For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, June 20 will mark the longest day of 2021, heralding the official start of summer. Use these suggestions as a starting point to spark your own solstice ritual.
Plan a Scavenger Hunt
For smaller children, number or alphabetize clues leading to treats or summer supplies. Consider sunglasses, sunscreen, bug catchers, coupons for an ice cream outing or glow-in-the-dark necklaces. For tweens and teens, try a homemade coupon for a special privilege they have been begging to experience (maybe an hour later curfew or a zip line trip).
Eat Dinner Outside
A backyard barbecue is fun, but add to the festive feel with a change of scenery. Tune into nature on this day – pack a picnic dinner and head to a local park.
Try a Family Sun Salutation
A sun salute is an overall body stretch for the whole family, and kids will be amused while creating the yoga position called downward dog. Here is a simple version.
Make a Flying Wish
Write a wish down on paper and burn it, sending the wish into the sky. If the weather isn’t cooperative, there are wishing papers rise quickly and then disappear, and can be lit indoors. Try one from Flying Wish Paper. Another fun activity is wishing lanterns. Head outside with the family, make a wish and watch as the lantern floats away.
Start Summer Resolutions
Take your lead from the movie “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” (PG) and see if your family can develop a “Thrill Point List” for summer. What could you add to your list to make the summer of 2021 an exciting time for everyone? Pull out poster board and markers and let the creativity flow.
Stay up Until Dark and Stargaze
Check local observatories for summer solstice events. For novice star searches, borrow a book from the library to help you assess what you’re seeing, or use a free star-finding app such as Star Chart, SkyView or Night Sky Lite.
Rituals Often Involve Water
If nothing else, dip your toes in. How about a family battle using water balloons or squirt guns? Your willingness to let go and have fun can be a signal that the more relaxed days of summer are here.
Get Your Hands Dirty
It’s not too late to plant some produce or flowers. Consider planting in your vegetable garden for a fall harvest or add annuals to your flower garden to mark the occasion.
Bury Any Negatives
Has anyone in the family been struggling with something, such as a habit they want to leave behind? Write down any behaviors or experiences you want to put behind you and bury them. Use the solstice as a restart button.
Invite Friends to Join the Celebration
Remember to try and capture the “we always” when building a new family tradition. Kids love the tradition of “we always eat … ” or “we always do … ” a certain thing on a special day. Maybe you will always start solstice with a pancake breakfast. Ask your children for suggestions and they will likely come up with some fun options.
Town Brookhaven: 4330 Peachtree Rd. NE, Brookhaven
Movies start at dusk; registration requested.
June 10 – “Trolls World Tour” (PG)
June 17 – “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (PG-13)
June 24 – “Pitch Perfect” (PG-13)
July 1 – “50 First Dates” (PG-13)
July 15 – “School of Rock” (PG-13)
July 22 – “Raya and the Last Dragon” (PG)
Atlantic Green: 1380 Atlantic Dr. NW, Atlanta
Movie trivia begins at 6:30 p.m. with movie starting at 7 p.m.
June 10 – “Trolls World Tour” (PG)
June 24 – “Cool Runnings” (PG)
July 8 – “Grease: Sing-a-long” (PG)
Aug. 12 – “Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (PG)
Aug. 26 – “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (PG-13)
The Bowl at Sugar Hill: 5039 W. Broad St., Sugar Hill
Listen to live music before watching a movie.
June 11 – “The Princess and the Frog” (G)
July 16 – “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (PG-13)
Aug. 13 – “Shark Tale” (PG)
Sept. 10 – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (PG-13)
Lawrenceville Lawn: 210 Luckie St., Lawrenceville
Movies shown from 7-9 p.m.
June 18 – “Hidden Figures” (PG)
July 30 – “School of Rock” (PG-13)
Aug. 27 – “The Pursuit of Happiness” (PG-13)
Sept. 24 – “A League of Their Own” (PG)
Traveling down the Chattahoochee by inner tube or raft is a great way to cool off. Do it yourself, or visit one of these companies for a relaxing day on the river.
Please note that because companies are taking safety precautions during COVID-19, you may experience longer wait times or reduced capacity for rentals. Be sure to check the website or call for special instructions.
This tubing company sits right in the German-inspired town of Helen, and also has a zip line, water slide and climbing areas. After snaking down the Chattahoochee River, explore the town and have a taste of German food. Cost: Purchase tickets at the Headwaters or Chattahoochee Outposts, and the Main Street Booth. $10-$16 per person; prices vary for other activities. The Details: Open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The minimum age for tubing is 3.
Float down the Chattahoochee River at one of NOC’s three outposts: Roswell at Azaelea Park, Powers Island or Johnson Ferry. Kayak, canoe, paddleboard and raft rentals and guided trips are also available; book tickets online. Cost: From $25 per person. The Details: Open daily at 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Minimum tubing age is 8.
Purchase tickets at the Abbots Bridge Road check-in area; a shuttle will take you to the put-in location for a four-hour ride down the Chattahoochee. Straps are available to tether your tubes together, or rent a 4-person raft. Cost: $23 (4 hour trip) The Details: Open daily 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (last trip leaves at 4:30 p.m.). Minimum tubing age is 5.
This family attraction in Helen offers a 2.5-hour tube ride from 2 launch locations – Highway 75 N. or Brucken Street. While you’re there, enjoy the waterpark’s slides and activities. Cost: $12-$16 per person for a single-tube trip (prices vary on weekends and holidays). The Details: Open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tube the Chattahoochee on a 2-3 hour trip, from Power Island Park NPS to Paces Mill NPS. Cost: Starting at $25 per person. The Details: Open daily 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Minimum tubing age is 5.
DIY Shoot the Hooch
The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is open for rafting and tubing from dawn to dusk during the summer; all you need is a life vest and raft or tube. Parking is $5 at any of the parking lot access points. Make sure to leave a second car where you decide to end on the river.
Check weather reports and call for dam water release information: This provides recommended calm water times for floating. Buford Dam: 1-855- 326-3569. Make sure you are in a safe location when the river begins to rise. Minimum age to float down the river varies if renting supplies from a company; if not, it is up to parental discretion. Ages 12 and younger must wear a life vest at all times. Ages 13 and older must have one in the raft or tube. Rubber-soled shoes are a must for tackling slippery rocks.
Where to Go: Abbotts Bridge to Medlock Bridge, 4 miles; 3-4 hours.
Medlock Bridge to Jones Bridge, 3 miles; 1.5-2 hours.
Morgan Falls Dam to Johnson Ferry, 2 miles; 1-2 hours.
Johnson Ferry to Powers Island, 3.5 miles; 2-4 hours.
Powers Island to Paces Mill, 3 miles; 1-3 hours.
Visit nps.gov or call 678-538-1200 for more information.
Meet at Appalachian Outfitters’ Dahlonega outpost for a tube ride on the Chestatee River. A shuttle will take you to the put-in site for the 30-45 minute ride. If you want to do the trip again, take a 10-minute walk back to the beginning (or pay a $2 shuttle fee for each additional ride). You can also rent canoe and kayaks for trips on the Chestatee and Etowah Rivers. Cost: $6 per person; $2 for additional shuttle rides. The Details: Open Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The minimum age for tubing is 4.
This tubing adventure is worth the trip to the scenic Blue Ridge area – take a 1.5 mile trip down the calm waters of the Toccoa river. Single and two-person funyaks and kayaks are also available for rental. Cost: $15 per person. The Details: Open daily 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.; reservations are not required. The minimum age for tubing is 5.
Enjoy an evening of team challenges, scavenger hunts and interactive activities that will help you learn more about nocturnal species and how they use their different senses to navigate in the park. June 4 and 19.
Concerts begin at 6:30 p.m.
May 14 – Cha Wa
May 28 – Old Salt Union
June 11 – Uptown Funk
June 25 – Randall Bramblett & The Megablasters
July 23 – Tribute: A Celebration of The Allman Brothers Band Location: 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. 770-206-2022.
May 21 – The Ultimate King of Pop Experience
June 11 – Nightrain The Guns N’ Roses Experience
July 23 – Elton Live! The Ultimate Tribute
Aug. 20 – Mustache the Band
Sept. 17 – Uptown Funk – Tribute to Bruno Mars Location: 210 Luckie St., Lawrenceville. 770-963-2414.
Starts at 7 p.m.; for ages 21+.
May 23 – Grasshounds
June 6 – All the Locals
June 13 – EG Vines
June 20 – The 502s
July 4 – Frankly Scarlet
July 11 – Carly Moffa
July 18 – Ides of June
July 25 – Cody Bolden
Aug. 1 – Motherfolk
Aug. 8 – The Selfless Lovers
Sept. 5 – Easy Honey Location: 500 10th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-249-0001.
May 28 – Voltage Brothers
June 11 – Creativity
June 25 – The Rupert’s
July 9 – No Limits
July 23 – Electric Avenue
Aug. 6 – A1A
Aug. 20 – The Bee Gees Gold Tribute Band
Sept. 3 – The Downtown Band Location: 93 Park Dr., Norcross. 770-448-2122.
June 4 – Rupert’s Orchestra
July 2 – Glow
Aug. 6 – The Ultimate Eagles Tribute – On the Border
Sept. 3 – Trotline
Oct. 1 – Electric Avenue
Oct. 29 – No Sweat Location: 250 E. Main St., Canton. 770-704-1548.
June 12 – Black Jacket Symphony: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
July 9 – Ultimate Queen Celebration
Aug. 14 – Steep Canyon Rangers
Sept. 18 – Christopher Cross
Sept. 25 – Rumours: A Fleetwood Mac Tribute Location: 101 Arnold Mill Rd., Woodstock. 770-517-6788.
Music begins at 7 p.m.
June 24 – The Ruby Reds
July 8 – Lauren St. Jane
July 22 – TBA
Aug. 12 – TBA
Aug. 26 – TBA
Sept. 9 – Monica Spears
Sept. 23 – No Solution Location: 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055.
Dine on eggs Benedict, biscuits, blackened salmon and more during a brunch buffet overlooking Piedmont Park. Mother’s Day Brunch Bubbles option includes all-you-can-sip champagne and mimosas. Reservation times between 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; last seating at 2:30 p.m. 500 10th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-249-0001.
Earth Day was first celebrated April 22, 1970. Here are 50 ideas to help you go green and protect the earth 365 days a year.
Non-toxic cleaning supplies are widely available but can be costly. Instead, do it yourself. You can make your own products with essential oils, baking soda, castile soap, vinegar and more. Find instructions online.
Try a shampoo bar instead of a liquid shampoo for less plastic packaging.
Check the personal and environmental safety of items you use every day from skincare to cleaning products at ewg.org.
In your bathroom, put a can next to your trash can for recyclable materials – like toilet paper rolls – so you’ll recycle them instead of throwing them away.
Plant a tree in your backyard. See instructions at treesaregood.org. Donate or
volunteer with Trees Atlanta, which is committed to replacing trees lost to development and protecting green space areas in metro Atlanta. They also offer Family Fun activities. See more at treesatlanta.org.
Buy large-sized products or in bulk to reduce plastic packaging.
Beware of greenwashing, when a product is marketed as environmentally friendly but actually isn’t. Look for products with established, third-party emblems like Fair Trade Certified, Ecocert, Energy Star and others. Learn more with Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides.
Too much mail? Stop receiving junk mail with Eco-Cycle. Also, opt for online paperless billing.
Houseplants that are easy to take care of, like English ivy, mother-in-law’s tongue, mums and other plants, can naturally help remove indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene.
Calculate the carbon footprint of your household at nature.org.
Check out The Good Trade for sustainable ideas on fashion, beauty, home and more.
Start composting your food scraps, coffee grounds, leaves, paper towels, newspapers and other materials to turn them into soil for your yard. Learn how to compost with Georgia Recycling Coalition.
Stop preheating your oven, unless you’re baking bread or pastries.
Shop local farmers markets for fresh produce or join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Find one at localharvest.org/csa.
Match your pots and pans to the burner. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch electric burner will waste more than 40% of the heat produced, and food will take longer to cook.
Cooking your own meals cuts back on the waste produced by takeout bags, containers and plastic cutlery when you order from a restaurant.
Americans waste 422 grams of food per person daily, which is almost a pound of food. Reduce waste by planning your meals, buying what you realistically need and taking leftovers for lunch.
Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
Collect rainwater for watering plants.
Take hard to recycle items to CHaRM’s permanent or pop-up locations. The group will take electronics, glass, home goods, light bulbs and more. For a full list of items
as well as material processing fees, go to livethrive.org/charm. Find recycling solutions near you at earth911.com.
Properly dispose of batteries. Most single-use batteries can be recycled, although a fee may apply. Where you can, switch to rechargeable batteries, which can also be recycled.
Do not put your recyclables in a plastic bag. Put them loose into the recycling bin.
Don’t forget to recycle paper. Paper makes up about 28% of solid trash in landfills. By recycling one ton, it saves about 7,000 gallons of water during manufacturing.
Bring your own reusable bags and leave a few in your car, so they’re easy to grab when you need them.
Switch to microfiber cloths or reusable towels to clean up messes instead of paper towels.
Stop using single-use water bottles. Buy a reusable water bottle, and it’ll keep your water cold longer, too!
Buy pre-owned clothing. Shop local thrift stores or check out online sites like Depop and ThredUP to find items that are new to you.
Add reusable wool dryer balls to your laundry instead of single-use dryer sheets.
Use reusable silicone bags when packing lunch instead of plastic bags.
Store food with reusable beeswax wrap instead of cling wrap.
Take your make-up off with a cleanser and a reusable cloth instead of a single-use wipe.
Participate in the City Nature Challenge, as cities around the world engage in nature to make observations and find species. Visit iNaturalist.org to download the app and share your observations.
Spend time in nature. Head to a wide, open green space to explore.
Enjoy guided nature hikes, programs about geology, hydrology and biology and earth-based recreation programs with the state parks’ D.I.R.T. See a full list of events at gastateparks.org/DIRT. Please note that while DNR-managed sites are open at this time, programs may not be running.
Visit the Phinizy Center for Water Sciences to learn more about sustainable watersheds. The Center has trails, wetlands, rivers, ponds, woods and an outdoor classroom. While they are still open, they are also posting live educational videos and storytimes on their Facebook.
Go on a stewardship trip with the Georgia Conservancy. Go hiking, paddling, camping or on a service trip to celebrate conservation and the diversity of Georgia – from our riverbanks to our mountains to our saltwater-marsh and barrier islands. Find out more at georgiaconservancy.org/trips.
Join Atlanta Audubon Society for education and to support conservation and advocacy efforts protecting Georgia’s birds and their habitats. Start bird-watching in your own backyard by visiting audubon.org/birding/backyard for activities.
Lower your home’s energy use. You can purchase a home energy monitor to find which appliances are using the most electricity.
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) use 25%-80% less energy and can last 3-25 times longer than compact fluorescent lamps.
Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
Use the dishwasher or washing machine only for full loads.
In the summer, use fans instead of turning up the air conditioning unit. Turn off fans when you leave the room. The Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 78 degrees when you’re home and need cooling.
In the winter, wear layers instead of turning up the heat. The Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 68 degrees while you’re awake and setting it lower when you’re asleep or away from home.
Turn off your monitor if you aren’t going to use your computer for more than 20
minutes, and turn off both the CPU and monitor if you’re not going to use your computer for more than two hours.
When you upgrade to the latest cell phone, recycle your old one. To be safe, factory reset the device so all your data is removed, and if you can, remove the battery before recycling the phone.
Unplug electronics and chargers when not in use.
Buying a new computer? Laptops are often more energy-efficient, as they can run off battery power, unlike desktop computers which are always plugged in.
Plug your devices into a UL-certified power strip and switch it off for the night to prevent phantom electrical draw.