Author Ellen Jackson

Summer

From ancient times to the present, people have found many ways to express their thankfulness for the sun's gift of warmth and light. THE SUMMER SOLSTICE depicts the mysterious rites of the Egyptians, the tales of fairies and selkies, the modern parades and baseball games--all part of the fun and folklore of this happy time.

WHAT IS THE SUMMER SOLSTICE?

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, a time when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The summer solstice marks the first official day of summer.


FACTS ABOUT SUMMER (K-5)

• In the Northern Hemisphere, there are more daytime hours in June, July, and August than in any other season.

• Animals teach their young how to find food in the summer. Wolves teach their pups to hunt, and female brown bats carry their babies with them to show them how to catch insects.

• In the summer, tall sunflowers bloom in the Midwest. Green acorns are beginning to appear on oak trees.

• Summer is the best time to look for fireflies. In South America, fireflies signal each other with red or green lights. In North America, fieflies signal with yellow lights.

• Snails are active in the summer, but if it gets too hot or too dry for them, they enter a period of inactivity known as estivation. They find a safe place—such as a tree trunk or the underside of a leaf and they stop moving and stay in their shell.

• In the United States, people watch fireworks, go hiking and swimming, and toast marshmallows.

• The month of June may have been named for Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. For this reason, June was thought to be a good month for weddings.

• The six hottest weeks of summer--the second half of July and all of August--are called the dog days because Sirius, the Dog Star, can be seen overhead in the sky.

• In North America, the middle of August is a good time to see shooting stars.

• July was named for Julius Caesar and August was named for Augustus Caesar. Both men were emperors of Rome.

• The growth of many plants slows down in late summer. Tomatoes and berries ripen.


LEO THE LION (K-3)

Leo is the sun sign for people born in the months of July and August. Here is a lion game you can play:

A player is selected to be Leo. Leo gets down on all fours in his 10-foot square "cage" (drawn with chalk). The other children jump in and out of the cage or run through it. They try to avoid being tagged by Leo. If Leo touches one of the children, that children takes Leo's place.

SUMMER WORDS (K-1)

Which of these words make you think of summer?

Butterflies
Swimming pool
Jingle Bells
Watermelon
Snow
Campfires
Thunderstorms
Barefoot
Skiis
Coats
Firecrackers
Halloween


RECIPE (K-6)

Summer Salad

You will need:

1 10 oz. package of mixed salad greens
1 cup of fresh blueberries
1/​4 cup of chopped walnuts
1/​2 cup of raspberry salad dressing
1/​4 cup of crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

Toss all ingredients except the cheese together. Sprinkle the cheese on top.


A SUMMER TREAT FOR YOUR DOG

You will need:

1 weiner, diced
1 can chicken broth
can opener

Directions:

Pour broth into ice cube containers. Add a piece or two of diced weiner. Freeze. Dogs love this one!

JOKES

How do farm animals like the hot summer weather?

A sheep says, "Bah!"
A pig says, "I'm bacon!"


What's black and white and red all over?
A sunburnt skunk.

I wondered why the baseball got bigger and bigger, then it hit me.


SUMMER FUN (Grades 1-4)

What can you do to have fun this summer? Go here.