May Cultural Calendar Ideas

Happy May! Depending on how much warmth Spring brings the land and territory, May is known as the Budding Moon, Planting moon, and even Moon of the Camas Harvest! 

In Anishinaabe culture, the fifth moon of Creation is Waawaasknoe Giizis, (Flower Moon,) where all plants display their Spirit sides for all the world to see. This life-giving energy is one of the most powerful healing medicines on Mother Earth.

Together with warmer weather this makes May the perfect time to explore the outdoors and to use nature as your classroom.  Math, Science, quality time with elders, art projects, harvesting, snacks and lunch can all be done in the beautiful May weather. Have sun hats ready for warmer days to pick and harvest flowers and plants and muddy buddies and rubber boots ready for fun splashing in the puddles and making mud pies on gloomier days. 

Invite extended family members, elders and community members to spend time in the children’s outdoor area with them planting items for the centre’s harvesting and medicine gardens and having fun and healthy picnic meals in the outdoors together.  May is also the time to take the children and elders out on the land to harvest items such as cotton wood buds, seaweed, nettles, yarrow, wild strawberries, red currents, birch bark, rat root spruce gum. This is a popular time for porcupine to lose their quills and these can be found and gathered. May is also a perfect time to go bird watching as birds are busy in their nests laying eggs. Sustainable-Indigenous-Gardening-Guide.pdf ( 

May brings special calendar days such as Mother’s Day, MMIW (red dress day and Bear Witness Day!  There is also the Victoria Day holiday that brings about a long weekend that is the perfect timing to send home a cultural teaching kit or special activity.

Outdoor ideas/ Cooking:

Have the children experience the stages of growth in a garden. Have the children be an active part of planting in your outdoor space so children can have hands on experiences planting a seed and seeing its lifecycle. Early items that were planted in April such as chives, sprouts, cabbages, radishes, kale, rhubarb, cilantro and some herbs will be ready for the children to pick. They can then help make items such as smoothies, and garden salads to eat at the centre. Children and families can learn how to prepare and can items such as dandelion jelly and rhubarb jam this month.  Garden Science For Children – Gardening Themed Science Activities ( 

Craft/ Fine Motor Ideas:  Have the children make gifts for Mothers, Aunties and Grandmas, they can also help make the décor for a Mother’s Day/ Grandma’s tea. Simple beading projects with large beads for little hands to maneuver are a great way to introduce a traditional art activity. Décor and Gifts can feature a strawberry design.  Children can paint clay pots and plant strawberries or plant early flowers like Johnny-jump-up violets, the fun of snapdragons, pansies and other quick bloomers as a gift.  To many Nations the Strawberry is special it is known as the heart berry. Cree/ Metis/ Mohawk/ Anishinaabe all revere this berry as Woman’s medicine. For some Nation’s when a young girl received her first moon time, she would do a berry fast for one year. She would receive teachings from her mother, aunties, and grandmothers during this year. To end the fast, she would gather berries and hold a ceremony and a feast! 


For more Strawberry ideas and teachings please see June’s calendar as it will be the Strawberry moon!

May is the perfect time for baking in the mud kitchen. Add items such as ice cream scoops, loaf pans, cupcake pans, spatulas, wooden spoons and measuring cups to the outdoors for fun baking with mud!  Little ones at Eagles Nest AHS in Clearwater B.C. enjoy being immersed in sensory play in their new mud kitchen that was bought as part of their ELBEL.

Make a duck pond play dough tray to you add to your art centre. This can be made out of a plastic fruit and veggie tray from the dollar store if you do not have one. 

Duck Pond Play Doh Activity – Pre-K Pages

Playful additions: 

Science: Visit a farm or a bird sanctuary so the children can see eggs hatching! Post pictures of hatching eggs in the classroom and have eggshells, different types of eggs for the children to examine under a microscope!

Building Block/ Construction Area:

Add Pond animals, foam lily pads, green and blue rocks etc.   

Dramatic Play Area:

Add grandma and grandpa puppets, clothes, hats, plastic teapot and teacups or you can get the metal tea pots you would make tea within the bush and enamel cups (Make sure lead free etc)

Art Centre: 

Have families donate magazines, newspapers and other materials for children to practice cutting and making their own abstract art out of.  Gardening magazines especially are a great inspiration this time of year! 

Reading Area:

Have a variety of books and nature guides with pictures of nature in the Spring from different geographical areas! 

Have pictures of birds, plants/ trees insects in traditional language posted in this area: 

Merged Plants FINAL (text).pdf (

Circle Time: 

This month we celebrate Spirit Bear and the accomplishments the First Nations Caring Society has made to improve the lives of Indigenous children in Canada! They have created a special program for educators to use to teach children about reconciliation. AHSABC gifts each center a bear upon opening and The Spirit bear series to encourage the participation in these important activities.  To support Bear Witness Day and awareness to reconciliation sign your site up to have a Ambearrister. For more instructions, please check this link: Reconciliation Ambearristers | First Nations Child & Family Caring Society ( 

Elder Involvement:   

Host a Kohkoms (grandmas) tea party! Invite aunties, grandmas, moms etc. Have the children make decorations and have special food items, photo opportunity etc. 

Have elders lead on the land gathering activities, nature walks, beach walks etc.  Plant a heart garden with elders, parents and children on behalf of those who attended residential school:  Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams | First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (

Parent Board:  

Have families send in a picture of mom, grandma, auntie, big sister etc. a special female in the child’s life and make a board that honours each child’s special person. Post the words in your Indigenous language for each type of special matriarchal figure ie. auntie, grandma, mother, and great grandmas. Following your communities’ unique protocols you can also include other special Matriarchal figures from your nation(s) such as community/ long house/ big house/ clan leaders, elders, and hereditary chiefs.

Create an easy online or in person workshop for moms, grandmas, aunties to make a special craft item. This could be red dress earrings, quil earrings, strawberry shaped earrings or a strawberry embroidery project. 

How to Make Porcupine Quill Earrings – Craft Tutorial –

Outreach Kit activities:

Create a picnic themed kit for the long weekend to share with each family:  Picnic basket, weaving project that can be done outdoors, outdoor blanket and items such as canned salmon and dried nuts and berries, pemmican and other items that can be enjoyed in a family picnic! Include words in Indigenous language for items they will see out on the land while having a picnic. A traditional game can also be included for family fun such as a dice or card game. 

00724 (

Family Event idea: 

Host a family event to celebrate Bear Witness Day 2024

Bear witness day cookies.

Innovative Idea: Hohoduleh Bayoh Head Start in Vanderhoof BC had each child decorate bear cookies in honour of Bear Witness Day!

May 10 is Spirit Bear’s Birthday an important date in the history of Jordan’s Principle at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Celebrate with a family tea party and bring awareness and advocacy to this special day!  For full history and programming ideas, easy recipes to incorporate please see link:  Bear Witness Day | First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (

Lofty Ideas:

Decorate under your loft to resemble a pond. Blue mats, paper, material can be used to make your pond. Add rubber ducks, frogs, tadpoles, fish, beavers’ plastic lily’s, dragon fly’s, make bulrushes out of cardboard etc.…  Add logs so children can make beaver dams etc. Have fishing rods, tackle boxes, plastic worms, bugs, tackle, fishing hats, vests on the top part of the loft so children can pretend to fish.  You can also make your own stick rods with clothes pins so children can “catch” fish and other items.  Traditional fishing tools can be made such as gaffing poles. 

Resources and related articles:

  2. indigenous_garden_plant_guide_full_pdf.pdf (
  3. Try Métis-Style Beadwork (Without the Beads) | Activities | Learn | Canadian Museum of History (

Recommended children’s books/ resource books:

  1. Spring has come – Author: Terri Mack 
    A story that is easy to translate into Indigenous language. Strong Readers Set B: Spring Has Come! (L15), 2013) – Indigenous & First Nations Kids Books – Strong Nations
  2. Berry picking for grandma – Author: Jenna Bailey – Sirco
    Berry Picking for Grandma – Nunavummi Reading Series, 2020) – Indigenous & First Nations Kids Books – Strong Nations
  3. Just like Grandma – Author: Lisa Flett
    Just Like Grandma (HC), 2023) – Indigenous & First Nations Kids Books – Strong Nations
  4. Can you hear the plants speak – Author: Nicholas Hummingbird
    Can You Hear the Plants Speak?, 2024) – Indigenous & First Nations Kids Books – Strong Nations
  5. Circle of Love – Author: Monique Gray Smith
    Circle of Love, 2024) – Indigenous & First Nations Kids Books – Strong Nations
  6. The Salmon Twins – Author: Caroll Simpson 
    The Salmon Twins: Simpson, Caroll: 9781927527009: Books –
  7. Mama do you love me – Author: Barbara Joose
    Mama, Do You Love Me? (PB), 2014) – Indigenous & First Nations Kids Books – Strong Nations
  8. Grandma’s tipi – Author: S.D. Nelson
    Grandma’s Tipi: A Present-Day Lakota Story , 2023) – Indigenous & First Nations Kids Books – Strong Nations
  9. May we have enough to share (B.B) – Author: Richard Van Camp
    May We Have Enough to Share (BB), 2019) – Indigenous & First Nations Kids Books – Strong Nations

Book of The Month

I sang you down from the stars  Author: Tasha Spillet Sumner I Sang You Down from the Stars , 2021) 

This beautifully illustrated book is a love story wrote from a mother to a child that walks the reader through traditional protocols and the gifting process between a mother and her child. 

Recipe of the Month: 

Make a refreshing Indigenous Berry drink to serve at your next tea party.

Mee – N i – Sha means “berries” in the Indigenous Omushkegowin language. Mee – N i – Sha play a very important role in Indigenous culture, food and health. 

Have the children pick their own berries to make this special drink! 

 Health Resource Link of the Month:

Well-constructed and informative link that can help educators make a information board on Traditional Medicines for families! 

Traditional Wellness and Healing (