May flowers for May Day

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By Beth Pinyerd

Classroom Observer

Good bye to April showers and welcome in May flowers with May Day!
Hey families, Happy May Day! I remember as a young child attending Northside Elementary in the 1960s, our classrooms celebrated May Day. I have taken this tradition into my classrooms of students to celebrate each year! Rainbows come to my mind on the many colors we see around us during this time of year. In Genesis 9:13, God promises us “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
As you come into the Opelika area, you notice beautiful flowers everywhere! Our town, garden clubs and volunteer community associations do an awesome job of keeping up our environments as we welcome tourists from all over the world. Take time to ride and point out our beautiful community to your children.
As a child, I remember the fun and creativity that was put into celebrating May Day in our school as well as community. May Day has been celebrated in one way or another throughout history and all over the world. It is rich in colorful traditions, beauty , and lore. I used to dream and look forward to making my May Day hat and basket. This is a tradition I like to transfer over to the students I teach. As each year in many early childhood classrooms you will see many colorful paper plate hats being paraded about.
In Hawaii, their May Day is called Lei Day! Even if your child is not in school yet, you can welcome the beauty of spring during your May Day celebrations at your home.
Simple preparations are needed of brightly colored crepe paper or ribbons. These are fun ideas that can be done all during the month of May!
If you’re inviting your neighbors over to celebrate May Day, just stick a pole which could be a broomstick, metal pole, or used pipe right into the ground. Also you can use the poles on the swing set, or even use a small tree to fasten long colorful ribbons to the top and let them stream down. Ribbons can be cut from leftover materials you have at home.
Have all May Day participants grab the end of a streamer and dance in one direction to make a beautiful braid. The children can be divided to dance in opposite directions to make a colorful weave. Children love to repeat the dancing over and over. They never tire out. With smaller children toddlers, ones, twos, they could take toilet tissue tubes, paper towel tubes, connect streamers whether it be ribbon, crepe paper, etc.. Let them hold their light little May Poles up and dance around the house. I know the preschoolers I teach in different programs at church love to keep beat to the music as they twirl around with what I call “Rainbow Music Sticks” in the classroom and outside.
Simply grab the paper plates to make May Day baskets and May Day hats. This is such a favorite for young hands. Simply fold a paper plate over, not creasing it but just folding it over as you staple or tape at the top. The children love to make simple construction paper flowers as well as tissue flowers to welcome in May! Paper plates can also be used
to make May Day hats by having children simply glue nature items on the tops. Hats can also be made from construction paper strips, brown paper bags cut up into strips and colored, or card stock strips. As a teacher I just grab up what I have at hand and let the children do the rest. It will surprise you at what they will create to fit their little personalities and desires.
From dancing around the poles, to making hats and baskets, you and your child can welcome in spring by celebrating May Day and all the days of May!
Be sure to read and listen out for any May Day celebrations in this area or just get your child, children, or neighborhood together and do one of your own. Welcome in May with a lot of fun, color, and enjoying the simple things of life with your child. Remember they grow up only once! Savor every moment as you celebrate each season and holiday. I promise they will always remember the time you spent with them!
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth, and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures, and events by e-mailing her at donnapinyerd@att.net.

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