We have sprinkled this list of September Family Holidays with suggestions with things kids love, a little Minnesota trivia and history and some sneaky education for curious kids. Remember, this is not homework. You don’t have to celebrate every day and you don’t even have to celebrate on the right day. Pick your favorite September Family Holidays from our list, make up your own, skip a week, skip a month. You could just celebrate together once a week, picking your favorite celebration idea from that week’s list. Have fun with your family and maybe learn a little something along the way.
Besides the daily holidays below, book lovers can also choose to celebrate National Library Card Signup Month and Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month (Hey! That’s us!). Even though many library buildings are physically closed, kids still enjoy reserving books through their library accounts and either going to pick up the books curbside or reading them online. Many of the local libraries are offering ways to sign up online for now. You can find a list of the library systems on our 101 Twin Cities Libraries article. Music lovers may want to celebrate Classical Music Month and/or International Square Dancing Month. Check out our Guide to Family Music Classes to find a local class.
FIRST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER FAMILY HOLIDAYS
September 1st – American Chess Day
Outing Idea: Now – CAVELL PARK in Minneapolis is one of several parks that have built in chess boards on the playground. Play an outdoor game together. Later – Plan a Wednesday visit to Union Depot in St. Paul. Each Wednesday, they put out giant games for the public — including a giant chess set.
At Home Family Fun: Play chess. If you don’t know how, teaching kids to play is a great excuse to learn together.
Read Aloud: Through the Looking Glass. Download the entire Alice in Wonderland collection FREE from Kindle. Or Listen to Through the Looking Glass for free on LibriVox.
Meal Idea: We found some really cute chess-themed meal ideas on PInterest and saved them to our September Holiday Board.
Dinner Conversation Starter: If you read or listened to Through the Looking Glass, “Who do you think was actually dreaming in the book? Alice, The Red King or the author?”
Learn More: There are several holidays dedicated to Chess, but American Chess Day is celebrated in September.
September 2nd – World Coconut Day
Outing Idea: Visit Como Zoo & Conservatory’s Palm Dome and go on a coconut scavenger hunt.
At Home Family Fun: For a twist on the age-old vinegar & baking soda experiment, try this idea for a Coconut Eruption!
Read Aloud: Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Seaside Shenanigans by Minnesota author, Chris Monroe. There are not a lot of coconuts in this book, but it is filled with palm trees. Or, pull out your library card and watch/read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (along with Let’s Have Fun with Alphabet Riddles) on Bookflix.
Meal Idea: Coconut and lime is my favorite way to flavor salmon. The perfect dessert with that is s’mores made with Mounds bars and banana in place of the marshmallow. So good!
Dinner Conversation Starter: Did you know that more people are killed by coconuts than sharks each year? More fun coconut facts here.
Learn More: Is a coconut a fruit, a nut or a seed? The Library of Congress has the Answer.
September 3rd – Skyscraper Day
Outing Idea: For Now: Anne recommends some great viewing of the downtown skylines from local parks. To see St. Paul, try INDIAN MOUNDS PARK or HARRIET ISLAND REGIONAL PARK. In Minneapolis BOOM ISLAND PARK is a good choice. For Later: Many buildings are only allowing tenants and workers in right now, but you could plan a future visit to some of the best buildings in the Twin Cities. A really great book for short descriptions of these buildings is Minnesota Free by Jim Morse. Published in 1990, the book is a bit outdated, but its descriptions of the architecture of the historic buildings is useful.
At Home Family Fun: Try this FREE game called Skyscrapers that uses blocks like LEGO bricks, to encourage logical deduction and spatial reasoning; or if you prefer order these Build A Skyscraper stackable card kit.
Read Aloud: A Skyscraper Story by Charlotte Wilcox describes the building of the Norwest Center skyscraper in Minneapolis. Or, on Bookflix watch – This Is the House That Jack Built, paired with Totally Strange Buildings.
Meal Idea: Think Stackable with toothpicks? Sandwich squares, cheese and ham cubes, marshamallow squares. Then let family members design their own cityscape before eating it.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Would you want to go to the top of the tallest building and look down? Why or Why Not?
September 3rd – College Colors Day
Outing Idea: We’re so lucky to have so many colleges in the Twin Cities area. Today would be a good day to take a walk around your favorite campus wearing your college colors and point out your favorite places to your kids.
At Home Family Fun: Dress in your favorite college colors today. Make pennants to decorate your walls.
Read Aloud: Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.
Meal Idea: Make meal that was your go-to during college or early adult days? Do you hate it or love it now?
Dinner Conversation Starter: Share stories with your kids about your own college days, lack thereof, or philosophy on education.
Learn More: About College Colors Day.
September 4th – International Bacon Day
Outing: Did you know that Blue Sun Soda Shop sells bacon-flavored soda? and Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store has an entire aisle dedicated to bacon?
At Home Family Fun: Try out the Makin’ Bacon Dice Game or, if you want exercise and can come up with six players, try Steal the Bacon yard game.
Read Aloud: Read your favorite excerpts from Charlotte’s Web and celebrate the fact that Wilbur will never be bacon.
Meal Idea: BLTs are always a popular request at our house.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Talk in Pig Latin all the way through dinner.
Learn More: International Bacon Day celebrated on the Saturday before Labor Day.
SECOND WEEK OF SEPTEMBER FAMILY HOLIDAYS
September 6th – Labor Day
Outing Idea: Pick something off your Summer Bucket List that you still want to do and do it!
At Home Family Fun: While today is about celebrating the laborer, it’s also a day to have fun as a family, get outside and play yard games today.
Read Aloud: Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day?
Meal Idea: Get (at least) one more cookout in today.
Dinner Conversation Starter: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Learn More: About Labor Day.
September 7th – Grandma Moses Day
Outing Idea: Anna “Grandma” Moses was a prolific folk-art painter who earned her nickname because she didn’t pick up a paintbrush until she was in her later 70s. She typically painted peaceful or cheerful pictures of rural life. You might be able to get a feel for a bygone farmstead with a trip to GIBBS FARM. You can visit the farmhouse and one-room schoolhouse, check in on the farm animals and slow down your pace. Gibbs Farm will host their annual apple festival on Sept 25; we have loved visiting over the years.
At Home Activity: This Faber-Castell watercolor lesson for kids (or anyone who desires to learn) is inspired by a Grandma Moses farm painting.
Read Aloud: Grandma Moses, a picture book for kids by Alexandra Wallner.
Dinner Conversation Starter: If Grandma Moses can take up a career at 77, couldn’t anyone? What hobby could you start right now?
September 8th – International Literacy Day
Outing Idea: Gather nice books you have grown out of and go distribute them among sad Little Free Libraries.
At Home Family Fun: Watch a documentary like On the Way to School or Most Dangerous Ways to School that shows kids going to extreme lengths for literacy and learning.
Read Aloud: Read the first chapter of Matilda by Roald Dahl — the chapter where she learns that reading can help her escape her unbearable life.
Meal Idea: Often lack literacy and hunger are issues that go hand-in-hand. Today could be a good time to pull out your favorite third-world meal as a reminder of all the things we have to be thankful for in our lives. I like CRS for good recipes.
Dinner Conversation Starter: What is your favorite book?
Learn More: Learn more about International Literacy Day.
September 9th – Teddy Bear Day
Outing Idea: A perfect day to visit charming TEDDY BEAR PARK in Stillwater.
At Home Family Fun: Listen to your favorite Teddy Bear Band music and dance with your favorite teddy bear.
Read Aloud: Read from Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne or pull out Corduroy by Don Freeman.
Meal Idea: Have a teddy bear picnic with Teddy Grahams for dessert.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Tell your kids about your favorite teddy bear growing up. Or, if you didn’t have a favorite, you could tell the the story of the first teddy bear ⇓.
Learn More: How Did The Teddy Bear Get Its Name?
September 10th – Sewing Machine Day
Outing Idea: We can think of at least two FREE galleries you might take the kids to view textile art – the TEXTILE CENTER, in Minneapolis, and the GOLDSTEIN MUSEUM OF DESIGN, tucked away on the St Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. Both welcome families to their exhibits.
At Home Family Fun: Start teaching your kids the basics of sewing. The video below has some ideas for working with kids. Tip: We have really good luck finding beginning sewing projects — similar to this one — unused at thrift stores.
Read Aloud: Bruno the Tailor by Lars Klinting
Meal Idea: When I get embroiled in sewing, I don’t want to stop to eat and the table is usually covered with fabric. This might be a day to order out.
Learn More: About National Sewing Machine Day
September 11th – Patriot Day
Outing Idea: Celebrate heroic firefighters today. The Firefighters Hall and Museum in Minneapolis is now open the 2nd and 4th Saturday (including the 11th) of the month from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM. It’s a wonderful, interactive museum for anyone; kids who love trucks or tinkering with equipment will have an especially good time.
At Home Family Fun: This website has some ideas for celebrating this not-so-festive day with kids, including book suggestions and meal ideas. Here are some more at-home ideas for fire prevention.
Read Aloud: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by
Dinner Conversation Starter: Tell your kids your story of where you were when the planes hit the World Trade Center Towers. It is interesting how, as adults, this day is so burned into our memories, but for our kids, it is an historical event.
Learn More: About Patriot Day.
September 11th – German Language Day
At Home Family Fun: Try some of these German Kids Games (two of them include chocolate).
Read Aloud: Learn to read some German words together.
Outing Idea: The Germanic-American Institute in Saint Paul is getting ready to celebrate Oktoberfest this weekend. You can order a take-home kit to pick up and celebrate on your own.
Meal Idea: German sausages with sauerkraut – pretzels on the side, Add some Kohlrabi for a German veggie.
Dinner Conversation Starter: “Hast du eine deutsche Lieblingsband?” (“Do you have a favourite German band?”) Don’t like that question. Here are 30 more.
Learn More: about German Language Day.
THIRD WEEK OF SEPTEMBER FAMILY HOLIDAYS
September 12th & 13th – Grandparents Day & Roald Dahl’s birthday (respectively)
Outing Idea: Visit with grandparents today – in person if you can or virtually if not. (Or check out StoriiTime, where kids can get matched up virtually with seniors to read to them). Thank you to Doing Good Together for this idea.
Learn More: About Roald Dahl as remembered by his granddaughter. Start here today because it reminds us of the importance of grandparents in children’s lives, the value of family meals and why we love Roald Dahl.
At Home Family Fun: Make cards to send to Grandma and Grandpa today!
Read Aloud: Read the first two chapters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. These chapters describe Charlie’s relationship with his grandparents.
Meal Idea: Pick one of grandma or grandpa’s favorite meals today.
Dinner Conversation Starter: “A meal at Gipsy House was never just a meal; it was instead a recipe from a prince in Dar es Salaam, rescued from the jaws of a hungry python, at the crucial moment, by my grandfather.” As you eat, tell your kids the story of why your parents loved this meal – feel free to embellish.
September 14th – National Coloring Day
Outing Idea: Visit one of our favorite local arts-and-crafts studios that welcome kids. While some aren’t able to support in-studio visits, many have created special take-home kits that you can pick up and do at home.
At Home Family Fun: Color together!
Read Aloud: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Meal Idea: Eat a rainbow. If you have a garden – see if you can pick a rainbow from your garden.
Dinner Conversation Starter: “What’s your favorite color and your least favorite color?” No fair picking chartreuse for both.
Learn More: about National Coloring Day
September 15th – Tomie dePaola’s Birthday & National Linguine Day
Outing Idea: Maple Grove Library has original art from Tomie dePaola’s visit in 1990. The library is open for “grab & go” services, which means you can’t hang out, but you could make a point to walk past the drawings and maybe snap a photo next to them. The artwork is on the main floor.
Read Aloud: Tomie dePaola has a lot of great books, but in celebration of National Linguine Day, Strega Nona is perfect.
Meal Idea: make a big pot of Linguine.
“Bubble, bubble, pasta pot,
Boil me some pasta, nice and hot,
I’m hungry and it’s time to sup,
Boil enough pasta to fill me up.”
Dinner Conversation Starter: This site offers a list of philosophical discussion questions to go with Strega Nona.
Learn More: About Tomie DePaola on the Tomie website.
Bonus Holiday: It is also International Dot Day – Celebrate Creativity, Courage & Collaboration with the book, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. You can find this on Bookflix with your library card. It is paired with the non-fiction book, All The Colors of the Rainbow.
September 16th – Play Doh Day
Outing Idea: Visit your favorite or a new sculpture garden
At Home Family Fun: Concoct homemade playdoough and make your own sculptures inspired by your outing..
Read Aloud: Play-doh Pioneer: Joseph Mcvicker by Lee Slater
Meal Idea: It’s also National Mayflower Day – have a mini Thanksgiving feast in honor of the day the Pilgrims set sail from England.
Dinner Conversation Starter: What would you like to invent or create when you grow up?
Learn More: About National Play Doh Day.
September 17th – Constitution Day
Outing Idea: This would be an idea day to stop into the MINNESOTA STATE CAPITOL BUILDING. Yes, you can do just that (weekdays, 8am-5pm) and the historical society is happy to see families with kids. We did the art treasures scavenger hunt ($2) this summer and had the wonderful building all to ourselves. Take a free guided tour or explore at your own pace.
At Home Family Fun: Make a quill pen like was used to draft the constitution. (I’m not sure my sister ever forgave me for giving my Harry Potter loving niece her very own quill pen.) However, DIY quill pens could be a fun family project. I give you two options – a “no mess” version made with a ball point pen or something closer to the real deal. You’ll have to purchase your own ink for the second.
Read Aloud: The Story of the Constitution: Cornerstones of Freedom by Marilyn Prolman
Meal Idea: When Constitution drafter Ben Franklin was a teen, he became a vegetarian so he could save money for books. Make your favorite vegetarian meal today. Or make fish since that is what tempted him back.
Dinner Conversation Starter: “If we were going to write a “Bill of Rights” for our family, what would you want included?
Learn More: About Constitution Day.
September 18 – Rice Krispie Treat Day & National Cheeseburger Day
Outing Idea: After I finally took Gianna’s advice to go to Lynn’s Cake and Candy Supplies, I am a convert. It’s so much fun to find the perfect accessories and colors when making food art.
At Home Family Fun: Make Rice Krispie treats sculptures – maybe even a Rice Krispie Cheeseburger!
Read Aloud: More of a look at book, but it’s fun to curly up and look at recipes together: Treat Yourself!: How to Make 93 Ridiculously Fun No-Bake Crispy Rice Treats by Jessica Siskin (Author)
Meal Idea: Cheeseburgers with Rice Krispies cheeseburgers for dessert.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Do you like making or eating Rice Krispie sculptures better.
Learn More: About the history of Rice Krispies Treats.
September 19th – Talk Like a Pirate Day
Outing Idea: Plan the ultimate fall day PINEHAVEN FARM in Wyoming (opens Sept 18, 2021), where you can watch the Pirate Band and fire off cannons from the Pirate Ship Corn Cannon. Plus more fall festivities than you can wrap your head around. (Note: save $ with tickets purchased online)
At Home Family Fun: Sing along with the Monkey Mind Pirates by Z Puppets Rosenschnoz
Read Aloud: A Is for Arrr!: A Pirate Alphabet by Laura Purdie Salas; or Puppy Pirates series by Erin Soderberg
Meal Idea: Seafood tonight?
Dinner Conversation Starter: It doesn’t matter what you say today, but say it like a pirate.
FOURTH WEEK OF SEPTEMBER FAMILY HOLIDAYS
September 20th – National Pepperoni Pizza Day
Outing Idea: We have no idea how our family has celebrated more than 8 years with FFTC and not made it out to one of the pizza farms we featured in our Twin Cities-area PIZZA FARM GUIDE. Our pick was Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm near Waseca – delicious wood-fired pizza, live music and a big yard to spread out in makes for the perfect picnic. (The 20th is a Monday so plan ahead to make the trip on a weekend.)
At Home Family Fun: Play the Pepperoni Pizza math game by YouCubed.
Read Aloud: Curious George and the Pizza and/or Curious George and the Pizza Party, by Margaret and H. A. Rey
Meal Idea: Have a pepperoni pizza party and use our
Dinner Conversation Starter: If your favorite pizza topping isn’t pepperoni, what is it? Where do you rate pepperoni?
Learn More: Read a history of pepperoni from Giovanni’s Pizza in Brainerd.
September 21st – International Day of Peace
Outing Idea: Seek out the most peaceful activities you can:, lay in a hammock, check out the progress on the new Midway Peace Park in St Paul or take a quiet hike and birdwatch in Islands of Peace County Park in Fridley or follow the pathway for peace in the Lyndale Park Peace Garden in Minneapolis.
At Home Family Fun: Make a pact to cease sibling bickering for the day.
Read Aloud: The Peace Stick by Nidhi Misra
Meal Idea: In researching meals with a peace theme, I found several different websites and articles about promoting peace through meals and food choices. While each of these articles came from different world views and approached peace and food choices through these views, the main theme that kept coming through was simplicity. So, for today, serve a simple bread and soup meal.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Some of the sites about promoting peace at the dinner table suggested inviting people who may be lonely to dinner. This sounds wonderful, except during quarantine. “Once we are done with quarantine, who could we invite to dinner who might need a friend?”
Learn More: About The International Day of Peace
September 22nd – Fall Equinox
Outing Idea: We’re hitting peak color season in our area of Minnesota, go for a color drive or plan one for the weekend.
At Home Family Fun: Make some fall color crafts to decorate your front window. Usually the kids bring these home from school, but we may have to take the lead this year. Gather leaves or cut out leaf shapes from construction paper.
Read Aloud: Yellow Time by local author Lauren Stringer. Or hop on Bookflix for Fletcher and the Falling Leaves paired with How Do You Know It’s Fall?
Meal Idea: Make a fall equinox harvest meal – with veggies from your garden or a farmers market.
Dinner Conversation Starter: How is school going for your this year? What do you think is working that we and your school are doing? What do you think we could change or make better?
Learn More: Learn more about the Autumn Equinox.
September 23rd – Battle of the Wood Lake
Outing Idea: Visit or plan a visit to the Wood Lake Battlefield site in Echo, Minnesota.
At Home Family Fun: Not so much “fun” as interesting, take 5 minutes to watch the video below and learn a little about this historic battle.
Read Aloud: With older kids, read the Battle History from Two Perspectives on the historic battlefield’s website.
Meal Idea: Make your favorite potato soup.
Learn More: About the Battle of Wood Lake
September 24 – National Punctuation Day
Outing Idea: Take your chalk on a walk. Leave nice notes for your neighbors and don’t forget to use punctuation.
At Home Family Fun: Try out this Noisy Punctuation Game from Scholastic as you do today’s read aloud.
Read Aloud: Scholastic also recommends Punctuation Tales: A Motivating Collection of Super-Funny Storybooks That Help Kids Master the Mechanics of Writing by Liza Charlesworth
Meal Idea: These punctuation cupcakes would be a fun dessert.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Use your Noisy Punctuation Game techniques during dinner conversation today.
Learn More: Learn more about National Punctuation Day and find more ideas for celebrating.
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September 25 – National Comic Book Day & Shel Silverstein’s Birthday
Outing Idea: Free Comic Book Days just wound up in August this year but you can still use the comic book store finder to pick a good local store. We’ve found that they often have leftovers and other freebies if you ask.
At Home Family Fun: Make your own comic books together. Grab a blank comic book from Amazon to fill up or make your own with blank sheets of paper. Make it extra fun with comic bubble stamps.
Read Aloud: Shel Silverstein has made some comics, but not everything he does is kid-friendly. Enjoy one of his iconic poetry books for kids, which feature his illustrations; and then read a kid-friendly comic book for fun.
Bonus September 25th Holiday – National Dream Day
Start your middle grader on a new series – The Daring Dreamers Club by local author Erin Soderberg.
September 26th – Johnny Appleseed Day
Outing Idea: A beautiful fall Sunday just begs for a trip to the apple orchard. Pick your favorite or try a new one: Twin Cities Apple Orchards: A Family Guide. This could be a good year to pick a smaller, lesser known farm.
At Home Family Fun: Let’s make apple crisp today!
Read Aloud: Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh (or any version you love)
Meal Idea: My favorite meal to serve with apple crisp is chili. Make a big pot and serve the apple crisp on the side.
Dinner Conversation Starter: Here is some fun trivia to share about the real Johnny Appleseed.
Learn More: Learn more about John Chapman.
Last Week of September: Banned Books Week & National Wild Rice Week
Our state grain is wild rice and today begins National Wild Rice Week. Work a little wild rice into your meal plan this week!
September 27th – World Tourism Day
Outing Idea: Pretend to be a tourist in your own city(ies) and plan an itinerary to explore some well-known tourist attractions in MSP or seek out new ones you’ve always meant to visit. Make mini passport books to “stamp” at each stop.
At Home Family Fun: Make mini passport books of tourist attractions you would like to visit in your area.
Read Aloud: Pour over your favorite local guide books as you put together your passport.
Meal Idea: Whenever we have visitors, they want to go out for Juicy Lucy’s. Make or take out your favorite local cuisine. This would be a good day to work Wild Rice into your meal.
Dinner Conversation Starter: What is your favorite part about living in the Twin Cities.
Learn More: Learn more about World Tourism Day.
September 28th – Ask a Silly Question Day
At Home Family Fun / Dinner Conversation Starter: Run down this list of Silly Questions to ask at dinner tonight.
Read Aloud: What Would Happen?: Serious Answers to Silly Questions by National Geographic Kids
September 29th – World Heart Day
Outing Idea: Go for a long walk, hike or family bike ride today. Need some suggestions for family-friendly trails? We’ve shared our favorites in Minneapolis & St Paul.
At Home Family Fun: Get outside (or inside) for some heart-healthy active play today.
Read Aloud: One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike than Different by Linsey Davis
Meal Idea: Pick your go-to health meal for today.
LAST DAY OF SEPTEMBER
September 30th – International Podcast Day
Outing Idea: While Pavek Museum of Broadcasting mainly deals with traditional radio, they are dipping into podcasting. Plan an outing for when the reopen.
At Home Family Fun: Gianna has some suggestions for her favorite Kidlit Podcasts. Come up with a list of podcasts parents & kids can listen to together at home or in the car.
Read Aloud: Did any of these podcasts inspire you with a book? Maybe you can find it and read it today.
Your turn. What are some of your favorite silly or sweet or thoughtful September Family Holidays to celebrate? Leave us a note in the comments.
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