Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

Today was Winter Solstice, literally translated 'sun-stop'. People used to think the sun stopped on this day because it was up for such a short time. Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, meaning the day with the shortest amount of sunlight. We invited our history buddies over for a lesson on the history of Winter Solstice and different ways it has been celebrated. We learned that our Christmas trees, garland, lights, mistletoe and gift giving all originated from ancient traditions around winter solstice.
We read a great book about winter solstice and I explained using a flashlight and an orange (with an equator and hemispheres) about the autumnal and spring equinox, and the winter and summer solstices.
The children drew pictures and came up with words containing sun. Some of our examples include: sunscreen, sundae, Sunday, sunshine, sundial, sunflower and suntan. When I suggested they look in the dictionary for other ideas Aaron exclaimed, "What a great idea, you are so smart. I never would have thought of that!"
We also learned that the French word for sun is Soliel, and the Spanish word for sun is Sol.

We also had a delicious meal celebrating the coming of longer days! We had Sun Chips, bagels with salami and cream cheese (sun shaped), orange slices (looks like a slice of sun), Cheetos (sunbeams), and peanut butter and celery (representing providing food for the birds during the long winter months).

We made, rather attempted to make a birdhouse covered in birdseed, cheerios strung together and dipped in peanut butter and birdseed.

Then we enjoyed rum cake cup cakes with a candle on them. This represented the the yellow of coming spring and the fire and light from the candle represented the warmth and light we get from the sun!
The highlight of the day for the boys was that I let them try to light the remaining orange peels on fire. The highlight for me was that when the boys were lighting various objects on fire Syndi broke out in song, singing Def Leppard's 'Pyromaniac'!
Taylor hung her bird feeders on a stick she stuck in the ground outside of her bedroom window!

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