Who would have known that January brings both Trivia Day AND Word Nerd Day? Students love looking for those little-known or quirky observances, so here are some of our favorite January holidays. We even have ideas on how to work them into your curriculum!
1. Trivia Day
2. Bird Day
It’s Bird Day! This annual celebration highlights the need to protect our nation’s birds, and it also encourages us to go out and appreciate all the birds in our neighborhood. It’s a great day for observing birds during recess or lunch or even just doing a little research about the birds in your region.
3. Word Nerd Day
Time to celebrate words! Add a new book to your classroom and encourage all of your students to learn a new word today! Dictionary.com posts one word each day for its readers to help them grow their vocabulary. You can also do a “Word of the Day” in your classroom. Let your students be in charge of gathering and posting them!
4. Nothing Day
In 1973, newspaper journalist Harold Pullman Coffin decided that there should be an official day to do NOTHING. And, what better moment than this? After a crazy holiday season and the end of a semester, we could all use a nothing day to recuperate! Encourage your students to relax their minds and journal about nothing!
5. Kid Inventors’ Day
What do the Popsicle, earmuffs, and the trampoline all have in common? They were invented by kids! In honor of Benjamin Franklin’s birthday, celebrate the innovation of your students, whether that be through the newest STEM activity, an imaginative quick write, or even a quick look at the products that children have invented. There are also some pretty inspiring TED Talks by kids and young adults that could inspire your little entrepreneurs.
6. Thesaurus Day
This day celebrates the birthday of Peter Mark Roget, creator of Roget’s Thesaurus. Although you may not have a thesaurus nearby, this is a great time to teach a lesson on synonyms, word choice, and shades of meaning. Thesaurus.com is an excellent resource that might spark some conversation!
7. Penguin Awareness Day
From Happy Feet to Madagascar, there is no shortage of adorable penguins in the movies. Penguin Awareness Day was created purely to appreciate these cute little seabirds and help people learn more about them. So, go ahead—throw a precious little penguin with a fun fact on your morning message board to brighten up your students’ day! If you’re really feeling the penguin love, your class can adopt one online through the World Wildlife Fund!
8. Squirrel Appreciation Day
If you’ve ever read Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin, you know just how incredible squirrels can be. Today celebrates these little creatures and encourages people to learn a little more about what squirrels are really like. Encourage your students to find an amazing squirrel fact to write about or share with the class.
9. Handwriting Day
Give those iPads and Chromebooks a break and appreciate the art of the handwritten note. The special day was created in 1977 to motivate people to buy pens, pencils, and writing paper, but since teachers already buy plenty of those, we get to celebrate a different way. Today would be a great day for teaching a quick cursive lesson, writing notes home to students’ families, or just having a good old-fashioned paper and pencil activity!
10. Compliment Day
Started by two women who wanted to thank their loved ones, this day is a perfect time to start encouraging kindness in your classroom. Think about other teachers, students, or even parents who might need a compliment today. This would be a great opportunity for students to practice their speaking skills with one another! Besides, who doesn’t need a compliment every now and then?
11. Opposite Day
It really exists! While kids may jokingly declare “it’s Opposite Day!” during recess, this day will get them really thinking about contrasting ideas. Get a little wacky today and let your students enjoy the wonder of having things flipped around! Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss is a great read-aloud for this day. Find all the silly examples of “opposite” things in daily life!
12. Puzzle Day
Breakout EDU, anyone? Challenge your students with a puzzle or two today. Rebuses, sudoku squares, brain teasers, or even an old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle can be a great brain break. Have fun!
13. Art Day
We live in a world that’s so centered on productivity. Take a moment today to help your students see the beauty in visual arts, music, dance, theater, or poetry. Start the day with a beautiful piece of music or have students create a painting of something they love. You never know what talented artists could be hiding in your classroom!
Did we miss any of your favorite January holidays? Let us know in the comments!