Only a few more school bells will chime before the end of the school year. Do you have fun plans with the family to make it a memorable May? Celebrate another successful school year with extra time outside in the evenings and picnics in the park and games in the backyard.
Be sure to thank teachers and principals, bus drivers and maintenance workers, lunch room staff and office staff, too. Include some of these wacky holidays in the May festivities and make up a few unique, zany family ones of your own.
➤ Pick Strawberries Day — Several you-pick farms offer delicious ripe berries during the month of May. Search the internet for a farm near you, call for hours and details, and head out as a family to pick strawberries. Snack on a few, fresh-from-the-garden, fresh-washed berries but be prepared for red stains on the fingertips. Then make strawberry muffins together and snack on the delicious treat while warm. Here’s a recipe to use for the muffins: Combine these dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: 3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. In a smaller bowl, stir together 4 beaten eggs and 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil. In another small bowl, slice 2 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries into small pieces. Add the diced berries to the egg mixture. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Slowly add the egg mixture, stirring in a little flour at a time. Stir batter for a smooth consistency, but do not overbeat. Spoon batter evenly into two greased muffin tins for two dozen muffins. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean. While waiting on the muffins to bake, read "The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear" by Audrey Wood.
➤ Take Your Parents to the Park Day — Help your children plan today’s celebration. Let the kids pick a nearby park and select the toys and games they plan to carry. Do they want to include cornhole boards? Soccer balls? Bubbles? Toy airplanes? Toy parachutes? Bikes and helmets? Encourage the kids to pack a picnic blanket, as well as a picnic basket of sandwiches and snacks and water bottles. Once the kids have collected and loaded all of the supplies, do your part by driving the family to the park.
➤ Shades Day — Spend a day embellishing new shades for family members. Purchase a pair of sunglasses for each person. Get inexpensive, plastic ones that have wider rims and boarders to allow room for embellishing. Pull out stickers and small craft foam pieces and pom poms and glue and glitter. Work on a newspaper-covered table and decorate away! Let each person’s sunglasses dry completely before wearing.
➤ Frog Jumping Day — Look for frogs and toads all month long. You might even hear them in the evenings before you spot them. Then play a game in the backyard to see who can jump like a frog. Create a path for jumping, but put obstacles in the way, like a pair of work gloves or a small ball or a small watering can. Let each person hop along the path, jumping over obstacles. Time each person’s trek and see who can get to the finish line in the shortest amount of time!
➤ National Nurses Day — Thank nurses and doctors and others in the medical field to celebrate the day. Write personalized cards and handwritten notes to those you know personally or fill out cards to deliver to your personal physician’s office. Thank them for being a hero in your eyes, especially in the last several, challenging years. You may decide to take a nurse friend out to dinner or give them a gift card along with the thank you note. With the family, talk about the sacrifices medical staff members make to care for others. Then play the “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up” game by discussing various careers and jobs and ask the kids what job they’d like to have as an adult.
Make a-may-zing memories in the month of May to treasure for a lifetime. Get outside often, start the search for fireflies in the evening, drink lemonade on the front porch at the end of the day or play in the sprinkler on a really warm afternoon. Spend quality time together as a family, because the days on the calendar seem to fall away faster and faster. Don’t miss an opportunity to make a memory!
Statesboro native Julie Lavender loves making memories with her family. She is the author of "Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime" and "365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories."