The longest day of the year is upon us! This morning, the sun rose at 4.26am and it will not set until 22.02. But if you head to Shetland, you will have an even longer day, with the sunrising this morning at 3.38am and setting at 22.34pm tonight. That’s 80minutes extra just by heading north! Of course, if you are on the South coast of England you will have around 80minutes less than me!
It has long been a day to be celebrated! You can understand why with our dark winters. Today I enjoy 17hours and 36 minutes of sunshine, but by winter solstice there will only be 6hours and 57 minutes. With long dark winters, who wouldn’t want to celebrate the sun at Midsummer.
Fire and light has long been used to celebrate the day. From the henges across the UK, one of the most famous being Stone Henge, to walking around your home and fields to ward away bad luck and bring good.
This evening, I shall be enjoying a simple fire in my garden. I shall have some sweet treats to enjoy as I sit enjoying the gloaming. Now, youngsters might not be able to stay up that late, but you can still have a small campfire during the day or evening.
We love marshmallows, banana boats and popcorn on our campfire. What do you enjoy on yours?
You can make a very simple sundail using a paper plate, a straw and a pencil.
1. Poke a hole with the pencil through the centre of the plate and write the number 12 on the edge of the plate.
2. Use a ruler to carefully draw a straight line from the number 12 to the centre hole
3. At noon, take the plate outside, poke the straw into the hole and ensure the straw falls along the line you drew.
4. Use some pins or tent pegs to hold the plate in place and as your child to think where the shadow might fall at 1pm.
5. At 1pm, go out and check where the shadow is and mark this. Continue to check and mark each hour.
By the end of the day, you will have your own sundial.
If you want something longer lasting then you can always use a stick and some painted stones to create!
Midsummer’s Eve was also believed to be when the veil between world’s was the thinnest, a time of great and powerful magic.
Shakespeare wrote A Mid Summer Nights Dream, where fairies cause all such of mischief. Why not celebrate the fairies by making a little feast for them to enjoy? I hear they love berries and all things sweet. Come morning, you can check and see if they enjoyed their feast.
The daisy is plentiful at midsummer. It is called daisy from the anglo saxon daeges eage’ which means ‘day’s eye. During the day the petals open and the yellow eye follows the sun round. But by night they close and the eye is hidden.
Why not use the daisies to make a chain or even a daisy crown? This really encourages patience and develops hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Whatever you get up to this midsummer, we hope you have a wonderful time! Share your adventures with us on our Facebook or Instagram. We would love to see them!