As summer temperatures begin to climb, there are plenty of ways to celebrate all things aquatic throughout the month of June. Not only does this month host National Aquarium Month and Fishing Week celebrations, hosting water-themed activities (with or without fish) will go swimmingly for you and for your group.
MUSIC – Use things you have already lying around your community to experiment with music. Grab glasses from your dining room, a pitcher of water, and some utensils. Together with your group members, experiment with the different tones that occur when you tap the glass with the utensil and note how those tones change when you add more or less water. Work together and complete a seven-note scale by filling up each of the seven glasses with progressively more water. Encourage participants to make up their own tunes. Discuss why the tones are different: Small vibrations are created when you tap the glass with your utensil; these waves must travel through the water in the glass. The more water the sound waves travel through, the slower the vibrations, resulting in a lower tone.
COGNITIVE – Fishing tales are known for often being exaggerated. Host a small group activity focused on tall tales, and work together to make up your own “The One That Got Away” story. See how outrageous your story can become and share lots of laughs. Publish it in your next newsletter or read it at your monthly birthday celebration.
FAMILY – While they aren’t exactly fish, crawfish can be the star of the show at your next Family Night as you host a Crawfish Boil at your community. If your dining team isn’t up to the challenge, some places have crawfish boil companies that will bring the party to you. Simply have long tables and tablecloths ready to go. The crawfish and other boiled goodies, like potatoes and corn, get dumped right on the tables for everyone to eat. It’s a fun atmosphere that you can enhance by adding some New Orleans-inspired jazz music, or signature drinks for the evening like a berry lemonade or nonalcoholic hurricane.
FOOD – Create a fishbowl treat with your group members, or ask the dining department to prepare small bowls for you to use as edible centerpieces for your next social. Prepare blue Jello and pour into small bowls. Before the Jello sets completely in the refrigerator, use Swedish fish to add some aquatic life to your bowl. Nestle fish throughout the bowl and then put it back in the fridge to finish setting. You could serve it during a movie screening of Finding Nemo.
SPIRITUAL – Does your community have an aquarium onsite? If not, this month might be the perfect time to request one. Watching fish swim around can be a serene experience. If you have an aquarium, consider hosting your yoga or even prayer groups in the community space with the aquarium for this month. Encourage participants to take time to meditate (or pray) while looking at the fish swim along without a care.
CRAFTS – Create water plant bowls for group members to enjoy in their rooms or throughout the community. To get started, purchase glass bowls or vases and some water plants for participants. If you aren’t interested in making one bowl per person, purchase a few bowls that pairs can work on together. Add about an inch of soil or sand to the bottom of the bowl and then carefully fill with water. Next, add your plants. Consult with your local florist or garden store to choose which water plants would work best. Once planted, water plants are easy to care for. Simply top off the water and clip overgrowth as needed.
SENSORY KIT – Appeal to participants who have a history or interest in fishing by making a fishing-themed sensory kit. Include colorful bobbers, along with assorted lures (with hooks clipped off). You can find a variety of lures that range in size, shape, and texture for an engaging tactile experience. Flip through fishing magazines to find beautiful photos to discuss. Other items to include: a small bottle of water, a CD with water sounds, a small net, a seashell. You can use snacks, like fish-shaped crackers or gummy worms as a treat.
INTERGENERATIONAL – Invite a local preschool over for a fishy afternoon. Read the book The Rainbow Fish for the children and seniors. Make construction paper fish for the kids and seniors to decorate together. This is a great time to clean out your activity closet, putting out bowls of pompons, sequins, feathers, or other fun supplies to be to glue on the Rainbow Fish. After the craft is complete, settle in for a quick snack of Goldfish.
GIVING BACK – Work with your local forest preserve or park district to arrange a pond clean-up event. Your seniors and community can work together – under direction of the parks department – to clear out garbage or do another project (painting a bench or clearing shrubs) at a local pond. Just be sure to find an activity that your group members can be a part of or enjoy watching. You can also invite staff and family members to join in, and then serve a light picnic for everyone to enjoy after their hard work.
CELEBRATION – Inquire at your local pet shop, petting zoo, or aquarium to see if they have a program that could bring fish and other aquatic creatures to your community. If possible, set up a small ‘touch tank’ featuring starfish, sea urchins, snails, and other tide pool dwellers, to create a tactile experience that participants will love.
JUST KEEP SWIMMING TRIVIA
- Which movie made sharks a terrifying creature, especially when they heard the eerie soundtrack? Jaws
- Which classic novel about a search for a particular whale begins with the line, “Call me Ishmael”? Moby Dick
- Which Disney animated movie features a father fish crossing an ocean to find his son? Finding Nemo
- Ernest Hemingway wrote which book about a Cuban fisherman struggling with a giant marlin? The Old Man and the Sea
- Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, and Jane Fonda starred in a movie that featured Henry Fonda’s character teaching his grandson about fishing and life. Name the movie. On Golden Pond
- While a pirate and not a fisherman, Peter Pan’s nemesis spends most of his time on a boat called the Jolly Roger. Who is he? Captain Hook
- What was the name of the “unsinkable” boat that met an untimely end after a run-in with an iceberg? HMS Titanic
- On the old television show, how long was the tour supposed to last before the passengers and crew became stranded on Gilligan’s Island? Three hours
- Complete the name of the Daniel Defoe novel about a man who became stranded on an island for 24 years: Robinson … Crusoe
- Name the Frank Sinatra hit song that has the following fishy lyrics: “If that sort of life is what you wish, you may grow up to be a fish.” “Swinging on a Star”
JUST KEEP SWIMMING THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“Everyone should believe in something. I believe I will go fishing.” ~ Thoreau
“Just Keep Swimming” written by Haley Burress. Copyright 2016 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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