Longer days and warmer temperatures are finally here, and that means more time to work and play. There are lots of chores and activities to do inside and outdoors. Revel in springtime with your group as you engage them in some of the activities suggested below. They’ll put a bounce in your step and a smile on your face.
- MUSIC: Listen to the contemporary pop song “Happy” sung by Pharrell Williams. Talk about the meaning of the saying “spring in your step.” Ask: If you have a spring in your step, how are you feeling? (Examples: happy, energetic, enthusiastic, confident) Other than physical activity, what makes you feel lively or peppy in the springtime?
- SPRING ACTIVITIES: Ask participants to talk about their favorite activities in the springtime. Complete this sentence: May is the best time to…. Enjoy some light exercise: Pitch pennies into a bucket, bat a beach ball, or play a game of indoor horseshoes.
- SPRING COLORS: Suggest ways to use color to put a spring in your step. (Examples: new shade of lipstick, colorful flower bouquet, bright pillows, aroma of fresh green mint) Ask group members if they like soft pastel colors or bright shades of color in the spring. What is their favorite spring color?
- MAY DAY: Talk about May Day traditions. Create a May Day basket to hang on a doorknob. Make a cone-shaped paper lace doily flower holder and fill it with colorful paper flowers. Ask: Did you celebrate May Day? Did you ever dance around a Maypole? Talk about the experience.
- POETRY: Enjoy some poetry related to the season. Point out words in the poems that appeal to the senses. Suggestions: “Spring in Town” by William Cullen Bryant, “May Day” by Sara Teasdale, “Spring Greeting” by Sidney Lanier, “Spring Carol” by Robert Louis Stevenson, “Late Spring” by Henry Van Dyke, “To May” by William Wordsworth, “May” by Christina Rossetti.
- KENTUCKY DERBY: Talk about Kentucky Derby race day traditions. (Examples: hats and fashions, rose garland, burgoo stew) Ask if anyone has ever attended the event or another big horse race. Sip on the non-alcoholic version of a mint julep.
- MOTHER’S DAY: Honor motherhood on the second Sunday. Write a general job description for mothers. Ask one of the women in the group to compare her jobs/chores/responsibilities in the home with those of her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Talk about ways to show appreciation for all of the things that mothers do.
- SPRING FASHION: Pass around clothing catalogs and fashion magazines, and ask your participants to pick out a new spring outfit. Ask: Did you get new clothes in the spring? Where did you shop for your clothes? Did you ever order from a catalog or sew your own clothes? How does a new outfit make you feel?
- GARDENING: Display small garden tools, seed packets, and seed catalogs. Read the poem “Putting in the Seed” by Robert Frost. Share memories of ordering from seed companies such as Burpee, Ferry-Morris Seed Company, or Gurney. Unscramble words related to growing plants from seeds (examples: soil, shovel, clumps, seeds, germinate, compost, furrow, sow, garden, water, aerate). Share tips on starting and tending a spring garden. Plant some seeds in clay pots. Sing the old folk song “Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley.”
- LIMERICKS: Observe National Limerick Day on May 12 with a limerick contest. Get in the mood: Read some of Edward Lear’s limericks from his Book of Nonsense, published in 1846. Write original limerick poems and vote on the funniest.
- NATIONAL BIKE MONTH: Learn about entrepreneur Ignaz Schwinn and the Schwinn bicycle. Sing “Bicycle Built for Two” or try a song parody. Show photos of vintage bikes and compare them to bikes today. Ask participants how and where they learned to ride a bike. How long did it take? What’s the longest bike ride they’ve taken?
- REMEMBRANCES: In honor of Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day: Salute all branches with music of the armed forces. (Examples: “Anchors Aweigh,” “Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder,” “The Marines’ Hymn,” “Semper Fidelis,” “Caissons Go Rolling Along”) Ask a participant who has been in the armed forces to talk about military life. Suggest ways to show appreciation for service members.
- INTERGENERATIONAL: For Mother Goose Day on May 1st, recite some nursery rhymes about animals (examples: Mary had a little lamb; Goosey, goosey gander; Baa, baa, black sheep). Dress in Mother Goose costumes, imitate animal sounds, and snack on animal-shaped cookies.
- DATING: Read the following verse from Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Locksley Hall): “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Asking someone out on a date is sometimes the hardest part. Ask the men to share how they would ask someone out. Ask the women to share the different ways they have been asked for a date. Did the women ever do the asking? Is it better to call someone or ask in person? Read some funny pick-up lines (ex: Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?).
- CHILDREN IN SPRING: Listen to the 1946 Disney song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Show photos of children running barefoot through the grass. Share memories of spring days as a kid. Ask: How do kids see springtime? Do they see the season differently than adults? What makes kids happy and energetic in the spring?
MONTH OF MAY TRIVIA QUIZ
- What is the birth flower of May ? Lily of the Valley
- How many days are in May? 31
- When is Mother’s Day celebrated? Second Sunday of May
- What is the name of the famous horse race held on the first Saturday in May in the Bluegrass State? Kentucky Derby
- Finish this old saying: “Marry in May, ….” Rue the Day
- The 35th U.S. President was born on May 29, 1917. Name him. John F. Kennedy
- Where are you likely to hear the old song “Pomp and Circumstance” in May? At high school or college graduation ceremonies
- What famous auto race is held over Memorial Day weekend? Indianapolis 500
- What is the birthstone of May? Emerald
- What famous bridge in San Francisco opened on May 27, 1937? Golden Gate Bridge
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“Activity is contagious.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Spring in Your Step” was written by Sue Hansen. Copyright 2015 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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