May is here, and there are plenty of activities for students to enjoy after school, including learning activities, creative projects and outdoor games and explorations. We’ve outlined a few special days and holidays below and included fun and interesting activities to help you celebrate throughout the month of May.
May 1 - May Day
May 3 - Space Day
May 5 - Cinco de Mayo
May 7 - Thank a Teacher Day
May 12 - National Limerick Day
May 13 - Mother’s Day
May 24 - National Scavenger Hunt Day
May 27 - Memorial Day
May 31 - Heat Awareness Day
May Day is a traditional spring festival, and usually involves maypoles, flowers, dancing and singing. To celebrate, have students make their own maypoles! This miniature maypole craft is easy to do and only requires a few supplies, like a paper towel roll, recycled cereal box, colored paper, ribbons and artificial flowers. If you have access to a regular-sized maypole, have students perform the traditional maypole dance.
Did you know May is National Egg Month? Many animals lay eggs - like birds, reptiles and fish - and humans have eaten them for thousands of years. They also make for great science experiments! You can make an egg bounce, create a naked egg or even force an egg into a small jar. Simply go to your local grocery store or farmer’s market and pick up a carton of eggs to enjoy these “eggsellent” activities.
There are endless space-themed activities to help you celebrate Space Day! For starters, you can make DIY moon rocks. Moon rock is simply rock that is found on the Earth’s moon, and it’s collected during explorations of the moon or ejected from the moon’s surface as meteorites. For this activity, you will need four cups of baking soda, ¼ cup of water, gold and silver glitter and black food coloring. Once you mix it all together in a bin, have students mold the sand to shape it into rocks and press their fingers into it to create craters on the surface. And voila! You have your own moon rocks.
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Join in the fun by providing Mexican-themed activities! Try listening to Mariachi or Tejano music; exploring and tasting Mexican treats such as tortillas and salsa or churros or even performing the Mexican Hat Dance. This is a great opportunity to help students gain understanding and foster acceptance of cultures other than their own.
While Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10, you can do something extra special on Thank a Teacher Day. Organize an afterschool event honoring the staff and school teachers who make a big difference in the lives of your students. You can send personalized invitations, provide refreshments, allow students to share gifts and even host an award ceremony to present fun awards like “Best Joke Teller” or “Best Dressed.” Teachers will appreciate the gesture and students can have an opportunity to show their gratitude.
National Limerick Day gives students the perfect opportunity to get the sillies out! The day is celebrated annually to honor the birthday of Edward Lear, an English artist and writer who popularized this style of poetry. Limericks are short, humorous and nonsensical poems that only contain 5 lines. They usually start with the line “There once was a…” or “There was a…”, and tell a fun and illogical story. Have students write their own to celebrate the day. Below is an example limerick to share with them:
There was a young lady from Leeds
Who swallowed a package of seeds.
Now this sorry young lass
Is quite covered in grass,
But has all the tomatoes she needs.
While writing a good limerick takes practice, the key is to learn the rhyming scheme and have a good imagination!
Mother’s Day is an opportunity to honor moms and to thank them for the many ways they make life special. Check out our Mother’s Day Pinterest board for unique do-it-yourself gift ideas. Students can create handmade cards, plant a flower or make custom jewelry. When it comes to making mom feel special, the possibilities are endless!
For National Scavenger Hunt Day, put on your explorer’s hat and venture outside for a spring nature scavenger hunt! You’ll need small paper or plastic bags, clipboards, pens or pencils and a scavenger hunt list. The list can contain items such as dandelions, acorns, flower petals and wild berries. It’s a fun way for students to get their hands dirty and explore what spring has to offer.
Before you go on a picnic or to a family reunion on Memorial Day, remember those who have paid the ultimate price in the service of our country. Create a large American flag with paint; red, white and blue construction paper and other art supplies. Write a thank-you message, and add “We Remember.” Then hang the flag in a special place for all to see.
As summer approaches and temperatures increase, it’s important for students to understand heat and how it affects them and objects around them. For Heat Awareness Day, conduct a few science experiments that help them explore heat energy. They can observe the effects of dehydration, understand why our body sweats when it’s hot and discover why dark colors absorb the most heat. As students learn more about heat energy, they can use their newfound knowledge to combat the blistering summer heat.
Fill your May calendar with these fun and timely activity ideas. By incorporating these activities, you’ll be sure to keep students learning and engaged all month long.