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8 ways Celebrate Summer Solstice in your Classroom

The summer solstice, marking the longest day of the year, is a vibrant and educational opportunity to engage students in various activities that blend learning with celebration. Here are eight creative ways to bring the magic of the summer solstice into your classroom:

1.       Explore Cultural Traditions

Different cultures have unique ways of celebrating the summer solstice. Begin your classroom celebration by exploring these diverse traditions. For example, discuss how Stonehenge in England attracts thousands who gather to watch the sunrise, or how in Sweden, Midsummer is marked by dancing around maypoles and enjoying traditional foods. If you’re interested in learning about the different summer solstice traditions around the world, you can head here to learn more. You could even have students research and present on different global solstice celebrations, creating a multicultural tapestry of knowledge.

2. Science and Astronomy Lessons

The summer solstice is a fantastic opportunity to delve into astronomy. Explain the science behind the solstice: how the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its orbit around the sun result in the longest day of the year. Use models or simulations to demonstrate how the Earth’s position changes with the seasons. Additionally, take your students outside to observe the position of the sun and shadows at different times of the day, linking real-world observations with classroom theory.

3. Outdoor Nature Activities

Harness the spirit of the season with outdoor activities. Plan a nature walk to observe the changes in flora and fauna. Students can collect leaves, flowers, and other natural items to create a classroom nature display. Alternatively, organize a solstice-themed scavenger hunt where students find and identify various plants, insects, or rocks, combining physical activity with environmental science.

4. Art and Craft Projects

Art is a wonderful way to celebrate the solstice. Have students create sun-themed art projects, such as sun catchers, paintings, or clay models. They could also make flower crowns or solstice lanterns. Incorporate natural materials collected during your nature activities to add an eco-friendly element to their creations. These projects can be displayed around the classroom or taken home as a reminder of the celebration.

summer solstice art

5. Literature and Storytelling

The solstice has inspired countless myths, legends, and stories. Share some of these tales with your students, such as the ancient Greek myth of Apollo driving his chariot across the sky or the Native American stories of the sun’s journey. Encourage students to write their own solstice stories or poems, tapping into their creativity and understanding of the solstice’s significance. You can compile these into a classroom book or have a storytelling session where students share their work.

6. Solstice-Themed Science Experiments

Engage your students with hands-on science experiments related to the sun and light. Simple experiments like using a prism to create rainbows or solar ovens to cook s’mores can illustrate scientific principles in a fun and tangible way. These activities help students grasp complex concepts through experiential learning and connect directly to the solstice’s focus on the sun.

summer solstice dance

7. Music and Dance

Incorporate music and dance into your celebration. Teach your students traditional solstice songs or let them create their own music inspired by the season. You could also introduce dances from various cultures that celebrate the solstice. Holding a mini solstice festival with music, dance, and performances can be a joyful and memorable way for students to engage with the traditions and significance of this special day.

8. Reflection and Goal Setting

The solstice can also be a time for personal reflection and goal setting. Have your students reflect on the first half of the year and set intentions for the remaining months. This can be done through journal writing, creating vision boards, or sharing goals in a group discussion. This activity not only ties in with the theme of renewal and growth associated with the solstice but also helps students develop self-awareness and planning skills.

Bringing It All Together

Celebrating the summer solstice in your classroom can be a multifaceted experience that combines cultural education, scientific exploration, creative expression, and personal growth. By engaging students in these diverse activities, you create a holistic learning environment that honors the significance of the solstice while fostering curiosity and joy.

Remember to tailor these activities to suit the age and interests of your students, and feel free to adapt or expand upon these ideas. The goal is to create a memorable and educational experience that highlights the wonder of the natural world and the rich tapestry of human culture surrounding the summer solstice. Embrace the light, warmth, and potential of the longest day of the year, and watch your students shine as brightly as the solstice sun.

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If you want to add some more ideas about summer solstice to your list, check out these previous blogs:

 

Add Giving Activities To Your Summer Solstice Celebrations

Aliya Hussein is a writer and mental health advocate. She's dabbled in journalism, marketing, film, and is now focused on helping others through the art of self-expression. Her work can be found at 604 Now, Thrive Global, and CBC. She's currently doing her Master's in Mental Health Counseling and in her free time enjoys a strong cup of tea, adventuring with her partner, and badly rated horror movies. Her three favorite ways to give back are to volunteer time to those in crisis, treat friends to pick-me-ups, and recycle.

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