Pagan Parenting: Midsummer Crafts And Activities For Children

Looking for some great Midsummer crafts and activities for your kids this solstice? Liven up Litha with some of these ideas.

COLLECT HERBS

Herbs collected at dawn on Midsummer have long been thought to be especially charged with magic. Get up early and collect some from your garden to be dried and used throughout the year. If you don't have an herb garden, try going to a natural area. Take along a book that identifies wild herbs, and choose some to bring home and dry. Make sure that you can identify those that you choose to ensure you are not taking home poisonous plants, and never, ever ingest herbs you collect from the wild.

WASH IN DEW

While you are up early, collect some dew of the grass or tree leaves and wash your face with it. Dew collected on the morning of Midsummer is also highly charged with powerful nature magic. Whoever washes with it is blessed by the Goddess.

PLAY GAMES

Summer Solstice was a prime time for merry making and frolicking, since it fell between the two hardest work seasons- planting and harvesting. People loved to play games during this joyous time of year when the sun was at its peak and the land was warm and ripening. Incorporate some of that fun into your holiday celebration- cut loose and play games. Have a water balloon fight, toss a frisbee, or run relay races.



HAVE A BARBECUE

Midsummer is a fire festival. The Sun Lord is at his height of power and glory. Cooking outdoors on an open fire is a great way to celebrate the season. Allow children to roast hot dogs or marsh mallows (with a long stick and adult supervision) on the flame of life as it crackles and burns.

MAKE A BURNING MAN

One long-surviving Pagan tradition is that of making a burning man, which represents the Sun Lord, in all of His flaming splendor, at the point of the year in which He begins His decline. Giant burning men have been erected at large festivals and burned on enormous bonfires, however a small version that can be placed on the barbecue or in the fire pit will suffice for your needs.

Gather sticks and twigs and make a small human figure by tying them together with twine. At sunset, have an adult put the burning man on his "pyre" and watch it go up in flames. Know that as he turns to ash, so does the year begin to wane.

MAKE A SUNDIAL

What better craft for the longest day of the year than to create your own sundial? If you have land upon which you can make a permanent sundial on the ground, gather some stones or shells, and a large stick. It should be a place that is in an open area that gets full sunlight all day. Plant the stick half-way into the ground, in the center of where your sundial will be. Pack the soil around it well. Then, from dawn till dusk, every hour on the hour, place a stone at the spot where the protruding top of the stick points. As the seasons change, you will note the differences of where the shadows fall, allowing children to witness the changes in the sun's journey through the year.

If you don't have any land, you can still make a portable sundial. Get a round wood plaque from a craft store (the type used for making clocks works well). Let the children paint and decorate it if they wish. On Midsummer, put it in a place where it will get full sun all day. Drill a hole in the center (most clock face wood plaques will already have one) and put a stick firmly into it. Use glue around it to ensure its sturdiness. Then, glue a small stone or rock-- every hour on the hour- exactly where the stick's shadow points. You can store your sundial indoors, and bring it out whenever you please.

FEED THE FAIRIES

As depicted in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the shortest night of the year has always been known as a night when the veil between our world and the world of the fairies is thin. Fairies are at their most active on the night of Litha. Children may wish to gather together a plate of sweet treats and ripe fruits and leave it out for them. Befriending the fairies on the solstice is a smart move, lest they may use their mischievous magic to trick you!

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