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

August 2011, Gettysburg
August 2011, Gettysburg | Source

I've gotten a lot of comments from parents about this article series so I've continued it through the summer. Some teachers in traditional classroom settings will be able to use the resources from the end of the month. Additionally, teachers can incorporate many of these ideas into other special events and holidays throughout the year. Summer school teachers and parents can use all of the resources throughout the entire month.

Celebrate a few of the holidays and special days in August to create some variety for the curriculum. While many of these days are trivial, they provide an opportunity to mix up the daily routine, peaking students' interest. It only takes basic modifications to work many of these holidays into the regular curriculum. Alternatively, other holidays can create a change of pace through a special snack or lesson. Finally, most of these suggestions can be adapted for just about any grade level. For example, with a written activity, younger students can draw pictures while older students can write sentences or paragraphs.

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August 2 - Sisters Day

  • Invite students who have sisters to bring in pictures and share information and stories about them. You can share as a whole class or break up into small groups. If applicable, bring in photos of your own sisters and/or sister-in-laws. Students are always fascinated to learn about your life outside of school.
  • Complete a writing prompt or draw pictures about sisters. Those who don't have sisters can choose to write about why they would or would not like to have a sister or about people they know who have sisters.
  • Have a discussion about why you would rather have a sister or brother or if you would prefer to be an only child.

Watermelon seed spitting contest.
Watermelon seed spitting contest. | Source

August 3 - National Watermelon Day

  • Enjoy some fresh watermelon for a snack. If you're feeling more adventurous, you can make a watermelon recipe, such as sorbet or Popsicles.
  • Have a watermelon seed spitting contest outside. Have students predict how far they think they can spit the seeds. Rig up a system for keeping track of how far students are spitting their seeds. Record the results and discuss the data afterward. Were the students close to their predictions? There are numerous math activities that you can incorporate into this.
  • Learn about how watermelons are grown and what nutritional benefits they have.

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August 6 - Wiggle Your Toes Day

  • Spend some time outside in the grass today with bare feet.
  • Learn about the anatomy of the foot, including the bones, muscles, and nerves.
  • Take a survey of class shoe size. Graph and discuss the results.
  • Has anyone had foot injuries? Share your best injury stories with the class.

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August 7 - Sea Serpent Day

  • Learn what a sea serpent is and study the most popular sea serpent myths, such as the Loch Ness Monster.
  • There are a wide variety of web sites out there with information and photos of supposed sea serpent sightings. Have students break into pairs or groups and do some research online. What are the most outrageous stories and pictures they can find?
  • Write creative stories about sea serpents. Students can choose to make up their own sea serpents for the stories or can make up new tales about popular sea serpents.

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August 7 - National Lighthouse Day

  • Learn about the history and function of light houses.
  • Do you live in an area with any lighthouses? Arrange a field trip this week to a local lighthouse. If possible, schedule a tour as well.
  • There are some very unusual lighthouses out there, such as lighthouses shaped like houses. Have students search for unique lighthouses images online. What is the most unusual design you can find?

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August 10 - S'mores Day

  • Take a class poll of who has and has not had a s'more before. Does anyone prefer toasted marshmallows over s'mores? Discuss your preferences and experiences.
  • The origin of s'mores is unknown, but you can still about the history of marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate.
  • There are so many great s'more dessert recipes out there. Even if you can't toast marshmallows over a fire, you can still make a great dessert as a class.

August 12 - Vinyl Records Day

  • Do your students know what a record player is? Have they seen one before? If possible, bring in a working record player. If this isn't possible, watch a video of one online.
  • Discuss the differences between records, tapes, CDs, and digital music files. Do students listen to most of their music in digital format? What do they like about this method?
  • Learn about some of the ways to re-purpose old records. Search Pinterest, Etsy, and Craftgawker for different ideas and tutorials.

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August 16th - National Tell a Joke Day

  • Have a joke telling period. Students can share their favorite jokes or jokes that they've written themselves. Make sure that they are telling appropriate and clean jokes.
  • Learn about writing different kinds of jokes such as "knock knock" jokes. What does or does not make a particular joke funny?
  • Offer joke books as a choice for independent reading and free periods today. If students won't get too crazy in small groups, let them read the books together.

Mt. Olympus Park, Wisconsin Dells
Mt. Olympus Park, Wisconsin Dells | Source

August 16 - Roller Coaster Day

  • Learn about how roller coasters are constructed and how they work.
  • Have students complete a writing prompt or draw pictures of roller coasters. They can record experiences with roller coasters or design their own roller coasters. For younger groups of students who are writing, you may want to brainstorm descriptive words to use for roller coasters.
  • Design a model roller coaster. What kinds of materials would work well?

Amusement Parks in the Midwest

show route and directions
A markerSix Flags Great America -
1 Great America Pkwy, Gurnee, IL 60031, USA
[get directions]

B markerMt. Olympus Water and Theme Park -
1701 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, USA
[get directions]

C markerCedar Point -
1 Cedar Point Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870, USA
[get directions]

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August 19 - Potato Day

  • Learn about how and where potatoes are grown.
  • Do you have a school with a garden or do you live in an area with a community garden? If you live in a climate where you can grow potatoes, give it a try yourself.
  • Make a potato recipe as a class. You can enjoy simple baked potatoes or make a more elaborate sliced potato dish or everyone's favorite: French fries.

This sweet little kitty lived on the street for a year before a shelter picked her up and my parents adopted her.
This sweet little kitty lived on the street for a year before a shelter picked her up and my parents adopted her. | Source

August 21 - National Homeless Animals Day

  • Learn the facts about homeless animals in your country.
  • What can you do to help homeless animals? Brainstorm volunteer opportunities and other ways that you can help out in your neighborhood, such as letting cats sleep in your heated garage in the winter.
  • Have an animal shelter staff member or volunteer speak to the class or arrange a field trip to a local animal shelter.

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August 24 - National Waffle Day

  • Learn about the history of waffles.
  • Have a store bought waffle taste test. Compare a single flavor across different brands or different flavors from a single brand. Graph and discuss the results.
  • Get permission to use a waffle iron in the school's kitchen or staff work room or in your classroom and have a waffle lunch party. Let the class choose the waffle toppings.

August 26 - National Dog Day

  • Take a class poll of who prefers cats vs. dogs and discuss the results. if students have dogs as pets, encourage them to bring in pictures to share with the class.
  • Learn about how to care for dogs.
  • Put together photos and information about a variety of different dog breeds. Discuss characteristics that all dogs share and what makes some dogs different from others.

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Nam June Paik video installation
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Nam June Paik video installation | Source

American Artist Appreciation Month

  • Put together a series of artist lesson plans for the entire month with a different American artist for each week. Give students the opportunity to create their own art inspired by each artist.
  • As American artists, take the challenge yourselves this month to learn a new art technique. It can be something simple such as painting with a new medium or something more complex such as learning a sculpture technique.
  • If possible, take in a local art exhibit featuring American art sometime this month.

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Comments 4 comments

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Loved this series you have been doing. Specifically I loved the sister's day (could picture my 2 girls on this one) and the S'mores day too. I just did a recipe for chocolate covered smores, because I just s'mores and loved tht you created a whole day for them. Voted up and shared too.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Janine! I'm glad that this series continues to be well receives. Chocolate covered s'mores sound amazing. I didn't create the day for s'mores, but I'm glad that I can share it with others.


Julie DeNeen profile image

Julie DeNeen 4 years ago from Clinton CT

I was starting to feel nervous about August and the boredom, but this hub has some very quirky ideas. Perfect :)


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

That's perfect!

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