Asian-American and Pacific Heritage Month Activities and Teaching Resources

May is Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Help your students to celebrate and learn about the influence and contributions of Asian and Pacific Islanders to American history, society and culture with cross curricular activities, lesson plans, printables and teaching resources.

Why Do We Celebrate Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month?

Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month pays tribute to the accomplishments of Asian American and Pacific Islanders as well as their valuable contributions to the United States, and the rest of the world. The term Asian/Pacific broadly refers to all of the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Asian-American Pacific Islanders have made significant contributions to American culture and society, including sports, science and medicine, literature and art, government, politics and law.

The celebration began in the late 1970s as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week and in the early 1990s Congress passed new laws to expand the celebration to the entire month of May. May was chosen for Asian/Pacific Heritage Month to mark two significant dates: the first Japanese immigrant on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates the experiences, traditions and cultures of Asian-American Pacific Islander immigrants and citizens in the United States and the unique journeys they have made. It provides an opportunity to learn about and celebrate Asian-American Pacific Islander individuals, communities and cultures.

How to Celebrate Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the Classroom

Use these Asian Pacific American Heritage Month activities, lessons, and printables to explore the art, food, music, and writing of Asian and Pacific Island cultures. Choose from printables for making Asian musical instruments, reading and language arts activities for learning about cultural diversity and experiences of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders or history resources for exploring Asian-Pacific-American connections. These resources are also great to incorporate across your curriculum for Diversity Awareness Month in October.


Teach your students about Asian-Pacific-American cultures and traditions with these printables. Includes making musical instruments, Chinese New Year puppets, and mooncakes.

Lesson Plans

Our Lesson Plans will help students understand more about Asian-Pacific-American heritage with activities such as paper making, learning about Chinese money using simple algebraic equations, and more.


Test your students' knowledge about Asian-Pacific-American heritage with this printable multiple-choice quiz.


Refer to our resources on Asian-Pacific-American heritage to enhance your lessons and extend students' learning. Some activities included in the reference information.

Chinese New Year Resources

Students will enjoy learning about the Chinese New Year with these resources. Includes hands-on activities such as making musical instruments, creating a story cloth, and more.

Asian-American Food Resources

Use these resources to expand your teaching strategies and lessons about Asian-American foods. Let Asian-American students bring foods they eat at home to share with the class.

Asian-American Art Activities

Incorporate fun art activities with your lessons on Asian-Pacific-American heritage and increase learning with student created paper and musical instruments.

Asian-American Music Activities

Music is an international language. Use our resources to enhance your lessons and teach students about Asian-Pacific-American cultures by making musical instruments such as an erhu and koto, as well as learning about Asian-Pacific music.

Literature Resources for Asian-American History

Choose from these activities to help students expand their knowledge. Includes a reading passage with discussion questions and extension activities, learning about cultural diversity, and different genres of literature.

Language Arts & Asian-American History Connected

Interconnect these Language Arts activities with your lessons on Asian-Pacific-American heritage to enhance students’ learning. Includes paper making, reading passages on Chinese immigration and their experiences in new places, and more.

Asian-American Resources for History Class

Explore Asian-Pacific-American connections and expand your students' learning using these history resources. Includes making a koto, reading passages about the Asian experiences in new places, and more.

Recommended Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month Resources

loading gif