Attention-grabbing and eye-popping – that’s the way some people would describe the color red. The bold hue conjures up strong feelings such as passion, courage, and anger. Red is often called the color of love. You’re likely to see a lot of it during the month of February – red hearts, red roses, a box of chocolates wrapped in a red box. But Valentine’s Day is just one occasion calling for the color red. Here are some other ways to incorporate “red” in your activities for the month. You can adapt these suggestions to the needs and abilities of your group.

  • Display familiar red objects. (Ex: strawberries, cherries, red lipstick, red roses, Santa suit, Coke bottle, ketchup, Valentine heart, red brick, Red Hot candies, red handkerchief, STOP sign) Ask: Do you like the color red? How does the color red affect your mood? What does red symbolize to you?  Have you ever: decorated with red, worn red clothing or shoes, eaten a red dessert, put a red ribbon in your hair, owned a red gemstone, grown red flowers or vegetables, or driven a red vehicle?
  • Say each of the following phrases and names to your group and ask what comes to mind: Red Rover, Redbeard, Red Scare, Red Velvet, Red Ryder, Redd Foxx, Red Grange, Rhode Island Red, Red Baron, Red Skelton, The Red River, Red Buttons, Red Barber, Red Snapper, Red Cross, Red Hat Society, Red Lobster, Red Sox, Red Riding Hood. (Add more to the list as they come to mind.)
  • Celebrate Valentine’s Day using red roses as a theme. Make red rose heart-shaped wreaths. Read “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, and ask participants to write a simile that expresses their love for a special person. (My love is like…) Learn to sketch a single red rose. Wear rose-scented perfume or lotion. Snack on heart-shaped cookies with a rose decoration, and sip rose-flavored tea.
  • Listen to red rose songs: “Ramblin’ Rose,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Last Rose of Summer,” “Wild Irish Rose,” “When You Wore a Tulip (and I Wore a Big, Red Rose)”, “San Antonio Rose,” “Mighty Like a Rose,” “Roses Are Red,” “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.”
  • Listen to other “red” songs – “Red Sails in the Sunset,”  “When the Red, Red Robin,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” “Red River Valley,” “Red Wing,” “Scarlet Ribbons.”
  • Discuss the meaning of the following “red” idioms: red flag, red herring, red tape, see red, in the red, red eye, paint the town red, one red cent, have a red face, caught red-handed. Encourage participants to talk about a “red-letter day” in their lives.
  • Make a fabric red cherry pie sachet – to celebrate George Washington’s birthday on February 22. Talk about the legend of Washington and the cherry tree. Share fun facts about cherries. Hold a cherry pie-tasting contest.
  • Look at the National Geographic “Life in Color: Red” photo gallery online. Write a group poem about the color red in nature. (Ex: Red is the color of a beautiful summer sunset.)
  • Display a photo of a red convertible sports car. Debate: Who is more likely to buy a red car – a man or a woman?
  • Roll out the “red carpet” for the Academy Awards show, held each year in February. Show photos of Hollywood stars in red gowns. Ask: What memories of the big event do you recall? Do you remember seeing the ceremony broadcast on NBC for the first time in 1953? Have you ever attended a “red carpet” event, like a gala ball or awards show? What was it for? Did you enjoy dressing up? Describe how you dress for a black-tie occasion.
  • Show photos of old red barns in rural settings. Find out why barns are often painted red. Reminisce about barnyard adventures as a child. Talk about beloved pets or favorite animals on the farm. Invite a dog owner to bring in his or her sandy-colored pet for a visit.
  • Enjoy an afternoon of laughter from one of America’s favorite redheads, Lucille Ball, starring in the TV sitcom I Love Lucy. Or, enjoy a 1940s radio morning show, featuring “The Old Redhead,” Arthur Godfrey. Listen for the sound of his ukulele.
  • Hold a vintage red fashion show with items from the 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s. (Ex: cherry red shirt dress or red plaid taffeta skirt)  Or, show vintage clothing in shades of red, and ask participants to name the colors. Ladies, suggest colors that go well with red fashions.
  • Observe American Heart Month. Invite a nutritionist to talk about the benefits of eating colored vegetables and fruits. Enjoy a taste of red: strawberries and cherries dipped in chocolate.  Make a simple cranberry punch to enjoy.
  • Intergenerational: Watch the 1962 Disney movie Big Red – about a champion Irish setter and a young orphan boy.


  1. Which planet is called the “Red Planet”? Mars
  2. Which major league baseball team names use the word ‘red’?  Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds
  3. Where is the famous Red Square located in Russia? Moscow
  4. In politics, “red” states are likely to favor which party? Republican
  5. Which Old Testament character is told by God to part the Red Sea for the Israelites? Moses
  6. In the fairy tale, who does Little Red Riding Hood meet on the way to visit her grandmother? Big Bad Wolf
  7. Finish this weather proverb: Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning. Red sky at night….Sailor’s delight
  8. Name three famous 20th century comedians with the first name Red. Red Skelton, Red Buttons, Redd Foxx
  9. What’s the shape of a red STOP sign? Octagon
  10. Stephen Crane wrote the famous Civil War novel titled The Red Badge of…what? Courage

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH“Love is the master key which opens the gates of happiness.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

“COLOR RED” written by Sue Hansen. © 2012 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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