Midsummer poem and activities

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By Brenda Williamspoet and writer

Explore the history, mystery and magic of summer solstice celebrations and use the poem They’re Selling Moonbeams in the Marketplace to inspire your own midsummer activities.

Stonehenge sunrise

Group discussion

The summer solstice has been celebrated for over 5000 years. It is when the sun appears to reach its highest point in the sky. For the northern hemisphere, this is the night of 20/21 June when the earth, tilted on its axis, places the northern part of the earth closer to the sun. 21 June is the longest period of daylight in the year. In the southern hemisphere, this period of the year is their winter solstice with the shortest hours of daylight.
  • Give a simple demonstration, using a torch to represent the sun and a globe of the world, to illustrate how the earth turns around to face or turn away from the sun each day. Identify Britain on the globe for children to watch how night and day occurs.
  • Continue by tilting the northern hemisphere of the globe towards the sun, to show Britain receiving more sun than Australia.

Extension activity
Explain that this is also why, when the South Pole tilts towards the sun, and we experience our shortest day of the year in December, Australians are enjoying their summer solstice, and are likely to celebrate Christmas on the beach.

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