The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and traditionally the first day of summer. Although school had usually already been dismissed for the summer, this day would have been perfect for preparing for a summer of family fun.
We would have had a family meeting to discuss summer safety. During the summer, children are out and about in many different situations. We would have made sure everyone understood the family rules for playing outside, riding bikes, swimming, and the myriad of summer activities pertaining to our family. We would have talked about sunscreen and the importance of using it whenever we were outside. We would have talked about getting too hot and drinking enough water. By discussing summer safety with children, we empower them to take responsibility for their own wellbeing.
We would have celebrated summer as a time to enjoy fresh food. We would have gone to a [farmer's market] or farm and bought fresh vegetables and fruits, choosing to try some new ones. We would have prepared the evening meal together and had a picnic outside to celebrate the longest day. By seeing, touching, and smelling fresh food, children can develop an interest in what goes in their bodies.
We would have planned family activities to be enjoyed throughout the summer. These could have included "play at the park" mornings, swimming pool days, movie afternoons, "take a walk" evenings, game nights, or anything that our family would enjoy doing together. Summer would give our family the time for extended family fun without the pressures of school and homework.
We would have chosen a way to commemorate our summer. It could have been a summer scrapbook. It could have been a summer home video. It could have been a daily diary. The only stipulation would be that everyone was involved in some way. By allowing children to take photographs or tell stories from their perspective, we often see things we overlook as adults.
Finally, we would have planned activities to celebrate the day the sun is out the longest. We could have learned about solar energy and tried some sun activities. We could have planted a garden. We would have played games outside. We could have ended the day by watching the sun set, taking photographs or drawing pictures of what we saw. As the longest day of the year drew to a close, we would each share special memories of the past, our favorite parts of the day, and our hopeful dreams for the future. Together we would celebrate the summer solstice as only the beginning of a great summer of family fun.
About the Author:
Luanne Davidson is the proud mother of three adult children and wonders what might have been if she had done a thing or two differently. She writes her "Coulda, Woudla, Shoulda" column each Thursday.