I can’t believe spring is already upon us. It seems like only yesterday we were romping in the snow and dreaming of hot chocolate, and I imagine for many of you that may still be the case for several weeks to come. However, here in Oklahoma, by the time March 20th comes around, the snow is long gone, and we are starting to see tulips push their way through the hard ground. As such, today we are going to talk about 5 fun holidays worth celebrating this spring.
Now before we begin, we are not talking today about the obvious holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Sure, those are great holidays to celebrate, and I encourage you to do something fun for those days.
However, the holidays we are talking about today are those lesser recognized holidays that are just fun ways to add a little spice to you homeschool days and break up the monotony that can often hit about this time of year. So let’s take a look at 5 fun holidays worth celebrating this spring.
March 28—Children’s Picture Book Day
Every week we go to the library. While there, I usually pick up a dozen or so picture books to read with my 4-year old. She can’t wait to start looking at them on the car ride home. But do you know who else likes to read them? My 12-year old. She would never admit it, but she gets almost as excited to sit down and read her little sister’s picture books. She’s even been known to check out a few of her favorites just for fun on her own.
No matter what your child’s age, adding a picture book to your day can greatly enhance your child’s learning. For younger students, picture books help build phonetic awareness, expand vocabulary, and encourage critical thinking. Picture books can also spark a love of reading, build inference skills, and develop emotional understanding.
For older students, picture books can help them grasp challenging history, social studies, geography, or science concepts. They can also be a great springboard for essay creation, literary analysis, and biographical studies.
So how can you make Children’s Picture Book Day special?
- Go together to the library and have a library read in. The only rule–every book has to be from the picture book section.
- Have a Drop Everything And Read Day. Again, the only rule—each book must be a picture book.
- Read a picture book together and complete a simple literary analysis. What are the parts of the story? What was the theme? Plot? Structure? Who were the characters?
- Study a children’s book illustrator. If you need a few ideas, check out Stephen Cartwright, Louis Ehlert, Mo Willems or Ted Rand. After studying their artwork, you might even encourage your child to try recreating one of the illustrations.
- Study a favorite children’s book author. Learn about where they live, what they like to write about, and how many books they’ve written. Patricia Polacco and Eve Bunting, for example, are two picture book authors that could be interesting studies for older children and possibly lead to great biographical essays.
- Introduce a challenging math, science, history, or geography, with a colorful non-fiction picture book that would appeal to all ages.
- Need something to spark creative writing? Choose a wordless picture book such as Journey by Aaron Becker or Mirror by Jeannie Baker, and let your child create a story to go with the images.
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of just simply reading a picture book together. Picture books offer a great way to start discussions about more challenging subjects about injustice, grief, cultures, character, and life choices. So don’t be surprised if after reading a picture book for Children’s Picture Book Day, you have a long discussion at the dinner table. The images of picture books tend to stick longer in one’s mind than simply words on a page.
March 30—National Virtual Vacation Day
I don’t know about you, but about this time every spring we are ready to take a break and go somewhere. So why not take a virtual vacation? Thanks, in part to COVID, there are so many places that now offer virtual tours and educational experiences online. Instead of just reading about the White House, you could tour it. Instead of just reading about panda bears, you could watch one on a live zoo cam. By going on a virtual vacation, your kids will have the opportunity to explore artifacts and nature beyond the written word.
Here are just a few amazing opportunities you may want to pursue on National Virtual Vacation Day. Be sure to check the show notes for links to these amazing online tours.
- The White House
- The National Aquarium
- The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
- Yellowstone National Park
- Ellis Island
- San Diego Zoo Live Cams
- New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Colonial Williamsburg
- The Louvre
- The world’s largest natural cave located in Vietnam
- The National Museum of American History
- The Smithsonian’s National Zoo Live Cams
- George Washington’s Mount Vernon
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial
- Buckingham Palace
- Great Wall of China
It’s amazing how much better children remember what they are learning when there is visual content, and National Virtual Vacation Day provides a prime opportunity to experience some new places.
April 23—Talk Like Shakespeare Day
William Shakespeare has long been considered one of the greatest English writers of all time. He lived during late 1500s and wrote 38 plays and more than 150 sonnets. Some of his most famous works include Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth and Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Talk Like Shakespeare Day is a great opportunity to pull out one of those classic plays or sonnets and read an excerpt or begin a new unit study. If you plan on taking a look at Shakespeare for longer than one day, you might want to grab the Book How to Teach Your Child Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig to get a few ideas as you delve in Shakespeare’s world.
If you have younger children, an abbreviated version of several of his plays such as Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by E. Nesbit or Usborne’s Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare is a great place to start. For those a little older, you might consider having them read A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Twelfth Night. And for those in high school, they should be able to tackle about any of Shakespeare’s works, but Hamlet and MacBeth usually rank near the top.
You might consider watching a movie remake or a Shakespeare in the Park performance for Talk Like Shakespeare Day. And, when you are through, have fun talking like Shakespeare and saying some of those common phrases from his plays like: “To be, or not to be: that is the question.”(from Hamlet).
You may even want to extend the fun by recording your phrases to an Instagram Reel or TikTok video. Oh the laughs you could share!
May 1—National Mother Goose Day
I’m sure we could all recite a dozen nursery rhymes together, thanks in a large part to the huge collection of Mother Goose. While nursery rhymes are fun to listen to because of their lilting rhythms and funny story lines, they also develop vocabulary, increase phonetic awareness, and help build early reading confidence.
As Mem Fox reports in Reading Magic, “Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” This is why I encourage nursery rhyme memory so strongly in Encompass Preschool Curriculum—because nursery rhymes have shown to have a strong impact on both behavioral and academic achievement.
National Mother Goose Day presents a great opportunity to read, sing, or memorize some of those well-known favorites like Jack and Jill, Hey Diddle, Diddle, Doctor Foster, and Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. For older students, you may also want to research the history of a few favorites in The Annotated Mother Goose compiled by William and Ceil Baring-Gould, as many of those well-known nursery rhymes are steeped in history.
May 26—National Paper Airplane Day
Did you know that the Guinness Book of World Record for the furthest paper aircraft flight is 69 meters? That’s about 226 feet. While you may not achieve Guinness Book status with your creations, paper airplanes are something everyone can have fun making and flying for National Paper Airplane Day.
It’s also a great opportunity to learn a little bit about aerodynamics, the forces of lift and thrust, and balance. As you make airplanes, you can even make a few hypothesis, test a few different designs and angles of lift-off. Be sure to check out the link in the show notes for 5 easy paper airplane designs that are known for going far.
So there you have it—5 fun holidays worth celebrating this spring. Whatever you choose, I’d love to hear how you make these next few homeschool months special. Shoot me an email or send me a direct message in social media. I look forward to hearing how you chose to add a little spice to your homeschool life this spring.