January 13: Friday the 13th
The upcoming year offers us three chances to enjoy Friday the 13th. What a great reason to read a scary book and show a scary movie. It’s also a perfect opportunity to make some creepy foods that normally only show up at Halloween parties. We suggest meatball mice, breadstick fingers, spooky apples, wicked witch cupcakes , and Jack Skellington cake pops. Celebrate again in April and July!
January 18: Thesaurus Day
Play the old game Blackbird. It’s simple yet advances creative thinking and is sure to promote laughter. Alter tradition a little by using a thesaurus instead of a dictionary. If you don’t know how to play, it’s easy. Each person takes a turn asking a question aloud, then opens the book at random and without looking, jabs his or her finger somewhere on the selected page. The challenge? To make that word or some part of its definition answer the question. The questions must be somewhat open-ended rather the yes/no variety. For example: Why do I have to get up so early every day? Will I become a movie animator? How does my sister always get the last cookie? What do aliens really look like?
February 9: Birthday of Wilson Alwyn Bentley (1865)
Bently was the first to successfully photograph snowflakes. Delve into the art and science of snow in these 8 amusing ways. If you’re shut in by snow (or for any other reason) employ these cabin fever cures and toss in some brain challenges . Don’t forget to get out there and play in the snow!
February 17: Random Acts of Kindness Day
February 29: Leap Year
This once-every-four-years day can’t go by without commemoration. Find all sorts of ways to leap. Have jumping contests. Tell tall tales. Try a leap of faith (in yourself) by attempting something entirely new.
March 1: International Hug A Librarian Day
Libraries are awesome for at least these nine reasons and librarians make this possible. Go ahead, hug your favorite librarians. You might also want to offer them gingerbread superhero cookies (because they’re our heroes) or share them with any of these banned book projects. If you’re really ambitious, start up your own tiny library.
March 3: Iditarod race
Commemorate one of the toughest (and most egalitarian) races in the world. Your kids will enjoy projects, stories, and race history. For more in-depth information, go to Northern Light Media to find blog posts, books , and videos by the folks who are on the scene each year.
March 14: Pi Day
April 1: April Fool’s day
You know what to do.
April 22: Earth Day
We at GeekMom understand that this is one to act on every day. To find ways to help you live more lightly on Ma Earth, check out 63 small changes that make a big difference, one in a series of highly useful tips from GeekMom’s own Kris Bordessa via Attainable Sustainable. You might also want to find out how to make your back yard a Certified Wildlife Habitat. And remember that what you buy (or don’t buy) has a powerful influence on today’s marketplace.
May 4: Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be With You)
Today’s the day to recite your favorite lines, make Star Wars crafts , whip up Star Wars inspired pancakes, follow the instructions for a Star Wars-themed quiet book, and to engage in the requisite light saber duel.
May 5: Free Comic Book Day
Find out which indie comic book stores near you participates and what you need to know to celebrate. You might want to learn about the evolution of today’s comics. Click here for a brief look and here for a more extensive historical survey. Also consider creating your own comic strips or books, even stage a re-enactment of your favorite scenes in the back yard.
May 13: IEEE Global Engineering Day
May 25: Towel Day
As The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy advises us “A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.” Potential towel-related activities include all possible reasons to get soaked, from hot tub to ocean. You might toss in towel snapping lessons for those who haven’t yet hit locker room age. Make it a cross genre celebration if you’d like. South Park’s Towelie famously reminds us “don’t forget to bring a towel.”
June 11: ET turns 30
Any ET event needs to include pizza and Reese’s Pieces. You might add in bike racing. Or set up teams that work together to turn junk into “phone home” devices.
June 16: Birthday of Barbara McClintock (1902)
This Nobel Prize winning scientist worked with plants to advance the field of cytogenetics. In the spirit of this tireless researcher, learn chemistry using pennies, understand more about math by making paper plate models, apply the scientific method at the grocery store, and use light to make your walls into examples of geometry.
June 30: First book in Harry Potter series released (1997)
Do you remember opening a Harry Potter book for the first time? This series inspires people of all ages to delve deeper into areas of interest and offers rich educational opportunities across a whole range of subjects. For more fun, play Muggle Quidditch (and uphold gender equality in the game), make a Voldemort head, create Hogwart-y looking textbooks, and start rereading the books all over again.
July 12: SDCC
July 12 Birthday of R. Buckminster Fuller (1895)
Celebrate the accomplishments of this self-taught, renown thinker. Boost your child’s brainpower through knitting, clapping games , and subversive use of wall maps. And for some real Bucky skills, try making a geodesic dome model using newspaper.
August 13: International Lefthander Day
If you are a lefthander, revel in a day meant to reverse 364 other days of inconvenience. Let everyone know about famous lefties, brush up on some handedness research, learn to crochet or play the guitar lefthanded. Rearrange things to better suited your handedness. On this day, righthanders should use their left hands to see what it’s like!
August 22: Birthday of Paul Nipkow (1860)
This inventor pioneered the method necessary for the world’s first mechanical television system. Remember Paul by turning TV watching in your home into a creative act. Make up alternative prequels or sequels for your favorite programs. Talk about the motivations of characters, the trajectory of story lines, and the way real life contrasts with TV life. Write and film your show. Learn how marketers use mass media to make children into whiningly persistant consumers. Check out Center for Media Literacy and Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood for resources to help young people develop critical thinking skills related to media.
September 8: First Star Trek episode aired (1966)
September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day
October 11: Birthday of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884)
This champion of civil rights and global human rights got her start as a teacher of dance and calisthenics. Celebrate this forthright woman’s achievements by learning to make your own geeky music. Try writing new lyrics for a song you already know or learn using sheet music of your favorite theme songs. And check out the website of GeekMom’s resident songstress, Rebecca Angel.
November 9: Birthday of Carl Sagan (1934)
This famous astronomer brought his fascination down to earth for a whole generation. You might want to learn more about his childhood and check out his books. Make sure to celebrate too. In his honor you might choose to wear a turtleneck, learn to recognize a constellation, visit a public observatory or planetarium near you, take a full moon walk to enjoy your neighborhood by lunar light, or watch Wonders of the Universe.
December 16: Birthday of Arthur C. Clarke (1917)
Celebrate this and all clever sci-fi writers. Revisit your favorite sci-fi short stories or films, first looking up something about the writers’ lives to help you understand their influences. Try looking at today’s news from the perspective of time travelers from the past or future. And to help create the next generation of sci-fi writers, get your kids to predict the future.
Share with your fellow GeekMom readers what other dates we should be celebrating!