The first day of Summer is right around the corner! Let us help you find ways to beat the heat and enjoy the Summer Season!
The Holiday Blog is all about ways to celebrate every type of Holiday – whether it’s National Cheese Day on June 4th or celebrating the Summer Solstice on June 20th, the first day of the summer season and the official kick off Summer! If you have been following along with us, you know that we have been celebrating all types of holidays, as the definition of “holiday” is a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done. We believe that you should be able to celebrate all year long, and not just certain times of the year. Since we are so close to the beginning of summer, let’s chat all things Summer Solstice to learn more about its history and meaning.
Science + Culture Behind the Summer Solstice
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, at the Summer Solstice the Sun is on its longest path through the sky, which is why we get to enjoy the most daylight on this day. According to the astronomical definition of the seasons, the Summer Solstice also marks the beginning of summer, which lasts until the autumnal equinox (September 22nd or 23rd in the Northern Hemisphere, and March 20th or 21st in the Southern Hemisphere).
The Summer Solstice has long been celebrated by cultures around the world. In Ancient Egypt, it coincided with the rising of the Nile River. As it was crucial to predict this annual flooding, the Egyptian New Year was set to begin at this important solstice. In centuries past, the Irish would cut hazel branches on Solstice Eve to be used in search of gold, water, and precious jewels. Many European cultures hold what are known as “Midsummer celebrations” at the Solstice, which include gatherings at various places (such as Stonehenge), and lighting bonfires on hilltops. Another fun fact is that your noontime shadow around the time of the Solstice will be your shortest noontime shadow of the year! Whatever you are doing this year to celebrate the launch of the bright new season, remember that the Summer Solstice is on June 21st! Read on to explore a variety of celebratory days to participate in summer activities!
There are so many daily and monthly holidays in June, that we thought we would help with narrowing them down by our favorites and the ones we plan on celebrating!
In addition to June being the official start of the summer period, it is also known as 'Great Outdoors Month'. As if we needed another excuse to get outside! This month reminds us to explore our nation’s abundant wildlife refuges, parks, and natural beauty. On June 5th of 2019, the US Senate officially designated June as Great Outdoors Month. The celebrations kick off on the first day of the month with National Trails Day. This holiday, falling on the first Saturday of the month recognizes the benefits provided by federal, state, and local trails. Numerous events have been held throughout the US to promote awareness of everything trails have to offer - from hiking and mountain biking, to birdwatching and land navigation education. National Trails Day is sponsored by the American Hiking Society with NPS as one of its federal partners. Needless to say, this holiday has a huge volunteer and donor following that band together to make an even bigger impact!
1. Visit a State or National Park (or any local trail)
With so many find hikes and trails near you, make sure you are geared up and good to go before you hit the trails. The American Hiking Society recommends everyone pack the “Ten Essentials” every time you head out for a hike. Whether you plan to be gone for a couple of hours or several months, make sure to prepare these items and have them handy, as well as familiarize yourself with how to use them. Check out their site to see what these goodies are and to learn more about hiking essentials. Once you are prepared for your hike, you will need to figure out where you want to go and what hike trail you want to conquer. You can visit the National Park Service website, and you can find one that is near you. If you can’t get out to a National Park this year, there are plenty of local ones that are just as beautiful. You can visit the “FIND YOUR PARK” website and search by which activity you are looking for, it’s so easy to use! And lastly, if you want to explore some hiking trails, check out the AllTrails app on your phone or on their website, to see the trails that could be right in your backyard! The possibilities are endless, so get outside this month!
2. Plan a Backyard Campout!
If you can’t get to a local or National Park and hiking really isn’t your thing, then getting outside is still just as easy by planning a backyard campout for you and your family or even your kiddos and their neighborhood pals! Sticking close to home, your younger kiddos can feel safe and secure, you will all be within walking distance of a bathroom, and still enjoy a wonderful family bonding experience. First, check around your house for supplies you will need - you will be surprised that you probably have most of these items. Then get a run-of-the-mill pop-up tent, sleeping bags or bedrolls, a backpack, and flashlights; and those are really all the supplies you will need! It can be fun for the kids to pack a bag like it’s a real overnight trip - pajamas, a change of clothes, can't-live-without toys, a camera, books, etc. Next, make sure the kids help put up the tent (a pop-up shouldn't take more than a few minutes to mount), unroll the sleeping bags, and set up the tent's interior. Afterwards it’s time to either get the grill (or fire) going so you can cook your meal, or just to sit around the campfire and enjoy each other’s company. After dinner, it’s time for some activities. Consider trying out some of those: stargazing, bug observation, lawn games, and reading books by flashlight. Get inspired on our Pinterest with even more ideas! Once you are tired from your activities, it will be time for bed. Expect lots of giggling, tossing, and turning, but at some point, the kids will get tired. Challenge them to tough out the night in the tent instead of having them sleep in their own beds. Aim to keep them outside for as long as possible but remember - it’s all about the experience!
3. Plant a Garden with the Family
Did you know June is Perennial Gardening Month? That’s right - because of the abundance of perennials that bloom each June, these flowers got an entire month to be celebrated. It is the perfect time to plant and grow your garden and get your family involved in the process.
Before you can plant you garden, you must figure out what you will be planting! Will you be starting a flower garden, or will you choose to plant fruits and vegetables? It’s totally up to you! And because this is a family activity, make sure to consider everyone before getting started. If the whole fam is excited about the process, they will be sure to stay involved throughout the home project. And then, #familygoals achieved when everyone bears witness to the magic of growth through tiny seedlings scattered across your backyard.
Don’t forget to support small business in the process! Check out the product and programs at your local nursery to add more creativity and exploration family activity. It may be helpful to know what you want to get before you go, so check out the Plant Finder to learn more about items to plant, so you know what you’re comfortable with in advance.
Let those youthful imaginations come to life. Give your child a blank piece of paper (older children might enjoy using a digital drawing or planning tool) and encourage them to draw out their garden. Gather shovels, rakes, gloves, and any other tools you have available. Choose a day with nice weather and get outside! Show your child how to prepare their garden for planting. Whatever your process, getting dirty, exploring the soil, and preparing to plant is often a highlight for young gardeners! Once you have placed the seeds in the soil, it’s time to make some garden markers! This is another fun part of the process for kids. Use small pieces of wood, popsicle sticks, or a similar material to create unique garden markers with your child. Be sure to follow us on Pinterest for more great gardening ideas to do with them!
4. Take the Kids to the Zoo
June is known as Zoo and Aquarium month. The perfect time to visit your local zoo or aquarium to beat the heat when summer really starts to heat up!
Going to the zoo can be an activity that can be enjoyed all summer long! You may want to consider getting a membership to your local zoo if that is something that your kids enjoy, as it is a great place to go and really keep them engaged and occupied. A family trip to the zoo is one of the easiest ways to expose your kids to the wide variety of animals that exist on this planet, while also providing valuable teaching moments of conservation and the effects people can have on nature. The animal menagerie is a great educational resource for kids. They will be learning and having fun the entire day without even realizing they are! Zoos often have tours, presentations, feeding expos, that provide in-depth information about the animals that live there. Take advantage of all these learning opportunities to help your kids learn more about their favorite animals and what they can do to help. The zoo is a great place for kids, but it can be a long day, so make sure you come prepared! Visit our Pinterest for plenty ideas of what you should pack for the long day of animal-gazing with your family!
5. Beat the Summer Heat Inside your Local Aquarium
Going to the Aquarium is another great outdoor activity to do with the family, even though most aquariums are technically indoors. They are still a great educational resource for your kids and can be a great alternative to an outdoor activity when it is raining or if it’s just way too hot to be outside. Aquariums are magical and scientific all at the same time. They provide lots of educational opportunities for your children, as well as lifetime memories for the family. Many of them also offer behind the scenes tours and special activities aimed towards the younger audience. Finally, don’t forget to plan adequate time and wear comfortable clothing and footwear! Click here to find an Aquarium near you!
There are so many ways to enjoy the holidays throughout June, and since it’s good for our overall health and wellness, we should celebrate by getting outdoors! "Being outdoors in nature can be healing and beneficial for the body and mind", says Erica Price, a certified therapeutic recreational specialist at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. "Whether at the beach, forest or in a neighborhood park, nature offers a calming effect. And when we combine nature with physical activity, it can help fight depression and anxiety." We hope this list can be a great way to encourage your kids to get outside and try some new activities this summer. So get outside and enjoy all the magic June has to offer! And be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss any opportunity to celebrate throughout the summer months. We promise all the great ways to celebrate holiday magic every day!