Lesson 8: Customs and Holidays


Activity 1: Patriotic Holidays

Materials: colored pencils or markers, construction paper, glue, picture of the American flag, scissors
Tell your child that the Fourth of July and Memorial Day are special holidays that are celebrated only in America:
  • On Memorial Day we remember and honor people who lived in the past and fought and died to serve and protect our country.
  • The Fourth of July is also called Independence Day. This is like a birthday party for America. This holiday helps us remember the day that America became its own country.
Ask your child what your family does to celebrate each of these holidays. In the boxes provided on the sheet "Patriotic Holidays," ask him to draw a symbol to represent the holiday. Explain to him that a symbol is a simple drawing that helps to show the importance of something.

Show your child the page, "The American Flag." Also show her a colored picture of the flag and ask her to color the flag on the activity page using the correct colors. Explain to her that red, white, and blue are the colors of America. Help her count by fives as she pastes the stars onto the flag. Let your child cut the flag out and glue it on a piece of red or blue construction paper. On the top of the sheet, ask her to write AMERICA.
Student Activity Page
Student Activity Page

Activity 2: Holiday Book

Materials: books about holidays, scissors, stapler
On the "Holiday Book" pages, your child will write the names and dates of holidays celebrated in America. Discuss the significance of each holiday. Discuss how your family celebrates the holiday. If your family celebrates the religious aspects of Easter and Christmas (or Hanukkah) read texts from the Bible or a children's books that talk about the holiday. If not, discuss the secular celebrations of the holidays of Easter and Christmas. (There are both religious and secular versions of the Christmas and Easter cards.) If your family does not celebrate these holidays, explain why you do not and why others do. Blank cards are available for holidays your family celebrates that aren't already listed.

Choose which option your child should complete. When he has completed filling out the pages, ask him to cut out the pages and staple them together to make a book of the holidays he celebrates. Ask him to cut out and decorate a piece of construction paper for the title page. He can give the book a title and list his name as the author. When the pages are together, he can record the page number of each page in the lower right-hand corner.

Option 1

On the "Holiday Book" (Option 1) sheets, your child we see a symbol in each box. Ask him to write the name of the holiday, find the date on a calendar and write it, and write sentences about why the holiday is celebrated and what your family does to celebrate the holiday. Explain that all holidays and months of the year start with capital letters.

Option 2 (advanced)

Option 2 is more challenging because the holiday pages do not contain sentence prompts. On the sheets called "Holiday Book" (Option 2), your child we see a symbol in each box. Ask him to write the name and date of the holiday, and write sentences about why the holiday is celebrated and what your family does to celebrate it. Explain to your child that all holidays and months of the year start with capital letters.

Note: To make this activity more challenging, your child can make his own holiday with his own illustrations.

Activity 3: Let's Celebrate

Ask your child act-out different traditions or rituals associated with holidays. She can select one holiday at a time to celebrate. Encourage her not to use words, only actions. If you are not able to guess the holiday after a few minutes, let her add words, but tell her to name the holiday. Then try to guess which holiday she is pretending to celebrate. Continue with two or three other holidays.

Activity 4: Holidays in Other Communities around the World

Materials: globe
For each of the holidays listed below, locate the countries on a world map or globe. On the "Holidays in Other Communities" sheet, color and label the country and write the name and date of the holiday beneath the country. Read more about these holidays on the Internet.
Cinco de Mayo — Mexico: Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) honors the 1862 victory by Mexican forces, including ordinary citizens, over French soldiers. The battle, known as The Battle of Puebla, took place on May 5th. It is a day marked by many Mexicans and those with Mexican ties as an important cultural event.

Canada Day — Canada: Canada's national holiday is called Canada Day. It is on July 1st. This is the day Canada celebrates the creation of the dominion of Canada.

Chinese New Year — China: Chinese New Year is the most important holiday celebrated among Chinese people. It is celebrated for three to five days. The holiday falls on a different day every year (sometime between Jan 20 and Feb. 19) and starts with a new moon. The Chinese exchange gifts during this time of year and eat special foods.
Student Activity Page