Ditch your coats, head outdoors, and try these novel, enriching, and inspiring ways to celebrate the 31 glorious days of May (and Mother’s Day too!).
On days you want to stay close to home…
1. Geek out in (fake) space
Star Wars Day (May 4) and Space Day (May 5) in the same month? Have fun making light sabers out of pool noodles and duct tape, and hand out balloons. Then hold epic battles to see who can keep the balloons aloft the longest. Host a Star Wars movie marathon for older kids; let little ones space out with Lego Star Wars movies instead. Find a cool book on the Milky Way at your local library or bookstore, or head to a planetarium to learn more about outer space.
2. Go south of the border, figuratively
Cinco de Mayo (May 5) celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. There, the outmanned Mexican Army defeated the French forces, which were considered unbeatable at that time. Cinco de Mayo isn’t a huge holiday in Mexico, but it’s a thrill for anyone who loves Mexican culture, and it’s a great way to celebrate the south-of-the-border nation. Look online for info about the nation’s history, culture, and food, and feast on Mexican cuisine at home or your favorite Mexican restaurant. Try guacamole, tortillas, and fajitas to start!
3. Give your kids their own day
While many countries have a designated Children’s Day, Japan and South Korea go all out and make May 5 a huge national holiday—so celebrate the date at home with a party, pageant, gifts, and special foods like rice cakes and dumplings. (It’s kind of like having a whole other birthday every year, only every child is honored!) Check out facts about Japan and South Korea online and find ways to show your kids how much they mean to you. (Tip: If you’re planning to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5, just move your Children’s Day to another day.)
4. Celebrate Mom for a day
May, of course, means Mother’s Day (May 12), and while breakfast in bed and flowers are always great, why not kick it up a notch this time around? Sleep in, forego cooking, and spend several luxurious hours binge watching your favorite shows on your tablet by clicking the “next episode” button. Follow that up with a long bath, or head to a nearby spa for a rejuvenating massage or other treatment. Kids and spouse stuck for ideas? Write your own list and pass it along to them. And, of course, cards made with love by little hands will always be cherished and adored!
5. Build a better salad
Head to a local farmers’ market or produce aisle in honor of National Salad Month and let your kids fill a basket with greens and veggies. Invent (or reinvent) colorful, delicious, and nutritious salads or create your own salad bar at home. (Cut chopped veggies and healthy proteins like cheddar cheese into fun shapes, add canned tuna or cooked chicken and eggs, and talk about how nutrients help the body.) Remind kids why these foods power bodies and minds better than foods like donuts or soda. And speaking of veggies…
6. Learn why composting is cool
Get everyone up to speed on what composting is all about on Learn About Composting Day, May 29. Discuss what can and cannot be composted, why, and how to recycle organic stuff. Set aside a place to compost at home while you research all the awesome things that can be made from composted and recycled goods.
On days when you’re out and about…
7. Say cheese
Nurture the shutterbug in your kids by breaking out books of famous photos and/or going to see your area’s latest photography exhibit in honor of National Photography Month. Take family photos, or pics of everyone’s favorite subjects, including friends, nature, cool things in town, and anything else you can think of. As a group, vote for three favorite photos shot by each kid, enlarge them, and host your own gallery just for fun. Include a small caption with each photo to explain what the photographer was thinking or trying to convey at the time—just like the plaques you might see at a real exhibit!
8. Feast on strawberries!
In honor of Pick Strawberries Day (May 20), visit a local farmers’ market or a farm near you and grab a several pints of this springtime favorite. Invite your kids’ friends to come along for the ride, and then head home and have your own Iron Chef episode. Take pics on the trip and at home, and let the kids eat their strawberry-inspired creations. Yum!
9. Help the elderly
Spend lots of time with grandparents, great-grandparents, elderly aunts and uncles, and 65-years-and-older neighbors in May in honor of National Older Americans Month. If your gray-haired faves don’t live nearby, visit an assisted-living facility in your area—or sign up to volunteer. Let the kids take along their musical instruments, read aloud to older adults, put on a talent show, or help in some way the facility might need.
10. Have fun on wheels
May is National Bike Month—a perfect time to grab a bike and tour the block or town. Enjoy the sun, fresh air, and warm breeze on your face as you spend time with the kids and get in some exercise, too!
11. Thank the helpers
May is home to Nurses’ Week, National Police Week, and National Emergency Services Week—a great time to thank those who help strangers and friends every day. Encourage kids to say thanks to a nurse, police officer, or other first responder if they’ve lent a hand or just because. Make a family donation to a related cause. It’s a great way to teach kids to show appreciation for people who help others—they’re the real-life superheroes in the world.