It’s hard to believe we’re heading into Fall soon! For this month, we’re sharing activities based on quirky holidays and celebrations that take place in the month of September to help you get an early start on your September calendar and celebrate those fun holidays.
Swing your partner dosey doe, swing your partner here we go! September is International Square Dancing Month, and it’s a great opportunity for your residents to dust off their dancing shoes and brush up on their square dancing skills. Invite a local square dancing teacher once a week to teach your residents how to square dance. If you have some particularly skilled dancers, consider running a beginner class as well as an advanced class. As always, we would love to see videos, so feel free to share!
While letter writing may not be as common today, many of your residents will remember the days of writing their life updates to friends and family when they were younger. On September 1st, World Letter Writing Day, you can run an activity for your residents that pays tribute to the days when you got excited to receive a handwritten letter in the mail.
For all the residents who wish to participate, put their names into a jar and have them draw names. The name chosen is the person they will write a “Just Because” letter: a letter that can say anything and everything, but that focuses on why that resident matters or what they bring to others’ lives. To add a fun element, have a staff member act as a mail carrier and hand deliver the letters to residents later in the day. Everyone loves getting things in the mail!
A great day to go a little coco-nuts! World Coconut Day! Along with being a delicious, versatile fruit, coconut has many benefits. Its oil can be applied on the skin, it can be used in food, and it contains various anti-fungal, antiviral, antioxidant and antibacterial elements.
Celebrate this versatile fruit by having a tropical happy hour! Encourage lei’s, floral prints, and big sun hats and serve a cocktail inside a coconut with a little straw. Another great thing about coconuts is that for those non-drinkers in your community, coconut water is delicious! Throw on some beach tunes and you’ve got yourselves a coco-nutty party!
So many older adults have spent time volunteering for various organizations and charities. World Charity Day is a great opportunity to get those residents who love to give back together and do a charitable give back event. Whether it’s collecting clothing or food donations, offering to do a reading event for a literacy organization, or hosting a fundraiser for a local charity, there are so many great ways to give back to those in need. Not only will your local community benefit, but it will help your residents connect and feel good about giving back.
Literacy opens up a world of opportunities to anyone and can set the foundation for a bright future for kids. With this in mind, you can celebrate World Literacy Day with your residents by hosting an Intergenerational Reading Event. Invite a local classroom to come to your community and pair each child up with a resident to have them practice their reading. This will be a touching, fun and supportive activity for everyone involved!
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Why not celebrate International Chocolate Day with a post-dinner chocolate tasting! Here are the basics:
1) Chop or break up the bars into small pieces. Put each bar on its own plate, and set the wrapper beside it. You could always do the tasting “blind” and save the wrappers until the end – it is amazing the effect a pretty wrapper has on many people's perception of a bar.
2) Don't serve drinks or other food with the chocolate.
3) Once you are ready, have each guest taste the same bar at the same time following this process:
When selecting chocolate for a tasting, try 4 to 6 different bars, and one bar will usually serve 8 people, leaving enough for a second taste — a great excuse to enjoy lots of types of chocolate!
Get out those jeans and cowboy boots: it’s International Country Music Day! Organize a big hoedown event in your community. Encourage residents to dress up, get those bales of hay out, invite a local country music entertainer, serve Southern BBQ grub, such as ribs, beans, and corn, and encourage your residents to dance the night away.
When times get tough, it’s important to try to find the things we can be grateful for. Whether it’s that hot cup of coffee in the morning, our loving family, or the flowers in bloom, remembering the small things we’re grateful for can help us put things in perspective and get through those rougher times. Buy some notebooks at the dollar store and host a gratitude journaling activity in the morning with your residents. You can encourage them to list out what they’re grateful for, provide some prompts to get them thinking or maybe begin the activity with a gratitude meditation. In the darkest times, there’s always something to be grateful for.
Many of us have fond memories of going out for a game of mini golf. Whether it was with family, friends or as a date, it’s always a time of fun, friendly competition. It’s a great time to organize an outing to your local mini golf spot with some of your residents. There are lots of modification tools available for folks with various barriers and if an outing isn’t possible, there’s always opportunities to create some mini golf on site. Have a great tee off!
Podcasts may be newer to some of your residents, but they are an excellent, accessible way to learn, be entertained, laugh and connect. To start your podcast event, begin with a technology lesson and teach your residents how to access and search for podcasts on their devices. From there, choose a podcast that everyone can listen to together and discuss. Maybe it’s a classic true crime podcast like Serial, or one that spurs discussion like Hidden Brain. Whatever it is, treat it like a book club and encourage your residents to listen, discuss and connect.
Wendy studies English Language and Literature at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.
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