“A-tisket, a-tasket, I made a May basket.”
There is always a day and a way for celebration, and May Day is no different.
Actually, May Day is like the initiation and installation of warm weather and all that accompanies spring.
In ancient Europe, they knew May Day as Beltane and celebrated it with rowdiness.
Well, we may not go that far, but usually, when there is any type of celebratory activities with children, there is “rowdiness.” That is what being a child is about.
To begin the May Day mayhem, or should I say, fun, one needs a May basket. It is most fun if you make it yourself.
Certainly, there are many articles and things one can create a May Day basket with or from. How about using those green plastic berry baskets that cherry tomatoes or berries are contained in?
Weave some ribbon in and out of the holes. Tie a ribbon in a bow at the top to use as a handle, and you have a basket that your child can fill with treats.
Last year, my preschool daughter made a May basket at preschool and hung it around her grandma’s door (which was part of our home). She did this when grandma wasn’t looking, and both grandma and Delaney thoroughly enjoyed this May Day gift exchange.
Your children can also really have fun with May Day by creating a crown and a simple May pole.
For the crown, take a paper plate; cut out the middle, and have your child glue, staple or tape some strips of crepe paper on the back to flow down the back of the crown. Decorate the rest of the crown with cut out shapes, flowers, stickers, crayons and markers.
How about a May pole? Use an empty paper towel roll, and again, decorate with markers, stickers, and glue or tape some strips of yarn, crepe paper or ribbons on the ends.
Put on the crown, grab your May pole and basket, and dance around the May pole. What a fun and simple way to celebrate an old custom.
The true spirit of May Day though is creating May baskets and delivering them to loved ones or others.
Children can create simple May baskets out of Styrofoam cups. Decorate the cups with stickers (foam stickers work well), etc. Attach a pipe cleaner as a handle and fill with a small treat, candy, a flower, or a cookie.
Then, go to a nursing home or senior care center and deliver the baskets to the residents.
Children could also make simple butterflies filled with small treats to deliver. Take a plastic baggie and place some small treats inside. Make sure the baggie is closed. Twist a pipe cleaner around the middle of the baggie (forming the two wings) and create some antennas with the ends of the pipe cleaner.
Children could also include a small note with a message, such as “Happy spring,” or “Happy May Day,” inside the baggie butterfly.
Along with these art ideas, making a sun catcher with some simple supplies is also a great spring activity. On a piece of drawing paper (white copy paper is fine), draw a spring picture (a bird, flower, animal, etc.) with a dark marker to outline it. Color the picture with crayons. Place the picture face down on some newspaper. With a cloth, rub some vegetable (cooking) oil onto the complete back of the picture.
Hang the picture in the window and watch the sunlight shine through the picture.
“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make.” Marian Wright Edelman