20 June marks the longest day of the year
[Updated in 2020]
Today marks the longest day of the year, otherwise known as the summer solstice and according to the astronomical definition, the first day of summer. This important day in the solar calendar has been celebrated for centuries and marks the start of the forthcoming school holidays and the chance for spending more time together outdoors.
Today, the UK will enjoy 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight. The sun will rise at 4.43am and will set at 9.21pm. Since we live in the northern hemisphere, the Earth’s axis is tilted towards the sun from June to September, meaning longer days and warmer days.
Why not mark and celebrate the longest day of the year with a new family tradition? Here is a fun list of ideas for celebrating this year’s summer solstice with your child:
1. Enjoy the outdoors
Go on a summer solstice nature walk. What better way to celebrate the longest day of the year than by exploring the great outdoors? If the weather is good, you can go for a picnic and enjoy the surroundings.
2. Create sun inspired arts and crafts
Celebrate the day and get creative with child-friendly inspired art. Children can draw, paint images of the sun, make sunflowers, make a summer solstice crown, create cards and draw with bright coloured chalk art outside.
Bake a cake or cupcakes in the shape of the sun, and experiment with different colour icing, such as yellow or organise a table display for dinner themed around summer.
Read an interesting story book about the summer solstice to your child. Some great reads are: The Sun Seed by Jan Schubert, The Midsummer Mouse: Midsummer Tales of Tiptoes Lightly the Summer Queen by Reg Down and The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer.
5. Enjoy seasonal foods
Mark the longest day of the year by enjoying seasonal foods and fruits with your child – You can discuss why certain fruits and vegetables are either more accessible or only available in the summer.
Celebrating the summer solstice with your child, through fun and educational activities, will not only create a positive start to summer, but will give your child a head start at school, excellently preparing them for the new academic year in September.