5 Ways to Use STEAM on the Longest Day of the Year - The Summer Solstice

Jun 21, 2019

Do you have plans to celebrate the summer solstice? It's the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. Today I'm going to share with you how you can celebrate with activities that are STEAM or STEM related with your family. That's science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

The summer solstice marks the first day of summer and the longest amount of light in one day of the year. Because the earth is not straight up and down, but tilted almost 25 degrees, the summer solstice in June is actually the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere. So the northern hemisphere has the summer solstice June 20 to 22. This year, in 2019, it's June 21, but it is opposite for the southern hemisphere. That would be their winter solstice. The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere is around December 21.

So here's how to celebrate this event using STEAM learning with your kids. That's, again, science, technology, engineering, art, and math. STEAM used to be STEM, but then educators realized that art was missing, so they added it back in. So STEM is now STEAM. You can use these ideas any time of the year, really, but they're perfect to celebrate on the summer solstice.


Two ways to use science to celebrate the summer solstice!

The first way is to get out the globe and explain exactly how this works, how the sun and the earth move together. If you have a model of a solar system or something like that, that'd be fantastic. You can also search online and show pictures, or get a book from the library. Talk about the solar system with your kids.

The second way to use science is to use crystals, which are actually gemstones from our earth. Two that are great to use for the summer solstice are clear quartz, which is clarity, it helps you give clarity and it helps manifest things. The second is citrine, which is like sunshine. It's a beautiful orange color like the sun! It represents creativity, abundance, and positivity. So using these stones together you can talk about their properties and how they're formed and use science in that manner.

We like to sit around in a circle and use our summer bucket list. Each of the kids have created summer goals. We take our goals and turn them into affirmations or manifestations and, then program our crystals as reminders.


Use the computer, a device, or a phone to do a little research on what the summer solstice is. Or you could also take any of these concepts that your kids are kind of gravitating towards, whether it be the science of the solar system and how it works, or the crystals, or have the kids look up the weather and talk about how we forecast weather. Older kids can research on their own and then report back to the rest of the family to talk about it over dinner. 


Did you know the spiral is used in structural and software engineering? Use a spiral by creating gorgeous sun-capturing mobiles out of gold paper. Have the kids draw a spiral on the paper, and then cut it out. Use gold matching thread and string some sparkly beads on it, and hang it from the ceiling. Outdoors, it will glimmer and shine in the sun, if you want to hang it inside, you can use a candle underneath, not too close, so the smoke and the heat will cause the mobile to twist and turn.


We love to paint sunsets as a family, or sunrises. They're just so much fun. There are so many colors in the sunrise and in the sunset. Art is as easy as getting out some paints and painting the sun as a project! If you want to get a little fancier, what summer is not complete without flowers, right? So find some flowers, and create a flower mandala in the yard. We actually went to a park. Start with one flower in the middle and then cascade them out in a pattern, and that is a great way to celebrate, and it's fun for the next person that walks by to stumble upon a flower mandala. What a beautiful, interesting thing to find at your local park.


Get out your calendar and use math! Little ones can just count the days and with older kids, you can talk about the seasons or the timeframe of summer vacation or the summer season. For your reference, this fall, on September 23, is the first day of fall in 2019. But generally it's about mid-June to mid-September, that is your summer season. So you can talk about how long that is, how many days in a week, how many days in a month, how many days in the season, and you can do a lot of math problems and math computations with the calendar.

So now you know how you can celebrate the summer solstice. But what are you going to do the rest of the year? I share lots of easy and creative activities with my email list and over on YouTube at Invite Play with Stephanie Anderson. 

What's your favorite season?

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