For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, June 20 will mark the longest day of 2021, heralding the official start of summer. Use these suggestions as a starting point to spark your own solstice ritual.

Plan a Scavenger Hunt

For smaller children, number or alphabetize clues leading to treats or summer supplies. Consider sunglasses, sunscreen, bug catchers, coupons for an ice cream outing or glow-in-the-dark necklaces. For tweens and teens, try a homemade coupon for a special privilege they have been begging to experience (maybe an hour later curfew or a zip line trip).

Eat Dinner Outside

A backyard barbecue is fun, but add to the festive feel with a change of scenery. Tune into nature on this day – pack a picnic dinner and head to a local park.

Try a Family Sun Salutation

A sun salute is an overall body stretch for the whole family, and kids will be amused while creating the yoga position called downward dog. Here is a simple version.

Make a Flying Wish

Write a wish down on paper and burn it, sending the wish into the sky. If the weather isn’t cooperative, there are wishing papers rise quickly and then disappear, and can be lit indoors. Try one from Flying Wish Paper. Another fun activity is wishing lanterns. Head outside with the family, make a wish and watch as the lantern floats away.

Start Summer Resolutions

Take your lead from the movie “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” (PG) and see if your family can develop a “Thrill Point List” for summer. What could you add to your list to make the summer of 2021 an exciting time for everyone? Pull out poster board and markers and let the creativity flow.

Stay up Until Dark and Stargaze

Check local observatories for summer solstice events. For novice star searches, borrow a book from the library to help you assess what you’re seeing, or use a free star-finding app such as Star Chart, SkyView or Night Sky Lite.

Rituals Often Involve Water

If nothing else, dip your toes in. How about a family battle using water balloons or squirt guns? Your willingness to let go and have fun can be a signal that the more relaxed days of summer are here.

Get Your Hands Dirty

It’s not too late to plant some produce or flowers. Consider planting in your vegetable garden for a fall harvest or add annuals to your flower garden to mark the occasion.

Bury Any Negatives

Has anyone in the family been struggling with something, such as a habit they want to leave behind? Write down any behaviors or experiences you want to put behind you and bury them. Use the solstice as a restart button.

Invite Friends to Join the Celebration

Remember to try and capture the “we always” when building a new family tradition. Kids love the tradition of “we always eat … ” or “we always do … ” a certain thing on a special day. Maybe you will always start solstice with a pancake breakfast. Ask your children for suggestions and they will likely come up with some fun options.

–Sue LeBreton

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