May - An Idea for Every Day - Week 3

This third week in May for us brings the final day of the school year, a birthday in the family and continual care for our plants.  How about you?  What are you looking forward to in this third week of May?  Perhaps some of the ideas below will give you an additional reason (or two) for anticipation.

Just in case you wanted to know, the inspiration for these calendars came from a year of homeschooling one of our nieces.  We created every activity each day around the theme of a National Holiday for that day.  It stretched our creativity as leaders and linked learning for our niece.  She thoroughly enjoyed it, and we enjoyed sharing in it.  So we thought we'd try to spread some of that cheer on to you and your learner(s).  

Now, that being said, we would never want for you to feel like this is an obligatory checklist.  Or that you have to celebrate every day on the list.  Or that you even have to see it as a celebration.  But more than that, we really just want to help you find the joy in every day and give you a list of possible activities from which to choose.  So maybe go through and choose just one (or two) that look exciting to you. Print out or bookmark the pages. Gather the resources. Then when the opportunity presents itself, you're all ready to go; just break out the activity and let the learning commence.  

We offer up our Ideas for Every Day in several ways:
  • A calendar - for those who like to plan in advance.  Circle the activities that are right for you and keep the calendar within your line of sight as a visual reminder.
  • Weekly posts - for those who look for detailed information about each activity before committing.  Return here weekly or subscribe to our blog (click the yellow "subscribe" button above).  When you subscribe, you'll get our blogs sent directly to your inbox and then you won't have to remember to come back every week.
  • Daily reminders - for our Facebook and Instagram followers, we'll remind you daily about the upcoming holiday.
  • Even more ideas - if you're looking for something else, or just love getting lost in ideas, check out our Pinterest board.
And now, without further ado, check out these ideas we've cooked up for you.  

Sunday, May 17th - Take Your Parents to the Playground Day

Get outdoors and run around - but remember the kids are in charge.
Photo by Power Lai via Unsplash

Are playgrounds open where you live?  If so, you’re good to go.  It’s “Take your Parents to the Playground Day,” so technically, when you get there, your kids are in charge.  Enjoy!

If playgrounds where you live aren’t open, you could always make your house and/or backyard into a playground.  Visit where you’ll find pointers on crafting makeshift home playgrounds from items you likely already own.  Really, it’s an invitation to create adventure structures using repurposed household resources such as cardboard boxes, old blankets, milk crates and more.  Encourage them to find inspiration from books, movies, toys or play off ideas from friends.  Who knows, perhaps you’ll have so much fun creating alongside your young one you’ll even want to do it again!

Monday, May 18th - Visit Your Relatives Day

Virtual visitation ideas and a book in case there are no relatives to visit.
Picture by United Nations via Unsplash

The rules for this day seem pretty straight forward: choose a nearby relative and visit them (again if you’re able).  If in-person visitations are not a possibility, then meet up virtually.  And, if you want to do more than just talk, check out these virtual game ideas:

  • Play Scattergories at Scattergories Online.  Go to the site, select the randomized categories (or choose your own) click on the, “Create a New Game,” button, create your game settings (letters in play, number of players, number of rounds, timer length - or no timer - and invitation only or open game).  If playing with a closed party, send them the link and get to playing.  Alternately, you could play against robots or random people online.  The goal of the game is to choose a word/phrase for each category that begins with a randomly chosen letter (the letter appears when the timer starts).
  • Play Trivia with Random Trivia Generator.  Choose a category, then take turns answering questions.  The person with the most questions correct at the end of the session wins!  Of course, you could make up your own house rules too, like: first to buzz in answers; you bid for a chance to answer and then win or lose points; someone else chooses your question for you, etc.
  • Play Pictionary with Random Word Generator.  Visit the website, create your rules (number of things, type of game and category) then take turns drawing whatever appears on the generate button.  We’re thinking the easiest way to virtually play this would be for every player to be at the website.  Then, when it’s your turn, hit the generate button and draw what appears.  Playing this way ensures no one else sees your word.  To add variety to your virtual game session, Random Word Generator includes Catchphrase and Charades options or you might even choose topic-specific word generation such as: Holidays, Subjects, Getting to Know You, Wordplay, Movies, and Individuals.  
  • Play Charades with Get Charades Ideas. The second you visit the website, a charade phrase or word appears.  But you have the option to modify your categories or just keep clicking through until you find a phrase or word for you.  Again, if playing virtually, we would suggest each person (on their turn) goes through the website and picks their own word or phrase.  There’s even a link for “Kids Only” if you want to play with a group of kids.

No relatives to visit? Read The Relatives Came on YouTube or via Open Library and then act out the story.

Tuesday, May 19th - Dinosaur Day

Dig up fossils, learn about paleontologists, draw dinosaurs.
Photo from Fausto Garcia via Unsplash

The possibilities are endless for dinosaur day.  We seriously got lost just trying to dig up some ideas for you.  But, in our endless attempt to try to keep it as simple as possible, we tried to focus most of our ideas around fossils and from one main website.  Of course, if you’re looking for something different, you’re more than welcome to join in on the dino web excavation too.  And, if you uncover anything exciting, you know we’d love to hear about it too! 

For your PreK-2nd Grade Learners, we recommend you start by reading The Berenstain Bears: Dinosaur Dig by Jan and Mike Berenstain.  Oxford Reading Academy offers this YouTube Read Aloud that adds-in sound effects, varying voices and captions.  With images of fossils now swarming in their heads, lead them into this make your own dinosaur bones activity from Kitchen Floor Crafts.  With flour, salt and water you’ll invite hours of fun and laughter. While your dinosaur bones are baking (*ahem* we mean, “undergoing the fossilization process”), invite your learners to dress up a T Rex with this engaging, interactive activity from the American Museum of Natural History.  Your learner will vary the color, brightness and texture of a T. Rex’s skin, feathers, and eyes.  Perhaps this activity will generate ideas for what to do next with those dinosaur bones. 

Invite Third and Fourth Grade Learners to explore some interactive pages at the American Museum of Natural History website.  First, they’ll meet paleontologist Mark Norell by reading through an interview.  After they’re done reading the interview, talk about what other questions they’d ask him if they were to meet him in person, choose one question they’d answer differently if they were a paleontologist or choose an answer of Mark’s and draw an illustration of what you think he’s describing (it should be different than the posted picture).

With a better understanding of paleontology under their belt, it’s time to help one out.  Jonah Choiniere, again at the American Museum of Natural History, invites you to learn about sauropods from videos and expert clues to discover how to piece a sauropod back together.

You’ve met a paleontologist, helped a paleontologist, and now it’s time to become one.  In this activity, (also at American Museum of Natural History) you’ll bury dinosaur bones (really chicken) in the ground (plaster of Paris). Once fossilized (completely dried), exchange your buried bones with someone else and use your paleontology tools (a metal spoon) to make your fossil discoveries.  As this step could take a really long time, the experts recommend working in 15 to 20-minute increments over a period of a couple of days.  When finished, have partners discuss the experience using the follow-up questions available at the American Museum of Natural History site.

Let’s crank it up a notch for those 5th to 6th graders! To prepare them, they’ll first need to read a how-to-guide on finding fossils.  Equipped with this new knowledge, emerge them in a virtual skeleton reconstruction experience of the fossils they discovered on their expedition.  Now that they understand how to find fossils and the steps involved in reconstructing skeletons, it’s time they experience the intersection of art and science.  How do we know how dinosaurs look?  We don’t. We know artist’s interpretations of how they might have looked.  And now it’s time for your budding artist to reinvent a dinosaur’s appearance using clues from a skeleton.

No matter the age, we think your young paleontologist will have a tyranno-riffic time!

Wednesday, May 20th - Be a Millionaire Day

Preschool to sixth grade writing activities.
Photo from Sharon McCutcheon vis Unsplash

We think every kid dreams about having a lot of money at some point or another in their life.  This day provides a great opportunity to explore that dream, whether from a place of reality or fantasy.

For preschool to second grade learners, begin with reading If you Made a Million by David M. Schwartz (YouTube or Open Library).  Afterward, they can illustrate their favorite part in the book using draw and write paper with these various versions from Momgineer.  Or they could explain how they’ll become one using this template from Check into Teaching via Teachers Pay Teachers.

Third and fourth graders imagine, discuss and then write what they would do if they had a million dollars with this writing prompt from Student Handouts.

And fifth and sixth graders get lyrical as they rewrite the lyrics to the Barenaked Ladies Song, “If I Had a Million Dollars.”

It’ll be interesting to see, read, and hear how the fantasy of riches plays out in the heads of these learners.

Thursday, May 21st - Memo Day

Writing notable notes for the upcoming year or a friend.
Photo by AbsolutVision via Unsplash

To make memo day "memo"rable, inspire your Preschool to Second Grade Learners to write positive memos on sticky notes to one another using these guidelines from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard.  And, as many of us are learning from a distance currently, you could always consider mailing them to each other.  We bet getting positive notes in the mail just adds another positive advantage to the experience.

As another school year winds to an end, encourage your 3rd to 6th grade learners to write a memo featuring a personal SMART goal for the following school year.  Hub Spot offers a thorough how-to on formal memo writing and Teacher Vision guides you through teaching your learners how to create S.M.A.R.T. goals with an included template from Brooklyn Khan.

Friday, May 22nd - Solitaire Day

Play the classic or a variant.
Photo by Amanda Jones via Unsplash

There are so many variations of solitaire, you’re likely to find one (or two) you’ll enjoy.  Here’s a few we’d like to suggest to you:

Invite your Preschool to First Grade Learners to play Pirate Gold Solitaire. Everything Mom talks you through how to do it and suggests other fun solitaire games (Accordion and Clock) for your little learners.  In Pirate Gold Solitaire, you practice matching kills, number recognition, and being a good sport.  We definitely think there’s a skill (or two) in there from which every learner might benefit.

At Safe Kid Games, your Second Grade and older learners can play Online Solitaire.  Directions are included for those new to the game.  The timer begins the second you click “Start Playing,” so be ready.  See how quickly you can order all cards from Ace to King.  Then, start again.  See if you can beat your previous time.

If you (or your learner) is a solitaire pro and you’re looking for more of a challenge, then you want to head to The Spruce Crafts.  Once there, you’ll find the top 9 solitaire variations, if you’re looking for a change of pace.  One we recognize is pyramid solitaire; one we want to try is little spider solitaire.

Saturday, May 23rd - Lucky Penny Day

See a penny pick it up.  All day long you'll have good luck.
Photo from Michael Longmire via Unsplash

See a penny, pick it up.  All day long, you’ll have good luck. Do you believe this saying is true?  Have you experienced it?  Do you believe in luck?  Well, whether you do or not, we wish that all pennies you find are heads-up today!

 Before You Go

We'd love to know:

1) To which activity are you most looking forward?

2) What other ideas do you have for any of these days?

Until next time, leaders, we're sincerely hoping you find the joy in every day.

At Your Service,

Where we cook up ideas for you.

Interested in even more educational resources?  Then stop by our Learning Lab.  It's here where we store all the educational resources we've cooked up to date.  


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