April Holidays and Special Days: Elementary Classroom Activities, Ideas, and Lesson Plans

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LanettesDesigns - link no longer active. An April Fools' Day prank for the Homer Simpsons of the world.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/LanettesDesigns - link no longer active. An April Fools' Day prank for the Homer Simpsons of the world.

Create a varied curriculum by celebrating just a few of the special days and holidays in April. Even though most of them are trivial, they will mix up the routine and create student interest. It is not difficult to work many of these holidays into the regular curriculum with some simple modifications. Alternatively, other holidays will provide a break in the routine through a special lesson or snack. Additionally, it is easy to adapt a number of the suggestions for the holidays included here for any specific grade level. For example, if a lesson for older elementary students involves writing sentences or paragraphs, students in younger grades can draw pictures instead.

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April 1: April Fools' Day

  • Learn about the background of April Fools' Day and how the holiday got started.
  • Have students write about the best prank that they ever pulled or the best prank that was ever pulled on them for April Fools' Day. Then share the stories in partner pairs or small groups.
  • Discuss why different types of pranks are and are not funny.

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April 2: Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

Keep in mind that many schools do not allow any peanut products. Check your school's rules and your student allergy list carefully before serving peanut butter to students.

  • Pull out the ever popular Peanut Butter Jelly Time video or teach your students the peanut butter and jelly song.
  • Take a student poll about favorite jelly/jam flavor. Graph and discuss the results.
  • Do a blind jelly/jam taste test. Record the student's responses. Discuss the number guessed right vs. wrong and how the students made the answer choices that they did.

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April 4: Be Nice to the School Librarian Day

  • Have all of the students write letters to the school librarian, thanking her for everything that she does for the school. If students are too young to write letters, they can draw pictures and dictate captions. Collect all of the letters and make a book that you can present to her on your next class library day.
  • Brainstorm a craft project that you can make for the librarian. It can be a larger collaborative project (i.e. everyone contributes to a piece of large artwork) or a smaller gift that everyone can make on their own (i.e. all students each make a bookmark).
  • Learn about how you can become a librarian and what the various aspects of the job include.

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April 4: Chocolate Milk Powder Day

  • Take a trip to a local farm or to the dairy barn at the local zoo to learn about where milk comes from.
  • Enjoy chocolate milk with lunch or a snack today. If your school cafeteria doesn't carry it, mix up your own.
  • Learn about the various chocolate milk powders that are available and how they have been developed and/or how they have changed over time.

How can you not think of this scene when someone mentions Ovaltine?

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April 8: Draw a Picture of a Bird Day

  • Before drawing birds, have students research different types of birds. Discuss the state bird as well as other birds that you frequently see in your area. For younger elementary students, you may want to brainstorm a list of bird features/characteristics to include in your drawings (i.e. feathers, beaks, feet, etc.).
  • Provide a wide a variety of drawing materials for students to choose from for the bird drawings. Encourage students to include lots of details.
  • Have older students write a few sentences about their birds. Younger students can write a few words or dictate their thoughts.

Put a Bird On It from Portlandia

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April 9: Name Yourself Day

  • Let students pick a new name for the day. Try to avoid names that are overly silly and any names that are inappropriate. Have them consider whether they just want a new first name or a new first, middle, and/or last names. Changing just one of them is fine.
  • Have students call each other by these new names for the day. If it's tough for students to remember them, have everyone wear name tags.
  • Research the meanings of these new names.

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April 10: National Siblings Day

  • Conduct a class survey about siblings. Graph and discuss the results.
  • Have students complete a writing prompt about siblings, such as "What is my favorite memory of my sibling/one of my siblings?" or "What would my life be like without my sibling(s)?" Give students at least 2-3 prompts to choose from.
  • Write letters or create small gifts for siblings. If some students have siblings who are younger than 2, consider special age appropriate gifts for them.

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April 12th: Look Up at the Sky Day

  • Draw a picture or complete a writing prompt about what the sky looks like today ("when I look at the sky, I am reminded of..." etc.).
  • Research the history of the weather on that particular day in your area. Consider high/low temperatures and unusual occurrences (i.e. blizzard).
  • Take photos at intervals throughout the day (and the night if you're inspired) that capture the sky and discuss what changes throughout a 24 hour period of time. Consider the clouds, sun position, and moon position.

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April 15: Rubber Eraser Day

  • Learn about the origin of the rubber eraser.
  • Learn about how rubber erasers are manufactured.
  • Create rubber eraser stamps. Encourage students to be creative with the stamp designs that they make. See the eraser crafts link below for additional stamp ideas and projects.

Animal shelters are often a great place for children to volunteer.
Animal shelters are often a great place for children to volunteer. | Source

April 20: Volunteer Appreciation Day

  • Write thank you letters to the parents who have volunteered in your classroom throughout the school year.
  • Make a thank you gift for other school volunteers. If you don't want to do a craft project, consider a baking activity instead.
  • Learn about ways that kids can volunteer in the community. If possible, bring in a community member to discuss one or more of these opportunities.

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April 22: National Jelly Bean Day

  • If you live near Kenosha, WI or Fairfield, CA, consider taking a class field trip for a tour and free jelly beans.
  • Write a math lesson plan involving jelly beans that ties into a concept that you're currently studying. Use real jelly beans for manipulatives that you and the students will be able to eat when the lesson is finished.
  • Research the most unique types of jelly bean flavors and discuss why you would or would not like to try them.

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April 28: Great Poetry Reading Day

  • Teach a new poetry concept that is age appropriate. Then have your students write their own poems.
  • Pick a popular children's poem, such as one by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky. Have students follow the form and/or topic of the poem and write their own version.
  • Read a few poems during read aloud time and/or include poetry books as new options during free reading time.

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Administrative Professional's Day (Wednesday of the last full week)

  • Make a list of all of the things that office administrators do for everyone in the building and take the time to appreciate all of this hard work.
  • Encourage students to make an extra effort to say "thank you" to the officer administrators during the next week any time they provide help.
  • Make or purchase a special gift that the school secretary can use at work. For example, one of the school secretaries I worked with loved Mary Engelbreit so people often purchased Mary Engelbreit office supplies as gifts.

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Arbor Day (last Friday of the month)

  • If your school does not own digital cameras, see if you can borrow a few from family and friends. Divide the class into teams and take a photo scavenger hunt walk for different types of local trees and record your findings through photos.
  • Organize a grade level or even school wide tree planting. If you can't plant a tree on school property, look for another community location.
  • Make a leaf art project. If you can't find a project that you like or that fits your grade level/group of students in one of the sites here, search "leaf art projects" on any major search engine. The possibilities are endless.

Tips for Planting a Tree

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9 comments

kelleyward 4 years ago

Wow! Great Hub! Voted up, awesome, and SHARED! I love the name yourself day and so many other ideas you have here. By the way, how did you get those blue dots between the capsules? Can't wait to have the sibling day here at home! Thanks for sharing.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks Kelley! I'm so glad that you enjoyed this. You can add any type of boarder in with a photo capsule and a boarder image.


ThePracticalMommy profile image

ThePracticalMommy 4 years ago from United States

This is a great hub! I'm going to celebrate some of these days at home with the kids. My son would love Chocolate Milk Powder Day!

Voted up and awesome! :)


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan

Who knew there were so many "unknown" holidays in April? Thanks for sharing these great ideas. I will definitely be sharing these with others.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Marissa, thanks! Some of these are perfect for celebrating at home.

Thanks Cara! :) I appreciate the sharing.


Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

These are really neat ideas, Rose! I had no idea about all of these different holidays. I'm sure this will come in really useful for many teachers, daycare workers and moms at home. Voted up, useful and interesting :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks Jamie! This is just a fraction of the days out there. I tried to pick days that are particularly relevant for school and/or children. I hope that it does!


Suzie ONeill profile image

Suzie ONeill 4 years ago from Lost in La La Land

What a fun hub! I'd never even heard of some of these, but it'd be fun to celebrate them with kids! :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks Suzie! Yes, for sure. :)

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