Celebrating Litha With Kids

Bubble Kids
Summer is a great time to be a kid!. Echo / Cultura / Getty Images

Litha falls around June 21 in the northern hemisphere, and around December 21 below the equator. This is the season of the summer solstice, and for many families, the kids are on break from school, which means it’s a perfect time to celebrate the sabbat with them. It’s the longest day of the year, many of us are playing outside and enjoying the warmer weather, and you might even be lucky enough to go swimming as you celebrate the sun.

If you’ve got kids at home, try celebrating Litha with some of these family-friendly and kid-appropriate ideas.

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Outdoor Adventure

Kids Hiking
Get outdoors and have a summer adventure!. Hero Images / Digital Vision / Getty

Depending on where you live, and what’s readily available nearby, the summer solstice can be a great time to get back to nature. Do you have a nearby forest that you can hike in? How about a beach? Even a field or meadow will do... or your own back yard! Think about the natural elements that fit into the area you’re going to visit, and come up with ideas for how you can use this as a teaching experience.

For older kiddos, try going wildcrafting in the woods. Be sure to grab a book or pamphlet with local edible herbs that you can forage in the woods. Use this as an opportunity to look for wild berries, regional fruits like pawpaws, or magical herbs.

If your children are younger, try a scavenger hunt–look for interesting rocks and sticks, seedpods, pinecones and even animal tracks.

Do you have a beach nearby? Consider taking your little ones out for a bit of beach magic! Gather shells, bits of driftwood, or other interesting goodies that you can use for magical purposes.

If you don’t have a lot of free time, or you can’t get to a forest or the beach, there’s plenty you can do in your own yard. Look for butterflies, check out the things that are growing in your garden, and see what you can learn about the sun as it travels overhead. If your kids can stay up late enough, try a backyard campout on a clear night and watch for the stars and moon.

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Hold a Family Friendly Ritual

Girl and Grandma
Celebrate the summer with your family. Johner Images / Getty

Let’s face it, sometimes ritual is hard to get through when you’re little. The trick to keeping young children involved in Pagan practice is to keep them occupied–that means rethinking ritual ideas so that it can fun as well as spiritual. Use fun items to represent the four quarters:

North (Earth): A sandbox, potted flowers, your garden
East (Air): Fans, pinwheels, hula hoops, a swingset
South (Fire): Sparklers (they’re easy to find right before July 4th), your grill, a large fire bowl or pit
West (Water): Squirt guns, buckets of water, a sprinkler, a wading pool

If your kids have a dad or other male role models in their lives, tie rituals into Father’s Day celebration, and hold a ritual that honors fatherhood and the guys in our lives.

For older children who understand fire safety, you can hold a bonfire ritual to celebrate the summer solstice–this is great for tweens and teens after the little ones have gone to bed.

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Solar Crafts

Sunflower Ring
Make a sunflower candle to celebrate the sun. Patti Wigington

The summer solstice, or Litha, is about the sunny weather, so why not try some craft projects that relate to the sun?

For a bit of scientific fun, build a sundial in your backyard to see if your kids can use it to tell time. All you need are some rocks and a sturdy stick.

Make a sun wheel out of four sticks and some yellow yarn and fabric, craft some god’s eyes in bright sunny colors, or gather some sunflowers and make a decorative candle ring for your table.

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Get Into the Garden

Kids in Garden
Get into the garden at Litha!. Emma Kim / Cultura / Getty Images

Gardening is a great activity for kids, and in the summer time, all those seeds you planted back around Beltane should be growing heartily. If you’ve got food growing, some of it may be ready by Litha–strawberries are often in full bloom, and so are your leafy greens like kale and spinach and lettuce. Teach your young ones how to harvest the food that they’ll be eating.

Older kids can be put to work weeding and tidying around your plants, and can be shown how to identify the different herbs you’ve planted. If your herbs have grown enough to harvest a few sprigs here and there, show your children how to pick them and hang them up for drying.

Don’t have room for a garden? Don’t worry, you can still plant things in containers. There are plenty of plants that grow well in containers! Give each kiddo a pot of his or her own, and put them in charge of a plant. Even though Litha is a few weeks past the optimum planting time, if you get some seedlings in now, they’ll be ready to pick later in the season.

If you’re lucky enough to have a nearby farm, see if you can go for a tour of the fields, so your children can see where so much of our food comes from, and how much farmers rely on the cycles of the natural world for agricultural markers.

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Get Active!

Dancing Girl
Get outside and get moving!. Image by ELENAVAL/RooM/Getty Images

Summer is a great time to be a kid! In addition to going for walks and hikes, and visiting your local watering hole for a swim, it’s the perfect season for other outdoor activities. If it’s hot in your area during the day, plan activities for the cooler morning hours or later in the day near sundown.

Put on your favorite music and dance around the yard, or host a drum circle. In addition to being entertaining (and a great stress reliever), a drum circle or a ritualized dance serves another purpose–that of raising energy. The more you build, the more people will feed off of it. Invite a group of friends over, let them know there will be music and dance, and see what happens. Be sure to provide refreshments for afterwards–drumming and dancing can be draining for some people.

Don’t have enough people for a dance or drumming? Run around the neighborhood looking for fireflies, butterflies, or other summer critters.