If you're always looking for new ways to liven up the day or week, think about unofficial holidays and celebrations along with the major ones. Here you can engage your children in fun projects and creative learning activities, helping them learn about special days that tie ideas and concepts together. Who knew that almost every day of the year has some significant fact to it? Other than going back to school, September is not one of the most exciting months of the year, but I bet I can come up with some fun days for the kids to celebrate. Here are a few of my favorite days and activities to enhance them.
Labor Day falls on the first Monday in September. It originally was a time to honor those who work and to give them a day of rest. Yes, it still is, but also the last holiday of summer and many families plan picnics or other outdoor outings. This is also a great time to teach your children about the community helpers in your neighborhood that are important in many ways. At home, make a Labor Day collage together. Set out a variety of magazines. Let the children look through them and tear or cut pictures of people at work. Think about truck drivers, people who wash dishes, a singer on stage along with the occupations we normally think of such as doctors, police officers and school teachers. At the top of the paper, write "People Who Work" and let the kids glue on the pictures. Take time to discuss working and occupations during this official holiday.
National Grandparent's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday following Labor Day. This is a special day to express love and appreciation for grandparents by giving cards and presents (especially homemade ones) and holding family gatherings. Talk about the roles that grandparents play in your child's life and the special times they have spent together. Making decorated bookmarks is always a nice craft and gift the kids can make for this occasion. Bring out the art materials and invite the children to create one for each grandparent. Make sure to have them dip their thumbs into paint and print thumbprints on the front or back of the bookmark. Have the kids write "To Thumb-body Special" on this project.
Remember September 11, 2001, when the fatal terrorist attacks of the Twin Towers in New York City happened. Take time to reflect what happened and how this has made our nation stronger as we fight the war on terrorism. Do something patriotic on this day, like making American flags together. Younger children can make "stars and stripes" collages by cutting strips of red, white and blue construction paper and gluing them randomly onto a base paper. Provide sticker stars to adhere anywhere on the page. Hang these on the walls as decorations of our patriotic spirit as Americans.
How about a pickle celebration? Snack-a pickle time is the last ten days in September. So choose a day to pay tribute to the almighty pickle - the world's most humorous vegetable. This is a good time to recite the "Peter Piper" tongue twister rhyme and have fun seeing if your kids can repeat it after you. Younger kids may enjoy making green pickle puppets from construction paper glued onto craft sticks. Add whimsical facial features and name the puppets such as Polly Pickle, Pickle Man and so on. You can even make up stories about the adventures of the pickle people.
Let the last full week of September go to the dogs as you and the kids celebrate Dog Week. If you have a pet dog, pamper it! Let the kids make some homemade toys for your dog. Kids can even make paper dog tags for themselves. Let them choose a dog name and decorate a bone-shape tag from poster board. Punch holes and attach a yarn necklace for the kids to wear. Read dog books, sing some dog songs like "BINGO" and "How much is that doggie in the window?"
Until we meet again -- Happy Parenting!
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