Spring is on its way and what a spring it will be! This month, we have some special Easter and April-themed activities for you that will bring spring into your community!
Give your residents an opportunity to laugh this April Fool’s with a laughing game! It’s simple and will get those belly laughs in.
Seat all of your residents in a circle. The first person to start says “ha.” The next person adds a “ha,” so they would say “ha ha.” The next person adds a "ha" so they would say "ha ha ha."Continue around the circle adding a “ha” each time. Any person who makes a mistake steps out of the game until there is a winner!
There are so many cherished books from our childhood: Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Harriet the Spy, Peter Pan. The list goes on! International Children’s Book Day on April 2nd coincides with the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen, the author of The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, and many other fairy tales. It’s an opportunity to celebrate our beloved fictional children’s book characters by hosting a social where everyone can dress up as their favourite childhood story character. Because this lands on a weekend this year, it might be a great opportunity to invite the residents’ grandchildren for a group reading of some of the favourites!
Who doesn’t love a great hat? Schedule a time for your residents to create their own DIY spring bonnets!
For this activity, you’ll need paper plates, paper bowls, a glue-gun or tacky glue, acrylic paints, brushes or sponge applicators, and decorations for your hats such as ribbons, lace, or silk flowers. Prepare the bonnets for your residents by gluing a paper bowl to the bottom of a paper plate to form the shape of a hat.
Have residents paint their hats in the colour of their choice. They can then choose the decorations they want and arrange them on their hats. Glue ribbons down first and then add flowers or leaves on top using the glue gun. Make a small loop of ribbon and glue it to the back of the bonnet so they can be hung up as decorations.
Bring a little life to each residents’ door by creating an easy-to-make Easter wreath.
You’ll need pool noodles, about 10 cheap loofahs, Easter decorations such as eggs, chickens, and carrots, a hot glue gun, and string. To form the wreath, pass the string through the pool noodle. Pull tight and tie the ends together, forming a circle or egg shape. Remove the string from the loofahs and give residents the long piece of mesh to loop around the noodle. Tie with string to secure. Once residents are happy with the amount of colour and coverage, lay the wreath flat on the table and ask them to place the decorations they want on their wreath. Then, use a hot glue gun to secure decorations and add a little on the loofahs to keep from slipping.
Are you doing some Easter meals in your community? Why not engage your residents to create some Easter bunny centrepieces for the tables!
You’ll need a felt bunny garland, which you can either get from the dollar store or make yourself by cutting bunny shapes from felt. You’ll also need clay pots, Easter grass or shredded green paper, floral foam, a wooden dowel, ribbon, paint, and hot glue.
Start by cutting floral foam to fit into the bottom of your clay pot (you can hot glue it into place) and press your dowel down into the foam. Next, paint your pot. You could add polka dots, stripes or even decoupage would be pretty! Then glue your felt bunnies to the dowel and add a bow to your bunny to cover the holes made for the garland. Place Easter grass around the base of the dowel and you are finished!
Create some beautiful dyed eggs for Easter! This could be a beautiful opportunity for an intergenerational program with a local school.
You’ll need a dozen eggs or more (medium-sized are better), silk ties or scarfs (dark colours work best), white cotton, string/twist-ties/rubber bands to tie fabric, ⅓ cup of white vinegar, and a large saucepan with water.
If you’re using silk ties, open them up by unstitching them. You may wet the silk to make it easier to handle. Cut silk and cotton into square pieces big enough to cover the egg, roughly 8 x 8 inches or 20 x 20cm. Wrap a silk square with the 'right' side (most colourful side) touching the egg. Gather fabric together at the narrower part of the egg and twist and tie with a string, rubber band, or plastic twist tie. Wrap and tie eggs again as above in plain white cotton (an old sheet or natural calico).
Place water in a saucepan and add vinegar. Place eggs into the saucepan and bring to boil. Eggs must be submerged; if need be, place a bread & butter plate on top of them to make sure they are under water. Simmer for 20 minutes. Drain eggs in a colander and allow to cool. Open and enjoy!
Note: When wrapping eggs in silk, straighten the silk as much as you can. Also, if you end up with several strips of silk, get creative and tie one by one around an egg, and proceed as above.
Depending on the protocol in your community related to COVID-19, engage your local community and host an Easter Egg Hunt for the kiddos in your neighbourhood. Purchase chocolate Easter eggs and get your residents together to hide them around the home. You could also do this with egg-shaped cut outs if your budget is limited. This activity is also a great marketing opportunity if you’re an independent living community!
April Showers Bring May Flowers, but let’s get started on those flowers early! Brighten up your community with some paper daffodils!
You’ll need construction paper in bright yellow, construction paper in red or orange, scissors, glue, and pipe cleaners (chenille stems).
Download and print a few daffodil flower templates from the internet. Sit a group of 8 or 10 residents around a large table. Ask residents to trace templates onto construction paper. Demonstrate if necessary. While some trace, others will be cutting out flowers that have already been traced.
Here’s how you’ll put the daffodils together: cut out a small rectangle of red or orange paper and cut fringes into it. Roll into a tight tube and glue to the centre of the flower. Fold a half circle of yellow paper into a cone shape and glue around the orange centre of the daffodil. Glue a green pipe cleaner to the back of the flower to make the stem.
If any of your residents love to garden, they are probably ready to start thinking about what to plant in this year’s garden. Springtime is the ideal time to add a garden-inspired sensory experience to your 1:1 visits or to your small sensory groups.
Here are a few ideas of what to include. Remember, you can add any combination of these ideas. Be sure to see if you have anything hiding in your supply closet before purchasing anything too!
You can gather your supplies and bring them to your group or 1:1 intervention in a creative vessel that suits your garden theme. Here are a few ideas:
This is a program that can be run regularly, doesn’t require a lot of preparation, and can be switched up constantly!
Print 6 close-up colour photos of residents, staff, athletes, actors, or famous celebrities (print large scale - A5 or A4). Laminate each print and cut into puzzle pieces according to the skills of residents; 12, 24, or 30 pieces. Divide 12 residents into six groups of two and give each group a photo puzzle to solve. The group who finishes first is the winner! Providing a time frame in which to finish is optional.
Did these activity ideas spark your creativity? Get more inspiration with 10 Senior Community Activity Ideas: Spring Edition or plan ahead for next month with these May Activity Ideas for Senior Living Communities!
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.
Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.
Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
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