July Holidays and Special Days: Elementary Classroom Activities, Ideas, and Lesson Plans
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Great Ice Cream Recipes from Hubbers:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Waffle Cones
Homemade waffle cones and Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream. What could be better?
- How to Make Simple Homemade Ice Cream
Ice-cream is a delicious treat which is very simple to make at home. These four recipes are for different flavors of ice-cream
- Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
Here is a recipe for homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. Enjoy!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
More July Holiday Resources
- Summer Fun! Silly Holidays to Celebrate with the Kids
Have you ever heard of National Root Beer Float Day? What about Sewing Machine Day or Eat a Peach Day? Check out some of these silly Summer holidays, such as Cow Appreciation Day and Potato Day.
- 4th of July Cupcakes: Decorating Ideas and DIY Cupcake Wrappers
Looking for decorating ideas for your 4th of July cupcakes? Learn how to make fun patriotic cupcakes with kid-friendly DIY cupcake wrappers and toppers.