Summer vacation is winding down, and students and educators alike are preparing to head back to school. But the fun and learning doesn’t have to end in your summer learning program! August is filled with holidays and special observances that are prime opportunities for enriching activities. From Friendship Day to National Radio Day, there’s no shortage of activities you and your students can try. Check out these holidays and activities to fill up your calendar for the month ahead.
August 2 - National Coloring Book Day
August 4 - Friendship Day
August 4-10 - National Farmers Market Week
August 7 - National Lighthouse Day
August 9 - National Book Lovers Day
August 12 - International Youth Day
August 19 - Aviation Day
August 19 - World Humanitarian Day
August 20 - National Radio Day
August 26 - Women’s Equality Day
1. While drinking water is generally safe in the US, water quality has become a hot-button issue in many communities. In fact, a recent study found that millions of Americans drink potentially unsafe tap water. To mark the beginning of National Water Quality Month, have students conduct a water quality experiment. They can test alkalinity, hardness, pH, chlorine and other characteristics and elements of tap water and other water sources. Check out this water science activity and the Science Fair Water Testing Kit to get started.
2. The benefits of coloring books are endless! They’re more than a medium for creativity, but they can also support hand-eye coordination, improve focus, refine motor skills and help relieve negative feelings and emotions. For National Coloring Book Day, host a coloring book swap. Ask students to bring in their gently used coloring books and allow them to choose their favorite one from the collection. Then simply set aside at least 30 minutes, provide students with crayons or markers and let them color to their heart’s content. Happy coloring!
3. For Friendship Day, let’s celebrate friendships! Discuss what makes a good friend, and write the responses on chart paper. Then divide students into groups to create skits that demonstrate one of the characteristics of a good friend. For example, a good friend shares their toys with others or helps a friend up if they fall. Ask them to write a script, use props and create unique characters. When they are finished, have students perform their skits for the other groups.
4. Farmers markets bring a ton of value to local communities. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, they help to increase access to nutritious food, stimulate local economies, support healthy communities and promote sustainability. To celebrate National Farmers Week, take a field trip to your local market and allow students to experience its sights, sounds and smells. You can also try these 3 farmers market activities to make the most of your visit.
5. Lighthouses are located across almost all American shorelines. And for more than 200 years, they have served as symbols of safety and security for ships and boats at sea. For National Lighthouse Day, let students explore these beacons by building mini lighthouses. To start, they can learn about the most popular lighthouses in the world, such as Cape Hatteras (North Carolina), Portland Head (Maine) and Eldred Rock (Alaska). Then they can get to work building their own!
6. International Youth Day recognizes efforts of the world’s youth in making positive contributions to their communities. This year’s theme is “Transforming Education,” and it highlights efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves. To participate in the day, create a discussion about the importance of quality education for all students, regardless of their background, socioeconomic status or location. Then brainstorm simple ways your students can support this effort, such as donating books to a low-income school or raising money for an organization dedicated to the cause. Have them build a plan for executing their idea and provide guidance and support for bringing their plans to fruition.
7. August 19 is Aviation Day, and it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the history and development of aviation. You can discuss aviation pioneers, such as the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earheart, and discover the earliest forms of aviation, like kite flying and tower jumping. To celebrate the day with a simple activity, try building and flying your own airplanes using pool noodles. See how it’s done.
8. World Humanitarian Day is a global celebration of people helping others. On index cards, ask students to write something their community needs, such as access to nutritious food, quality education or improved safety. Place the cards in a bowl and draw three cards. As a group, brainstorm ways to attain those things for the local community. If time and resources permit, organize your own service project!
9. National Radio Day celebrates the invention of radio in the late 19th century and the significance of AM/FM radio today. Modern broadcast radio is a medium for delivering music, local news and advertisements for local businesses. To participate in the day, have students set up a mock-up radio station. You can assign someone as the radio personality, disc jockey (DJ), newscaster and program direction (managing the station’s operations). Allow students to collaborate and decide what to name their station, what type of music to play, what news to share and which products or services to promote. Once planning is complete, have them bring their radio station idea to life!
10. Women’s Equality Day commemorates the day women were granted the right to vote in the United States. Passed by Congress in 1919, the 19th amendment guaranteed equal voting rights for men and women, and it set the tone for many issues regarding gender equality. The National Education Association (NEA) compiled a number of resources to help you explore this historical milestone. With videos, activities, lessons and questions, students can receive a deep dive into the suffrage movement.
Need more activities to fill up your August calendar? Check out our Pinterest board for seasonal activities and crafts.