Parents, teachers and students are counting down the minutes until the last school bell of the year sounds. Only a few early-morning bus rides or carpool lines remain and the competition on who is more excited about the last day — adults or kids — is underway.
Celebrate the end of another school year with much revelry and family fun. Choose some of the celebrations below or create your own unique family holidays to make it an aMAYzing month with those you love.
➤ World Turtle Day — Make a fun craft to celebrate the magnificence of this creature. Give each person in the family an aluminum pie plate. Using acrylic craft paint, decorate the bottom of the pan to resemble a turtle’s shell. While the paint dries, cut shapes from green or brown construction paper to use for the head, four legs, and tail. Embellish the construction paper body parts with markers or crayon and glue on a pair of plastic wiggle-eyes to the head shape. When the paint is completely dry, glue the body pieces in place underneath the ‘shell’ of the turtle craft.
➤ Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Day — Let the kids help you shop for favorite fruits and favorite vegetables, like squash, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, bean sprouts, onion, white cabbage and more. Before preparing the stir fry recipe, work together to wash fruit pieces and combine slices in a bowl for a fruit salad. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Wash vegetables together, then let an adult cut the vegetables into long thin slices. Place 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet and heat. Add sliced vegetables, minced garlic and soy sauce to taste, keeping in mind that soy sauce is very salty. Stir constantly and keep heat high for about 5 to 10 minutes. Vegetables should be crisp and crunchy. Serve immediately, and for dessert, offer servings of the premade fruit salad.
➤ Paper Airplane Day — Look online for directions and patterns to make paper airplanes. Let each person in the family fold and make several paper airplanes. Be sure to label with initials or a signature, so planes can be distinguished one from the other. On a breezy day this month, take the planes to a wide-open space, like the playground at Mill Creek or one of the fields at the park. Have a contest to see whose plane can fly the farthest or highest before landing.
➤ No Socks Day — Choose an old pair of socks, without holes, and stuff the toes or foot-area with uncooked rice, pasta or dried beans. Use rubber bands twisted multiple times to seal the sock"‘beanbag" completely closed. Then, go outside, barefoot, and play tossing games with the sock toys. Take a clothes basket outside and toss the socks into the basket to see who can score the most points. Draw a hopscotch-style diagram on the driveway with chalk and label each square with a random number for points. Let each person take turns tossing all of the socks and adding up the score. Who got the most points? Or, toss the socks back and forth, like an egg-tossing contest, to see who can catch the most tosses without dropping the sock. Create other fun games for tossing old socks outside.
➤ Endangered Species Day — Visit the United States Fish and Wildlife Service website to find out more about endangered and threatened plants and animals in your state, the country and worldwide. Find out how you can help, as a family, with the recovery of some of these beautiful natural wonders in your own backyard. Then take a family walk and look for wildlife, from the tiny bugs and insects to the birds flitting about to the squirrels and rabbits and, maybe even an armadillo sighting.
Make lasting memories throughout the month of May. Thank educators and moms and military personnel; pick fresh fruits and vegetables; plan a summer vacation, and pick up new chapter books to read aloud as a family over the summer. Make the most of every minute of May!
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.