After the cold winter months, the arrival of spring is a wonderful change. As the weather begins to warm and flowers bloom, it’s easy to see why this point in the year, especially the first of May, has been celebrated since ancient times.
May Day traditions are still prevalent in many parts of the world, particularly throughout Europe. While they vary from place to place, at the heart of these practices is always the celebration of new life and the welcoming of spring. This fun and bright festival is the perfect time both to teach your students about the seasons and to explain the historical traditions to them. As you talk about the significance of May Day and how it is observed, incorporate some fun craft activities!
1. Flower Basket
Show your class how to make baskets using paper plates and colored cardstock. Cut a semi-circle out of the top of each plate to form the handle, then glue the lower edges of the plates together. Your students can then decorate their baskets with markers, paints, or cardstock shapes to make beautiful, flower-collecting baskets.
2. Mini Maypoles
The maypole is an important symbol of the May Day festivities. Teach your class about the tradition of dancing around the maypole in order to celebrate youth and bring prosperity and fertility to land, livestock, and people.
Your class can even make their own miniature maypoles by decorating cardboard tubes. Attach ribbons to the tops of the poles, and craft little people to stand around them by using cardstock, pom-poms, or clay.
3. May Crown
Another tradition of May Day is to crown a May Queen. Her role is to open and oversee the May Day celebrations. She is usually dressed in white as a symbol of purity. Your class can make their own May crowns using strips of cardboard and tape. They can be decorated with paint, cardstock shapes, and glitter and sequins to add a little sparkle.
4. Decorated Flower Bowl
For a May craft that your students can keep and treasure, why not encourage them to decorate bowls with spring images. When they take the bowls home, they can fill them with their collected flowers or simply keep them as a reminder of the lessons they have learned.
There are many ways to celebrate May Day, but these ideas are a great start. This festival is a great time to teach your students about old customs and how they are celebrated in different parts of the world. It’s also a chance to teach them about the value of the seasons and the planet they live on and how important it is to preserve!
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