May Themes and Holiday Activities for Elementary School

Classroom Plans for Spring

Smiling boy reading book
May is Get Caught Reading Month.

Hero Images/Getty Images

Here is a list of May themes, events, and holidays with correlating activities to go with them. Use these ideas for inspiration to create your own lesson plans and activities, or use the ideas provided. These are great before things slow down and focus on the summer break in June.

Get Caught Reading Month 

The Association of American Publishers nationally launched Get Caught Reading Month to remind people how much fun it is to read. Celebrate this month by having students see how many books they can read in the month of May. The winner of the contest can receive a free book!

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Celebrate by getting active, learning about nutrition, and creating sports crafts.

American Bike Month

Celebrate American Bike month by having students ride their bikes to school on May 8th and learning the rules of the road and how to be safe.

Children's Book Week 

Children's Book Week often occurs at the beginning of May, but you'll need to check the dates each year. Since 1919, National Children's Book Week has been dedicated to encouraging young readers to enjoy books. Celebrate this day by providing activities that will encourage your students to love reading.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciate Week occurs in May, but the dates can vary. During this week, schools across the nation celebrate the hard work and dedication of teachers. Try a few of these teacher appreciation activities with your students.

National Postcard Week 

During the first full week of May, celebrate National Postcard Week by creating postcards and sending them to other students across the country.

National Pet Week

During the first full week of May, celebrate Pet Week by having students bring in a photograph of their pet to share with the class.

National Police Week 

National police week occurs the calendar week during which May 15th falls. Invite a local policeman to your school, or plan a field trip to your local police station to honor this week-long celebration.

National Transportation Week

National Transportation Week usually occurs during the third week of May. Celebrate the community of transportation professionals by having students explore possible jobs in the transportation field. Have students research and fill out an application for a job opening in the field of their choice.

Mother's Day

Mother's day is observed on the second Sunday of May every year. Celebrate with Mother's Day activities, or try these last-minute lesson plans. You can also use this word list to help you create a Mother's Day poem.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May each year. This is a time to celebrate and honor the soldiers that sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Honor this day by providing students with a few fun activities, and teach students the value of honoring the memory of those who came before us with a Memorial Day lesson plan.

May 1: May Day 

Celebrate May Day with crafts and activities.

May 1: Mother Goose Day

Explore the truth about Mother Goose by reading the Real Mother Goose.

May 1: Hawaiian Lei Day

In 1927 Don Blanding came up with having a Hawaiian holiday that everyone can celebrate. Honor his wishes by partaking in Hawaiian traditions and learning about the culture.

May 2: Holocaust Remembrance Day 

Learn about the history of the Holocaust, and read age-appropriate stories such as "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "One Candle" by Eve Bunting.

May 3: Space Day 

The ultimate goal of Space Day is to promote math, science, and technology, and inspire children about the wonders of the universe. Celebrate this day by having your students partake in a few fun space-related activities to help nurture their curiosity of the universe.

May 4: Star Wars Day 

This is a day to celebrate the Star Wars culture and honor the films. A fun way to celebrate this day is by having students bring in their action figures. You can use these figures as inspiration to create a writing piece.

May 5: Cinco De Mayo 

Celebrate this Mexican holiday by having a party, making a pinata, and making a sombrero.

May 6: No Homework Day 

Your students work hard each day, celebrate this day by giving your students a "No Homework Pass" for the day.

May 7: National Teacher's Day 

Finally, a day to honor and celebrate all of the hard work teachers do! Show your appreciation for our fellow teachers by having students write a letter of appreciation to each of their teachers (art, music, physical education, etc).

May 8: National School Nurses Day 

Honor your school nurse by having students create a special gift of appreciation.

May 8: No Socks Day

To celebrate this wacky and fun day have students create crafts out of socks, learn the history, and wear fun colored socks to school for the day.

May 9: Peter Pan Day

On May 9, 1960, James Barrie (the creator of Peter Pan) was born. Celebrate this day by learning about the creator James Barrie, watching the movie, reading the story, and learning the quotes. After reading his quotes have students try and come up with their own.

May 14: The Start of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 

This is a great day to teach your students about Thomas Jefferson and his role in the Lewis and Clark expedition. Learn the history of the expedition, and read students the book "Who Was Thomas Jefferson" by Dennis Brindell Fradin and Nancy Harrison, and visit the Monticello website for photos and additional resources.

May 15: National Chocolate Chip Day

What's a better way to celebrate National Chocolate Chip Day than to bake some cookies with your students! For some added fun, try this chocolate bar math lesson.

May 16: Wear Purple for Peace Day 

Help make the world a better place by having all students wear purple for peace day.

May 18: Armed Forces Day 

Pay tribute to the men and women who serve the United States armed forces by having students write a thank you letter to someone in your local armed forces.

May 20: Weights and Measures Day

On May 20, 1875, an International treaty was signed to establish an international branch of weights and measures. Celebrate this day with your students by measuring objects, learning about volume, and exploring non-standard measures.

May 23: Lucky Penny Day 

Lucky Penny Day is celebrated to reinforce the theory that if you find a penny and pick it up, you will have good luck. Celebrate this fun day with your students by creating a penny craft, counting and sorting pennies, or using pennies to graph Another fun idea is to give students the writing prompt, "Once I found a lucky penny and when I picked it up..."

May 24: Morse Code Day 

On May 24, 1844, the first Morse code message was sent. Celebrate this day by teaching your students Morse Code. The students will love the "secretiveness" of it all.

May 29: Paper Clip Day 

In 1899 Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor invented the paper clip. Honor this amazing little wire by having students come up with a new way to use it.

May 29: John F. Kennedy's Birthday 

John F. Kennedy was one of the most beloved United States Presidents of our time. Honor this remarkable man and all of his accomplishments by having students create a KWL Chart, then read your students his biography, called "Who Was John F. Kennedy?" by Yona Zeldis McDonough.

May 31: World No Tobacco Day 

World No Tobacco Day is a day to reinforce and highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use. Take time out on this day to stress the importance of why students should not smoke.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Cox, Janelle. "May Themes and Holiday Activities for Elementary School." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Cox, Janelle. (2023, April 5). May Themes and Holiday Activities for Elementary School. Retrieved from Cox, Janelle. "May Themes and Holiday Activities for Elementary School." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).