Winter days can get long, and it’s easy to run out of ideas to keep little ones busy and engaged. When you’re out of ideas, it’s fun to check for fun calendar days. It seems like most days are some kind of national celebration of something. So if you need an idea to create some fun for your kids, check the calendar. You’re sure to find a way to enjoy some silly learning days, and those can be the most memorable for your kids. Here are a couple silly learning days to squeeze in before the end of January.
National Squirrel Appreciation Day
Did you know there was a National Squirrel Appreciation Day? This is both humorous and puzzling. And this year (2022), it will be celebrated on Friday, January 21.
National Squirrel Appreciation Day started in 2001. A wildlife rehabilitation specialist named Christy Hargrove founded it in Asheville, NC. Since squirrels are often seen as pests or as a frustration, she wanted a day to look at the positive things about squirrels. She wanted people to understand the benefits that squirrels bring to the environment.
To start, here’s an interesting history of squirrels. In the early 1800s, squirrels were not in cities at all. People actually introduced squirrels into major cities for their environmental benefits. Squirrels are wonderful for the beautification of large parks. So around 1850, a few cities planted trees and established some natural areas, and then brought in some squirrels. The effort fizzled out, but then started up again around 1870. This time, larger cities like New York, Boston, and Chicago put efforts into making good habitats for squirrels. The effort was successful, and now we have squirrels both in and outside of our cities.
Squirrels can be entertaining
Have you ever watched a squirrel? They can be quite hilarious. I once looked out a window into my yard and saw a squirrel acting really weird. It was sitting straight up a few feet from a big mushroom. The squirrel looked back and forth several times very nervously. Then it took a few steps forward, and looked around nervously again. Finally, it decided things were safe. So it picked off the top of the mushroom, held it like a cookie, and ate it very happily. I had no idea squirrels ate mushrooms. And it sure did seem like a treat. My kids and I still laugh about the silly squirrel enjoying its mushroom cookie.
So with National Squirrel Appreciation Day approaching, maybe you could look for funny squirrel videos to enjoy with your kids. Take a trip to the library and look for books about squirrels, both informational books and stories. Christy Hargrove encourages us to feed the squirrels on this day. If you’re comfortable with that, go for it.
Kids will love learning about squirrels and watching their goofy antics. And while you’re at it, you can learn the sign for squirrel. There’s also a silly part of the Signing Time Classic show Leah’s Farm where Alex decides to have a squirrel for a pet!
National Squirrel Appreciation Day definitely qualifies for one of your silly learning days.
Another fun and silly learning day you could celebrate this month is Opposite Day. Apparently, January 25 has been declared to be Opposite Day, but there are other days that it could be celebrated as well. There’s no fancy history to Opposite Day. It’s just for fun.
You can celebrate Opposite Day in any way you’d like. You could take an entire day to let your kids do the opposite of everything you say. If you would rather have a less confusing day, you could limit it to an hour.
And if you have very young children, just take some time to learn about opposites. There are lots of fun books about opposites you could check out from the library, or you might even already have some at home. And you could learn the signs for some opposites, like hot and cold, or happy and sad.
My Signing Time
As you work through different learning activities with your kids, check out the Signing Time Dictionary to see if there are signs to help you. And don’t forget to try out a My Signing Time digital subscription. It’s a great way for kids to learn during the winter months when they’re likely to have more screen time anyway. Try it with a 14-day free trial right here!