Friday, June 21, 2013

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

"Remember that, with young children, the preparation for the
festival - the baking, making special presents, decorating, and
singing special songs year after year - is as important as the celebration itself. 
Be sure to include your children in all of the preparation activities"
-Rahima Baldwin Dancy in "You Are Your Child's First Teacher"
The past two weeks we have been preparing for the summer solstice. 
First we made handprint suns.  Last year we made painted suns and handprint sunflowers.  This year we combined the two crafts into this one.  On Monday (painting day) of last week we painted with yellow and orange watercolors.  Once dry, I cut their paintings into circles for the center of our suns.  On Thursday morning (crafting day) the kids made red, yellow, and orange handprints on brown wrapping paper.  Once they dried I cut them out - they are still too young to handle that much precise cutting.  After naptime they glued their handprints to the water colored circles.  I have really worked on providing an example by working alongside them, but otherwise backing off and letting them create however their creative genius strikes.  They did a stellar job of following my model on this particular project - other times they make equally adorable, but otherwise unrecognizable, renditions of what I had in mind.  I am learning to let go of "perfect" products and embracing their enjoyment of the process and fostering a love of creativity.  I really want their projects to truly be their own. 
Mama's crafts - sunflower peg doll and sun gnome.  We have space for a nature table upstairs, but in the summer months we aren't in the playroom at all.  The great outdoors provide all the playspace we desire.  I've started putting a few favorite pieces on the dining room table.  I look forward to establishing a larger, more central, nature table after we move.

My favorite peg doll yet!  Yes, I totally copied the one I saw on Painting Pixie's etsy shop. 
Someone else likes it too!

Wet felted Sun doily. 

Yesterday, we made a wet felted doily for the dining room table.  Instructions can be found here.  The short of it is to lay out your wool on bubble wrap, sprinkle it with warm soapy water, roll up the bubble wrap and work it in your hands until it felts together.  Periodically, unroll the bubble wrap and sprinkle on more soapy water.  Now we have something bright and sunny for our summer flower vase to sit on.  This particular type of wet felting was great for children as young as ours.  We have attempted a few other wet felting projects, but they just weren't quiet ready for the process yet.  I highly recommend this as a way to introduce them to the process.  This was the first time they really got into it and I let them take charge, to again really make it their own creation.

We also have been singing "You Are My Sunshine" regularly and the poems/drawings on our kitchen chalkboard have been centered around the Sun/Solstice/Mid-Summer's Night.  

This week's drawing and poem.  My apologies if it is a bit difficult to read, I forgot to take a picture several days ago when I first completed it - it's a little smudged up now.

Today is (was) the solstice.  The plan was to make s'mores using the firepit, blow bubbles, and let the kids stay up EXTRA late to catch fireflies with a few friends.  However, Mother Nature had a different plan.  The firepit plan was rained out so we instead had an indoor pizza party with friends and put the playroom to good use.  I was a bit disappointed about having to skip the firepit and outdoor activities, but there's nothing we can do to control the weather.  Last year we had to skip the firepit on the summer solstice because it was far too hot outside, even after the sun went down.  Eventually we will get a chance to celebrate the sun in that way! 
How do you celebrate the summer solstice?
Linking up this week with The Magic Onions, Crafty Moms Share , and Natural Suburbia.