Do you remember running barefoot through the backyard, napping under an old elm tree, or spitting watermelon seeds with your best friend? Ah, the lazy, hot days of summer are here! It’s time to celebrate the simple pleasures of the season. Your group of senior adults can cool off with handheld paper fans as you help them recall some of their favorite summer experiences. Here are a few activities to enjoy.
- Listen to some patriotic music. Talk with your group about the origin and history of “God Bless America,” written by Irving Berlin, but destined to be associated with popular singer Kate Smith. Listen to Kate’s rendition, first sung on her radio broadcast in 1938.
- Organize an old-fashioned ice cream social for your group, complete with sundaes, floats, and shakes.
- Reminisce about listening to or watching baseball games, America’s national pastime. Ask:Did you have a favorite Major League team? Did your family gather around the kitchen table to listen to play-by-play accounts on the radio? How did the game change for you when you were able to watch a live game on your newly acquired television? How often did you drive to the ballpark for a family outing? Did you ever make a trip to the movie theater to see sports highlights on newsreel? Take a “seventh- inning stretch” and sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
- Share memories of summer camping adventures. Talk about the different types of camping experiences, including YMCA, Scouts, 4-H camp, or church camp. Sing some camp songs in the round, e.g., “Bingo” or “Yankee Doodle.” Make s’mores with the group.
- Show photographs of a favorite American icon, the drive-in movie theater. Share recollections about the experience of watching a movie in your car. Watch a favorite family classic like The Shaggy Dog or Pollyanna.
- Ask participants to name their favorite books for summer reading. Ask: Where was your favorite place to relax with a good book? Share recollections of borrowing books from the summer bookmobile or the main library. Enjoy some light reading with your group.
- Encourage group members to share summer berry-picking adventures. Bring in an old pail filled with fresh berries. Taste jellies and jams made with summer fruits.
- Share memories of a favorite summer activity for bargain hunters: attending flea markets. Ask: Can one person’s trash be another person’s treasure? Bring in items you would find at a flea market and ask participants to price them. Examples: old records, old toys, glass, magazines, jewelry.
- Organize an intergenerational garden tea party (indoors). Decorate with fresh summer flowers. Ask the ladies to wear big-brimmed hats. Older ladies can teach younger girls about tea etiquette.
- Share family stories about visiting the county fair. Sample typical fair foods, like corn dogs and funnel cakes. Play a ring toss game.
- Examine sunflower art by Vincent Van Gogh. Paint a cheerful bouquet of sunflowers. Eat some sunflower seeds.
- Share nostalgic memories of sitting on the front porch with extended family and neighbors on a hot summer night. Ask: Did your family have a rocking chair or swing on the front porch? Did you gossip, give advice, share family stories, or watch children catch fireflies? Serve a favorite summer drink, such as iced tea, lemonade, or a root beer float.
- Enjoy some songs related to the season: “Summertime,” “Those Lazy-Hazy- Crazy Days of Summer,” or “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.” Ask: What are some activities you enjoy during the summer months?
- Show clothing advertisements of 1950s-era summer fashions, including Bermuda shorts, surfer shorts, tank tops, clam diggers, pedal pushers, bikinis, and RayBans. Ask participants to describe a favorite summer outfit.
- Display an old fishing rod. Encourage the men to share some funny fishing stories. Ask: Did you ever hook a really big one? Ask participants to list words associated with the sport of fishing, e.g., reel, rod, bait, tackle, lure.
TRIVIA FROM A TO Z
These questions can be used to rekindle memories of summertime-picnics, carnivals, 4th of July, beach outing, golf, baseball, and more.
- Starts with ‘A’: These bugs may crash your picnic. Ants
- Starts with ‘C’: This carnival treat looks like clouds on a stick. Cotton candy
- Starts with ‘E’: What is one type of shade tree? Elm
- Starts with ‘G’: This Southern state is known for its peaches. Georgia
- Starts with ‘J’: America’s birthday is in what month? July
- Starts with ‘L’: Who watches over you at the beach to make sure you don’t drown? Lifeguard
- Starts with ‘P’: This well-known golfer from the 1960s had followers who became known as “Arnie’s Army.” Palmer
- Starts with ‘S’: This large, yellow flower’s seeds are edible. Sunflowe
- Starts with ‘U’: What kind of rays does the sun emit? Ultraviolet
- Starts with ‘Y’: Name a New York baseball team. Yankees
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more it remains.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“SUMMER’S SIMPLE PLEASURES” written by Sue Hansen. © 2007 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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