The summer solstice falls this year on Tuesday 21st June, and it marks the astronomical start to the summer! Something to celebrate, I think you’ll agree!
Communities the world over find ways to celebrate light, the longest day of the year, brighter evenings, bountiful harvests, rebirth and POTENTIAL, by organising feasts, singing, dancing, rituals, gatherings, and much more.
I thought I’d put together a few ideas for a PLASTIC-FREE summer solstice celebration, to try to inspire you and your family to start some new family traditions that are kind to, and safe for, the environment and your little ones.
My top 5 Plastic-Free Celebration Ideas for the Summer Solstice
1. Soak up some sun together, safely
The summer solstice symbolises rebirth and the return of light, so seek out the sun to get some extra vitamin D.
For those of you with really little ones who wake up really early, you could even reach for the curtains and watch the midsummer sun rise together - early starts with little ones can be fraught and tiring, so why not reframe the day by celebrating the sun by seeing it rise together. In many countries, it’s believed that those seeing the sun rise will have a healthy year ahead. You could also head outside to your favourite outdoor spot, maybe your garden, at a local beach, your neighbourhood park or the countryside, to seek out the sun on a family solstice walk.
For those heading to the beach, this scavenger hunt game is fab! And there’s also one available for walking around your neighbourhood, too - they are eco-friendly, totally plastic-free and inspire our little ones to develop a love for and respect for the environment.
If you do head outdoors to enjoy the sunshine, make sure that you do this safely by making sure that you cover up babies from direct sunlight and by using plastic-free, non-nano, reef-safe sun cream with a high SPF factor on all your family - this one by SETT is particularly great, as it comes in a plastic-free recyclable bottle, is free from microplastics, toxin-free, completely ocean safe, and it is totally safe for all the family.
2. Join local summer solstice events
There are lots of events happening up and down the UK celebrating the summer solstice. Be kind to the environment and limit your carbon footprint, by joining local summer solstice events! Some examples include events this year at Stonehenge in Wiltshire (arguably the most famous of all summer solstice events in the UK), Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire, Solsticefest in Wiltshire, and much more besides! There are loads listed on Facebook and Eventbrite - have a look for events near you.
If you are making a local journey to a summer solstice event, make sure that you plan ahead for the journey to make it as plastic-free and zero-waste as you can. Consider taking some reusable wipes for sticky fingers, for example, and even with a 4 year old as I am, I still find having a muslin cloth with me in my bag really helps for when we are out and about as it can double up as a blanket for chilly arms, a cloth, a temporary sun screen, and much more!
3. Make a flower crown or flower wreath
Making a flower crown or wreath is a traditional (and plastic-free!) way to celebrate the summer solstice; and this is a lovely activity to do with children, I will be doing it with my son. At this time of the year, you can find wildflowers everywhere, even flowers from plants considered to be “weeds” would work! Go on a short walk around your neighbourhood or garden, and you’ll certainly come across some flowers in unexpected places to collect an to add to your wreath or flower crown. Of course you need to select carefully to make sure all flowers are safe to handle for you and your little ones, and legally, so check out this guide and others available online to make your wildflower selection safely and legally.
For a flower crown you can simply weave the stems into each other in a circle shape, and tie with some jute string to make it totally biodegradable and compostable.
For the flower wreath you could make a start with a twig base such as this, and then feed in the flower stems as you go, and hang it proudly in your house. Using flowers that dry well, such as lavender, poppy seed heads, or honesty, means that your flower wreath will still be beautiful after the summer solstice celebrations end!
4. Make a summer solstice feast!
Celebrate the summer harvest by making a solstice feast! You could go big and invite friends and family around to enjoy foods with you that have been picked locally, or home grown, but if you are on a budget you could just enjoy a special alfresco meal with you and your little ones. My son and I make sun bread on the summer and winter solstice, which has become something of a tradition; you can find a recipe here
Consider ways to make your summer solstice feast completely plastic-free by planning out how you might prepare and serve your food. I love these little weaning bowls for babies who are weaning, and they also double up as good sized little dishes for things like olives and cucumber sticks for when your child is in their toddler years.
These lovely weaning bibs are really effective at preventing a big old baby-led weaning mess (!), and are super stylish too!
You could even consider taking your summer solstice feast out and about, maybe in your garden or park, as a picnic, by bringing a lovely 100% organic cotton blanket to pop your baby on while you eat together.
5. Do some sun salutation yoga with your little ones
Summer solstice is also International Day of Yoga! Depending on the age of your child, a nice and gentle (but fun!) activity to do anywhere together is yoga! My son and I like to do it together in our kitchen and our dog Geoffrey always joins in! Another nice place to do it is in the garden, where you can get the grass between your toes, or on a sandy beach if you are lucky enough to live near one. Here are some nice yoga poses for kids, from Unicef. Try some sun salutations to honour the sun, this summer solstice!
If you do your yoga outdoors, we have sometimes found that taking a tumble can be possible, so having some eco-friendly cuts and scrapes balm handy is really useful. It’s made from all natural organic ingredients and contains no nasties, and is very soothing to scuffed knees or scraped shins.
6. Send some sunshine
Why not send some sunshine to a good friend, or someone in your life who needs a little boost? As a gesture of summer solstice hope, this little Plastic Free SENDING SUNSHINE CARE PACKAGE Gift Set is the perfect way to tell someone "You are the sunshine of my life”. The hand crafted ceramics are made with natural white clay from the UK with a delightful yellow glaze that sings sunshine; no two are exactly the same.
Do let me know what you have planned for your summer solstice celebrations! Do you already have some traditions in your family?
I hope some of these ideas spark your imagination, and I wish you a very happy summer solstice 2022.
Plastic Free Baby founder