17 Fun May Day Activities, Games, & Ideas for Work or School

By: | Updated: April 04, 2023

Here is our list of the best May Day ideas.

May Day ideas are fun events and experiences celebrating May 1st, the midpoint between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Examples of these ideas include setting up a maypole, making May Day crafts, and playing May Day Trivia. The purpose of these activities and ideas is to celebrate spring in a fun way.

These ideas are similar to team building games and team building events. For more seasonal inspiration, you can check out these articles on Easter team building activities, summer team building activities, and seasonal icebreakers.


This list includes:

  • May Day activities for adults
  • May Day activities for students
  • May Day games
  • May Day ideas for work

Let’s get started!

List of May Day ideas

May Day is a traditional holiday celebrated on May 1st and April 30th, known as May Day Eve. From May Day paint and sip to a flower garden, here are fun ideas, games, and activities you can do on May Day.

1. Maypole Set Up

Setting up a maypole is one of the most fun May Day activities for students or employees. Maypole remains a significant tradition of this ceremony, where celebrants dance and weave beautiful patterns with ribbons.

You can follow these steps to build a maypole with your group:

  1. Prepare the material to create the pole. You can use PVC pipe or a cardboard tube from a carpet store if you are on a budget.
  2. Paint the pole material with a neutral color, like gray or brown.
  3. Attach colorful ribbons firmly to the pole’s top.
  4. Secure two-star pickets on the ground using your pole’s circumference as a guide.
  5. Ensure the distance between the two pickets is wide enough to hold your pole firmly in place.
  6. Place the pole’s open center over both pickets until the bottom touches the floor.

The pole should be firm enough not to move around during the dance. The number of ribbons should correspond with the number of students dancing around the pole. If you have more students, then you can divide them into several groups. Group members will work together to build their maypole. You can also turn the activity into a contest and award a basket of flowers and snacks to the team with the most creative maypole.

2. Maypole Dance

The maypole dance is a significant May Day tradition enjoyable for adults and kids.

To do this dance:

  1. Build a maypole.
  2. Create a pattern for the dance. For instance, you can use the “over, under, over, under” pattern.
  3. Ask the dancers to form a circle around the maypole and hold a ribbon.
  4. You can assign a group to the dancers by letting participants take turns saying “one, two, one, two.”
  5. Dancers who say “one” will be in the first group, while the participants who count “two” will be in the second group.
  6. No two dancers from the same group should stand side by side.
  7. Instruct group one to move clockwise while group two dances counterclockwise.
  8. Assign a caller to provide instructions for the dance movements.
  9. Instruct only group one to follow the caller’s instructions.
  10. When the caller says “over,” then group one should raise their ribbons to allow group two to duck under the ribbons.
  11. When the caller says “under,” then group one members can go under the other group members’ ribbons.

This dance movement weaves the ribbons around the pole. As the dance continues, you will notice a beautiful pattern start to form on the pole. Furthermore, the maypole dance notably comes in various styles, from Dome and Umbrella to Spider Web. If you are unfamiliar with any of the varying dance styles, then you can hire a local expert to teach your dancers.

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3. Movie Night

Hosting a movie night is one of the most fun May Day ideas for work. You can organize this experience both indoors and outdoors. You should prepare all the necessary equipment ahead of time, from projectors to chairs. Also, before May Day, decide on a movie to watch. For a fun experience, consider selecting a May Day or spring-themed movie.

Here are must-see movies set around May Day:

  • Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • First Knight
  • The First of May

Furthermore, you can decorate your viewing location with flowers and garland to brighten the space.

Check out this guide on how to host an office movie night.

4 . May Day Trivia

Trivia is a popular game you can play on any occasion, including May Day. First, prepare a list of May Day-related questions.

Here are fun questions to challenge your colleagues or students:

  • Question: What country observes May 1st as part of the “Golden Week”?
    • Answer: Japan
  • Question: What do folks call the popular dance associated with May Day?
    • Answer: Maypole dance
  • Question: On what day do people commemorate May Day?
    • Answer: May 1st
  • Question: What do Hawaiians call May Day?
    • Answer: Lei Day
  • Question: In pre-Christian European pagan cultures, May Day was a traditional holiday. True or False?
    • Answer: True

After compiling the questions, divide participants into groups. Participants can also play individually if the group is small enough. Then, let each group take turns answering the questions. Also, award a point for each correct answer, and announce the group with the highest score as the winner. To make the experience even more fun, you can give winners a flower crown and baskets filled with flowers and sweets.

You can check out these tips for hosting fun trivia nights.

5. May Day Book Club

Organizing a May Day-themed book club is one of the best May Day ideas for all ages. First, determine the books participants will love to read.

Here are interesting spring-themed books perfect for May Day celebrations:

  • May Day Festivals in America, 1840 to the Present by Allison Thompson
  • Beltane: Springside Rituals, Lore & Celebration by Raven Grimassi
  • The May Day Mystery by Mabel Esther Allan
  • May Day by John Sommerfield

After picking a book, ensure participants can access a copy in the most convenient format. Also, give participants enough time to go through the book. On May Day, you can call a meeting and discuss the book you read. Participants can share their views about the book and ask questions. Hosting a May Day book club is a great way to have fun and broaden your group’s knowledge of this traditional holiday.

Here are helpful office book club tips you can use during your experience.

6. Garden Planting

May Day is the perfect time to plant a garden with your colleagues and students. Plus, the warm soil in May will help your seeds grow faster. You can visit a local nursery to get different plants, seeds, and herbs. Depending on your preference, you can plant a wildflower garden or opt for plants like sweet alyssum, lavender, and snapdragons.

When planning to plant a garden for May Day, decide on the ideal location. You can use free outdoor space in your office, home, or school. If the opportunity is open, then you can also volunteer to plant a garden in a local greenhouse. In addition, prepare the necessary supplies for participants, from shovels to gloves to watering cans. Finally, plant your seeds and starters! If you are unsure how to plant a garden, then consider contacting a local botanist to guide you.

7. May Day Never Have I Ever

May Day never have I ever is one of the most fun May Day games. You and your friends can play this game to break the ice during any May Day event. To play, prepare a list of May Day-related experiences. Then, a designated caller will read out each experience, starting with never have I ever.

For instance, never have I ever:

  • Participated in a May Queen contest
  • Danced around a bonfire
  • Planted my own garden
  • Made a floral basket
  • Helped set up a maypole
  • Participated in at least five maypole dances
  • Watched a movie about May Day

During the game, you must put down a finger for each relatable experience. The first player to put down all ten fingers wins.

8. Flower Market

You cannot go wrong with organizing a flower market during the next May Day celebration. In this market, gardeners gather to showcase beautiful flower species. You can partner with local botanists and farmers interested in displaying their fresh plants. Also, you would want to secure a location quite accessible to the public.

In addition, you can use social media platforms to promote your event. You can also offer giveaways to drive more audience to the market’s location. You can invite a local artist to perform and even set up several maypoles in the market space. Furthermore, a May Day flower market can be a great learning opportunity for guests. The audience can learn more about the flowers from the farmers and even support local businesses by purchasing the plants.

9. May Day Dinner

Hosting a May Day Dinner is one of the best May Day ideas for work. Before May 1st, you should plan all the event details, from food to venue to entertainment. You can serve guests traditional May Day foods eaten in different parts of the world. For instance, folks in the Czech Republic usually make a tasty May Day cake with yeast dough, jam, and fruit. You can also create a buffet of colorful fruits.

Furthermore, decorate the event venues with flowers and garlands to highlight the celebration. You can also ask guests to show up in their best May Day-themed costumes and choose the best dressed.

10. May Day Picnic

A May Day picnic is a fun way to celebrate this national holiday. You can visit a park or book a spot in your local garden. The latter option is an excellent idea since you and your colleagues can also tour the site and explore the flowers. You can encourage guests to come dressed in floral-themed attire.

Furthermore, prepare comfy blankets and pillows to keep the experience cozy for attendees. Also, plan the event’s food and beverages. You can organize the picnic as a BYO basket experience, where attendees come with their favorite May Day-themed foods. Then, guest can share their meals and have fun

11. May Day Crafts

Making May Day crafts is one of the most fun May Day activities for students. You can be as creative as you want with the craft you choose.

Here are a few May Day crafts to try out:

  • Garlands
  • Woven flower baskets
  • Tissue paper flower wreaths
  • Flower crowns
  • Hand-painted paper flowers

You can make your May Day craft experience fun by organizing the activity as a workshop. For some instruction, consider contacting a local artist to provide a live demonstration of making these crafts. You can also divide participants into groups and host a craft contest. Each group decides what project to create. In the end, choose the winning artwork in categories like “most colorful craft,” “neatest craft,” and “most creative.”

12. Would You Rather May Day Edition

Would you rather May Day edition is a fun activity to engage in with your colleagues. This game involves choosing between two activities you would rather do. You should prepare playing cards with fun May Day-centric prompts.

For instance, would you rather:

  • Plant a garden or build a maypole?
  • Live in a house filled with flowers or drive a flower-covered car?
  • Be a May queen or the best maypole dancer?
  • Have lemon juice or Maiwein?

This activity is a zero-point game with no winner emerging at the end. All you have to do is pick a card and read out the prompt. Then, participants can take turns choosing their options and even say a few words about their preferences. This game serves as a great conversation starter during May Day gatherings.

13. May Day Gift Basket

Giving workers a May Day-themed gift basket is one of the best May Day ideas. You can curate the basket yourself with items like a potted plant, a floral-themed notebook, and sweets. You can also decorate the basket with flowers for a fancy presentation.

Furthermore, sending a bouquet alongside the gift is a great idea. If you cannot curate the May Day presents yourself, then contact a trusted gift box company to help you with this task. This idea is also great for businesses catering to a large group.

Here is a list of corporate gifting companies to help you curate a May Day-themed gift package.

14. May Day Basket Game

May Day basket game is one of the most exciting May Day games commonly played in different parts of the world. The game involves hiding several baskets filled with flowers and sweets. Then, kids and adults can go hunting for these baskets.

First, you need to prepare tons of small baskets. Then, look for hidden spots to hide each basket. You can also make this game more fun by organizing the experience as a scavenger hunt. All you need to do is leave clues and hints inside each small basket for participants to find the “ultimate May Day basket.”

You can check out this guide on how to do a scavenger hunt.

15. Bonfire

Singing and dancing around a bonfire is a common May Day activity in different parts of the world, including the United States, Switzerland, and Germany. The first step is to set up your fire pit. You can rent a fire pit in your community or look for an ideal spot to dig a hole. Before starting the fire, check out your state’s fire laws and regulations.

Also, prepare various snacks and beverages to fuel the fun for attendees. You can also plan different entertainment, from singing to dancing to storytelling. A May Day bonfire is an excellent excuse to roast marshmallows with colleagues and spread festive cheer.

16. May Day Paint and Sip

May Day Paint and Sip is among the most fun May Day activities for adults. You can also make this event family-friendly and invite the little ones. You can book a slot at a local art studio or use a free space at home or in your office for this experience.

You should also pick a May Day-themed artwork to recreate with attendees. For example, a picture highlighting springtime or flowers is a great idea. Also, prepare colorful fruity beverages to spread festive cheer among attendees. Furthermore, prepare your guests’ painting supplies, from paints to brushes to canvasses. You can also hire a local artist to lead your group. Even without expert guidance, you and your group members can still have fun and laugh at each other’s goofy May Day paintings.

17. Build A Bouquet Bar

One great idea for May Day is to bring the garden inside the office. You can set up a bouquet bar so that team members can create a bright floral arrangement to perk up their desk or cubicle. To DIY the bar, gather an assortment of different kinds of flowers and set them up in buckets, then provide mason jars, vases, or paper for participants to take away their creations in. Or, you can contract with a local florist to run the experience for your group. Be sure to take plenty of pictures of the masterpieces!


Marked on May 1st, May Day is a traditional holiday celebrated in many parts of the world. The festival started among the Europeans, who celebrated two different holidays known as “Beltane” and “Floralia.” Later, these two celebrations became one holiday celebrated in many parts of the world as May Day. Aside from springtime, this traditional holiday also celebrates fertility and nature. Celebrants commonly do many fun activities, from gathering fresh flowers to maypole dancing. There is no limit to how you decide to celebrate May Day. You can give a May Day basket, host a painting event, or plant a garden. Regardless of the experience you choose, be sure to have fun and spread a lot of May Day cheer.

Next, check out these holiday icebreaker questions and games. You can also check out these fun holiday party themes.

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FAQ: May Day ideas

Here are answers to questions about May Day ideas.

What is May Day?

May Day is a traditional holiday marked on May 1st. The holiday celebrates springtime and the beginning of summer. May Day notably shares the same celebration date as International Workers Day, also called May Day. However, these two holidays remain different. The traditional May Day started in Europe to celebrate springtime, fertility, and agriculture. Different countries worldwide also commemorate this holiday by building a maypole and doing the maypole dance.

What are the best ideas for May Day?

The best ideas for May Day include organizing a May Day paint and sip, doing May Day crafts, setting up a maypole, and playing the May Day basket game.

How can you celebrate May Day?

There is no limit to how you can mark May Day. Traditionally, you can celebrate this holiday by dancing around a maypole and weaving flower baskets. You can also throw a dinner party or a picnic with your colleagues. If you love challenging activities, then you and your colleagues can play trivia to test your knowledge of May Day. In addition, you can decorate your space with beautiful flowers to commemorate this holiday.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at teambuilding.com. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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