Sun Stands Still! Summer Solstice Extended Family Celebrations!

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Sun Stands Still! Summer Solstice Extended Family Celebrations!Throughout the Summer Months!

The first day of summer has nearly arrived! The North Pole is tilting towards the sun and we shall have fun! Dancing and flowers and fairy surprises!

In the Northern Hemisphere the Summer Solstice is on the 21 st June 2019 and for those in the Southern Hemisphere the Summer Solstice is on the 21st December 2019. 

Celebrating the seasons and festivals of the earth brings us closer to the earth’s natural cycles.

Please Note: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links at the bottom of the page.

Being in tune with the earths cycles means that we are going along with

the ebb and flow of the natural world.

After all we are nature and nature is us*

*this idea is partly inspired by the artist Andy Goldsworthy. Check out his nature art herehttps://sacredecology.com/andygoldsworthy/

The word ‘Solstice’ is a Latin word and its translation is ‘Sun stands still’. Its when the sun is at its highest point and appears to be stationary. It’s also the longest day of the year so make the most of the extra daylight hours and have extra fun celebrating!  

The Summer Solstice is also known as Litha and Midsummer. It’s a perfect time for fairy spotting as the cloak that separates our reality from the fairies is said to be removed and the fairies are let loose!

Since ancient times and in many countries around the world people have celebrated the Summer Solstice. England has one of the biggest celebrations on the planet.

In 2018, 9,500 visitors camped overnight to watch the sunrise at Stonehenge! Visitors chanted, played drums and recited words of prayer.

At some point around 2500 BC people began constructing Stonehenge. No one knows for sure the purpose of the stone horseshoe circle. However, it seems an amazing coincidence that the sunrise on the 21st June shines its first rays directly through the main Stonehenge stones! Also the sunset on the winter solstice matches up its rays with the same gap between the main stones. So it’s thought that Stonehenge was the focal point for the two solstice celebrations.

Since time began people have believed in the tremendous power of the sun and its far reaching influences. The sun provides us with all the energy the earth needs to thrive. This energy is passed along the food web and fuels all life on earth. It’s like a relay game: a plant or animal harnesses the sun’s energy either directly or indirectly. Plants soak up the sun’s energy and convert it to chemical energy. Animals eat the plants and take on the energy, other animals eat animals and so on.

It’s like we are all on a sunlight diet! The sun’s energy is never truly lost it just keeps being recycled. It makes sense to have a celebration to honour the hardworking awesome sun!  

Traditionally during the summer solstice people would burn bonfires to scare away bad spirits that could affect their crops, turn their milk sour and  bring general ill luck upon their lives. People would leap over small bonfires to bring them good luck and happy marriages during the summer months.

Witnessing the summer solstice sunrise was believed to be have cleansing and health benefits. Washing your face in flower baths was also good luck. Flowers and herbs played a large part in the celebrations and were placed around the house in bunches and fastened to wooden rafters to dry out.People danced around maypoles or summer poles and feasted on seasonal foods.

 


Sun Stands Still! Summer Solstice Extended Family Celebrations!Throughout the Summer Months!

SUMMER SOLSTICE ACTIVITIES AND NEW TRADITIONS TO DISCOVER:

 Sunny Ideas For Celebrating The Summer Solstice. Festivals in medieval times often went on for weeks! Enjoy these activities throughout the summer months.

Traditionally the Bonfire was used as symbol for the sun and the bonfire was the celebrations focal point. People would dance around the bonfire. If you can’t make your own bonfire or visit one then create some bonfire art:

 

  • Construct a Summer Solstice Hair garland:

Hair garlands are worn in the hair during the Solstice celebrations. Flowers, dried grasses,herbs, leaves and sprays of fern are all used to make an elaborate crown. The headdresses were believed to be protective and to keep mischievous spirits at bay during the summer solstice.

Follow this link to find out how to create your own with craft wire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3CxVm4XVIw

This crown uses twine and flowers instead of craft wire. Try making some little paper flowers or use fresh daisies: https://taylorbradford.com/diy-boho-flower-crown-with-boho-waves-from-tresemme-perfectly-undone/

Some paper flower ideas to craft for your garland crowns:

Pom Pom tissue paper flowers:

https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/tissue-paper-pompom-flowers.html

Coffee filter paper flowers:

https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/coffee-filter-flowers.html

Use the leaves, grass and paper plant ideas here to construct foliage for your garland:

https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/diorama-plants.html

Folding paper flowers:

https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/folding-paper-flowers-5petal.html

Paper cherry blossoms:

https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/paper-cherry-blossoms.html

If your son objects to a flower crown, which my son doesn’t! But if yours does then why not fashion a leaf and feather crown? Create lots of paper leaves, feathers and foliage and fashion a paper crown stip to attach them to and voila a lovely midsummer leaf crown!

  • Craft a fairy wand and/or a summer rod and go swish it around in the midsummer sun or sun showers:

If you have long strips of ribbon, rags or old clothes then cut into strips and tie around a dowel or stick to create something like a gymnastic rhythm stick. Use it to swoosh around and dance pretending your galloping around a maypole. In the 16th Century people would hold the maypole ribbons and dance around the ‘summer rod’ pole during the summer solstice. As well as lounging around the pole socializing and feasting. If you have a clothes line pole then you could decorate it for the solstice celebrations and use it as a centerpiece.

Visit this site for an idea to craft a fairy wand: https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/fairy-wand.html

A link to a wizard wand tutorial: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/how-to-make-a-magic-wand/

Watch a cute maypole kids dance to get some ideas : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Rc7CeQ1H9o

 

The Solstice Summer Pole

  • Go for a stroll in the woods or nearest green space and leave Solstice gifts for the fairies and tree dryads. A tree dryad is the trees spirit.Tree dryads prefer old gnarly Oak trees so if you know where one is be sure to scatter some seeds.Fairies also like herbs, flowers and especially rose petals as gifts. Go on a toadstool or flower fairy rings hunt.

 

  • Revitalise with a summer solstice flower fairy facial and hand rinse. Use fresh herbs and flowers such as Calendula marigold, dandelions, chamomile, nasturtiums, rose petals. Float these in a bowl of warm water and use the water to rinse your face and hands on the morning of the summer solstice or the evening before bed.

  • Plant some sunflower seeds and chart their growth over the summer. You’ll have lots of nutritious sunflower seeds to eat in a few months! Everyone needs more sunshine in their diet!

 

Solar oven in Odello, France!

 

  • Get up with the bees and experience the refreshing summer dew on your bare feet. Ensure you have good luck all year round by watching the solstice sunrise! Just remember not to look directly at the sun. Maybe take some sunglasses.

  • Make musical instruments out of household recycling:

Traditionally celebrating the summer solstice would involve music and playing instruments such as drums and tambourines during the bonfire dances. If your child plays an instrument why not go have a concert in the woods? Compose a summer solstice melody or do what the great jazz players do and improvise! Construct rattles out of tubs and dried beans, stones etc. Pots and wooden spoons are the number one best toy for toddlers!

  • Construct a mini stonehenge:

Use clay, plasticine, salt dough, lego or even minecraft. Here’s a link for some ideas: https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/miniature-stonehenge.html

 

  • Set up a summer solstice nature discussion table. Display all your nature finds for everyone to enjoy. Your child could do a ‘show and tell’ and talk about each treasure. This is wonderful for speaking practice and building confidence. Other members of the family can practice their listening skills and ask questions at the end!

 

  • Write your own song or some poetry or fun rhymes about the sun. Recite your poem or sing it with great ‘pomp and ceremony’ in front of your family and friends! 

 

Tabby cat doing his Yoga Sun Salutations!

Construct a hobby horse:

  • The fairy folk are said to ride their enchanted steeds across the country side at midsummers. Construct a hobby horse using this easy tutorial: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Stick-Horse and gallop outside in nature like the fairy folk! If you don’t want to make a large one you could always make a little hobby horse using a wooden spoon.


Sun Stands Still! Summer Solstice Extended Family Celebrations!Throughout the Summer Months!

SUMMER SOLSTICE FOODS

 

Eat foods that are the colour of fire and the sun. It’s thought to bring lots of good things your way!

  • Summer Honey Biscuits (these are traditional pastry type biscuits that kids used to make!)

Ingredients:

  • 450g whole wheat flour/or plain flour
  • 250g vitalite (vegan margarine) or butter
  • 4 tbsp of honey or agave syrup
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • A little plant based milk or dairy

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 140 fan/ 160 Celsius/ Gas 2/ Farenheit 300.
  2. Place the flour, salt and marg in a mixing bowl.
  3. Rub in the marg till the mix resembles rough breadcrumbs.
  4. Drizzle in the honey or agave.
  5. Bring together into a dough.
  6. Add tbsps of milk at a time till the dough comes together
  7. Knead a little but not too much.
  8. Add a little flour to your surface and rolling pin.
  9. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
  10. Cut out shapes with a biscuit cutter roughly 2-3 inch in size. But can be any size you like.
  11. Place on a baking sheet, non-stick or with parchment on top of the tray.
  12. Place in oven for about 20-25 minutes till lightly golden.
  13. Place on a wire tray to cool
  14. These could be iced with some simple  water icing (usually instructions on how to make this are on the packet. You just need icing sugar and water). Add a few drops of yellow colouring to symbolize the sun. Sprinkle some decorations on top or a cherry. Alternatively serve with some jam spread between 2 biscuits)
  • Solar Thyme and Honey or Agave Scones    Makes 6-7 medium sized scones       

Ingredients:
  • 450g self raising flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g vitalite margarine or butter
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 7-8 tbsp of plant based milk/or dairy milk You might need a few tbsp more to get the mix to a dough.
  • A little milk to brush on top of scones

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 200 Fan/220 Celsius/Gas 7/Fahrenheit 425.
  2. Place the flour, salt and marg in a mixing bowl.
  3. Rub in the margarine to resemble rough bread crumbs.
  4. Add the thyme and mix through.
  5. Add the honey.
  6. Add half the milk and mix.
  7. Keeping adding a little of the remaining milk till it comes together as a dough.
  8. You want a dough consistency but not wet or sticky.
  9. If it’s too sticky then just add little bits of flour till its not sticky.
  10. Add a little flour to your surface and hands.
  11. Don’t knead too hard. As this affects the scones texture. Just knead slightly till it comes together as a dough.
  12. Pat down the dough till it’s about 1/2-1 inch thick. It depends on how large you want the scones to be. I usually go for an inch thick.
  13. Use cutters to cut 1 1/2-2 inch rounds.
  14. Brush scones lightly with milk.
  15. Grease a baking tray or use baking parchment or a non-stick tray.
  16. Place the scone rounds on the tray and bake on the middle shelf for roughly 12-15 minutes.
  17. Scones are ready when they look risen and are golden brown.
  18. Cool on a wire rack.
  19. These are nice served with cheese either vegan or dairy. Or some jam and cream.

  • Sunshine Fruit Salad:

What you’ll need:
  • Any fruits that are round and sun coloured. Examples include apricots, peaches, nectarines, cherries, satsumas, tangerines, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, strawberries, and blood oranges. Use either fresh, tinned or frozen. Arrange the sliced fruit into sun shapes. Use raisins, sultanas or currents for eyes as these are fruits dried with the suns rays. Grated carrots would make great hair or sun rays! Make a large elaborate edible cute sun with decorative rays and share with your family and friends.

My son’s Solstice sun!

 

Midsummer’s Queen Titania’s Fairy Cakes

Vegan fairy cakes

Ingredients:
  • 1oog self-raising flour, sifted.         
  • 100g vitalite margarine or butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs/or use Orgran No egg replacer and make up enough to replace 2 eggs. Add tbsp of milk to the egg replacer mix as I find the cake mix can get too stiff otherwise.
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
For the butter icing:
  • 100g vitalite margarine or butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 Tsp vanilla essence
  • A few drops of milk if necessary
  • Sprinkles/optional
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 Fan/180 Celsius/Fahrenheit 350/Gas 4.
  2. Prepare a 12 hole fairy cake tray with paper cases.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until its pale and fluffy.                         

    Vegan fairy cakes

  4. Add the flour, beaten eggs or the egg replacer, and vanilla.
  5. Beat until thoroughly mixed.
  6. Scoop the mix into the paper cases. Share it out evenly.
  7. I find the Orgran egg replacer doesn’t rise as much as eggs do, so maybe just fill 8 fairy cases so you can get enough sponge in each case to create wings.
  8. Bake on middle shelf for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and risen. And a skewer/toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Leave to cool on wire rack.
  10. Prepare the icing by beating the margarine and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Either by hand or with a hand mixer.
  11. Add just a dash of milk if the mix is too stiff to loosen it up slightly. If the buttercream is too soft then add a little extra icing sugar until you get your desired consistency.
  12. Using a sharp knife carefully cut and scoop the middle part of the fairy cake out. Cut this slice into 2. These are the fairy wings.
  13. Place a tsp of the buttercream over the cut part of the cake to cover. Then insert the wings into the icing so they stand up.
  14. Alternatively sliced strawberries or sliced plums/peaches could be used for the wings. Then you wouldn’t need to remove any cake.
If using add sprinkles to the icing. Using a sieve dust over the finished fairy cakes with icing sugar.   

The wings cut out of the cakes

                 
  • Fairy Elixir Hot Drink

What you’ll need:
  • Chamomile tea bags
  • Or a few Chamomile flowers         
  • Boiling water
  • Honey or agave syrup
  1. Place a chamomile tea bag or some chamomile flowers into a cup.
  2.  Pouring boiling water over the teabag or flowers.
  3. Leave to steep for 5 minutes
  4. Sweeten with some honey or agave syrup.

Fairy Elixir

  • Fiery Sun ‘Mead’ Float

People have been brewing Mead for 20,000 years! It’s the drink of choice at summer solstice celebrations. Mead is made from fermented honey and is alcoholic. This recipe is a child friendly alternative! The full moon in June is also known as the ‘honey-moon’ as traditionally this month was thought to be the best time to harvest honey from bee hives.

What you’ll need:
  • Vanilla or plain dairy ice cream or vegan ice cream alternative
  • Ginger beer
  • Honey or agave syrup
  1. Place 3 scoops of icecream into a medium -large sized glass or a drinking jug.
  2. Pour ginger beer into your glass. It’ll swoosh up as it reacts with the ice cream!
  3. Add a drizzle of honey or agave syrup.
  4. Enjoy this refreshing, fun drink!
  5. If you’d prefer to leave out the ice cream then just serve with a drizzle of honey. Alternatively serve the ice cream with the honey drizzle and the ginger beer on the side! The ice cream in this drink symbolizes the Holly King while the Ginger beer and honey symbolizes the Oak King.


Sun Stands Still! Summer Solstice Extended Family Celebrations!Throughout the Summer Months!

Bountiful Books to devour during the Summer Solstice and all throughout the summer months!

The long daylight hours during summer solstice evening is perfect for extra bedtime stories. I can’t think of anything better than having some yummy snacks and drinks, and spending the evening getting lost in a menangery of fairy tales.                   

Some exceptional bedtime stories found at Project Gutenberg:

  1. The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Langhttps://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/503
  2. The Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/7277
  3. The Pink Fairy Book by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5615
  4. The Brown Fairy Book by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3282
  5. The Lilac Fairy Book by Andrew Lang: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3454
  6. The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/540
  7. The Crimson Fairy Book by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2435
  8. The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/640
  9. The Olive Fairy Book by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/27826
  10. The Grey Fairy Book by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/33547
  11. The Orange Fairy Book by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/36532
  12. The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2619  I love old nursery rhyme books and this one has lovely black and white illustrations.
  13. The Princess Nobody:A Tale of FairyLand by Andrew Lang:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/52545 Beautiful illustrations!           
  14. The Book of Nature Myths by Florence Holbrook: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22420
  15. A Primary Reader:Old time Stories, Fairy Tales and Myths retold by Children:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/7841 Great book for younger readers to read aloud.
  16. Household Stories by The Brothers Grimm by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19068
  17. A Midsummers Night Dream by William Shakespeare:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2242 For older readers due to the Shakespearean language!
  18. The Irish Fairy Book by Alfred Perceval Graves and George Denham: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/32202
  19. The Firelight Fairy Book by Henri Beston:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19207
  20. The Fairyland of Science by Arabella B Buckley:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5726


YouTube Resources:

  1. Longest day of the Year by SciShow Kids:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVzkVsWQBR8
  2. What is a Solstice by National Geographic:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btcTfor-j-c
  3. Seasons and the sun Crash Course Kids:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b25g4nZTHvM
  4. Summer Solstice Vs the Winter Solstice Time Lapse:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiAUG1HtWIM
  5. The Global Earth, the Solstices and Equinoxes explained:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To-oFiyd6Dc
  6. Shakespeare in Shorts A Midsummer’s Night Dream by BBC Teach:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Inu2A5iHROI
  7. A Midsummers Night Dream A telling of the story:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEP9jOZhRCc
  8. CBeebies Shakespeare Learn The Fairy Song A Midsummer’s Night Dream:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJWJXoWcBok
  9. Cbeebies Who was William Shakespeare:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhEQDKZxvZY
  10. A pantomime style play! Midsummer’s 4kidzs part 1:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK55PhKB2gk
  11. A pantomime style play! Midsummer’s 4kidzs part 2:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaMfM1Qht_Y
  12. Celebrate the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 360 degree video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4H2kwbjkaM
  13. Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 2018 Time Lapse:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxP6OD7CQTs
  14. Guided Meditation for Kids The Fairy Garden:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R05SOqmW5PI
  15. Sleep Meditation for Kids Village of fairies and elves Bedtime Story:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f__cnH1Eog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Educational resources:

Stonehenge teaching resource:

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/siteassets/home/learn/teaching-resources/teachers-kits/stonehenge_teachers_kit_ks1-ks4.pdf

Stonehenge facts for kids: https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/history/general-history/stonehenge-facts/

What is Stonehenge?:https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/articles/zg8q2hv

Solstice Interactive puzzles: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/532c0498-ca8f-439a-8588-f1620bf896b5/summer-and-winter-solstice/

Nasa Listen to the Sound of the Sun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRu_hG3X3bI

Here comes the sun Crash Course Kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FB0rDsR_rc

Lots of resources on the sun and solar activity:http://solar-center.stanford.edu/teachers/

Solar folklore: http://solar-center.stanford.edu/folklore/

Worksheets on the sun, earth and moon. You can make a free account to access: https://www.stem.org.uk/resources/elibrary/resource/34744/student-worksheets-earth-sun-and-moon

The earth and beyond resources: http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/science/science4d.htm

Solar schools resources: https://www.solarschools.net/teachers-toolkit

Sun smart games and resources for primary school level:https://www.sunsmart.com.au/communities/early-childhood-primary-schools/resources-primary-early-childhood/curriculum-resources

Sun smart educational resources for secondary school level:https://www.sunsmart.com.au/communities/secondary-schools-program/secondary-schools-resources

Flower Fairy resources and colouring pages:https://flowerfairies.com/activities/

Meet the flower fairies pictures:https://flowerfairies.com/meet-the-fairies/

The Woodland Trust Outdoor learning pack:https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/mediafile/100146207/Getting-outside-the-classroom-learning-pack.pdf

KS1 Traditional Tales resource:https://www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/free-resources

Midsummers Night Dream educational resources: https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/education/teaching-resources/

Fairy Tale resources:https://www.sparklebox.co.uk/literacy/fairytales/

Fairy tales and traditional stories. Lots of resources:http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/english/englishC4.htm

5 reasons why fairy tales are good for children:http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/blog/reading/2014/06/5-reasons-why-fairy-tales-are-good-for-children

An excellent fairy tale resource pack:https://www.storytimemagazine.com/downloads/ST_TR_FAIRYTALE.pdf


These Amazon links are affiliate which means that if you click through and purchase an item then I may receive a small fee. This is at no cost to your purchase. I only display relevant, carefully considered educational resources ads. Thanks!

 

 

 

Jacq

I'm a homeschooling mum living in the Scottish Highlands. I'm currently completing a masters in Psychology. I've also studied counselling, CBT, sociology and health courses. I also have my cookery diploma. I love vegan baking and cooking. And lots of books!

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2 Responses

  1. Joanne says:

    Thank you for all the terrific summer solstice activities! My kids are going to have a blast with these.

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