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Classroom Activities to Celebrate May Holidays

Janelle Cox

May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day are all holidays that are celebrated in the month of May. From celebrating the May pole to remembering the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo to celebrating mothers around the world, as well as those who have fought and lost their lives for our freedom, there’s a lot to celebrate in the month of May. Here are a few popular classroom activities to help you commemorate these special occasions in your classroom.

Classroom Activities for May Day

The first of the holidays to celebrate in the month of May is May Day, on May 1. This holiday has been celebrated for thousands of years, and its traditions include, singing, dancing around the Maypole and giving out flowers. Here are a few classroom activities to help you celebrate this occasion in your classroom.

Create a May Pole

A fun classroom activity for young students to do is to make their own classroom May pole. All you have to do is buy a variety of crepe paper (in different colors) and have students take turns walking around the pole (in opposite directions from one another) wrapping the pole with the colorful paper. To make it even more fun, play some music and encourage students to sing the May pole song while they skip and dance around the pole as they wrap the ribbon.

Create a May Day Hoop

Tradition calls for May day celebrants to decorate a wooden hoop with May Day flowers. To recreate this old custom, have students partner up and decorate a hula hoop and put on a May Day show to showcase their hoops. Encourage students to be creative and decorate their May Day hoops with flowers, ribbon, felt, and other art supplies. Then allow students to show off their creations in a classroom showcase where students walk a red carpet and hula their hoops for their classmates.

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Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is the next holiday that is celebrated in the month of May, on May 5. That’s the day the Mexicans won the battle against the French army in 1862. This holiday is celebrated all over the world and by many nationalities, not just the Mexicans. Here are a few ways that you can celebrate in your classroom.

Have a Fiesta

One way Cinco de Mayo is celebrated is by having a fiesta, or a party. Celebrate by playing traditional music like from a mariachi band, decorate the classroom with bright colors, and don’t forget to have a piñata!

Explore the Geography of Mexico

It’s easier than ever before to explore the geography of Mexico, because in today’s classrooms you can go on a virtual field trip. Students can read about Mexican geography, and use their mapping skills to navigate their way through Mexico online, while sitting at their desks.

Mother’s Day

Did you know that Mother’s Day dates all the way back to the 1800s? Help celebrate the wonderful women in your students’ lives by partaking in a few meaningful classroom activities. Here are a few suggestions.

Mother’s Day Tea

A wonderful (and sweet) way to celebrate the moms is to invite them into the classroom for a Mother’s Day tea. Students can write a poem or a short story about their mom, and take turns reading it in front of the class.

Mother’s Day Video

Instead of a traditional Mother’s Day card, have students make a Mother’s Day video expressing their love for their mom. Students can use props, write a poem, share a story or just talk to their mom in a 30-second video. Then, text, email, or send the video through your classroom app to all of the moms on Mothers’ Day as a nice surprise.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the last holiday in the month of May that is celebrated. This holiday is a very special one, because it pays tribute to all of the men that served in the war to preserve our freedom. Here are a few special ways that you can celebrate with your students.

Honoring the Heroes

One special way that many school districts like to celebrate this holiday is by inviting those who have served to the school for a Memorial Day ceremony. The ceremony usually takes place in the auditorium, where all of the students in the school join to hear the war stories of veterans. Then students can sing songs, put on presentations, hand out metals, and eat food with the men from the military.

Proud to Be an American

Another way to celebrate Memorial Day with your students is to show them how to be a proud American citizen. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or sing the National Anthem or other patriotic songs. Have students write thank you letters to those who have served for our country or create posters to showcase how proud they are of the country where they live.

How do you celebrate this special dates in your classroom? Please feel free to leave us a comment in the section below, we’d love to hear from you on this topic.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.