It’s April and we all want to celebrate the turning season. We’ve rounded up 30 fun holidays (loose term!) you can turn into impromptu April family celebrations. Where possible, we try to offer a little more insight into the holiday, but I suspect quite a few of these were born on the internet and perpetuated by websites that don’t care whether they are real or not — as long as they are fun.
April Family Celebrations – Week One
April 1st: April Fool’s Day
- Family Fun: April Fool’s Day could be a perfect opportunity to have an Open Mic Night at home. Let each of your budding young stand-ups develop a routine and take the “stage” in your living room. Get inspired with these 75+ Hilarious Jokes for Kids.
- Read Aloud: Any Amelia Bedelia book would be ideal!
- Meal Idea: Super Healthy Kids website has some ideas for 12 Hilarious April Fools Day Healthy Food Fun.
- Learn More: about the history of April Fool’s Day
April 2nd: International Children’s Book Day
- Family Fun: Try having the kids write and illustrate their own short picture books.
- Read Aloud: Obviously you could pick any children’s book, but how about one that features food? Green Eggs & Ham, perhaps?
- Meal Idea: Then make that food for dinner. I do not like Green Eggs & Ham, but I’d eat it for my kids.
- Learn More: about Children’s Book Day.
Today is also National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! Slap together yourself a sandwich and call it celebrated. Learn more facts about PB&J Day here.
April 3rd: National Find a Rainbow Day
- Family Fun: It’s a slim chance you’ll look up and find one in the sky today, but there are endless ways to make rainbows. Catch the right angle of sunlight with a spray from a garden hose to create your own. Get out the sidewalk chalk and decorate the driveway with rainbows. Try this rainbow in a jar science experiment.
- Read Aloud: How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeney.
- Meal Idea: Limitless possibilities – see if you can serve a complete visible spectrum on your dinner table today. (Besides, “eating a (natural) rainbow” every day is healthy!)
- Learn More: about the 12 types of rainbows on National Rainbow Day.
Also, National Play Outside Day
- Family Fun: We have a list of more than 60 for you! Pick one of these great outdoor activities to play together. Teach them classics like Mother, May I?, dig out the sidewalk chalk or blow your own soap bubbles.
- Read Aloud: We Were Tired of Living In A House by Liesel Moak Skorpen (if possible, look for the version illustrated by Doris Burn.).
- Meal Idea: How about an indoor picnic featuring our favorite outdoor foods? Hey, maybe some brave soul would be willing to fire up the grill? Or maybe it will be blizzarding? Who knows in Minnesota.
- Learn More: National Play Outside Day is actually the first Saturday of every month. But in April, we have 50/50 chance we’ll want to play outside.
April 4th: Easter Sunday 2021
Easter Sunday if you celebrate! Egg hunts across the Twin Cities have been cancelled this year, but if you’re interested in a DIY Easter, we’ve got ideas and tips for egg hunts, dyeing and decorating eggs, and custom-stuffed baskets on our Easter in the Twin Cities page.
April Family Celebrations – Week Two
April 5th: First Contact Day
- Family Fun: Give your kids a history assignment to study the history of first contact with the Vulcans and the contributions of Zefram Cochrane to science.
- Read Aloud: Check out these fun Star Trek Mad Libs.
- Meal Idea: Let’s just ask the Trekkers on Pinterest for their ideas!
- Learn More: about First Contact Day.
April 6th: National Tartan Day
- Family Fun: Design your own family tartan (a plaid textile traditionally used to designate Scottish family clans) and crest. Use these free coloring sheets from Twinkl.com or just go free hand. Then host a family movie night featuring Disney/Pixar’s Scottish flick Brave.
- Read Aloud: Katie Morag’s Island Stories by Mairi Hedderwick
- Meal Idea: You could try your hand at traditional haggis, but I prefer Shepherd’s Pie. Also, they are really invested in their mushy peas. I’m not even joking. When I was in Scotland, I could order mushy peas at most pubs.
- Learn More: about National Tartan Day.
April 7th: No Housework Day
- Family Fun: I have to assume that if Mom and Dad aren’t constantly picking up then there will be chaos everywhere. How about a fun game of The Floor Is Lava, stepping from one out-of-place item to the next?
- Read Aloud: Gone is Gone by Wanda Gag (who was from New Ulm, MN).
- Meal Idea: Order takeout from your favorite local restaurant (Door Dash will deliver). They could probably use the business.
April 8th: National Zoo Lovers Day
- Family Fun: Spend some time learning about your favorite animals – do a search online, watch a documentary and/or read some books.
- Outing Idea: Visit either Como Zoo for a free day out or the Minnesota Zoo for a special treat and try to visit your favorite animal.
- Read Aloud: Obviously, we need a zoo theme! There are so many good books about zoos to choose from. Goodnight Gorilla, If I Ran the Zoo, The Mixed up Chameleon. Pick one off your shelf or download one from the library! Or keep the favorite animal theme going with a book about your favorite animal – fiction or non-fiction.
- Meal Idea: Penlights to Pacifiers decorates oranges like tigers and has several other great suggestions for Zoo-Themed Food.
- Dinner Conversation Starter: Would you want to work with your favorite animal in a zoo? Why or why not?
- Learn More About How Your Zoo Admission helps Conservation.
April 9th: Name Yourself Day
- Family Fun: Play “A My Name Is…”. This is a favorite car game for our family. If you have not played this game before this is how you play:
- The first player takes the letter A and fills in the blank with words that start with that letter, chanting: “A my name is ____________. My boyfriend/girlfriend’s name is ____________. We come from _____________ and we like _____________”
- The next player takes the letter B and you move on through the alphabet until you reach Z or get bored.
- Read Aloud: Pragmatic Mom has created a list of books about names.
- Meal Idea: Make whatever you want but let your family come up with a creative name for the dish!
April 10th: National Siblings Day
- Family Fun: Play Siblings Trivia. Collect & write 5 facts about each sibling. Then, play the Game Host reading the questions as follows, “Which sibling _________________________?” See how well they know each other!.
- Outing Idea: Clifton E. French was born April 10, 1918. Visit French Regional Park in Plymouth to celebrate. Maybe try some of these Sibling Games for Outdoor Play.
- Read Aloud: Big Little Brother by Kevin Kling (bonus: local author)
- Meal Idea: It doesn’t really matter what you make to eat today, but make sure to serve the meal backwards with dessert first.
- Learn More: about National Siblings Day. Anything we can do to help siblings appreciate each other is a win for the family. You can practically do anything with a kiddo “for their sibling” and it is a great way to celebrate this day.
In 2021, April 10th Marks the 100th day of the year. Borrow a fun idea from the schools and throw a 100th Day celebration.
April 11th: National Submarine Day also International Louie Louie Day!
- Family Fun: Break out the classic family game Battleship and find the subs! Listen to Louie Louie on repeat while you play. It adds a new level of competition!
- Read Aloud: Yellow Submarine by The Beatles (a kids’ picture book version). Introduce the kids to the tune and sing along as a family. Plus, that way you replace Louie Louie in your head with Yellow Submarine, which is a slight improvement.
- Meal Idea: Make-your-own Jimmy John’s sub sandwiches. Joy’s family buys just the bread for 50¢ a loaf at her local JJ’s and tops it with whatever they happen to have in the kitchen. Stir up homemade lemonade or ice tea, add a family-size bag of chips and pretend you’re on a picnic.
- Learn More: about National Submarine Day, named to commemorate America’s first purchase of a commissioned sub. Learn why today is Louie Louie Day here.
April Family Celebrations – Week Three
April 12th: Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (yum)
- Read Aloud: Who Moved My Cheese? for Kids by Spencer Johnson (This is a great book to introduce the concept of accepting the things we can’t change in life and making the best of what is.)
- Meal Idea: Grilled cheese sandwiches, obviously, with maybe some tomato soup on the side? Kids will be pleased and adults, if you’re craving a grown-up version, this pot roast grilled cheese recipe from Dining With Alice sounds delish.
April 13th: Scrabble Day
- Family Fun: I quit playing Scrabble when my husband beat me for the 40th time in a row and my ego could take no more. But you might have a great time playing as a family. Joy’s family really likes playing a pass-and-play game with a free app on the iPad. Other ideas for family word games: Bananagrams (for kids learning to spell) or Quiddler (a word card game).
- Read Aloud: Piper Periwinkle: Spelling Bee Queen by Susanne Blumer
- Meal Idea: Serve a classic can of Campbell’s alphabet soup and try to spell words out of your bowl. I have tweens who still find this amusing. And if you didn’t get to celebrate grilled cheese day because you celebrated Easter, make it to go with the soup today!
- Learn More: about National Scrabble Day
April 14th: Look up at the Sky Day
- Family Fun: Base your day’s activity on the weather. If the evening is clear, try stargazing and picking out constellations. This online planetarium might help. If the sky brings clouds, learn about the different types and how they form. My kids created these cloud-finders at a local park; you could easily design your own.
- Read Aloud: I loved Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs as a kid and loved sharing it with my own children.
- Meal Idea: If the book whets your appetite, serve meatballs for dinner with a side of mashed potatoes and a jello sunset for dessert.
- Learn More: about Look Up at the Sky Day
April 15th: World Art Day
- Family Fun: We have some world-class art museums right here in the Twin Cities. Nervous about taking young children? Both the Walker Art Center & Minneapolis Institute of Art have days that are admission-free and cater to families. Nice weather? Have a run around the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Or Tour the Louvre from your couch and the maybe go craft cozy at home? We’ve got a big list of Arts & Crafts for Kids.
- Read Aloud: Leonardo daVinci for Kids: His Life & Ideas by Janis Herbert
- Meal Idea: Normally we wouldn’t encourage playing with your food, but these 11 Food Art Ideas for Kids from Pure Wow would make adorable exceptions today.
- Learn More: about World Art Day – also Leonardo daVinci’s birthday.
April 16th: Save the Elephant Day
- Read Aloud: My favorite elephant book is Elmer by David McKee.
- Family Fun: After the story, make patchwork elephants and stage your own Elmer’s Day Parade. Download your own Elmer Day pack here. Disney+ currently has an elephant documentary streaming.
- Meal Idea: Add some elephant ears to dessert.
- Learn More: about Save the Elephant Day.
April 17th: International Haiku Poetry Day – Also Record Store Day in 2021.
- Family Fun: Let’s write Haikus today! Who doesn’t love writing Haikus? (Apparently Anne & Gianna who assigned this day to me). Haikus are simple. Write 3 lines:
- 5 syllables
- 7 syllables
- 5 syllables.
Don’t rhyme, but make each word count (get out your thesaurus). Traditionally Haikus are about nature, but you can write about anything you want.
- Read Aloud: Read each family member’s poem(s) aloud when you are done.
- Meal Idea: Sushi, edamame and miso soup. Be sure to make up Haikus about your sushi while you are eating.
- Learn More: about International Haiku Poetry Day.
April 18th: International Juggler’s Day
- Family Fun: Try your hand at learning to juggle in honor of this holiday. Start with three scarves (or similar, lightweight material) and see if you can work your way up to balls. You can find a lot of tutorials on YouTube.
- Read Aloud: Clown of God by Tomie dePaola or the Juggling Pug by Sean Bryan.
- Meal Idea: Maybe you could practice juggling with potatoes, then wash them up and make some potato soup!
- Learn More: about International Juggler’s Day.
April Family Celebrations – Week Four
April 19th: National Garlic Day
- Family Fun: Start or add to your kitchen scrap garden. Garlic is one of those cool plants you can easily grow from scraps in your window sill. Martha Stewart shows how to do it here.
- Outing Idea: I don’t have a great garlic-themed outing, but Carl W. Kroening was born today in 1928. Visit the Kroening Interpretive Center in North Mississippi Regional Park today!
- Read Aloud: Read or watch the Jewish folktale – Onions & Garlic.
- Meal Idea: I’m not shy about adding garlic to my meals at home. We all love a good head of cauliflower roasted with olive oil and garlic. Spaghetti with garlic bread. Or, a salute to one of my favorite foods at the Minnesota State Fair, try garlic French fries. You might want to skip the good night kisses, though.
- Learn More: about National Garlic Day.
April 20th: Patriot’s Day (annually, third Monday of April)
- Family Fun: Patriot’s Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, near Boston, in 1775. The city hosts the Boston Marathon each year to mark this holiday. Gather friends and neighbors and host your own mini-marathon or races at a local park.
- Read Aloud: The Boston-set Make Way For Ducklings is a sweet choice to read aloud with younger kids. Older kids might be ready to be introduced to The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, a poem.
- Meal Idea: Hit up your favorite fish ‘n chips joint or fry some up at home with a side of Boston baked beans.
- Learn More: about Patriot’s Day.
April 21st: Kindergarten Day
- Family Fun: What’s the best part of Kindergarten? Show & Tell. Everyone can show and tell something about their day at dinner tonight!
- Read Aloud: Depending on the age range, Robert Fulghum’s essay, All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten or Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus.
- Meal Idea: Chicken nuggets, broccoli dinosaur trees, mac & cheese and juice or milk.
- Learn More. Today is the birthday of Friedrich Fröbel, who founded the first Kindergarten.
April 22nd: Earth Day
- Family Fun: Spend a half-hour together cleaning up your own backyard or neighborhood. While out, collect some natural objects to make a collage.
- Read Aloud: The Earth Book by Todd Parr
- Meal Idea: Whatever you make for dinner, think green. Bon Appetit has 23 green recipes to choose from.
- Learn More: about the roots of Earth Day, celebrating 50 years in 2020.
April 23rd – Composer Sergei Prokofiev’s Birthday
- At Home Family Fun: Enjoy a version of Prokofiev’s Peter and Wolf. There are several good video versions as well as audio versions. Maestro Classics offers a CD/Download version that includes the music, narration and educational extras.
- Read Aloud: Maestro suggests picking another animal story, like a Beatrix Potter story (you can download most of these for FREE for your Kindle) and choosing instruments to represent each of the characters in the same style as Peter and the Wolf. Find more details on the Maestro Classics website curriculum page.
- Meal Idea: Sticking with the Russian Theme, how about Chicken Kiev or Borscht for dinner?
- Learn More: Learn more about Sergei Prokofiev on Classics for Kids.
April 24th – International Sculpture Day
- Family Fun: Play Advancing Statues. In this game, the person who is It faces away from the other players on the opposite side of the room or yard. While It person counts to 10, the other players may move forward. Once It reaches 10, he turns as fast as he can. If he catches anyone moving, they go back to start. The first person to reach It is the new It.
- Outing Idea: Visits on of these Sculpture Parks in Minnesota
- Read Aloud: 13 Sculptures Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel
- Meal Idea: What can you make with fruit, nuts and sap from trees? Pancakes!
- Learn More: about International Sculpture Day.
Bonus April 24th Holiday: The last Saturday of April is National Pool Day. Family Exercise Fun: Twin Cities Indoor Waterparks and Pools.
April 25th: World Penguin Day
- At Home Family Fun: Movie night: Watch March of the Penguins or Happy Feet.
- Outing Ideas: Visit the Penguins at Como Zoo
- Read Aloud: Ella & Penguin Stick Together by Megan Maynor (bonus: local author) is a great read for younger kids. Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a charming classic some of us parents grew up with that might be fun to start with our own brood.
- Meal Idea: Eat like a penguin with a seafood night.
- Learn More: about World Penguin Day.
April Family Celebrations – Week Five
April 26th: National Pretzel Day
- Family Fun: Play a family game of Twister.
- Read Aloud: Pretzel by Margret & H. A. Rey (the authors of Curious George).
- Meal Idea: Burgers on a pretzel bun.
- Learn More: Learn more about the history of the pretzel here.
April 27th: Tell a Story Day & National Prime Rib Day
- Family Fun: Brightly offers 6 storytelling games you could play around the table during dinner.
- Read Aloud: Skip the read aloud and just tell stories tonight.
- Meal Idea: Prime rib seems a little fancy for a Monday, but here is a slow-cooker recipe from Betty Crocker and maybe the leftovers can stretch a couple days.
- Find storytelling tips here.
April 28th: Great Poetry Reading Day
- Family Fun: The Young Poets Network has suggestions for 5 poetry games plus more ideas in the comments.
- Read Aloud: Obviously pick your favorite poetry book or search a topic on the Poetry Foundation’s website to pick a poem of the day.
- Meal Idea: I was at a loss for this, but Cadry’s Kitchen has you covered.
April 29th: International Dance Day and National Shrimp Scampi Day
- At Home Family Fun: Turn up the Music and Dance!.
- Read Aloud: Pete the Cat and the Cool Cat Boogie by James Dean
- Meal Idea: Pinch of Yum does a 15-minute shrimp scampi recipe that’s delicious on top of a pile of linguini. If your kids refuse to do shrimp, the buttered noodles might do.
- Learn More: about International Dance Day and National Shrimp Scampi Day
April 30th – Arbor Day
- Family Fun: I don’t know how easy it actually is to grow a Bonsai from a pinecone, but I really want to try it! It would make a great center to a fairy garden.
- Outing Idea: Visit the Maple Grove Arboretum
- Read Aloud: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. If you think The Lorax is a bit of a downer, follow it with The Tin Forest by Helen Ward. I kind of think of it as the sequel to the Lorax.
- Meal Idea: What can you make with fruit, nuts and sap from trees? Pancakes!
- Dinner Conversation: Do you have a favorite tree? Why is it your favorite?
- Learn More: about Arbor Day
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