Honouring the seasons and celebrating landmark days are my thing. A new thing, relatively. We didn’t really do it growing up. I guess I fell upon it when my eldest was two and I was trying to establish a sense of rhythm in our lives. Something that was proving important for him – he’s a gentle sensitive little soul who notices.
As well, it was a way of slowing the year down. An antidote to the sweet well-meaning message that I seemed to hear several times a day – “cherish every second, it goes so fast, blink and you’ll miss it!” – which had me feeling all grabby and panicked. As though time were literally running through my fingers.
I’ve found that 365 days doesn’t go that fast. It IS a long time. Seasons are quite long. Winters can seem endless! They do not whizz by in a blur. If we’re paying attention. If we’re present.
This evening mid-washing-up, at the end of a week that finished before it started, during which I wasn’t all that present, I checked in with myself and remembered it’s Summer Solstice this weekend. Or Midsummer’s Day, the longest day, whichever you like to call it. I have nothing planned and though it’d be easy to skip this one, my children being young enough to not know about it, it actually feels important.
We live in this world of light and dark. Some weeks the darkness seems to have a louder voice than the light. This week I’ve observed a fair bit of the darkness in other people’s lives and my heart has gone out to them. This time last year there was a big black cloud over a part of my family. I don’t remember noticing the Summer Solstice then. But there is always light. When we look for it. And listen for it’s voice.
So, while washing-up, I dreamed up this list of simple ways we could celebrate the light of the longest day with our children this weekend. And I thought I’d share it here in case it’s what you need too. These sweethearts of ours are shining little lights personified so it seems like the perfect thing to celebrate with them.
Ten simple ideas for Summer Solstice with children:
- Eat outside – some summer veg for dinner, a bowl of strawberries and a jug of elderflower cordial with a few summer flowers in a jam jar on the table – lovely!
- Light a candle and sing a summery song or read a poem – my son comes home from kindergarten singing this one: Ho-deeeee-ay! It is midsummers day. Flowers red as fire, the sun can rise no higher. Ho-deeeee-ay! It is midsummers day! (sung very exuberantly but you can sing it how you like)
- Make paper suns together to hang in your windows.
- Light a fire (safely!), toast marshmallows, sing, tell your children happy stories from campfires of your childhood.
- Take a short walk after dinner in the evening light – make it different somehow so it stands out in your memories – a pyjama walk or all wear something sun-coloured!
- Do something you wouldn’t usually do outside – bath the kids in a warm paddling pool or baby bath on the grass – make it fun.
- Task your children with making a sun mandala on the grass – grab building blocks, crystals, play cloths, yellow and orange toys, or petals and arrange them into a sun – they’ll love it.
- Take pictures of each other in the evening light doing one of the above.
- If they are old enough to stay up late, watch the sun go down together.
- Glue yellow tissue paper around a jam jar and take it in turns to write down something simple you’d like to do together this summer and pop it into the jar, for inspiration over the holidays. Or make it a gratitude jar – write down some of the light-filled things around you.
Just pick one or two. No need to do everything. A simple pause and a break in the routine to honour a special day. Such a lovely thing to share with our children. And who knows, it might become the simplest of family traditions that they’ll treasure.
Do you already have a midsummer tradition? Feel free to share in the comments so we can grow the list!