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

Updated on September 28, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Labor Day Weekend, Lake Michigan
Labor Day Weekend, Lake Michigan | Source

Please note: If you serve any type of food or drink for a September holiday, make sure to check student allergies ahead of time.

Mix up your classroom curriculum with a few of these special September days and holidays. Although most of them are trivial, the variety in curriculum will mix up your regular routine and increase student interest. It is easy to make some minor modifications in your regular curriculum that will allow you to incorporate these holidays. If this is not possible, consider using the holiday as a special lesson plan or snack break. Finally, the majority of these suggestions can be adapted for any grade level. For example, for a writing activity, younger elementary students can draw pictures while older students can write sentences or paragraphs.

Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, which is why hummingbird feeders always include at least one red component.
Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, which is why hummingbird feeders always include at least one red component. | Source

September 1 - National Hummingbird Day

  • Did you know that there are 20 different hummingbird species? Have students break into groups to research 3-4 different types and then prepare a presentation for the rest of the class about their findings.
  • Learn about the food that hummingbirds eat and how you can plant flowers and/or construct feeders that will attract them.
  • Watch videos of hummingbirds in flight and discuss the aerodynamics and physics behind their ability to flight. Has anyone ever seen a hummingbird in person? Discuss your experiences.

Reaching the end of the medical intern year is a reason to celebrate.
Reaching the end of the medical intern year is a reason to celebrate. | Source

Labor Day - First Monday of September

  • Learn about the history of the Labor Day holiday.
  • Labor Day can be a great component of a wide variety of lesson plans or units pertaining to inventors, careers, economics, and history.
  • Have students draw pictures and/or complete a writing prompt about a job that they would like to have when they grow up and why. Depending on the age group of the students, consider having them research these job options (i.e. how much schooling is involved, where are job positions in this country).


Grandparents Day - First Sunday After Labor Day

  • Send home an assignment this week to gather basic information about grandparents. Most likely older students will be able to supply this on their own, but younger students may need assistance from someone at home with grandparents' names, birthdays, etc. Take turns sharing this information with the class throughout the next week.
  • Write letters to grandparents. If possible, mail the letters yourselves. This can make a great component of a letter writing unit.
  • If you have a number of students with grandparents who live in the area, consider putting together Grandparents Day activities at school. Students enjoy completing routine parts of the school day, such as eating lunch and going to art class, with their grandparents as well as doing special activities.

Skyscrapers in Chicago.
Skyscrapers in Chicago. | Source

September 3 - Skyscraper Day

  • Learn about how skyscrapers are constructed, including the building process for many of the world's most famous skyscrapers as well as the physics behind it.
  • Search online for pictures, videos, and other information about skyscrapers. In addition to looking for the tallest skyscrapers, look for unusual skyscrapers. Give students the chance to share some of their best findings with the class.
  • Do you live in or near an area that has skyscrapers? Take a field trip. If possible, arrange for a tour of a skyscraper so you can experience it from the inside as well.

Visit a Skyscraper

Willis Tour: Skydeck Chicago:
233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, USA

get directions

Burj Khalifa:
Emaar Blvd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

get directions

Empire State Building:
350 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001, USA

get directions


September 12 - National Video Game Day

  • Take a class poll about video games. It can be a simple question such as "Do you like to play video games?" or it can be about a favorite gaming system or favorite game. Graph and discuss the results.
  • Video games make a great topic for older students learning how to write persuasive essays. Brainstorm topics and positions that students can argue for or against, such as "Do you think playing violent video games makes kids more violent? Why or why not?"
  • Learn about some of the aspects of designing video games. The video game market is huge, and there are a lot of jobs in the video game industry.


September 14 - National Anthem Day

  • Learn the words to The Star-Spangled Banner and discuss their meaning. Do students know the tune? This is the perfect time to learn it.
  • Have students ever heard the national anthem sung in person, such as at a sporting event? Talk about the respect that is given while someone is singing it and why we do this.
  • Research the history of The Star-Spangled Banner and other national anthems. Have students research national anthems in pairs or groups and then share their findings with the class.


September 18 - National Play-Doh Day

  • Learn about the invention and history of Play-Doh.
  • Make a batch of two of your own Play-Doh. There are many different types of recipes out there. Consider ways to give your Pay-Doh different colors and/or scents.
  • Purchase some new Play-Doh toys for your classroom and give students the opportunity to test them during unstructured classroom time. Have students discuss which ones are their favorites and why.

Many Play-Doh toys are inexpensive and provide hours of entertainment.


September 18 - National Cheeseburger Day

  • Take a class survey about hamburgers vs. cheeseburgers. Which one do students prefer? Are there students who don't like either one or who can't have cheeseburgers because of a dairy allergy? Discuss the results.
  • Have students create a "how to" piece of writing for making their favorite type of burger. If they don't have a favorite type of burger, they can pick a different type of grilled food (i.e. brats) or a favorite sandwich. You can opt to turn this into a week or even month long unit so students can flesh their writing out into a short book complete with illustrations or photos.
  • Have a class cookout with your own burgers. If you have students who do not like traditional beef burgers, look for other alternatives. Let students decide what type of buns and toppings they would like for their burgers.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl preview

September 19 - International Talk Like a Pirate Day

  • Learn the most popular pirate slang as well as other pirate vocabulary such as terms for ships, crew members, drinks, and food. Use all of these terms as much as possible today.
  • Encourage students to dress up as pirates today. Brainstorm costume ideas ahead of time and consider a pirate accessory class craft, such as an eye patch or sword.
  • Learn a pirate song and sing it together. If you can find a recording or video of one or more pirate songs, even better.

Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf, Wisconsin Dells, WI | Source

September 21 - Miniature Golf Day

  • Learn the basic rules and aspects of playing miniature golf. Has anyone ever been miniature golfing? Share your experiences. How does miniature golf compare to regular golf? Discuss the similarities and differences.
  • Research some of the most unusual miniature golf courses around the country or even around the world. Share the best pictures, videos, and stories that you find with the class.
  • If possible, take an outing to a local miniature golf course. Get a handful of parent volunteers so you can split the students into groups.

Great Miniature Golf Courses in the United States

Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf and Family Fun Center:
732 Eddy St, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, USA

get directions

Mini Golf Course at East Potomac:
972 Ohio Dr SW, East Potomac Park, Washington, DC 20024, USA

get directions

Par-King - The World's Most Unusual Miniature Golf:
21711 N Milwaukee Ave, Lincolnshire, IL 60069, USA

get directions


September 23 - Checkers Day

  • Learn about the history of checkers. Did you know that it is one of the oldest recorded games in human civilization?
  • Learn about World Championship, World Title, and International Match checkers games throughout history and the checkers players who have claimed these victories and titles.
  • Do your students know how to play checkers? Take the time to teach them the basic rules and let them play a game or two. This can be a great new option for indoor recess.


September 25 - National Comic Book Day

  • Get the inside scoop on Comic Con, the world's largest comic book and popular arts convention that is held annually in San Diego, California. Many movie stars and other celebrities make notable appearances there. You can also find lots of photos and videos online from other Comic Con attendees.
  • Do students read comics either in the newspaper and/or online? Have them share some of their favorites and why they like those comics.
  • Have your students try their hand at writing their own comic books. Brainstorm components that they'll need to include ahead of time. Put an emphasis on creativity and not great drawing.

Ask Dr. Robyn - Teaching Courtesy #1

National Courtesy Month

  • Discuss the meaning of the word "courtesy" and why it is important in our society.
  • Throughout the month, choose different aspects of courtesy, such as telephone manners and playground etiquette, and have students role play appropriate and inappropriate scenarios for each. Have them discuss their feelings and reactions afterward.
  • Have students set a goal to do at least one courteous thing every day of the month. Make a list of actions that this can include. Check in one or two times a week as a whole class or in small groups to see how it is going. Offer suggestions and feedback as needed.

Amazing Lady Gaga Paparazzi Piano Music by Greyson Michael

National Piano Month

  • Learn about the history of the piano and the different types of pianos that are available today, including electric pianos.
  • Does anyone in the class play the piano? A few times throughout this month, arrange time with a piano in the school and let students play for the rest of the class.
  • If possible, take in a concert or recital that features the piano. Consider professional venues as well as local high schools and universities.

© 2012 Rose Clearfield


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