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

Fourth of July is a wonderful occasion to spend with family and friends.
Fourth of July is a wonderful occasion to spend with family and friends. | Source

I get a lot of comments from parents about this article series so I am continuing it through the summer months. While teachers in traditional classroom settings will not be able to use this month's resources now, many of these ideas can be incorporated into other holidays and special events throughout the year. Parents and summer school teachers will still be able to use these resources throughout the month.

Celebrate some of the special days and holidays in July to create some variety in your curriculum. Although many of these days are trivial, they often mix up the daily routine, which can peak students' interest. With some basic modifications, it is relatively easy to work most of these holidays into the regular curriculum. Alternatively, other holidays will create a change of pace with a special lesson or snack. Finally, you can adapt many of the suggestions for these holidays 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.

July 1 - Build a Scarecrow Day

  • Learn about how scarecrows are built and what their function is.
  • Has anyone seen a scarecrow in person? Whether it was up close or from far away (i.e. driving by in a car), share your experiences.
  • If you're up for the challenge, build your own scarecrow. You can build one on a small scale before you attempt a full sized one.

Kids can be the best joke tellers.
Kids can be the best joke tellers. | Source

July 1 - International Joke Day

  • Learn about how to write different types of jokes such as "knock knock" jokes. Discuss what does and doesn't make a joke funny.
  • Have a joke sharing period where students can share their newly written jokes or other favorite jokes. Make sure that they keep it clean and appropriate.
  • Provide joke books for free periods and independent reading choices today. Some groups of students may do better reading books on their own so they don't get too crazy while others may be able to handle this activity in small groups.

July 5 - Alice in Wonderland Day

  • Throughout the week, read and watch different versions of the story. How many different versions can you find? Discuss the similarities and differences. Take a class vote for favorite version. Are there some that you like more than others? Give reasons for these choices.
  • Pick a single Alice in Wonderland story and create visual charts of different aspects of the story, such as characters and their traits, settings and their descriptors, etc.
  • Have students write their own versions of Alice in Wonderland OR write a new class version of the story and act it out for other classes. You can make the production as complex as you like with costumes, scenery, etc.

Source

July 10 - Teddy Bear Picnic Day

  • Listen to the Teddy Bear's Picnic song. The lyrics are linked below.
  • For younger grades, have students each bring in a teddy bear and have a picnic with them. Consider what food and drinks you would like to have. If the weather doesn't allow for an outdoor picnic, you can still have your picnic indoors.
  • Draw pictures or complete a writing prompt about a favorite teddy bear, either that you have now or that you remember from earlier in your childhood. If students don't have favorite teddy bears, they can write about other favorite stuffed animals.

When you're feeling a little lonely, sometimes a pet's company can make all the difference.
When you're feeling a little lonely, sometimes a pet's company can make all the difference. | Source

July 11 - National Cheer Up the Lonely Day

  • Discuss the feeling of loneliness. Consider making a graphic organizer or some other type of visual to document your thoughts about words associated with it, etc.
  • What do you do when you get lonely? Brainstorm ideas to use when you do feel lonely, such as calling a friend or re-reading an old e-mail from a close family member.
  • Make it a goal to do one of the things on your newly brainstormed list during the next month when you know someone who is feeling lonely.

Source

July 12 - Different Colored Eyes Day

  • Learn about Heterochromia Iridium or having two different colored eyes. Do you know anyone who has different colored eyes? It is not a very common condition in humans, but it is more common among certain topics of animals. Some people may know a dog or cat who has it.
  • Find pictures of Heterochromia iridum examples in people and/or animals online or in books. What are the most unusual combinations that you find?
  • Draw a picture or complete a writing prompt about having two different colored eyes. If you could have any two eye colors, what would you pick? If you would NOT want to have different colored eyes, why not?

July 13 - Barbershop Music Appreciation Day

  • Learn about the history of barbershop quartets and barbershop music.
  • Are there any barbershop quartets or other a capella groups in your area? You may be able to take in a concert and experience the music live.
  • Whether or not you attend a concert, you can always find some great examples online to share with your students, too. Additionally, consider checking the local library's CD collection.

The caption for this photo reads: "A pandemonium of parrots in our trees..."
The caption for this photo reads: "A pandemonium of parrots in our trees..." | Source

July 14 - Pandemonium Day

  • Learn about the origin of the word pandemonium and discuss whether you think it is a fitting definition or not.
  • What you find online when you search for "pandemonium" in a search engine or on a photo site (i.e. Flickr)? Most likely you will be surprised by the wide range of results.
  • Have students pair up and discuss times in their lives when they experienced pandemonium and how they got through it.

Source

July 16 - Cow Appreciation Day

  • Learn about the different types of cows.
  • Brainstorm foods and beverages that are made from cow's milk. How many of these items do you consume every day or at least once or twice a week?
  • Do you live near a zoo or farm with a dairy barn? Plan a field trip. Many zoos offer daily or weekly milking viewings.

Source

Third Sunday of July - National Ice Cream Day

  • Make your own ice cream using an ice cream maker or the plastic bag method. Take a class vote for ice cream toppings to offer and create a mini-sundae bar.
  • Take a class poll of favorite ice cream flavors and discuss the results.
  • Draw pictures or complete a writing prompt about a favorite ice cream flavor and/or favorite ice cream experience (i.e. the first time my grandpa took me to Coldstone).

Source

July 20 - Ugly Truck Contest Day

  • What is the ugliest truck that you have ever seen? Compare stories. If possible, share pictures.
  • Draw a picture and/or complete a writing prompt about what the ugliest truck would look like. Include as many details as possible.
  • Did you know that there are real ugly truck contests out there? Research just a few of them. If there are pictures of current or past winners, make sure to check them out.

Source

July 21 - National Junk Food Day

  • Take a class poll about favorite type of junk food and discuss the results. Is there a clear winner? Do people prefer the really unhealthy junk foods?
  • Pick a junk food and learn about its nutritional values. If there are different types and/or brands, do some comparisons.
  • Research homemade junk food recipes and vote on one that you will make as a class.

Re-posted with permission.  Me and my cousin at her wedding, May 2009.
Re-posted with permission. Me and my cousin at her wedding, May 2009. | Source

July 24 - Cousins Day

  • Take a poll about how many first cousins each student has. Does anyone not know how many first cousins he or she has? Does anyone have no cousins?
  • Draw pictures or complete a writing prompt about cousins, such as a favorite memory with cousins. If students do not know their cousins, they can choose to write about something that they would like to do with them (i.e. play a game, take a trip).
  • Have students bring in pictures of their cousins and share information about them. Bring in your own pictures as well. Students are always fascinated to learn that teachers have lives outside of the classroom.

Source

July 28 - National Milk Chocolate Day

  • Learn about how milk chocolate is made and about the differences between milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate.
  • Have a taste test of different kinds of milk chocolate OR of different types of chocolate. Graph and discuss the results. Were there any kinds that stuck out as particularly good or bad? Why?
  • Make a dessert or snack today with a milk chocolate product, such as chocolate chip cookies or chocolate covered pretzels.

Source

National Blueberry Month

  • Learn about the nutritional value of blueberries.
  • Do you live near a blueberry or other berry farm? Summer is a perfect time to go berry picking. See if you can arrange a field trip.
  • Enjoy a snack with blueberries. You can eat them plain or include them in a dish, such as blueberry pancakes or muffins.

Blueberry Picking: Wisconsin

show route and directions
A markerBlueberry Ridge Orchard (E2795 Hageness Road) -
Hagness Rd, Eleva, WI 54738, USA
[get directions]

B markerFlyte Family Farm (W13450 Cottonville Avenue) -
Cottonville Ave, Coloma, WI 54930, USA
[get directions]

C markerRush River Produce (W4098 200th Ave.) -
200th Ave, Maiden Rock, WI 54750, USA
[get directions]

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Comments 23 comments

CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

Wow, so much going on in July! LOVE all your ideas ;) Great hub!!! Voted up and shared!


justateacher profile image

justateacher 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

Some very great ideas! I am teaching summer School and will add some of these ideas to my curriculum! I think especially junk food day and ice cream day!!


Julie DeNeen profile image

Julie DeNeen 4 years ago from Clinton CT

Yeah another hub! Great fantastic ideas...even if you are a mom at home with kids :) voted up and shared!


Vampsdes profile image

Vampsdes 4 years ago from Missouri, US

Lots of ideas here, some really creative ones as well. Talk about making the classroom fun, this would do it! I'm not a teacher, but I know I would have loved some of these activities as a kid! Voted up!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Cassy, yes, for sure! It's amazing how many random holidays there are every month.

Donna, I'm glad that some of these will be helpful for summer school.

Julie, definitely! A lot of people have commented on past holiday lesson plan hubs that the ideas will be fun at home as well.

Vampsdes, thanks! Even adding one or two extra lessons like this to a month can make a big difference.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

I had to FB and tweet this!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks!


kelleyward 4 years ago

Randomcreative there is a day for everything! I like the teddy bear picnic idea. My boys would love doing this. Voted up, shared, and pinned! Kelley


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

This is fun! We are looking forward to summer and I really do a lot of activities with my boys in the summer months - I'm definitely incorporating some of these activities!


rfmoran profile image

rfmoran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

What a fabulous resource this is for anyone involved in summertime education.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Kelley, yes, for sure! I try to pick the ones that are the most kid friendly but there are many others as well. Have fun with your teddy bear picnic. :)

Thanks Leah! Summer is the best. I know that you'll have lots of fun with your boys.

Thanks rfmoran!


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia

So many things for July, wow. Never heard of Cow Appreciation Day before. Very creative!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks greatstuff! I had never heard of most of these holidays before either.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

"National Cheer Up the Lonely Day"? "Cow Appreciation Day"? hehehe This hub is so cute! Lots of quirky and creative ideas. Rated up!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Yep, you can't make this stuff up! I'm glad that you enjoyed it. :)


Joy M profile image

Joy M 4 years ago from Sumner, Washington

Wow, there really are holidays for everything! Voted up and interesting.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Ye,s for sure! Thanks.


meloncauli profile image

meloncauli 4 years ago from UK

This is such a user friendly informative hub. Brilliant. I like the idea of National Ice Cream Day!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, meloncauli! That has definitely been one of the popular picks.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Wow, so many fun ideas! Hahaa, this makes me wish that employers had fun themed days, too.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks Simone! Wouldn't that be fun?


kelleyward 4 years ago

No celebration on my birthday July 27th. Oh well at least it's an open day, which means it will be a surprise when some take your pet to work day is celebrated:)!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Shocking! There you go. :)

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