April Showers bring May Flowers
Celebrate May Day!
May 1st is May Day and a great time to welcome the warmth and light of Spring and Summer in a celebration of the seasons. Here are some ideas for enjoying May Day with your little ones...
Point to May 1st on your calendar and explain that May Day is a time to celebrate the first day of May — a time of year when days get longer, there is more sunlight, and gardens grow with flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
Point to England on your globe and tell your children that in England and other countries it is the custom for people to celebrate May Day by dancing and singing around a Maypole, tied with colorful streamers or ribbons. Listen to traditional Maypole music and see pictures of adults and children dancing around a Maypole.
Read About May Day!
On The Morn Of Mayfest by Erica Silverman is a great story to share with children 3-8. A playful rhyme verse and colorful illustrations tell the story of one little girl's spontaneous Mayfest parade! Get the book at your local library.
Bright, colorful wildflowers are in bloom in fields and meadows everywhere in May! If you can, go to a local park or trail and try to identify some wildflowers. Bring a field guide to help you. Remember, that it's against the law to pick flowers in most parks, so just admire their beauty and take lots of pictures to put in a May Day journal later on.
Does your child know what a wildflower is? It's a flower that grows naturally — no human planted or cultivated it. It may be a plant that is native to the region where it grows. Or, it could be that the seeds of that plant were carried and dropped there by birds or insects, or blown there by the wind. Mother Nature plants wildflowers.
Make May Day Baskets!
An old May Day custom is to make a May Day basket, fill it with flowers, and leave it as a surprise gift on the front doorknobs of the homes of family and friends to let them know that you are thinking of them.
You can get inexpensive straw baskets at a craft store, or use the little green plastic baskets that berries and cherry tomatoes are sometimes packed in at the grocery store. Decorate it by weaving ribbon or strips of colored paper through the slats. Use a ribbon or colorful pipe cleaners to make a handle for the basket that you can tie, twist or staple to the basket.
Gather a small bunch of flowers, wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and place them in the basket. Tuck tissue paper, or leftover Easter basket grass, or sphagnum moss around the paper towel. Place the May Day basket on your neighbor's doorknob, ring the bell, and run and hide. Enjoy their expression of happiness when they see the May Day basket surprise!
Paper Plate May Basket
If you don't have a straw or plastic basket, use a paper plate to fashion a May Day basket.
- Flimsy paper plate
- Markers, crayons, stickers
- Stapler or tape
- Hole punch
- Ribbon or yarn
Invite your child to decorate a paper plate using markers, crayons, stickers or whatever you wish. Bend the decorated paper plate into a cone shaped "basket." Tape or staple together. Punch two holes in the top of the "basket" directly across from each other. Attach a piece of ribbon or yarn so you can hang the basket on a door handle.
Early on the morning of May 1st, fill the basket with flowers, hang it on your neighbor's or friend's or relative's door, ring the door bell, and run away and hide. They will enjoy the surprise of receiving a beautiful May Day basket!
Note: May baskets can be taken to elderly neighbors or nursing homes or children's hospitals.
Make a Daisy Chain!
Another way to celebrate May is to make a Daisy Chain. Take your children to a field where it is okay to gather some daisies. Or, you can pick some daisies from your garden, or buy a bunch at the local flower shop (bunches of daisies are relatively inexpensive).
Show your child how to use their thumbnail to split the stalk of the daisy or dandelion about halfway down its length. Show them how to thread the stalk of another daisy through this hole. Then, show them how to split the stalk of that daisy with their thumbnail, and thread another daisy through it. Keep on going until the chain is as long as you like. Make daisy chain necklaces, bracelets, and crowns. If your child is not capable of doing it, you can help them make one, or make a daisy chain for them to wear. When you are through wearing it, you can hang a daisy chain up and let it dry — and it will last for quite some time.
Fresh Red Strawberries
May Day Strawberry Dunk & Fizz
After all the activity you may be thirsty. Strawberries are available in May — and this is a refreshing and fun way to enjoy them.
- Strawberries with stems (washed)
- One Can Frozen Strawberry Fruit Juice
- One Can of Water
- One liter bottle of Club Soda or Seltzer Water
Combine the strawberry juice, water, and club soda in a large punch bowl or pitcher to make Strawberry Fizz. Set out a bowl of strawberries. Serve each child a cup of Strawberry Fizz. Invite the kids to grasp the strawberries by the stem, dunk them in the Strawberry Fizz, and eat the strawberries (not the stems). Then, drink the punch. Yum!
Have fun celebrating May Day and give your little ones a hug for me!