Summer has always held a special place in my heart. Its arrival brings a sense of joy and anticipation that’s hard to match. Long sunny days, warm nights, and the overall aura of freedom and relaxation – yes, summer is indeed a season to look forward to.
As an educator and a perennial lover of all things summer, I believe this wonderful season presents a unique opportunity for learning. This is a time when kids are out of the confines of the classroom, immersed in a world full of vibrant experiences and phenomena that pique their curiosity.
Why not turn these experiences into valuable learning opportunities? As we soak up the sun and marvel at the spectacle of fireflies on a warm night, there’s a world of knowledge waiting to be unraveled. But remember, learning should never come at the expense of fun, especially during the summer break. After all, these are the days kids look forward to all year long. It’s a time to relax, explore, and let their imaginations run wild.
In this spirit of fun-filled education, I have put together a collection of fascinating summer fun facts. Ranging from why we have summer to peculiarities about summer critters, these nuggets of knowledge aim to educate and entertain. My hope is that these fun facts will not only feed your child’s curiosity but also inspire them to delve deeper and discover more about the world around them.
Why we have Summer facts
Earth’s Tilt: The reason we have summer (and all other seasons) is because the Earth is tilted on its axis by about 23.5 degrees. This means as the Earth orbits the sun, different parts of the planet receive more sunlight at different times of the year.
Longest Day: During the summer solstice, which typically falls on June 20th or 21st, the Earth’s tilt towards the sun is at its maximum. This makes it the longest day of the year with the most daylight hours.
Not the Hottest: Despite having the longest day, the summer solstice is not usually the hottest day of the year. There’s a delay between the longest day and the warmest average temperatures, which usually occur a month or two later. This phenomenon is known as the “thermal lag” or “seasonal lag“.
Midnight Sun: In places above the Arctic Circle and below the Antarctic Circle, there’s a period of time in the summer when the sun doesn’t set for 24 hours or more. This is often called the “midnight sun“, and it happens because the tilt of the Earth’s axis keeps these areas in constant sunlight.
Summer Facts about Solstice
Here are some fun facts about the longest day of the year, also known as the summer solstice:
Solstice Origins: The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” meaning sun, and “sistere” meaning to stand still. This is because the sun appears to pause in the sky at its highest point.
Worldwide Celebration: The summer solstice has been celebrated by various cultures around the world for thousands of years. Festivities range from bonfires and dancing in Europe to the famous yoga gathering in Times Square, New York.
Stonehenge Mystery: One of the most famous solstice celebrations happens at Stonehenge in England, where people gather to watch the sunrise. The site aligns with the solstice sunrise, leading many to believe that it was used as an ancient calendar.
Varied Length: The exact length of the longest day can vary depending on where you are in the world. For example, if you’re at the equator, day and night are each about 12 hours. But if you’re at the North or South Pole, the sun doesn’t set at all!
Dual Solstices: While it’s the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere because they experience winter when it’s summer in the north, and vice versa. This means that as some are celebrating the summer solstice, others are experiencing the winter solstice.
Summer Fun Facts about Sun Protection:
Here are some fun facts about sun protection:
Sunscreen Invention: The first effective sunscreen was invented by an Austrian scientist named Franz Greiter in 1946. His product, named Gletscher Crème or Glacier Cream, later evolved into the brand Piz Buin, which is still popular today.
SPF Meaning: SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It’s a measure of how well the sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays, the kind of radiation that causes sunburn and contributes to skin cancer. According to UCI Health, SPF 30 doesn’t mean it’s twice as good as SPF 15, though. While SPF 15 filters out approximately 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 filters out 97%, only a slight improvement.
Clothes as Protection: Sun-protective clothing is rated in terms of Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). A UPF rating of 50 means that only 1/50th (or 2%) of the UV radiation can penetrate the fabric, offering strong sun protection.
Sunglasses Importance: Just like skin, eyes can get sunburned too from excessive UV radiation, leading to a condition called photokeratitis. Sunglasses help protect your eyes from UV damage, and it’s especially important for kids to wear them as their young eyes are more susceptible to sun damage.
Summer Fun Facts about Ice Cream
Here are some fun facts about ice cream
Ancient Origins: According to IDFA, Ice cream traces its origins back to the second century B.C., with notable historical figures such as Alexander the Great and King Solomon enjoying honey-nectar flavored snow and iced drinks, respectively.
Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar also delighted in snow flavored with fruits and juices. The precursor to modern ice cream emerged around the 16th century when Marco Polo brought a sherbet-like recipe from the Far East to Italy.
The dessert spread to England and France, with France first tasting it in 1553 courtesy of the Italian Catherine de Medici. Ice cream was made available to the public in 1660 when the Sicilian Procopio introduced a new recipe at Café Procope, Paris’s first café.
National Ice Cream Month: In the United States, July is National Ice Cream Month. The third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day.
Most Popular Flavor: According to a 2022 survey by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), called National Ice Cream Trends Survey, the favorite ice cream flavors in America vary between ice cream makers and consumers. For ice cream makers and scoop shops, the top five flavors are Cookies N’ Cream, Vanilla, Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Strawberry. In contrast, consumers prefer Chocolate, Cookies N’ Cream, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Chocolate Chip.
The Ice Cream Cone: The ice cream cone was popularized during the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. An ice cream vendor reportedly ran out of cups and asked a nearby waffle vendor to roll his waffles into cones to hold the ice cream.
World Record Scoop: The tallest ice cream cone “measured 2.81 m (9 ft 2.63 in) tall by Mirco Della Vecchia and Andrea Andrighetti (both Italy) in Rimini, Ital
Summer Fun Facts about Fruits and Vegetables
Here are some fun facts about summer fruits and vegetables
Watermelon Hydration: Watermelons are not only delicious, but they are also a great source of hydration. They are 92% water and packed with vitamins A and C.
Berry Healthy: Berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are high in antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage. Blueberries, in particular, have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables.
Mango Varieties: There are over 1,000 different varieties of mangoes worldwide. They’re also the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
Eggplant Color: Despite their common purple color, eggplants come in a variety of shapes and colors, from white and yellow to green and even multi-colored.
Tomato Debate: Although often prepared as a vegetable, tomatoes are technically a fruit because they develop from the ovary of a flower and contain seeds. Still, in 1893, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes should be classified as a vegetable for trade purposes.
Peachy Keen: There are hundreds of varieties of peaches, and they are divided into two main categories: freestone and clingstone, referring to how easily the fruit’s pit (or stone) separates from the flesh.
Zucchini Surprise: Zucchinis can grow quite large, but most are harvested when they’re still small. The world record for the longest zucchini ever grown is 2.52 meters or about 8.27 feet “achieved by Giovanni Batista Scozzafava (Italy) in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada”.
Summer Facts about Critters
Here are some fun facts about summer critters:
Fireflies: Fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, are a staple of summer evenings in many places. They produce a cold light within their bodies through a process called bioluminescence. This light is used to attract mates or prey.
Cicadas: Some cicadas are known for their unique life cycle, where they live underground as nymphs for most of their lives, then emerge in large groups all at once, often after 13 or 17 years, to molt, mate, and die.
Mosquitoes: While they’re often just a nuisance, mosquitoes are actually the deadliest animals on Earth because of the diseases they can carry, like malaria. Interestingly, only female mosquitoes bite because they need the protein in blood to help develop their eggs.
Monarch Butterflies: Every summer, monarch butterflies in North America undergo a mass migration. They can travel between 1,200 and 2,800 miles or more from the United States and Canada to central Mexican forests where they overwinter.
Hummingbirds: Many species of hummingbirds spend their winters in Central America or Mexico, and migrate north to their breeding grounds in the southern U.S. and western states as early as February, and to areas further north later in the spring. The ruby-throated hummingbird can beat its wings 53 times a second.
Ants: Summer is a particularly active time for ants as they send out winged ants, known as alates, to start new colonies. These are often mistaken for flying ants, but they’re actually the reproductive members of the colony.
In conclusion, summer is a truly amazing time of year. From the tilt of the Earth’s axis that gives us this warm season, the longest day of the year known as the summer solstice, to the importance of sun protection that shields us from the sun’s harmful rays, there’s so much to marvel at.