Given our dreary Portland weather this year, you may not find it hard to believe that we haven’t yet officially started summer. Every year around June 21 (depending on the year and local time zones) we have the longest day of the year—when the sun finds itself directly above the Tropic of Cancer, causing more daylight hours than any other day and the official start of summer.
This year we get the longest day on June 20. While this day does not mean it’ll be the hottest day of the year, it is the day we get to enjoy a whole lot of daylight. So why not make the most of it and start some summer fun traditions?
Here’s some ideas to get you going!
Go berry pickin’
With so many hours of daylight, take a few of them to go berry picking at a local farm. It doesn’t have to be berries—there’s a plethora of produce out there just waiting to be picked. Wherever you are in the country, you can find a great list of fruits and vegetables here that shows you what time of year is best to harvest each crop. This is a fun activity for all ages—make it a road trip adventure!
Take a hike
But don’t forget the sunscreen! If you love hikes, long summer days are perfect for spending time outside enjoying nature. Whether your hike is challenging or just a casual stroll through the forest—take the opportunity to continue your love for wearing hiking shoes and go high-five some trees. And if hiking is a foreign concept, you can click here for some great tips about what you need to get started.
Make a splash
If you love being in the water, this is a great day to spend at the pool! If you have a pool at home, invite family and friends over to make the most of the daylight hours. Make it extra fun with silly pool floats (giant unicorn, anyone?) and kid-friendly water games.
If you’d rather take the kids out for aquatic adventures, head to your local community pool. If you’re lucky enough to live close to a beach or a river, spend a day there! (And again, don’t forget the sunscreen! Your skin will thank you.)
Dazzle up your yard, or a neighbor’s
Been waiting for the perfect day to tidy up your yard? Take advantage of long daylight to knock out a few—or all—of your outdoor projects. Is your yard already the envy of the neighborhood? Why not offer to lend a hand to help your neighbors with some of their yard or gardening needs.
Host a cookout
If you love buying fresh local vegetables from the farmers markets as much as we do, fire up the grill and make some delicious (and healthy!) treats for your pals. We like to think that foods are more fun on a stick, so why not try your hand at making some tasty vegetable kabobs?
Encourage guests to bring healthy food and drink options that can be enjoyed outdoors…and maybe their favorite card game or other portable activity.
If you’d rather venture out of the yard, go for a picnic at a local park. Don’t forget blankets!
Make art…with the sun!
You may remember this project from your grade school days: Take sun-sensitive project paper and apply found objects (such as feathers, leaves, or household objects) on top of it and let the sun work its magic for about 90 seconds. Remove the objects and place the paper in a water bath, then hang to dry. Voila! You have a piece of art worth framing.
Contribute to The Longest Day
Do you have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? The Longest Day is organized by the Alzheimer’s Association to promote awareness of this devastating disease. To participate, simply plan an activity you love (like swimming, scrapbooking, etc.) and start a team that will do this with you on the longest day of the year. Register your team here and start fundraising—all proceeds will go towards the efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Not only will you get to do a fun activity—you’ll be part of a global movement that provides hope to those affected by this disease.
Try your hand at flower arranging
Want to get into the spirit of summer? Take time to stop and smell the flowers…and then pick them for an arrangement (just, ya know, from your own garden. Or the supermarket. We won’t tell). Arranging flowers might seem intimidating at first, but with a little patience and creativity, you might find that it’s your new favorite hobby. Here’s a great guide to help kickstart your new career as a master home florist. Once you’ve honed your skills, you can share arrangements with your friends and neighbors.
And just because it’s the longest day of the year doesn’t mean this has to be the longest list…so we’ll just say: Enjoy this long day—whether you pick strawberries or soak in some rays at the pool, spending quality time family and friends is what summer is all about. That, and unicorn pool floats.
Author: LivingWell PDX Blog
Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.