Over the last year I decided to supplement my kids learning with a nature curriculum called Exploring Nature With Children. I had spent so much time outside during my childhood, which had lessened considerably the older I got. During our lock downs last year, I found myself craving nature. I HAD to get out of the house. I needed to be surrounded by trees and the birds calling. I think my youngest felt the same way. Anytime I suggested we go for a walk, she was right there ready and willing to go with me. We would observe nature together, finding animal tracks, bird feathers, and so much more! This brought me to the desire to teach them about nature at home, which is when I found the nature curriculum.
With this curriculum, we learned about the winter and summer solstices, their historical significance and their importance today. As a gardener and aspiring herbalist, being at one with nature and understanding the yearly cycles of our planet are so important, so we started to do something small to celebrate each solstice.
Having older kids, it is harder and harder to find activities that they actually enjoy and want to partake in. I found food as a great way to their heart. This year all 3 activities we did were centered round food. Below you will find the 3 summer solstice activities and why I chose each one.
We have done this activity several times in the past, and each time it has been a huge hit. Since the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, I wanted to celebrate the sun and the heating power it has for us by creating another solar oven. There are many different varieties you can find on Pintrest, this being the 3rd variety we tried, and so far, my least favorite design.
There is a common theme in all the varieties, and that is covering the inside of the box with a reflective material, we use use tin foil. The bottom of the box has a piece of black paper to absorb the heat rays and the top is covered with something clear. I have seen others use plexiglass and glass, but we use plastic wrap.
All the solar ovens need an exterior panel covered with the reflective material to direct the suns rays into your box. This one has the use of 4 small panels, which I found doesn't work as well as using one large panel. You can either make a larger panel and attach it or use a pizza box lid. Though I find the pizza boxes themselves too shallow for good cooking. Either way, on a 90 degree day, partly cloudy, in about an hour our solar oven reached 150. On a sunnier day, in the middle of the day, I have no doubt it would get much hotter.
I do recommend cooking the marshmallows only. The chocolate melt so much easier and is done much faster, and thus realllly melty!
We love sweets in our house, and my daughters just love to bake. When I found this recipe for honey cupcakes, I found it the perfect sunny yellow to celebrate the sun! Honey is yellow and the bees are out in full force, collecting pollen and nectar during our sunny, summer months. We often see them visiting the flowers in our garden.
I found this recipe on The Cake Blog. It's a pretty easy recipe and most people have all or most of the ingredients already in their home, and it's the perfect amount of sweet!
And it just so happened that my youngest was a Save the Bees shirt. So very fitting!
What better way to celebrate the heat of summer, then with a frozen treat! We have a blueberry bush that provides us with fresh blueberries right around the time of the summer solstice, and other berry plants provide us with fresh, juicy berries over the summer. This is a great way to celebrate the harvest the sun provides us during our summer months.
I love making fruit popsicles for my kids because they are a healthy treat, much better than anything you can buy in the store and use such simple ingredients. Any fruit would do, blended with milk, water or juice. I have a Ninja blender with has a smoothie attachment but a Nutribullet or blender would work just as well to blend everything together. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even add in a scoop of protein powder for an added nutrient boost.
I hope you enjoy these 3 fun summer solstice treats with your kids out in the summer sun!