Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying…
This morning, I greeted the children at school with my May Pole, wearing a flower “princess” crown! May Day is not commonly celebrated in the US, but kids love it, and they enjoy hearing about the traditions of other children around the world. My favorite part is the GIVING part. The kids and I have been sharing fresh roses from behind our home all week with people we love and appreciate. We are lucky that May Day is timed so nicely with our amazing rose bushes!
It was a beautiful spring day to teach outside – following the May Pole to a shady spot under the trees. And even the babies had fun holding the ribbons and walking around it, as we sang “Walking/skipping/ hopping round the May Pole…because we’re glad it’s spring!” I’ll be at the Rise School of Dallas this afternoon repeating my lesson with some special needs kiddos if you want to join me! (3:30, bring some flowers to give away!)
Here are 5 May Day ideas for your family to enjoy:
- Make a May Pole…I just used stopped by the hardware store to get 6-feet of pbc pipe cut (like $2), added ribbons and fake flowers from the dollar store. You could also use a broom, and just tie on some wrapping ribbons or streamers you have at home. Your kids will have lots of fun helping with this project! I used mine yesterday at the May-Day outreach project I led for “Wee Volunteer” yesterday at a nursing home, and will use it at school today. Then we’re to stick it out in our front yard after school and see if any of the neighborhood kids wanna join us for a May Pole dance! (Make it simple: 4 steps in, 4 steps out, 8 steps around, and then the other way, swish the ribbon, turn under it, etc…)
2. Gather some fresh flowers for at centerpiece, for your hair, for a crown for the “May Queen” or “May King”. It is also traditional for kids to toss up flower petals to celebrate. I did it this morning in class with a box of fake flowers petals the Dollar Store gave me….We chanted “April showers bring May FLOWERS!” and tossed them into the air to be collected again! The little ones LOVE this!
3. Be a “Flower Fairy!” Spread some spring cheer with this fun tradition: deliver flowers to your neighbors, grandparents, teachers, or friends….After you hang them on the door or set them on the porch, ring the doorbell and hide. Pop out if you like to say, “Happy May Day!” My friend Jann used to do this with her mother, and now she does it with her son, Taylor. So fun! Last year I led an outreach project at a local nursing home where we made and handed out tissue paper flowers to residents. (We’ll save the leftovers for Cinco de Mayo!)
4. Celebrate spring with a Family Dance! Around your May Pole or just around a tree outside. How about “Ring Around the Rosie”? (Add this spoken change for added excitement and internal control exercise: Ring around you, ring around me, everybody jump up when I count to three…1, 2, 3!) Watch this fun video of kids dancing around a May Pole, and start practicing for next year! My kids loved this….watch the video
5. Turn on some traditional Gaelic or Irish music for a family jam session with Tupperware drums….or just music to do chores or have dinner by. Here’s some…Click to sample…
Here are some fun May-Day facts and Conversation starters for car-time, meal-time, or bedtime tonight:
- In medieval England, May Day was considered the time of ‘bringing in the May.’ Villagers would go out into forests and countrysides to gather greenery and flowers. This is also when the tradition of the maypole began. What is your favorite flower?
- May Day is a big holiday in the UK and is a bank holiday. Banks will close on the first Monday of May so that public celebrations can take place. What is your favorite holiday?
- Maypoles are poles made of wood that are of various sizes. They are decorated with long ribbons or streamers and flowers. In medieval England, villages would create rivalries over their maypoles to see who could create the biggest one. Maypoles are usually taken down after the celebrations but in some places they are kept up all year. What other kind of holiday decorations can you think of? Which one is your favorite?
- Maypole dancing is a form of folk dancing that has its participants dancing around the pole, weaving in and out with the streamers that are attached to it. There are actually several kinds of May Dances, and that varies by country. It’s still practiced today in many parts of the world, especially Scandinavian countries. What is your favorite kind of dance to do or watch? Can you think of any American dances?
- “April Showers bring May Flowers!” Some people have a tradition of giving gifts of flowers on May Day to surprise neighbors and loved ones. Has anyone ever given you flowers? Have you ever given flowers to anyone? Think of someone you would like to secretly give flowers to…
Dance Around the Maypole Song
In and out, in and out,
Weave the ribbons tight;
‘Round the Maypole we will dance
To the left and to the right.