January 2021 | Ideas for EVERY Day
It’s nearly 2021, a year I think we’re all hoping will be better than the last. Unlike any other time in our lives, we’re ready to leave 2020 in the annals of history. Yet, there is likely a lot we’ve gained from 2020: time with family, picking up new hobbies, (re)evaluating our values. Hopefully, 2020 has strengthened us.
As we enter into 2021, we’re looking for reasons to celebrate. And if you are too, we have one for every day for you. For each January day, we’ve chosen a holiday and paired it with complementary link pairings targeted at Preschool to Sixth grade learners and families. If the days and the links are all you need and you’re good to go, here’s the January 2021 calendar for you:
|Above is only a graphic. Download your January 2021 Calendar here.|
If you’d like a few more details before you commit to a click, keep reading below. Here are links to transport you to your desired date:
- Week One (January 1-2, 2021)
- Week Two (January 3-9, 2021)
- Week Three (January 10-16, 2021)
- Week Four (January 17-23, 2021)
- Week Five (January 24-30, 2021)
- Week Six (January 31, 2021)
Perhaps you’d just like a blank calendar so you can make your own plans. To accommodate, we’ve cleared off our ideas to make room for yours in our Blank January 2021 Calendar. Consider printing off the blank calendar as you read through the activities below so you can jot them down as you go.
|Above is only a graphic. Find your BLANK January 2021 Calendar here.|
|Download your BLANK 2021 Calendar (Secular or Christian) and start recording your plans and ideas|
And now, without further ado, here are the January 2021 Ideas for Every Day we’ve stewed on for you. *Asterisks denote print-and-teach or no-prep activities.
Friday, January 1, 2021 - New Year’s Day
Or check out all these Kid-Friendly Ideas from Fantastic Fun and Learning. Once there, you’ll find a variety of activities to last the whole day long: year pancakes, story suggestions, art activities, seasonal chores, and cultural activities.
Saturday, January 2, 2021 - National Sci-Fi Day
For your personal reading time, choose from the Goodreads Science Fiction 2020 Choice Book List (we’d choose The End of October by Lawrence Wright), a classic from the list at Discover SciFi (we’d choose Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card), or plan to start a sci-fi read aloud with your learners (6-16 from Imagination Soup; Teens & YA from Fiction Phile). For each grade level bracket, we’d choose the following:
- Kindergarten to Second Grade – Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot vs. The Voodoo Vultures from Venus by Dav Pilkey, Illustrated by Dan Santat
- Third and Fourth Grade – Killer Species by Michael P. Spradlin
- Fifth and Sixth Grade – Greystone Secrets: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
- Seventh and Up – Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Sunday, January 3, 2021 - Festival of Sleep Day
Take a nap. Get in some much-needed relaxation. You survived another holiday season! And, if you’re looking for some napping inspiration, check out these global sleep habits from Time.
Monday, January 4, 2021 - National Thank Goodness It’s Monday
It's the first Monday back from break. I bet your learners really missed you! Welcome them back in style with these tips from Not So Wimpy Teacher. Our favorite idea is having a New Year’s Day celebration with them - complete with goal writing, memory recording and an apple juice toast. There’s even a free paper bag book download for you from Not So Wimpy Teacher via Teachers Pay Teachers.
Tuesday, January 4, 2021 - National Bird Day
Learn about birds with National Geographic. We’d choose to learn about the barn owl. Did you know that the only continent they don’t exist on is Antarctica? Consider recording learned information on a fact file from twinkl for general animal notes or a Wolfe Stew animal profile for more detailed notes.
Pick up bird watching with tips from the National Park Service. We like the idea that one of the necessary supplies is a positive attitude. True to life too!
Take the National Bird Day Pledgefound at The Avian Welfare Coalition. When you do, you’re pledging to educate yourself and others regarding the welfare of birds, to spend time appreciating and observing birds and to support organizations that are working toward protecting birds.
Wednesday, January 5, 2021 - World Day for Orphans
Read a book featuring a favorite orphan. Here are a few suggestions for you (in ascending age recommendation order): Cinderella (links to a Laughing Place review of four variations, with age recommendations ranging from 3 to 12), Sophie from The BFG (links to pages from the Roald Dahl website), Harry Potter (links to Wizarding World where you can read along with video recorded chapter readings from The Sorcerer’s Stone) Anne of Green Gables (links to her Fandom page), and Oliver Twist (delve into insider information at Charles Dicken’s Page).
Thursday, January 6, 2021 - National Bobblehead Day
In increasingly complex order, here are a few bobblehead activities for you:
- Make an owl bobblehead with Arty Crafty Kids.
- Explore a Bobblehead Timelineat Bobblehead Hall.
- Draw blind contour bobbleheads in this lesson from The Art of Education.
- Edit an image into a bobblehead with this TechWalla tutorial.
Friday, January 7, 2021 - National Winter Skin Relief Day
- PreK-3 Read up on skin care tips and routines at KinderCare. Then, turn them into a how-to pamphlet with pictures using this template crafted by White’s Workshop via Teachers Pay Teachers.
- 4th-6th Write an opinion piece on frequency and temperature of baths. We like this straightforward opinion planner at Creations by Kelsey.
- PreK-6th Determine which lotion moisturizes the best using this Science Buddies’ experiment guide written by Teisha Rowland.
Saturday, January 8, 2021 - National Vision Board Day
Check out this 5-step how-toguide to making vision boards on Christine Kane. My favorite step is step one: the exploration step. For this step, you simply flip through magazines, removing any pictures that strike a chord.
And for inspiration, check out RJ Fitness Solutions’ Goal QuotesMy favorite, “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream,” from C.S. Lewis.
Sunday, January 10, 2021 - National Sunday Supper Day
Invite friends and/or family over for Sunday supper. Browse these sites for ideas. (We’re sharing our favorite from each site.)
- From Taste of Home, we’d choose this Horseradish Pot Roast recipe submitted by Barbara White.
- From Southern Living, we’d choose Baked Ziti with Sausage.
- From Feed Feedwe’d choose Bourbon and Apple Cider Glazed Stuffed Pork Loin with Sweet Potatoes from Heather Christo.
- Or make a family favorite (you’re welcome to share). For one of our family favorites, check out our Beef Stroganoff.
Monday, January 11, 2021 - National Clean Off Your Desk Day
New Year, New Desk.
Take some time today to clean and organize your desk with these tips from Continually Learning. The tip we’ve found to be most helpful is placing a file folder organizer on your desk with a folder for each day of the week.
Empower your learners to do the same with a diagram from Teacher Trap along with additional tips for keeping student desks clean. Our favorite tip is instituting a morning supply check. As part of morning routine, learners check to make sure they have everything they need and to organize their desk with the help of the diagram.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - Shop for Travel Day
PreK-2nd Vote on desired destinations from these virtual field trip options found at Trip Savvy. Then go there – virtually, of course. We’d vote for the pyramids of Egypt. The suggested virtual visit features Trip Savvy’s “Egypt’s Top 10 Ancient sites,” and National Museums Scotland’s “Discover Ancient Egypt” games (The link at Trip Savvy does not work; this one does.)
PreK-6th Organize and communicate the data from your vote by ordering, comparing, graphing and analyzing the results using grade-level expectations for data analysis.
- For Preschool to First, that might mean a sticky note bar graph. Learners place a sticky note in line above the label of their choice. When all sticky notes are placed, you analyze the data together by asking questions such as: Which trip was chosen most? Least? How many more students chose Location A than Location B? Did everyone vote? How many people voted for Locations C and D? How many more people would have had to vote for Location E for it to be the winner?
- Second to Fourth Grade leaners might create a pictograph to display the data. Make each symbol worth varying values to alter difficulty level. (Look at Preschool - First Grade for example questions to ask, or generate your own.)
- Fifth to Sixth Grade learners graph data on a coordinate plane and write a formula to express and compare the results. (Look at Preschool - First Grade for example questions to ask, or generate your own.)
3rd – 6th Research the total travel cost (using TravelMath’s trip calculator as a tool) to reach assigned destinations (from this National Geographic list). Alternatively, you could choose curriculum related destinations.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - Make Your Dream Come True Day
We all have a dream we wish could come true. If you’re looking to buckle down and do the work toward making it come true, we rounded up a few how-to’s for you. Now, as a fair warning, no matter how closely you follow the steps, dreams are tricky things. You can do the work and they still may not come true, or they may alter as you follow the steps. Don’t be discouraged though, if you don’t do the work they never will come true. So, give yourself credit for working toward achieving your dreams. One could argue that’s what makes life worth living, after all.
For secular inspiration, Lifehack has a “9 Simple Steps” for you. Our favorite one is step 3: “Set your boats on fire.” Head to Lifehack to find out more.
If you’d prefer to follow steps for Christiandream achievement guidance, we’ve written one for you. In our “What’s Your Dream?” post, you’ll find a five-step process for determining whether your dream is worth pursuing and hopefully encouragement to guide you along your way.
For your learners, check out Book Roo’s list of books to Inspiredreams. And, if you’re anything like me, prepare to also be inspired. For each grade level bracket, we’re interested in the following books:
- Preschool to First Grade The Almost Impossible Thing by Basak Agaoglu (links to YouTube read aloud by Shae Doty)
- Second to Third Grade The Wooden Camel by Wanuri Kahiu & illustrated by Manuela Adreari (links to a YouTube read aloud by Rebekah Wall)
- Fourth to Sixth Grade Dreambender by Ronald Kidd (links to the book’s page on BookRoo)
Thursday, January 14, 2021 - International Kite Day
Friday, January 15, 2021 - National Hat Day
PreK-6th Have a “Wear Your Hat to School Day.”
PreK-2nd Participate in Cat in the Hat Stacking with Little Bins for Little Hands.
3rd – 6th Design your own hat that solves a problem (Display available supplies. Then have learners follow the STEAM design process using a Wolfe Stew think sheet, to design, present and improve upon their hats.)
Saturday, January 16, 2021 - National Religious Freedom Day
Spend time exploring your religious beliefs, or learning more about the religious groups of others (at InfoPlease), and be thankful that you’re free to do so.
Sunday, January 17, 2021 - Hot Buttered Rum Day
Monday, January 18, 2021 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- PreK-1st Grade learners make Egg Comparisons and relate to the message of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- *2nd-4th Graders go on Virtual Field Trips with Blog Lovin’. They’ll tour Martin Luther King, Jr.’s home, take a “road trip” to significant places of the American Civil Rights Movement, and view the MLK National Memorial. Also, the Blog Lovin’ page has an example of a recording page to use during the virtual tour. Sadly, the link is currently broken, but I’m positive it will get your wheels turning.
- *5th -6th Graders work on developing various Sentence Structureswith this writing idea from Rhetor’s Toolbox. Drawing on examples from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s rhetoric, your learner will complete their own sentences frames on content of choice.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - National Popcorn Day
For all your Preschool to 12th grade popcorn teaching needs, head to Education World. Pop into lessons on the following topics: geography, history, math, nutrition and science. For each grade level band, we’d choose the following activities:
- Preschool to Second Grade learners discover what makes popcorn pop in this science lesson.
- Third to Fourth Grade learners make a timeline of popcorn history.
- Fifth to Sixth Grade learners make a top popcorn-producing map.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - Inauguration Day
Design a parade float, engage in discussion, host an inaugural ball and more with activities from www.ourwhitehouse.com. For each grade level band, we’d choose the following activities:
- Preschool to Second Graders play “Inaugural I Spy” (pages 24-28 of the PDF document)
- Third and Fourth Graders Design a Parade Float (page 29 of the PDF document)
- Fifth and Sixth Graders Host an Inauguration Poetry Reading (pages 32-33 of the PDF document)
Thursday, January 21, 2021 - Squirrel Appreciation Day
4th-6th Draw a squirrelusing this drawing tutorial from Art Projects for Kids.
Friday, January 22, 2021 - Come in from the Cold Day
Spend time outdoors so you may come inside and get warm in your favorite way - soup(recipe ideas from delish; we’re looking at you Chicken Spinach Artichoke Soup), hot chocolate (recipe from Hershey), apple cider (recipe from Campbell’s Kitchen), and blankets.
Have your learners write about their plans, both to get cold and to warm up, during school. If you’d like to include a picture, or offer more structure, use a beginning, middle, end template. The link leads you to a free template crafted by Learning with a Smile via Teachers Pay Teachers and has three options for differentiation. If you’d rather focus on writing, check out these free winter writing paper printouts from free4classrooms.com (primary-lined and single-lined).
Saturday, January 23, 2021 - National Handwriting Day
Improving handwriting is not only a skill for children to practice, it’s also good for adults. This BuzzFeed post offers 14 suggestions to work on handwriting for adults. You’ll find product suggestions, recommendations for finding inspiration, and daily practice routine choices. We think writing letters to loved ones sounds like a nice option.
The OT Toolbox offers fun handwriting practice solutions for learners who don’t love writing. One of our favorites: use cooked spaghetti noodles to form letters.
Perhaps you wonder if practicing your handwriting is really worth your time. If so, you might enjoy reading this Psychology Today article that provides reasons why it helps your brain. Think synthesizing information and developing circuitry to name a few.
Sunday, January 24, 2021 - National Compliment Day
Try out these classroom ideas at home:
A Compliment Circle (here outlined at Paige Bessick) is sometimes used as a morning meeting activity. It is how it sounds: you sit in a circle and take turns giving and receiving compliments. For a detailed how-to, head to Paige Bessick’s post.
Compli-mats, suggested at Fluttering through the Grades, provide opportunities to compliment every person. Essentially, you place large placemat-sized paper at your spot on the table. Then, as you rotate around the table, you write a compliment about the person at whose seat you currently occupy. When you get back to your spot, you now have a compliment from everyone in the family. You might want to consider rotating a few times around, laminating the compli-mats for durability, or hanging them as a poster. The directions at Fluttering through the Grades show you how to do this activity in the classroom.
Finally, the “Spread the Love” project takes on a more “in the spotlight” type of approach. One person takes the hotseat while everyone writes compliments about the person on a whiteboard (or large sheet of paper) behind them. Once the compliments are written, everyone returns to their seat and the person in the spotlight turns and reads what others have to say about them. For more details about how to do it and personal testimonies as to the effects in a classroom, head to The Cult of Pedagogy for a video of the project in action and an interview with the teacher who orchestrated it.
Monday, January 25, 2021 - National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
PreK-2 Graders Engage in Bubble Wrap Literacy
Colleagues will likely enjoy the unexpected fun of these Treat Tags
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - Speak Up & Succeed Day
PreK-2nd Graders practice oral speaking skills by following Kickin’ it In Kindergarten’s Four P’s. Visit the site to find four practices of good public speakingand oral presentation topics throughout the year. In addition, if you’re interested, she links to a Teachers Pay Teachers page where you can purchase printables.
3rd Graders and Up will benefit from these oral presentation
practice ideasfound at kidadl. We love the idea of using images as a prompt. Simply collect interesting pictures in a box or folder. Then, when you’re ready for this activity, pull it out. Display a picture and have the presenter share what they know (or think they know) about the image. Consider displaying a question list (examples posted at kidadl) to help presenters get started.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - Library Shelfie Day
Host a library organization challenge. Learners formulate a plan to organize the classroom library and present it to the class. You might have them plan in groups or individually. Work toward reaching a consensus, offering compromises as needed, as a class. Arrange the library according to the plan, take a shelfie of your newly arranged library, and then show it off to us!
Thursday, January 28, 2021 - National Kazoo Day
Or, just use them to signal transitions.
Friday, January 29, 2021 - National Puzzle Day
In PreK-6th Grade, Host a puzzle celebration with the help of ideas from School Specialty. Our favorite one, for its simplicity, is spending an hour doing puzzles. Set up several puzzle stations and invite students to rotate among them for one hour.OR
Implement this “A Puzzle a Dayidea from Education World. Your learners will start a weekly regimen of puzzle-solving that features a different type of puzzle daily. Personally, we’re ready to start the “Seven-Letter Scrabble Spell-Off.”
PreK-2 Grade Build literacywhile building puzzles with this tip from The Appilicious Teacher. The best part is you can adapt it for so many different skills. Once you see the idea, you will soon start piecing together skills to use in this puzzling activity. And, make sure you scroll all the way through; The Appilicious Teacher offers free printouts and organizational features for you.
3-6 Graders will team
buildas they build puzzles with Mrs. O Knows' cooperative activity. If you're looking for an activity that provides an opportunity for struggle, this one’s it. When pulled off successfully, your learners will likely be puzzled at some point in this activity.
Saturday, January 30, 2021 - National Croissant Day
Buy some croissants as a treat for your family or make your own using this recipe from King Arthur Baking. Be warned, this recipe is not for the faint of heart; it requires a prep time of 45 minutes.
Sunday, January 31, 2021 - National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day
Before You Go, We'd Love to Know...
What's your go-to tradition every new year? Resolutions? Vision boards? Word of the Year? Something else?
Which January holiday most intrigues you? Why?