Let the Sunshine in on the Summer Solstice!

Hooray for sunshine and summertime!

As the earth revolves around the sun, the amount of daylight or darkness we see changes, and so do the seasons. Tuesday, June 21st is the first day of summer, and is marked by the Summer Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere — better know as the longest day of the year! This is when we get the most daylight hours of any other date on the calendar.

As summertime kicks off, we can all get excited for what it brings. Family vacations, ice cream stands, paddling on the lake, camping trips, and running through sprinklers on the hottest of days!

Celebrate the change of season with crafts, activities for indoors and out, and great educational resources for the whole family below. We’ll learn all about the Summer Solstice, explore what causes the seasons, and plan fun projects for the months ahead.

Jump to article sections:

Learn About the Season

Summer Solstice | All About the Holidays

Grades K-5
As our earth revolves around the sun, our daylight hours get longer and shorter depending its orientation. Learn more about why we celebrate the longest and shortest days of the year.

Daylight Hours and the Sun’s Apparent Path

Grades 3-5
Explore the duration of daylight and the Sun’s apparent path in the sky in a northern hemisphere location during the solstices with this adapted WorldWide Telescope video. This resource gives students an opportunity to observe differences in the Sun’s apparent path across the sky and make evidence-based claims about the changing duration of daylight in summer and winter.

The Science of Summer Collection

Grades 6-12
It’s finally summer! Use this collection of videos and lesson plans to inspire students to explore the science behind some of their favorite summer activities, from the chemistry of campfires to the physics of sailing!

Why Seasons Make No Sense | It’s Okay to Be Smart

Grades 9-12
Day by day, country by country, we tend to measure seasons differently. This video explains why we divide the years into seasons here in the Northern Hemisphere, how it lines up with the weather, and where the practice has its roots.

Tips for a Sensational Summer

Tips for Traveling With Preschoolers

Grades PreK-K
Traveling brings opportunity to learn, grow, and gain some independence for kids (and grown-ups, too). In the new Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood special, “Daniel Visits a New Neighborhood,” Daniel and his mom go on a trip far away — somewhere Daniel has never been before.

Five Easy Ways to Sneak in Summer Learning

Grades PreK-3
Summer learning doesn’t have to mean boring worksheets, forced reading, or multiplication problems. In fact, the more unlike school, the better! Some of the best learning takes place not sitting at a desk, but through experience. Here are five fun ways to keep your kids’ academic skills sharp and prevent summer learning loss.

Summer Challenges for Kids with Sensory Processing Issues

Grades PreK-3
For many kids, summer vacation promises endless days out in the sun, plans made on the fly, and staying up just a little bit later to enjoy the sunset. For kids with sensory challenges, on the other hand, the summer months can pose a significant challenge. Gone are the routines, schedules, and, in some cases, carefully created coping skills. With some preparation and practice, however, parents can help kids with sensory processing issues enjoy the summer months.

What If We Let Kids Get Bored?

Grades PreK-5
Summer boredom isn’t all bad! The Kratt Brothers say boredom can help kids flex their creative muscles and gives them time to think, breathe, explore, and figure out their interests.

Crafts, Activities & More

Splashtastic Beach Day Game

Grades PreK-2
Enjoy the beach from anywhere! Your child can build sandcastles, dance with fish, and more with Pinkalicious at the beach.

Make Your Own Sundial

Grades K-3
A very long time ago (long before there were digital clocks and mobile phones), people used a sundial to tell time. A sundial may consist of a round plate with a vertical stick, called a gnomon, that casts a shadow on the dial. Make your own sundial with this fun and easy DIY project.

Pool Noodle Obstacle Course

Grades K-5
This easily customizable pool noodle obstacle course is perfect for a kid’s play date, party or a family time in the yard.

Books for Those Glorious Summer Days

Grades PreK-7
Find new ideas for summer reading for all ages with these recommendations from Newbery Medalist Meg Medina!

Why Do We Have Seasons?

Grades 3-12
Explore what causes seasons on Earth in this interactive adapted from NASA materials that features four cities at different latitudes. Use this resource to view how Earth’s axial tilt causes seasons from different perspectives and to develop and use models of sunlight received at Earth’s surface.

The Great American Read | High School Titles

Grades 9-12
Explore and celebrate the power of reading this summer with The Great American Read LearningMedia collection for high school students, highlighting books from a list of America’s 100 best-loved novels. Read along and learn about the historic and cultural impact of books like Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, The Catcher in the Rye, The Hunger Games and more!

For even more games and educational resources for young learners, go to the Summer of Possibilities Collection on PBS Kids for Parents.