Bright sunshine, clear blue skies, and an occasional white puffy cloud are the ingredients for a perfect summer day. A new season officially starts on June 21, and most people are eager to enjoy the warm, sunny days ahead. Summertime is full of simple family activities, like walking the dog, playing catch, weeding the flower garden, or eating an ice cream cone. Your group of older adults will be eager to share some pleasant memories of the sunshine season. Here are some activities that will bring summer fun indoors.
- Show vintage photographs of adults and children enjoying summer outdoor activities. Ask: What do you like to do on a sunny day? How does sunshine make you feel? What’s the hottest day you can remember? How did you spend summer days as a kid? Tell us about your outdoor adventures. Enjoy a sunny-day drink like iced tea or lemonade.
- Listen to some “sun/sunshine” songs. Suggestions: “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “Sunrise Serenade,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines, Nellie,” “Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine In,” “Sunshine on My Shoulder.”
- Display photographs of colorful summer sunsets. Ask participants to describe the most beautiful sunset they’ve ever seen. Name some favorite places to see the sun set over the western horizon (ex: desert, tropics, beach). Paint a sunset with watercolors.
- Discuss the meaning of the idiom “ray of sunshine.” Ask: Who or what makes you happy? Tell us about a cheerful person in your life. Do you have a sunny disposition? What are some simple ways you can spread cheer or sunshine? Sing “You Are My Sunshine.”
- Display a large map of the United States and identify the Sun Belt states. Highlight Florida – “The Sunshine State.” Gather items associated with Florida (ex: Disney souvenirs, oranges, seashells, white sand, key lime pie recipe, fishing equipment). Pass around old postcards with pictures of tourist attractions in Florida. Share memories of family vacations or trips to cities, such as Orlando, Miami, or Tampa. Sip on a tropical fruit smoothie.
- Intergenerational: Read poems from A Child’s Garden of Verses , a collection by Robert Louis Stevenson. Enjoy poems shared by many generations, such as “Summer Sun,” “Nest Eggs,” “The Flowers,” or “The Sun’s Travels.” Color sunburst art.
- Make a colorful suncatcher craft for windows. Or, decorate plastic white sun visors or floppy sun hats.
- Let the sun shine in. Display a cheerful bouquet of bright yellow flowers – lilies, daisies, and sunflowers. Talk about the feelings you associate with the color yellow.
- Plan an old-fashioned summer picnic. Pull out the wicker picnic hamper and red-checkered tablecloth. Sample some classic American picnic foods. Talk about favorite places for a family picnic. Enjoy a group sing-along with “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “In the Good Old Summertime,” and “Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines, Nellie.”
- Invite a local speaker to talk about the uses and benefits of solar power/energy.
- Show photos of a local early morning sunrise. Name some words associated with the picture (ex: morning, dawn, daybreak, sunup). Ask: Are you an early riser? How do you like to greet a new day? Did you ever have a job that required you to get up very early? Did you awaken surly or sunny? Agree or disagree with Ben Franklin’s proverb: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
- Unscramble words related to summer vacations (ex: souvenirs, camera, postcards, hotel, luggage, map, tickets, swimsuit, sandals, sundress, hats). Share memories of an unforgettable vacation spot. Talk about old-fashioned remedies for sunburn, mosquito bites, poison ivy, and bee stings.
- Watch a favorite Disney movie from the 1960s that families may have seen at a drive-in movie theatre. (Suggestions: The Love Bug, The Shaggy Dog, That Darn Cat, Pollyanna) Ask participants to talk about the appeal of seeing a movie under the stars on a warm summer night.
- Memory game: With your group, pack a large tote with beach items (ex: sunglasses, flops, suntan lotion, towel, pail and shovel, Frisbee, water bottle). Write a group poem about a trip to the ocean. Later in the session, ask your group to name the items in the tote.
- Celebrate National Recreation and Parks Month in July. If available, watch some of Ken Burns’ PBS series titled The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Share tips on enjoying a family outing to a national park, like Yosemite or Yellowstone.
SUN TRIVIA QUIZ
- The sun rises over which horizon? East
- Which food is often prepared sunny-side up? Eggs
- What kind of instrument was used to tell time before watches and clocks? Sundial
- Sun Valley is a popular ski resort. In which state is it located? Idaho
- Little Miss Sunbeam is the logo for which type of food product? White Bread
- In which region of the United States is the Sun Belt located? South
- Where is the world-famous street, Sunset Boulevard, located? Los Angeles, California
- Complete the name of Lorraine Hansberry’s play: A Raisin in… the Sun.
- What’s another name for a solarium? Sunroom
- In which Broadway musical will you hear the song “Sunrise, Sunset”? Fiddler on the Roof
“SUMMER SUN AND FUN” written by Sue Hansen. © 2011 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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