May Day is a wonderful springtime celebration that takes place on May 1st. This special day has its roots in ancient history. A very long time ago the ancient Greeks celebrated the Festival of Chloris and the Romans celebrated Floralia. Both of these festivals were in honour of the goddess of flowers. Over time these springtime festivals have evolved into the May Day celebrations that take place around the world today.
Celebrating May Day with Your Kids
“Mama, are we celebrating May Day this year?” wondered my daughter. “Absolutely!” I replied. Over the years May Day has been a much anticipated celebration for our family. We wear colorful clothes, makes flower crowns, sing songs and dance around the Maypole with our friends. Celebrating May Day with your children is a wonderful way to connect with nature and enjoy springtime changes.
1. Make a May Day flower crown.
Everyone, children and adults, can be springtime gods and goddesses when they adorn our heads in flowers. The simplest and most earth-friendly way to make a flower crown is to use what nature provides. Twist together a few thin flexible branches or vines into a circle. One of our favourite branches to use is weeping willow because it is so thin and flexible. Pick or buy some real flowers and poke them into the crown.
2. Give a May Day flower basket.
Share the joy of springtime by making flower baskets and secretly delivering them to family, friends and neighbours. This old May Day tradition is a wonderful way to teach children about the importance of kindness and generosity.
- Place a small bouquet of flowers in a mason jar, recycled aluminum can or paper cones.
- Make a simple May Day flower basket.
3. Plant some spring flowers.
Enjoy May Day by getting your hands dirty and planting some flowers with your child. You can purchase flower seeds or flower seedling from your local plant nursery. Some of our favourite flowers to plant in spring include:
- sweet peas
4. Dance around a Maypole.
A Maypole is a long wooden stick with ribbons and a garland of flowers attached to the top. The ribbons are weaved around the pole by little and big people through a fun dance. It’s a bit unclear where the Maypole tradition came from but it’s been part of ancient springtime celebrations for a very long time, especially in Europe.
- Make your own Maypole using a long cardboard tube, PVC pipe, metal pole, long branch or wooden dowels.
- Make a miniature Maypole or flower wands.
5. Enjoy a May Day picnic.
May Day is the perfect day to spend outside as a family. Explore a new trail, visit a garden or play at the park and bring a May Day picnic along.
- Pack a salad in a jar.
- Fill up with warm soup in a thermos and sandwiches.
- Bring cut up fruit, veggies and cheese.
- Bring some sweet strawberries for dessert.
6. Build a May Day bonfire.
In parts of the world May Day is celebrated around a fire. Beltane, a Gaelic springtime festival, is celebrated around a big bonfire and so is Walpurgis Eve a celebration that takes place in Germany, Sweden and Finland. Make your own May Day bonfire to chase away winter and celebrate the arrival of spring.
7. Do a May Day dance.
Dancing on May Day is the thing to do. Whether it’s around a Maypole, around the house, down the street or in your backyard, shake away winter with a good wiggle.
8. Go on a May Day nature walk.
Enjoy spring time by taking your child on a May Day nature walk. Pull on your rain boots and go for a walk around your neighbourhood, park or along a nature trail. Here are some fun things to do while you and your child are outside:
- Look for signs of spring together.
- Enjoy spring flowers and pick a few (when is it alright to pick flowers?).
- Dig in the dirt and collect worms.
- Jump in puddles and get wet.
- Go on a spring scavenger hunt.
9. Read a picture book about Springtime.
Lay a blanket out on the grass Spring read aloud time. Here’s a list of our favourite Spring and May Day themed books:
- Little Grey Rabbit’s May Day (Little Grey Rabbit Classic) by
- A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long
- The Rainbow Tulip by Pat Mora
- Abracadabra, It’s Spring! (Seasonal Magic) by Anne Sibley O’Brien
- And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
- In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb by Marion Dane Bauer
- Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
- Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
- Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson
- Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
- Poppleton in Spring by Cynthia Rylant
- Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na
- On the Morn of Mayfest by Erica Silverman
- The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker
- The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow
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