From Indigenous Peoples' Day to Make a Difference Day, there are more holidays in October than you may have realized. Learn more about what they are and how to recognize them as a family.

happy mom carrying daughter on shoulders outside in fall
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October is known best for Halloween, autumn leaves, and apple picking. But October also hosts several other observances and remembrance days that are worth adding to the family calendar. Teach your kids about these special occasions, and learn how to celebrate them properly.

October 1: Family History Month

Some traditions are cultural and some are personal, but everyone should set aside time to remember and pass them down from one generation to another. Family History Month helps people preserve the memories of their history and ancestors.

What To Do: Take a look back and see where your family came from—and share your stories of your ancestors (and yourself) with your children. Also consider creating a family tree with poster board and markers; you and your little one can draw as far back you can remember.

October 1: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every year since 1985, women have been reminded to schedule mammograms, fight to receive better treatment, and push so others can live longer lives.

What To Do: Get educated about breast cancer risks and statistics, and learn how to help on the National Breast Cancer Foundation website.

October 12: Indigenous Peoples' Day

Not only does this day celebrate the Native American peoples, it also honors their history and culture. Many state and local governments choose to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day.

What To Do: Teach your children about the history of the Native American peoples, and talk about different Indigenous cultures. Virtual festivals, podcasts, and films are also available online.

October 16: Dictionary Day

Dictionary Day celebrates the birthday of Noah Webster, who published his first dictionary in 1806. It's the perfect opportunity to teach your child to love words! (Some of our favorites are discombobulated, crustacean, and popcorn.).

What To Do: Recite the alphabet, practice writing letters, and say words out loud with a toddler. For older kids, look up different words in the dictionary and write down the definitions on pieces of paper. Place in a hat and take turns drawing the definitions; everyone has to guess the word. The person who guesses correctly most wins a pocket dictionary! 

October 16: Sweetest Day

Started by a man in Cleveland to provide comfort to the homeless and underprivileged in his area, Sweetest Day now brings neighbors and friends together as they share small tokens of appreciation.

What To Do: Bake delicious sugar cookies for all the special people in your life. Your kids can help by cutting out the shapes and dashing on the sprinkles.

October 24: Make a Difference Day

Welcome to the nation's largest day of volunteering, which takes place on the fourth Saturday in October. This holiday is dedicated to helping others in your community.

What To Do: Encourage your youngsters to pick up trash your neighborhood or at the local park, or take on local projects that can use your help. Even smiling at others helps brighten someone's day!

Parents Magazine