Kick off the school year with this list of September holiday activities and ideas!
September is an interesting month. On the one hand, it is all about new beginnings, as many US schools are returning to school after Labor Day festivities commence. For others, they are already two weeks into school and ready to start falling into a gentle routine.
In September, we start to see the fall showing up in our decor and lessons, and we may even see some pumpkin spice starting to make the rounds at our local coffee joints.
Without any big-name holidays besides Labor Day, September may seem like a bit of a bore compared to the other fall and winter months, but there is still a lot to celebrate!
September Holiday Activities & Ideas
Although September is not usually known as a month of holiday breaks, there are actually a whole host of holidays hiding in this early autumn month. So let’s start with specific September holiday activities based on lesser-known holidays.
National Read a Book Day (September 6th)
First, consider organizing a book swap where students bring in books to exchange with their peers. This allows more students to read more books and may even get a few books into the hands of students who don’t typically have books at home.
Assign students days throughout the month where they will read aloud from their favorite books. Consider adding to this by having students discuss the reading and talk about their favorite parts.
Mentor younger students by having your upper elementary students read aloud to younger students in the school on National Read a Book Day.
Another fun idea for this holiday is to create bookmarks with inspirational quotes or illustrations related to reading. Take the time to laminate them so students can use them throughout the year.
Lastly, I like the idea of having a few book-themed events planned, like a scavenger hunt where students search for different items related to books (i.e., bookmarks, library cards, book genres, etc.) or book-themed dress-up days where students can dress up like their favorite characters.
International Sudoku Day (September 9th)
My favorite idea for celebrating this unexpected holiday is to create a giant Sudoku board on a wall or floor using tape or sticky notes and have students solve it collaboratively. You can keep the board up all month long and the puzzles can get harder throughout the month. What a great idea for exercising student brains early in the morning!
Another idea is to print out Sudoku puzzles of varying difficulty levels and have a friendly Sudoku competition among students. Luckily, you can find Sudoku puzzles easily on the internet and even create your own with builder websites and apps.
Lastly, I love the idea of giving students time to create their own Sudoku puzzles and let them challenge each other with their creations. This would work really well if you’ve been doing Sudoku puzzles throughout the month and students are more familiar with the process.
September 11 Remembrance Day (September 11th)
To remember the events of September 11, 2001, have a discussion about the events of that day and the importance of honoring those who lost their lives.
As a part of your remembrance of these events, consider some of these activities:
- Create a memorial wall where students can write messages of remembrance and appreciation.
- Have students write letters or create artwork expressing gratitude and support for first responders and community helpers.
- Read age-appropriate books or articles about acts of kindness and resilience during challenging times.
National Video Games Day (September 12th)
If you’ve ever considered finding a way to incorporate video games into your classroom, here’s your chance!
You can celebrate National Video Games Day in many ways, from encouraging students to wear video game-inspired shirts/costumes to discussing the positive and negative aspects of video games as part of a class-wide debate.
If you are willing to add in a little more organization and event planning, consider organizing a video game tournament with classic games that have educational value and promote teamwork and friendly competition.
Finally, one idea we have for connecting video games to classroom work is to do an activity where students design their own video game characters using what they know about characterization. They can then create drawings or sketches of their characters, consider what their character’s sayings or slogans might be, and what game/world they would best fit into.
International Dot Day (September 15th)
Yep! There is an international dot day, and we will celebrate it!
A fun way to get started on International Dot Day is to do a little dot artwork. A quick Google search will provide a bunch of ideas for dot art that you can do with students.
This is also a great day to pull out some dot-to-dots or even to have students make some of their own!
To get a little literacy into the day, read “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds, discuss the power of creativity, and have students collaborate on a large mural made up of dots.
Wrap up your day with some poems inspired by either their dot art, dots in general, or any other dot connections students make on their own! My mind immediately goes toward a period or even Dippin Dots™ Ice Cream. I could totally make a poem based on either of those topics!
Constitution Day (September 17th)
Celebrate this September holiday with various activities and ideas focused on debating, coming to a consensus on topics, or developing a greater understanding of the importance of the Constitution to the foundation of the USA.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Have students participate in a mock debate or role-playing activity where they discuss the rights and responsibilities outlined in the Constitution.
- Make pictures depicting statements in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.
- Create a class Constitution outlining rules and expectations that students agree upon by the students.
- Assign a creative writing activity where students write their own version of the Constitution or Bill of Rights.
Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th)
Argh! It’s talk like a pirate day, so let’s have a ‘boat’ load of fun that will have your students ‘hooked’ throughout the day!
This is a great day to play off of the idea of pirates, ships, boats, or even water in general. Just because it is ‘Talk’ like a pirate day doesn’t mean you can’t find some joy in other pirate-related activities like playing pirate-themed games like “Walk the Plank” (a balancing activity) or going on a treasure hunt (i.e., Scavenger Hunt).
Another interesting way to celebrate this interesting September holiday is to research pirate history and famous pirates. Teach students about the history and culture of pirates and encourage them to create their own pirate stories or artwork.
Psst…obviously pirate puns can also be a lot of fun, so make a list of them to incorporate into your lessons throughout the day!
International Day of Peace (September 21st)
Any day that celebrates peace, hope, or kindness will get a shout-out on this blog, so let’s talk about a few ideas we have for celebrating International Day of Peace with your upper elementary students.
First, conduct a classroom activity where students brainstorm ways to promote peace in their school and community. I like starting with this activity because it can spark other ideas that could be incorporated into other activities, and it gives students a chance to really think about how they can promote peace within their own environments.
If you are interested in art, the International Day of Peace is a great day to create peace-themed art. Some ideas are to focus on symbols of peace (i.e., doves, peace symbols) or any other ideas students may have about the topic. Then, you can create a peace-themed art display featuring your student’s work or display the work around the classroom throughout the month.
I also like researching how others celebrate International Peace Day. In your research, you may find an idea that you and your students could participate in. There are so many different ideas, so you’re sure to come up with great ideas!
National Punctuation Day (September 24th)
Here’s a day when all the English teachers of the world finally get a chance to shine!!
National Punctuation Day is a great day to make punctuation fun but also to remind students about the importance of punctuation in communication!
You could use this day to kick off a punctuation lesson or play a game where students learn about different punctuation marks and their functions through games and quizzes.
I also like the idea of assigning a creative writing activity where students write a story or poem that emphasizes proper punctuation. These can end up being quite silly, especially if students try reading their stories out loud after writing them. Emphasizing extra pauses for ill-placed commas or adding in question marks where they don’t belong.
In addition to our store resources, we also have a bunch of resources specifically designed and themed toward the September holiday activities and themes.
If you are just getting started with your school year in September, then this September Holiday of the Day Writing Prompt resource is going to be one of the most important resources you will implement all year. These Holiday of the Day Writing Prompts provide daily writing activities for students based on lesser-known holidays (like the ones listed above). Each day your students will read about a holiday and get a writing prompt. If you start in September, your students can do these prompts every day as part of their morning work or even as a transitional activity after they come in for recess or after lunch. It is a great way to celebrate holidays throughout the year and also get students writing daily!
Close reads are a fun way for students to begin working on reading comprehension while also getting a chance to learn about some topics they are less familiar with.
Since all of the passages are themed based on September topics like soccer, sunflowers, and busses, students can also connect with the reading they are doing.
Finally, it is important to note that these Close Reads with Mystery Pictures are also differentiated with 3 different levels of each passage. This allows teachers to quickly provide each student with a passage that is appropriate to their reading level, even at the beginning of the school year!
If you are looking for a digital activity to use while you assess students or work with small groups, then this Fall Sticker Activity may be a great one to have on hand.
The activities focus on Language Arts skills, but they are all fall themed.
To work through the activity, students must answer the questions correctly to earn the sticker, or they will be prompted to try again. This self-checking, instant feedback feature makes the resource perfect for review in a variety of settings, such as small groups, centers, or even virtual learning.
There is so much to do in September as we get back into the routine of the classroom, but setting the expectations that your classroom is one that celebrates and has fun while also focusing on educational topics is a fantastic way to start the year. Hopefully, this list of September holiday activities and ideas will give you a bunch of ideas that you can mix and match to have a fun start to the school year!
For more ideas on how you can celebrate holidays throughout the year, check out some of the other monthly holiday activities and ideas blog posts below!