National Puzzle Day (January 29): Families went crazy for jigsaw puzzles in 2020, when they had lots of time at home during the coronavirus pandemic. The one-time wooden educational tool hadn’t been that popular since the 1930s, when cardboard versions became inexpensive, reusable fun. Celebrate the day by pulling out a favorite jigsaw, or trying a crossword, Sudoku or brain teaser.
Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17): If you have encountered a homeless person and given money, that’s a random act of kindness. The idea of this day is to get lots of people doing something kind for someone they don’t know with no expectation of getting anything in return. This concept is trickier with social distancing, but even a big smile and a “hi!” from across the street qualifies.
National Scribble Day (March 27): You may think you’re not an artist because you don’t draw an object or a person exactly the way your eye sees it. Not true! Author Diane Alber created this day in 2019 to show kids that even a scribble can be a work of art.
National Library Workers Day (April 6): It has been a tough year with many libraries closed for visitor browsing, research and in-person story hours. But library workers have risen to the occasion with online activities and pickup book bundles. Send a message thanking your school or community librarian today, and let them know what you’re reading.
National Astronaut Day (May 5): Sixty years ago on this date, Alan Shepard and his Freedom 7 spacecraft launched into space and came back about 15 minutes later. The quick trip put future astronauts on a path to spending days on the moon, then months at the International Space Station. On this day, check out what’s going on at the space station and see if you can spot it passing overhead (spotthestation.nasa.gov).
World Giraffe Day (June 21): The longest day in the Northern Hemisphere is the day to celebrate the animal with the longest neck. The once-plentiful species is estimated to have lost about 30 percent of its numbers in Africa in the past 30 years. Visit giraffeconservation.org to learn more and spread the word about protecting these majestic animals.
I Forgot Day (July 2): Did you forget to call Grandma on her birthday or return that soccer ball you borrowed from a friend three months ago? Today is a good day to clean the slate. Make a list of things you meant to do but forgot. Work through the list, and don't get discouraged if you don't accomplish everything in one day. Just remember to keep the list in a place where you'll see it. Otherwise, you know what will happen.
DOGust First (August 1): If your family is one of the many that adopted dogs from animal shelters last year, you may not know, for example, Luna or Cooper’s actual birthday. The North Shore Animal League, a shelter in Port Washington, New York, thought of that problem in 2008 and picked today as the birthday of all shelter dogs. Give your pup extra love today, and consider what you can do to help other shelter dogs.
World Rivers Day (September 26): The Potomac and Anacostia rivers are part of what makes the Washington, D.C. area so beautiful. But the rivers, and many others around the world, have been polluted by chemicals and littered with trash. They’re getting cleaner, but more help is needed. To join people in 70 countries spending today improving local rivers, go to worldriversday.com, or websites for the Anacostia Watershed Society or the Potomac Conservancy for ideas and events.
World Vegetarian Day (October 1): It’s not hard to go without meat for one day, but how about one month? The North American Vegetarian Society asks people to help reduce greenhouse gases by pledging to eat no meat, fish or fowl (basically chicken or turkey) in October. The pledge is tricky for kids to make on their own, because Mom and Dad are usually in charge of preparing meals. Ask them if you can participate or if the whole family could try it. You will probably be surprised about how many tasty meals are meatless.
Take a Hike Day (November 17): Fall is a terrific time to hit the trails in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, South Mountain State Park in Maryland or one of the many other parks in the Mid-Atlantic region. The American Hiking Society website has advice on what to wear, what gear to bring and how to plan your trip. So have your family read up and then head out!
National Cocoa Day (December 13): South Americans started harvesting cocoa beans from cacao trees several thousand years ago, but the drink they created and enjoyed for centuries was not sweet. Spanish explorers later added sugar to the recipe and brought it back to Europe, where it became popular with royalty. Warm up with a cup of cocoa today, and add extra marshmallows or a squirt of whipped cream for a treat fit for a queen or king.