com 6.19.12)
- Get those cool photo-sensitive papers that allow one to collect natural objects like leaves, rocks, insect wings, and flowers to create designs by leaving impressions made by the sun.
- Paint a picture of a sunflower. Use a real sunflower you get from your local farmer’s market as a model. It’s fun to see what interpretations/spin/creative license your child puts on it. Talk about how sunflowers slowly turn to face the sun all day long…
- Have a family backyard camp out–if you’re brave and can stand sleeping in close quarters with your (potentially) rambunctious kiddos.
For more information on teaching your children about the summer solstice or arts/crafts activties related to the summer solstice, see these sites:
From the Farmer’s Almanac, on-line edition, http://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-summer-summer-solstice
From Family Fun magazine, http://familyfun.go.com/holidays/summer-solstice-702443/
Care2Make a Difference gives some tips for summer crafts for kids, http://www.care2.com/greenliving/a-solar-summer-solstice-project.html
For information on how Scandinavians celebrate the Summer Solstice, see this link from the Washington Times http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/travels-peabod/2012/jun/19/midsummer-nights-dream-summer-solstice-scandinavia/
From LiveScience http://www.livescience.com/21049-summer-solstice-june.html