I always loved Spirit Week at school, the opportunity to dress-up in fun ways, to be silly and creative beyond my usual “school clothes.” And again, it was one of the things I was so excited about when Max started kindergarten. I was a little disappointed when I learned that themed Spirit Days weren’t something they did at his school, beyond wearing school colors on Wednesdays…
But I was thrilled when, about three weeks before school let out for summer, I got a notice that they had a whole week with daily themes for dress-up! We excitedly reviewed the days and planned what he could wear. My heart sank a little when I saw some of them, though. I’m on board with pajama day, and crazy hair day, but nerd day? Encouraging kids to “wear your too short pants and wrap some tape around your glasses and dress up like a nerd”? How is this a good idea?
But I digress.
While “Nerd Day” might have been popular when I was a kid, it isn’t something that I’m comfortable encouraging Max to participate in. We talked about it the night before, and we agreed that dressing up as a nerd wasn’t a fun idea. And it inspired me to create this list of Spirit Week ideas.
Instead of Nerd Day, how about Someone You Admire Day? Or What I Want to be When I Grow Up? This allows lots of flexibility for children to come up with something to wear. A child can dress up like a parent, or a teacher, a pilot or a construction worker. The possibilities are endless. Jessica’s daughter’s school had a “Future Career Day” and her daughter dressed up like, yup, a blogger. Pink streak in her hair (not after me, after Jessica, but still!) and a WordPress t-shirt, all she needed was a computer and a Starbucks cup and voila!
Rather than Culture Day, how about A Place I Love Day? This was a challenge for us; Max’s school did “Culture Day,” and for a school as diverse as ours, this is a good one. We have lots of first generation Americans in Max’s class, so finding something to wear to express their “culture” is easy. We saw lots of traditional dress from a variety of countries, and it was lovely. But what does a European mutt kid like Max wear? We’re English, Scottish, French, Irish, Welsh… all of the most generic of the heritages. Unwilling to buy him a kilt (which I probably couldn’t get him to wear even if I bought it!) we put him in this:
Because he’s an All American kid, and what’s more American than baseball? You want to know what happened? His teacher asked, “Were you born at the ballpark?” and said this didn’t count. Challenging a child to dress for their birthplace is hard for someone, like Max, for whom his birthplace isn’t a significant impact on his identity. My friend Cam, from Growing Up Goofy, said that her daughter’s school celebrates as “Diversity Day,” and her daughter chose to celebrate differences by wearing 2 different socks that day. A great way for her to be able to express herself and still participate.
Skip Twin Day, and challenge groups of kids to dress alike for Matchy Matchy Day, so that groups of three or more can coordinate what to wear and still participate. Imagine the heartbreak of the one kid in class who couldn’t find a friend to dress up with. By opening it up to larger groups and skipping the “twin” word, it makes it easier for everyone to participate.
Max’s school had a “Rainbow Day,” which is good in concept, but the execution leaves something to be desired. They assigned a color to each grade level, so third graders were all assigned green, first grade got red. The idea is cute, but Max was in kindergarten. Guess what color they were assigned.
White and kindergarteners? Not the best idea ever. I would instead suggest setting Rainbow Day as “Wear All One Color Day” so each child can choose their own color, instead of being assigned based on grade level. Because it bears repeating: Kindergarteners in white?
Still looking for more dress-up ideas? Here you go!
- Pajama Day
- Crazy Hair Day
- Mismatched Shoe Day
- Mismatched Everything Day
- Dress Like a Hero Day
- Hat Day
- Tacky Tourist Day
- Superhero & Villain Day
- Ugly Sweater Day
- Cartoon Character Day
- Holiday-themed days
- Dress Like a President Day
- Backwards Day (Kriss Kross’ll make you what?!)
- Dress Like an Olympian Day
- Dress Like an Animal Day
- Sports Team Day
- Dress Like Your Teacher Day
- 1960s Day
- 1970s Day
- 1980s Day (Sensing a trend, here?)
- 1990s Day
- Futuristic Day
- Wear All Black & White
- Tie Dye Day
- Favorite Book Character Day
- Sunglasses Day
- Formal Wear
Do your kids have dress-up days at school? What are your thoughts on some of the more questionable choices? Do they do anything really fun? Share in the comments!