Winter means less daylight but it is also the time for making the most of lights! In the lead up to the Winter Solstice (21st of December), the Catkin Kids had fun creating a range of lights and lanterns. Lanterns and lights aren't just for the solstice though, we intend to continue to experiment, create and use our lights through January and February. There is nothing better than getting excited for the dark so you can use your lamps and lanterns!
The 21st of December is the shortest day of the year, it is the moment when the earth is tilted farthest away from the sun. There are lots of traditions across the world to mark the Winter Solstice: In Britain, it used to be the time to cut Mistletoe.
In Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden, people gather for Juul (or Yule) - a multi-day feast when ancient people welcome the return of the sun god.
In China, the Dōngzhì festival celebrates when winter's darkness begins to give way to light. Families observe this time with special foods, such as rice balls known as tang yuan.
Fun Winter light activities
We have made two sets of simple lanterns so far and are building our ways towards the 'ice lantern' - but we need to make more space in our freezer before that one is possible
So simple and easy to do. All you need is a clean jar, string, tissue paper, scissors, glue and a battery powered candle. We went for a very simple pine tree design as you can see. We took the jars out when we went for some evening walks and to watch carol singers on a local street.
Our second lantern was a bit more complex and a lot of fun. We had to really think about how this would work and we used a lot of trial and error. I wouldn't say our way was perfect and you may think of better ways.
We used willow to make the base. We have lots of willows nearby along the river and it is so easy to work with a weave into circles. We then used greaseproof paper for the sides. Before attaching the paper we stuck on leaves we collected and some springs of Rosemary. The more complex bit was how to attach. We managed this with lots of glue and patience. Don't forget to add a bottom/base for the candle to sit on.
Another way of doing this type of lantern would be to tie twigs together into a cube structure - adding extras on the base to hold the candle in place.
We will report back on our ice lantern if we manage to create this one!