Summer days are long and hot. With more sunlight hours, we observe the longest day of the year during this time in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, is mostly observed on 20th or 21st June. The same day is also the shortest in the Southern Hemisphere coinciding with the onset of winter season.
Solstice is observed every year and marks the beginning of the next season. But wait! Do you know why we have solstice? Is it because of the revolution of the Earth around the Sun or is it due to the tilt of the Earth?
Why Do We Get to Observe Solstice Every Year?
The reason we experience solstices every year is because our planet is tilted at an angle of 23.4 degrees on its rotational axis. That means that instead of being straight in its orbit around the Sun, Earth is inclined at an angle.
As it revolves around the Sun, every year around June 20th or 21st, it is at a point where the North pole is closest to the Sun. Being closest to the Sun also means plenty of light and that is why during Summer Solstice, we receive sunlight for maximum time during the day. Thus, making Summer Solstice the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere.
Now since the North pole is tilted towards the Sun, it implies the South pole must face away from the Sun. Hence, indicating less light and winter season in the Southern Hemisphere.
The opposite of Summer Solstice is Winter Solstice that occurs between 20th and 23rd December. Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day of the Southern Hemisphere.
Fun Facts About Solstice
1. The word Solstice originates from Latin words Sol meaning Sun and Sistere that means to stand still.
2. During Summer Solstice, North Pole gets 30% more energy from the Sun than the Equator.
3. Despite being the longest day, Summer Solstice is not the warmest day of the year. This is because it takes Earth and its water bodies a lot of time (almost a month) to reflect the extra heat received on Summer Solstice and the days after.
4. Days start getting shorter after Summer Solstice in Northern Hemisphere and longer in Southern Hemisphere.
5. The region north of the Arctic Circle witnesses 24 hours of continual sunlight during summer solstice.
6. Around midday on Summer Solstice, the Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. On Winter Solstice, the Sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn.
Summer Solstice Activities for Kids
Making a Sundial is a perfect STEM inspired craft to do on long summer days and to celebrate Summer Solstice. It also doubles up as a cool science project for kids.
2. Sunny Side Eggs
What better way to celebrate Solstice than with a healthy nutritious breakfast treat! Teach your kids to make sunny side up eggs to mark this special day.
3. DIY Stonehenge
This ancient structure is believed to mark the Summer Solstice and so it makes a perfect sense to make your very own Stonehenge model. Use a picture of the celebrated structure as reference and design your very own Stonehenge using Jenga tiles or cardboard. A great engineering project for kids, this one is surely going to delight your kids.
4. Chocolate Chip Marshmallows
Another delicious activity for Summer Solstice, this one needs marshmallows and of course chocolate chips. Observe the power of Sun’s heat and utilize the longer sunlight with this activity. Sprinkle chocolate chips on marshmallows and place them in the sun. Be ready to devour melted chocolate chips with marshmallows after a few hours.
This is a wonderful activity to do with little kids. All you need is a sheet of dark coloured paper and a few loose parts like blocks, clay, pebbles etc. These sun prints can later be used for beautiful wrapping sheets and cards.
6. Sun Flower Craft
This is such a cool way to celebrate the Sun and Solstice. Perfect for kids of all ages.
Help your children make their own crazy sunglasses for the longest day of the year with this easy tutorial. We love it for its creative take!
8. Sun Catchers
These sun catchers make the perfect decorations for Summer Solstice. What you need is wax paper, crayon shavings and glue.
Step 1: Fold the wax paper into half and draw a sun on one side.
Step 2: Cut the sun out using scissors. You will get two of these.
Step 3: Using a grater, make some crayon shavings in the colour of your choice.
Step 4: Place these shavings on one of the suns. Place the second layer of the sun to hold the shavings and paste the sides using glue.
Your sun catcher is ready. Hang it on the wall or stick it onto a windowpane where it can catch the sunlight streaming in.
9. Sun Weaving
This is a wonderful Solstice craft for kids which integrates math and arts together. Make your own weaving patterns and set your Sun craft up for display.
Make your solstice celebrations memorable with this simple sun photo frame craft.