EVENT and DO Light and Love
This year, more than ever, we are craving the joy and abundance of summer solstice. Saturday is the longest day, bathed in sunshine and rich in light and magic. How will you mark it? We have some ideas, from building a midsummer altar to making sacred sun water, planning a summer of growth, or gathering with loved ones around a bonfire, while Glennie Kindred’s wise traditional ways to mark the day are an inspiration. Don’t forget some Solstice treats – think herbal biscuits and lavender cake – find recipes here. Of course, Stonehenge is closed to the public this year, but you might like to watch the sunset on Saturday 20 or the sunrise on Sunday 21 at English Heritage’s huge online event. We also love checking in on the monument via the live Stonehenge Sky Scape cameras. Alternatively, if you’re feeling really keen and have a big enough back garden, why not build your own Stonehenge?
DO and LEARN Summer Loving
Astronomically, we regard the solstice as the start of summer, but, somewhat confusingly, June 24 is known across Europe as Midsummer, the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest. It’s celebrated across Scandinavia and Northern Europe with bonfire parties that go on all night; although at the far reaches of the continent, the sun doesn’t even set. In Latvia, people spend Midsummer’s Eve awake around a bonfire, and looking for a magical fern flower said to bring good luck. During the middle ages, ferns were thought to flower and produce seed on this day only, seeds that were believed to be invisible. If you were lucky enough to find some of these ‘seeds’ you could understand birdsong, find buried treasure and have the strength of forty men. We do know that ferns heal - use the spores to relieve nettle stings, or make a paste from the plant to relieve headache. Find out more about fern folklore, recipes, symbolism and herbalism here and go on your own fern safari.
EVENT and LEARN Bugging Out
National Insect Week starts on June 22, this year run virtually. Find a collection of resources here that explore the enormous range of insects found in the UK; even the tiniest outside space or doorstep will be teeming with life. Discover what insects are, why they are important and what an entomologist is, ask an expert to help you identify a creature you’ve found, and join the Insect Isles, a giant art tapestry made up of your drawings, paintings, sculptures and even cakes! Find out more here
MAKE Selfie Culture
Creating your own self-portraits is not only creative, but also a way to explore each member of the family’s nature. Displayed in a group, they bring cheer and positivity to any wall. Try something a bit different. The photo base of these artworks makes them easy to make for even tiny kids, and their bright colours pop, while these abstract pictures are simple, surreal and eye-catching. Grab some clay to make these little plaques that look great hung on a wall or arranged on a window sill, or pick an idea from this collection – we love the spare parts selfies, and the Lichtenstein-style dotted pictures.
DO and EVENT Going Wild
Enjoy all the fun of a summer festival experience at home with The Wildlife Trusts’ first virtual Big Wild Weekend. Join nature-loving celebrities including: DJ Cel Spellman, musicians such as Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jack Savoretti and David Gray, wildlife presenter Liz Bonnin and BBC Springwatch’s Gillian Burke, plus environmentalist and actor David Oakes and zoologist Sophie Pavelle for a feast of music performances, a Big Wild Quiz, and, on Saturday, a wild camp-out night, where thousands of Weekenders will join a festival garden party, with recipes, moth hunts, and birdsong at the press of a button. Part of the 30 Days Wild challenge. For the full programme, head here
What we’ve been reading this week:
A Parent’s Guide to Black Lives Matter
“Peaceful protests, mass marches, and portrayals of violence. Petitions, political speeches, and demonstrations. The last two weeks have seen movements advocating for an end to racial inequality on a mass scale. Yet, current affairs aren’t always tangible or immediately clear, especially from a child’s perspective. Many children may have questions about the images, stories, and conversations they hear on the news and around them. We can’t solely rely on schools to ensure children fully understand the Black Lives Matter movement and the issues that fuel the movement. As parents, if we haven’t already, it is also our responsibility to engage in positive and open discussions about race and racism with our children at home.” Read more and download the guide here
Found something inspirational to read that you’d like to share? Want to share your lockdown creations with us? Have an idea for things to do? We’d love to hear from you. Email Kate