Cultural Calendar Ideas for May
In Indigenous culture May is known as the “blossoming Moon,” the “laying Moon,” and the “planting Moon.”
Here are a list of Cultural Calendar ideas, activities, and events to incorporate into this month’s calendar.
Science/Cooking: Introduce the children to the stages of growth in a garden. Ensure the children are an active part of planting in your outdoor space so that they have hands on experiences planting seeds and seeing their lifecycle.
Early items that were planted n April such as chives, sprouts, cabbages, radishes, kale, rhubarb, cilantro (etc.) will be ready for the children to pick. They can also help make items like smoothies and garden salads to eat at the centre.
This is also a great time to teach children and families how to prepare and can items such as dandelion jelly and rhubarb jam.
Art/ Sensory ideas: Have a gift making activity so that children can make gifts for their Mothers, Aunties and Grandmas. Another option would be helping them make décor for a Mothers 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.
When planning décor and gifts consider featuring a strawberry design. For many Nations the Strawberry is special - it is known as the heart berry. Cree / Metis / Mohawk / Annishabe all revere this berry as Woman’s medicine. In the Haudenosaunee culture the strawberry is considered a gift from the creator and is very special to them culturally.
Children can paint clay pots and plant strawberries as a gift.
For a sensory activity - 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!
For other sensory ideas and additions - consider adding pond animals, foam lily pads, green and blue rocks, etc. into your play space.
Dramatic Play Area:
Add grandma and grandpa puppets, clothes, hats, plastic teapot and tea cups.
Alternatively, you can get metal tea pots and lead free enamel cups. This is great for the play area, or when taking children out on the land - you could make with them while on a field trip in the bush.
Art Centre: As an art activity and to teach about pond life, you can make a duck pond play-dough tray.
This can be made out of a plastic fruit and veggie tray from the dollar store, which you can fill with gems, rocks, sticks, rolling pins, rubber ducks, etc.
Reading Area: In the reading area you can have the felt board out and available with a large pond shape and pond themed felts. This will encourage children to make their own stories. Consider making stick puppets with each child’s face on it so they can include themselves in the story.
Circle Time: Each centre has been gifted a white spirit teddy bear from the AHSABC team. To support Bear Witness Day and awareness to reconciliation sign your site up to have a Ambearrister.
Host a Kohkom’s (Grandmas) tea party! Invite aunties, grandmas, moms, Elders, etc. Help the children make decorations and provide special food items. Create time for photo opportunities.
During May, ask Elders to lead on-the-land gathering activities such as: nature walks, beach walks etc. Also invite Elders to teach the 7 Sacred Teachings from their Nation's perspective. As an example: Seven Grandfather Teachings of the Mi'Kmaq Nation!
In honour of those who attended residential school consider planting a heart garden with elders, parents and children.
Parent Involvement Ideas
Have pictures of birds, plants / trees insects in your traditional language.
Invite them to add their language words to the board.
Have families send in a pictures of mom, grandma, auntie, big sister etc. or a special female in the child’s life and make a board that honours each child’s special person.
Other Parent Involvement Ideas:
Have a family fishing day! Gift each child a fishing pole and a tackle box. Have extra fishing poles to loan to parents, Elders. Bring a picnic lunch or items to have foods and tea over the fire.
Focus on the 7 sacred teachings this May! Share these teachings with the families.
Have an acts of kindness challenge for the month of May. Match children / families who are interested with local Elders. The children can make homemade gifts, cards and treats such as Bannock, homemade jams, cookies etc. can be gifted to the Elders. This has the families working together and reinforcing the 7 sacred teachings at home. Everyone who enters the challenge gets a participation prize ie. family game, coupon for soft ice cream etc.
Create a picnic themed kit for the long weekend to share with each family. This kit can include: a picnic basket, baseball glove and ball or beach ball, outdoor blanket. You can include food like: canned ham, sandwich making items, canned salmon, sparkling lemonade or iced tea, buns, cookie mix, or muffin mix etc. Send home recipes for salmon salad sandwiches, macaroni or pasta salad, fruit ambrosia, fruit kebobs etc.
You could also send home ingredients for a fun easy cooking activity for kids that is picnic friendly.
Create an easy online workshop for moms, grandmas, aunties to make a special craft item. This could be red dress earrings, quill earrings, strawberry shaped earrings or a strawberry embroidery project.
Decorate under your loft to resemble a pond. You can use supplies such as: Blue mats, blankets, and paper to make your pond. Add rubber ducks, frogs, tadpoles, fish, beavers’, plastic lily’s, dragonflies, 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.
Other Resources and Related articles:
Skye Haggerty in Harvesting Spruce: The Basket Tree (Part 2)
Our Book of The Month
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.
Title: “I sang you down from the stars”
Author: Tasha Spillet - Sumner
To Purchase: Strong Nations
Recommended Children’s Books & Resource Books:
Just like Grandma Author: Lisa Flett
Berry picking for grandma Author: Jenna Bailey- Sirco
Smile So big Author: Sunshine Quem Tenasco
The Salmon Twins Author: Caroll Simpson
Mama do you love me Author: Barbara Joose
Nokum is my teacher Author: David Bouchard
May we have enough to share (BB) Author: Richard Van Camp