What seemed like endless days of summer are passing by quickly. Families are enjoying a flurry of last-minute activities before the new school years starts and the fall season begins. Bask in the sunshine as you relive some picture-perfect days of summer with your group. Choose from the suggestions listed below.
- SUMMER ACTIVITIES: Listen to the song “In the Good Old Summertime.” Show photos of summertime activities and suggest words that describe the atmosphere of the season (examples: blazing, lazy, carefree, sun-kissed, relaxing, bright, starry, sweaty). Ask: What is your favorite part of summer? What outdoor activities do you enjoy? Do you like hot weather? What’s the hottest summer you can recall? What’s a good way to cool off? Name some ways to relax on a hot summer day/evening (examples: nap in hammock, sit on porch swing, spread a blanket on the grass). Sip homemade lemonade.
- SUMMER CHALLENGES: Ask participants to offer their advice on the following summer issues: How do you get the itch out of a mosquito bite? How can you tell if a watermelon is ripe? How do you grow roses successfully? What is the best way to barbecue a steak on a grill? How do you make iced tea? (More ideas can be found in the ElderSong resource More Mind Stretchers, a featured product for the month.)
- OUTDOOR PHOTOS: Take participants outdoors on a sunny day and show them how to use a digital camera to take “snapshots” of simple summer sights – flowers, butterflies, trees, birds. For inspiration look at the summer photos on the National Geographic website. Read some summer poetry by Emily Dickinson.
- SUMMER STOCK: Learn about the history of the “straw hat circuit” or summer stock theater (heyday from 1920s – 1960s). Ask participants if they ever attended a summer theater production and where the show was held. Find out the names of some famous actors who got their start on the straw-hat circuit. Watch the 1950 musical Summer Stock, starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.
- INDOOR ACTIVITIES: Engage your group in some lazy-day indoor activities from the 1950s and 1960s: paint-by-number, Droodles (doodles with a funny caption), a game of Yahtzee or Scrabble, Peanuts comic strip, tie-dye shirts, James Bond novels, doing the Twist, love beads.
- SINGING: Hold an old-fashioned hymn sing, using the ElderSong resource Hymn-Sing with ElderSong, a featured product for the month. Enjoy fellowship and simple picnic foods. Share Bible verses about hymns. (Examples: Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19, Acts 16:25) Learn the story behind some of the old hymns, like “This Is My Father’s World.” Share memories of other summer church activities – church picnic, Vacation Bible School, revival.
- TRAVEL: Learn about the Great Lakes – Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, Erie. Plan an imaginary trip to one of the lakes. Decide where to go, how long to stay, how to get there, where to stay, when to leave, and what to pack. Suggest activities that can be done at the lakeshore (examples: swimming, biking, digging in the sand, fishing, hiking, sailing, climbing sand dunes).
- PEACHES: Celebrate National Peach Month with a peach pie/cobbler taste test. Share fun facts about peaches. Watch the Disney movie James and the Giant Peach with a group of youngsters. Talk about idioms such as peachy keen, peaches and cream, just peachy.
- DANCING: Contact a local dance instructor to teach the group some basic line dancing steps. Use country and pop tunes.
- ACTIVE GAMES: Reminisce about summertime fun and games for children before cable TV, video games, cell phones, I-pads, etc. (Examples: tag, hide and seek, leap frog, Red Rover, Red Light/Green Light, kick the can, catch fire flies, play Old Maid) Ask: How can parents encourage their children to use their imagination for playtime?
- GARDENING: Invite a master gardener to talk about how to grow prize-winning heirloom beefsteak tomatoes for the county fair. Reminisce about a trip to the fair. Ask if anyone ever had a 4-H exhibit and was a blue ribbon winner. Sample some fresh tomatoes from the garden.
- SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Invite a group of school-aged children to show the older group their back-to-school supplies and some of their new school clothes or a new haircut. What supplies were used by seniors years ago and are still used by children today? (Examples: loose-leaf paper, Crayola Crayons, or Elmer’s Glue) What supplies are new or different? Ask older participants to talk about how they prepared for the start of a new school year. Sing the old song “School Days.”
- FLOWERS: Display a bouquet of fresh gladiolus flowers in a rainbow of colors. Share interesting facts about glads, the flower of the month. Why are they also called sword lilies?
- REUNIONS: Reminisce about family reunions. Ask: Did your family hold reunions? Who came? Were the reunions an annual event? Did you look forward to seeing a special relative? What do you remember the most about the reunions? Did anyone bring a special food that you enjoyed? How did you keep in touch with your extended family?
- SUMMER ACTIVITIES: Share memories of any of the following summer activities: exhibiting in a state or county fair, going to the circus in town, listening to an outdoor band concert, marching in a patriotic parade, taking in a baseball game at the park, staying on your grandparents’ farm, attending a family reunion or picnic, visiting a theme park, watching a summer blockbuster at a drive-in movie theater, petting animals at the zoo, buying ice cream from the ice cream truck, searching for lost treasures at yard sales or flea markets.
For more summertime suggestions, check out the resources highlighted below.
Continue to look for upcoming editions of this newsletter the first day of the month. (Themes focus on the following month.) Our newsletter contains useful information to make your job of working with older adults more fulfilling. In this issue, you’ll find the following:
- Snapshots of Summer Resources
- Beach Trivia Quiz
- Thought for the Month
BEACH TRIVIA QUIZ
- What type of sun ray can cause a bad sunburn? Ultraviolet (UV) light
- What type of strong current presents a hazard to swimmers in the ocean? Rip current
- Name some equipment used by a beach lifeguard. Umbrella, flags, rope, rescue can, kickboard (Other answers are possible.)
- Where is Myrtle Beach located? South Carolina
- Which ’60s pop group sang these songs: “Surfin’ USA,” “Good Vibrations,” and “Help Me, Rhonda”? The Beach Boys
- What does the surfing term “wipe out” mean? Fall off a surfboard when riding a wave
- Which actress starred with Frankie Avalon in the popular beach party movies of the 1960s?Annette Funicello
- This popular chewy beach treat comes in many flavors. Name it. Salt water taffy
- A beach-goer might get stung if he touches the tentacles of this marine creature. What is it? Jellyfish
- What is the generic name of marine plants and algae that grow in the ocean? Seaweed
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“The summer night is like a perfection of thought.” ~ Wallace Stevens
“Snapshots of Summer” was written by Sue Hansen. Copyright 2015 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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