7 Simple & Festive ways to Celebrate the Start of Summer

June ushers in the official start to summer. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and the start of the summer season. This year (2024) the summer solstice falls on June 20th. The start of summer is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all the things we love about summer! Welcoming a new season is a tradition that we started doing several years ago, and it has been a fun family tradition. The first season we celebrated was Fall, because it is my very favorite season and I am always super excited for it’s arrival, but I quickly realized there are wonderful things about every season that should be celebrated! With the start of each season we try to do something fun to intentionally welcome the new season, to celebrate and look forward to everything we love and look forward to the season a head. It’s a simple way to focus on the good!

Creating a tradition or celebration for Summer is as simple as thinking about your favorite things about summer! Favorite activities, foods, drinks…what is it that you look forward to most? When we think about summer we think about popsicles and ice cream and water fun! You can make your celebration as simple or elaborate as you want. You can make it a family affair or invite friends or family to join in the fun.

I love how a simple tradition to mark the start of summer (or any season) can be a great way to strengthen family bonds and help kids feel connected. I love to imagine my kids growing up and continuing the tradition on their own, texting each other pictures of themselves doing the tradition or even continuing the tradition with a family of their own!

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Here are some of our very favorite ways to Welcome Summer:

The Ice Cream Van

We started doing the “ice cream van” during COVID. I saw someone else post about it on Instagram and couldn’t resist giving it a try. Now my kids ask when we are going to do “ice cream van”. All you do is pick up a variety of ice cream treats (we usually grab ours at Aldi), a poster board and a bag of ice. We create a menu using pieces of the treat boxes and place each different kind of treat in it’s own gallon sized freezer bag. We place all of the treats in a cooler with ice and head out to deliver the treats to our friends. My kids love being able to do this for their friends! (I always coordinate with parents so that we can stop by when friends are home.) The ice cream truck is a nostalgic part of summer and our friends are always so excited to see us. My kids get a hoot out of holding the sign and passing out treats from inside the van. To be extra dorky we play ice cream truck music. I love that this tradition is something we can go together and it is others focused. Of course they get a treat after the deliveries, but they know have to give their friends first dibs!

We’ve only ever made 2-3 stops, it is a little tricky to keep the ice cream cold for much longer depending on your drive time, etc. The first year we tried the tradition I ordered these HATS to really commit to the ice cream truck theme. I am certain my older kids would not go for them anymore!

Eat Ice Cream

Is there anything more summery than ice cream? Kicking off summer with ice cream is always a good idea, and there is no shortage of fun ice cream related traditions! You could make homemade ice cream, make ice cream sundaes or go out to your favorite ice cream establishment! Some restaurants even offer special deals and freebies for the first day of summer!

Have a Family Welcome Summer Party

A simple family party is always a hit at my house! For a younger crowd, reading summer books and Summer BINGO would be fun. I think THIS free set from artsy-fartsy mama is adorable! Pair it with a fun summer treat like ice cream, a popsicle or a glass of lemonade to make it extra special. If you feel like getting festive you can decorate with fun decorations like beach balls or a watercolor popsicle garland!

Create a Summer To-Enjoy List

One our favorite ways to welcome a new season is to create a “To-Enjoy List”. It’s a list of all the things that we want to try, taste and enjoy during the summer season. It’s a fun opportunity to brainstorm together and a great way to be intentional with the season ahead. We always include a few traditions, a few foods, a few outings and a few new things to do or places to visit! You can turn your to-enjoy list into a fun bingo board using my free printable below.

Start a Water Tradition

Water activities are a big part of summer! Try welcoming summer with a big water fight with water guns and balloons, or run through the sprinklers with your clothes on to make an extra memorable tradition!

Toast the New Season

We always toast fall with apple cider, and winter with hot cocoa…so it only seem fitting that you would toast summer with a favorite icy beverage. Lemonade would definitely fit the bill. You could get a snocone, slushie or maybe try an Italian Cream Soda. I’m planning to try making some like THESE this summer.

Host a Gathering

If you’re really feeling ambitious the start of summer is the perfect excuse to host a gathering! Invite over some friends and family for a low key gathering to celebrate the start of summer! Throw some burgers and dogs on the grill and invite others to bring sides to share. Toss out some lawn games and just enjoy some time outside. There are lots of fun gatherings to host during the summer months, check out THIS post for more simple summer hosting inspiration!

Just because you are busy on the summer solstice, doesn’t mean you can’t welcome summer! Move your celebration to the first Friday of summer or over the weekend, whatever works best for your schedule!

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Hey, I’m Megan, wife to Chad, mama to our three rambunctious boys, Grady, Marshall, Stafford and our sweet little girl, Ainsley Nell.  I have a passion for celebrating holidays, cherishing seasons, creating memories, collecting traditions, connecting hearts and chasing joy.   Thanks for coming along for our journey.