These Montessori-style summer solstice activities for kids are screen-free, nature-based ideas that capture the best of the Litha season.
From honey tasting to camping out in the backyard, it’s the perfect time to marinate your kids in the spirit of the natural world at its fullest glory.
Cultivate an appreciation for the outdoors and all the wonderful, summery things living out there right now!
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What is Montessori, and how does it apply to nature-based parenting?
If you’re parenting a preschooler, there’s an excellent chance you’ve heard of Montessori education. But unless you’re kid is enrolled in a Montessori program (or in even if they are enrolled in one), you may not necessarily know what it is.
For our purposes, you don’t really need to. But here are the key elements relevant to parents raising their children in nature based traditions:
Emphasis the use of natural toys.
(Sorry. My bad. They’re not toys, they’re materials). Wood, metal, and yes, real glass are encouraged in the Montessori environment. The use of natural elements clearly compliments the “eco-values” of nature-based parenting and spirituality.
The Montessori method encourages creative play. (Sorry. My bad. It’s not play. It’s work. I hope my kid’s Montessori teacher appreciates that I’ve been paying attention).
That means kids are encouraged to do more with fewer toys–ahem, materials.
Time spent in nature.
The idea that the endless cycle of ocean-toxic plastic plaguing children’s spaces all over the country must end is something Montessori education and nature-based spirituality certainly agree on.
Culturally relevant lesson materials.
Montessori classrooms emphasize “cultural relevance,” focusing on non-stereotyped, real-world lessons about the students own culture, as well as cultures around the world.
For a parent raising a child in earth-based spirituality, this means teaching instructing kids on your particular specific tradition, its origins, as well as the food, music and relevant historical context (yes, even if that “history” only goes back 60 years).
I could write a whole book on the ways in which Montessori intersects with earth-based parenting.
Even a thorough description of the Montessori method alone is beyond the scope of this article.
For a more elaborate understanding, this article on the Montessori method describes it quite succinctly and accessibly.
Okay! Let’s get started.
Summer Solstice Activities for Kids.
This list is comprised of screen-free, plastic-free activities that encourage outdoor experiences, connecting to the natural world, and the magic of the Litha season.
1. Learn about bees.
The current bee crisis makes it more essential now than ever to educate future generations about the importance of protecting bees.
Even the youngest children can begin to appreciate beauty and genius of these magical creatures.
And Litha, a time when bee activity peaks, is the perfect opportunity to give your kids a lesson on them. They’re everywhere!
My favorite introduction to bees is The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner.
I really liked this one because it’s something I can read over and over to my son, and we pick up new things every time. It’s written for slightly older kids (maybe ages 5-9) but the diagrams and drawings made it easy to learn, even for my 3-year-old.
Afterwards, we tasted a teaspoon of honey to bring it into reality.
If there’s no allergy concerns, you can even visit a local honey farm. Speaking of which . . .
Try honey tasting.
Honey takes all the simple, natural, lovely things of Litha—flowers, bees, warm breezes, open fields—and captures them like a magic potion in one little, golden-hued jar.
Did you there are over 300 kinds of honey in the United States?
And even among these, every batch of honey captures a flavor unique to its given region and bee population.
Most farmer’s markets have a honey stand. Find one and take your kiddos to try a few varieties.
(Be careful of children who are allergic to bees! They tend to crowd around the honey!)
Camp out in the backyard.
If the semi-masochistic personal torture of getting through a camping trip in the mountains with a toddler sounds like the single craziest idea you’ve ever heard, it totally is.
I’m sure there’s some super crunchy moms out there who can “embrace” it. (Like these Olympic-level parenting stars who took their 6 kids to hike the entire Appalachian trail). If that’s you, awesome. Good for you.
But it’s not me.
However, camping in my backyard with my toddler . . . that, I can pull off.
It’s a nice way to experience nature close to home for those little ones not yet ready to use a Porta Potty.
(Or for moms who will never be ready to use one).
Teach the basics of composting.
If you’re big on the natural living experience, start your child early on the path to living closer to the earth.
For younger kids, simply let them take your compost out to the pile and dump it in.
We do this daily, and it is the freaking highlight of his post-nap routine.
For older kids, explain the science of how compost breaks down and why we benefit the earth by reducing the waste we put into landfills.
Experiment with smelling jars.
Start your kids on the path to natural living by teaching them the basics of herbalism.
Try this apothecary smelling jar activity to help them become familiar with the properties of herbs, flowers and barks from their own backyard!
Start with local herbs or wildflowers. Once they know them, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they start to point them out on your nature walks and outings.
Go wildflower picking.
It’s free, fun and natural.
You can go wildflower picking literally anywhere this time of year.
It can be an impulsive thing (“OMG, check out the Queen Anne’s lace growing between the cracks of this abandoned parking lot!”).
Or it you can make a day of it (“Anyone up for a wildflower picking picnic in the park?”)
Either way, gather up some pretty blooms and then learn how to use wildflowers in the Craft.
Nature walk specimen study.
This one is as simple as grabbing a magnifying glass and going on a nature walk.
Allow your little (or not-so-little) kids to choose something from the wild.
(Of course, make sure it is material that is abundant, not endangered and not poisonous. Pine cones, ferns, acorns, oak leaves, ect).
Then, let them look at it under the magnifying glass.
Younger kids might learn the parts of a leaf, for example. Older kids can learn to classify leaves or identify metaphysical properties based on what they look like (heart-shaped leaves for love spells, many small leaves for abundance, ect).
I hope you find some inspiration in these summer solstice activities for kids!
Happy Litha and Blessed Be!!!