26 Interesting International Educational Days 2016

by Anna Michaelidou

There are many days in the year that mark important, unusual and commemorative days that we often forget or overlook; or sometimes don't even know they exist. Here at First Tutors we have compiled a list of some educational focussed days to mark in your calendar. These days are a great way of sharing, exploring and teaching children to understand the different days celebrated throughout the year.


1. World Braille Day - January 4th


World Braille Day celebrates the birth of Louis Braille; the inventor of the reading and writing system that is used by millions of blind and partially sighted people all over the world. Louis Braille was blinded in both eyes in an accident as a child but managed to develop a system during his studies when he was just fifteen years old that would allow the blind to read. The Braille system works by representing numbers and the alphabet letters in a series of six dots paired up in three rows. Books are now published in a format that allows blind or partially sighted people to read by running their fingertips over the dots allowing them to study or read for pleasure just as easily as any seeing person can.

World Braille Day gives teachers, charities and non-government organisations the opportunity to raise awareness about any issues facing the blind and on the importance of continual production of works in Braille. World Braille Day is always celebrated on January 4th; the birthday of Louis Braille in 1809.

Tip: A great chance to teach children about Louis Braille and understand the importance of Braille books for the blind.

2. Burns Night - January 25th

Robert Burns Night

Burns Nights commemorates the life of Scotland's most famous poet Robert Burns who was born on January 25th, 1759.

Many people hold a Burn's supper or a Burn's night and can be formal or informal. Burn's Night is traditionally celebrated in Scotland and the day also celebrates Burns' contribution to Scottish culture. The events will more often than not include Haggis (a type of sausage prepared in a sheep's stomach), bagpipes and reading's from the works of Robert Burns.

Robert Burns wrote many poems, lyrics and other pieces that addressed both political and civil issues. His most famous work is probably "Auld Lang Syne", which is often sung at New Year's Eve celebrations in Scotland and other parts of the world.

Tip: Look at some of Robert Burns' work and write a poem together with your child.

30th January - 6th February - National Storytelling Week

National Storytelling Week takes place in many places including theatres, museums, hospitals and care homes. The Society for Storytelling has promoted the tradition of spoken storytelling over the last twenty-four years.

During these events amazing stories of fairy lore, folk tales, dragons, serpents and mysterious creatures will be told in imaginative ways and those listening will be enchanted. National Storytelling Week is celebrated by all ages.


3. Safer Internet Day - February 9th

Safer Internet Day is celebrated to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young adults. It is coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre and is celebrated in many countries around the world.

Safer Internet Day gives people the opportunity to understand and highlight positive uses of digital technology and to help to create a safer online community and a better internet.

The theme for Safer Internet Day 2016 will be "Play your part for a better internet".

Tip: Make sure your child understands that the Internet is a great tool but there are lots of things to be wary of. Go through some safety tips with them and make sure they are clear on what they are allowed to do on the internet.

4. Darwin Day - February 12th

Darwin Day is celebrated across the globe to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin on February 12th, 1809. The day celebrates Darwin's contribution to science and is used to promote science in general.

Tip: Talk about science with your child. Do some home experiments together or maybe plan a visit to a science museum.

5. International Mother Language Day - February 21st

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) was first announced by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) on November 17th, 1999 and has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

2016 will be the 16th anniversary of International Mother Language Day.

Tip: Talk about other countries and the different languages spoken around the world. Get out a map or a globe and have some fun finding out what your child knows and teaching them some new facts.

6. World Thinking Day - February 22nd

World Thinking Day is a day of international friendship celebrated by all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (and some boy-oriented associations) around the world. Celebrated since 1926, World Thinking Day (formerly Thinking Day) is a day where issues that affect girls and young women and the meaning of Guiding are addressed. Donations are often collected for the Thinking Day fund which supports projects to help Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world.

Tip: Talk about Girl or Boy scouts and guides with your child. Look at the different activities they do and talk about different issues they cover.

11th March - 20th March - National Science & Engineering Week

Britain's National Science & Engineering Week was first held in 1994 and is one of the largest national celebrations of science. The National Science and Engineering Week is a ten-day celebration featuring entertaining and engaging events and activities around the UK for people of all ages of science, technology, engineering and maths.


7. World Book Day (UK & Ireland) - March 3rd


World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on April 23rd, 1995 and is a day where children of all ages come together to appreciate reading. In the UK the day is recognised on the first Thursday in March. It is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and of course, reading. The aim of World Book Day is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books by providing them with a book of their own to read.

Tip: A great chance to do some reading with your child. Talk about what they like to read and encourage them to choose a book that will inspire them.

8. International Day of Forests - March 21st

A fairly new celebrated day, the International Day of Forests was first celebrated on March 21st, 2013 following on from the International Year of Forests initiative. The day promotes the importance of forests and trees in our lives and addresses issues such as deforestation.

Tip: Take a nature walk and talk about the importance of trees and forests. Help your child understand deforestation issues and explore ways to avoid this together.

9. World Poetry Day - March 21st

World Poetry Day invites people to reflect on the power of language and a person's creative abilities. It was first adopted by UNESCO on March 21st, 1999. World Poetry Day is an invitation to appreciate and support poetry and poets from all around the world and supports linguistic diversity through poetic expression.

Tip: Another great chance to try and write some poetry with your child. Look at different poets and see what poetry your child is drawn to.

10. World Water Day - March 22nd

World Water Day was officially started on March 22nd, 1993 and focusses on the importance of freshwater and the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Each year World Water Day highlights a particular aspect of freshwater and the theme for 2016 is "Water and Jobs".

Tip: Water plays a vital part in our lives. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore all the ways water is integrated into our lives.


11. International Children's Book Day - April 2nd

Celebrated on April 2nd every year since 1967, the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen, International Children's Book Day is aimed at inspiring a love of reading and specific attention to children's books.

Each year the International Children's Book Day is sponsored by a different country member of the International Board of Books for Young People and it decides on a theme and invites an author (to write a message) and illustrator (to design a poster) from that country.

Tip: Another great way to explore children's books and characters from their favourite stories with your child.

12. Day of Dialogue - April 15th

The Day of Dialogue was founded by the Alliance Defence Fund in 2005 and was previously known as the Day of Truth. The goal of the Day of Dialogue is to encourage honest and respectful conversation about religious beliefs and allow students to freely express those beliefs in a loving and respectful manner.

Tip: A great opportunity to talk about religion and the many different religions around the world.

6th May - 15th May - Voluntary Arts Week

Voluntary Arts Week is an opportunity for people to get creative, whether it be to share what they already do or to try something new. The creativity can be expressed in a number of different ways from music and singing to crafts, cooking and gardening.


13. Limerick Day - May 12th

Book Of Nonsense

Limerick Day celebrates the birthday of English artist, author, poet and illustrator Edward Lear. Edward Lear was born on May 12th, 1812 and is known primarily for his literary nonsense in poetry, prose and limericks.

A limerick is typically a five-lined funny, nonsense poem where the first two lines rhyme with the fifth line and the third and fourth lines rhyme together. Limerick poems became popular when Edward Lear's book "Book of Nonsense" was published in 1846.

Tip: Have fun writing your own limericks with your child and encourage them to try and create a funny limerick of their own.


14. World Environment Day - June 5th

World Environment Day is an annual celebration to raise awareness to take positive environmental action to protect our planet Earth and nature. It was first established in 1972.

Tip: With so many environmental issues in the world this is an opportunity to explore some of them with your child. Plan a day trip or take a nature walk and talk about nature and the environment.


15. World Population Day - July 11th

Established in 1989, the World Population Day is celebrated to raise awareness of global population issues. It is held annually on July 11th.

Tip: A great chance to instil some general knowledge into your child by talking about the population of the world and some of the issues surrounding this subject.


16. International Youth Day - August 12th

International Youth Day aims to promote ways to encourage young people to become more active in making positive contributions to communities.

The United Nations General Assembly declared August 12th International Youth Day in 1999. Each year a new and unique theme is created to aid in focussing awareness on various issues affecting youth around the world.

Tip: Have your child explore ways they could help with their community or school.

17. International Lefthanders Day - August 13th


First celebrated on August 13th, 1976, International Lefthanders Day aims at promoting awareness of the inconvenience experienced by left-handed people in a world that is predominantly right-handed. Many left-handed people have had to adapt to use right-handed objects or tools. International Lefthanders Day celebrates the uniqueness of left-handed people everywhere.

Tip: Whether your child is left or right-handed this is a good chance to explain the differences and talk about some of the difficulties a left-handed person may have.


18. International Literacy Day - September 8th

UNESCO announced International Literacy Day on November 17th, 1965 with the aim of giving children and communities a chance to rediscover the joys of reading and to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals and communities.

Tip: Discuss the importance of literacy, how book reading can bring people together, the great thing about book sharing and maybe include a visit to your local library.

19. Roald Dahl Day - September 13th

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Celebrated every year on the birthday of one of the world's greatest storytellers, Roald Dahl Day promotes all the characters created by the much loved children's author. Some of his famous works included Matilda, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG and George's Marvellous Medicine.

Tip: A great day for children to dress up in their favourite characters from their favourite books. Have fun creating costumes at home.

20. European Day of Languages - September 26th

The European Day of Languages celebrates all the languages spoken around the world, promoting language learning through a range of events organised across Europe for children and adults alike. It began on September 26, 2001, as an initiative of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Tip: Talk about languages and teach your child some basic phrases in a different language; if you are unsure just browse the internet.


21. World Animal Day - October 4th

Canadian Goose and Goslings

World Animal Day is just as it's name suggests; a day to celebrate animal life in all it's forms and the relationship between man and animal. A yearly celebration, the World Animal Day originally started at a convention of ecologists in 1931 in Florence.

Tip: Perfect day for a trip to the zoo and to talk about the different animals.

22. National Poetry Day - October 6th

National Poetry Day is held annually on the first Thursday in October and aims at celebrating everything to do with poetry. This campaign for poets, poetry fans and organisations has been running for approximately 22 years and is co-ordinated by the Forward Arts Foundation.

Tip: Have fun creating poems.


23. Universal Children's Day - November 20th

Universal Children's Day was first established universally in 1954 and is celebrated in many places across the globe on November 20th. It aims at promoting awareness among children, improving children's welfare and international togetherness.

Tip: Take the time to give your child some extra attention and plan some fun things to do together.

24. Computer Security Day - November 30th

Computer Security Day is a day used for ensuring passwords are regularly updated, personal information is secure and computer systems are protected. Started in 1988 to raise awareness of security issues in computers, Computer Security Day is an annual worldwide event that creates a great opportunity for companies, organisations and individuals to understand the importance of protecting their computers and their personal information.

Tip: A great chance to re-set all those passwords that you have had for years!


25. World Soil Day - December 5th

World Soil Day highlights the importance of soil for food and energy as it is essential for farming and food security. First celebrated on December 5th, 2012, World Soil Day aims to raise awareness about the dangers of soil loss.

Tip: Plant some seeds or do some gardening. Explore the importance of soil in our lives with your child.

26. International Mountains Day - December 11th

Mountain Range

Mountains and mountainous regions play a vital role in providing water, food and recreation to mankind and International Mountain Day was born to commemorate these important facts. This annual celebration was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly after the International Year of Mountains in 2002 had ended to encourage the organisation of events to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development.

Tip: Look at pictures and talk about mountains. Visit a steep hill and pretend you are mountain climbing with your child.