In the UK most of us don't do much to mark midsummer, the longest day of the year. In Sweden, where we lived for nearly five years, Midsummer is as important a family celebration as Christmas. I like to mark the occasion, especially this year when I'm looking for any excuse for a party!
The Swedish festivities usually include making crowns from wildflowers, dancing around a maypole, and enjoying seasonal foods such as new potatoes and summer berries. A popular Midsummer song is 'Små Grodorna' ('Little Frogs'). Why not try jumping around like frogs while you listen to it? The words roughly translate as: Small frogs, small frogs - how funny to see them/They don't have ears, they don't have tails/Quack quack quack!
Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden?
I'm sure that the fairies come out to play at Midsummer. We like the story Freddie and the Fairy, which you can watch being performed by Julia and Malcolm Donaldson in one of their recent broadcasts.
Reading this story presents an opportunity to talk to your child about disability, as the fairy is hard of hearing and Freddie needs to learn how to adapt his behaviour. It's also good for exploring rhyming words, as the fairy mistakes 'mouse' for 'louse' and 'caterpillar' for 'gorilla'! What other rhyming pairs can you and your little one come up with?
Make your own Fairy Village
Here's a really simple craft that uses recycled materials. Take an empty loo roll tube, pinch the top of the tube together and tape or staple it shut. Cut a door shape in the front of the tube, to about half way up. Cut the corner off an unwanted envelope and stick on as your roof. Decorate it however you like! Pop your houses at the bottom of the garden. Will the fairies move in?
We love Leo's dinosaur bat house!
Keep the Party Going
It can be hard to stay upbeat at the moment, but we find that if we put on some music and have a bop, we feel a lot better. Our favourite songs to dance to are 'Can't Stop the Feeling' by Justin Timberlake and 'Uptown Funk' by Mark Ronson. It's also fun to do the actions to 'Superman' and 'I Am the Music Man' by Black Lace. A flashback to the 1980s for grown ups!
If you fancy a change from standard nursery rhymes, check out the original songs written by the Artburst team. You can listen to them on their website or find them on streaming services.
For more magical activities have a look at my previous blog posts about the story Room on the Broom