Summer time screams ice cream to me! I love those warm summer evenings when my family and I pile in the car and drive over to our favorite ice cream parlor for a sweet treat. Since July is National Ice Cream month, it’s a good excuse to celebrate ice cream all month long. Seniors of all ages and stages will enjoy a month that is themed around ice cream, so bring out their inner child with these fun-filled ideas.
MUSIC & CELEBRATION – When I think of ice cream, I think of the old fashioned soda shops and jukeboxes. Combine music and celebration this month by hosting a sock hop at your community. Hire an entertainer to sing doo wop songs of the ‘50s. Serve ice cream sodas or ice cream sundaes. Decorate with old records and ice cream centerpieces: fill a sundae dish with colored crinkle paper, top with a white carnation and add a straw. Invite staff to dress up in poodle skirts or jeans and a white t-shirt. Encourage everyone to dance during the celebration.
SENSORY KIT – Create an ice cream sensory kit that you can carry room to room during one-on-ones. Ask your co-workers to save ice cream containers; Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen-Daz pint size or smaller are a perfect size for this sensory kit. Thoroughly wash out the ice cream containers and place in a clear plastic shoe box. Fill the plastic shoe box with medium-to-large colorful craft pom-poms. Purchase an ice cream scoop and place in the box. During one-on-ones or in a smaller group setting, encourage participants to create his or her own ice cream combinations by scooping the pom-poms into the ice cream containers. Read the ice cream container flavor and ask each person what he or she thinks that the ingredients include. Reminisce together about favorite ice cream memories.
GARDENING – Grow an ice cream herb garden this month. Fill ice cream cones (the ones with flat bottoms) with dirt. Then, place herb seeds in the dirt. Put planted cones in a muffin tin and place near a sunny location. Be sure to water the seeds; enlist participants to help. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can enjoy them as is, or plant them (cone and all) in your garden. To take this to the next level, assign individual ice cream cone plants to your higher level residents. Allow them to care for the plant in their room and have them bring it back to you once it sprouts.
CRAFTS – Include ice cream in your craft group this month by creating artistic ice cream cones. You will need colorful cupcake liners, cardstock of any color for the background, light brown cardstock for the cone, brown acrylic or tempera paint, a small paper plate, plastic fork, glue, and embellishments of your choice. Start by cutting a triangle ice cream cone shape out of the light brown cardstock. Pour a small dab of brown paint on the paper plate and use the plastic fork to make a grid pattern on the cone. Set the cone aside to dry. Once dry, glue the cone on the background cardstock paper. Then, flatten the cupcake liner and glue on top of the cone as scoops of ice cream – participants can choose one, two, or three scoops. Use embellishments, such as gems or glitter, to add “sprinkles” to the ice cream cone.
FAMILY – Combine this month’s ice cream theme with your Independence Day celebration by hosting a family picnic day. Coordinate with your dining team and fire up the grill to serve hamburgers and hotdogs. Create a self-serve dessert station with a variety of ice cream flavors and toppings. Or, rent an ice cream truck to drive up to your building. This idea works best if you’re able to host your event outdoors.
FOOD – If group members have had enough ice cream for the month, try baking cupcakes in ice cream cones. Purchase a box cake mix, icing, and ice cream cones with flat bottoms. Make batter according to the instructions on the box. Fill the cones about half full with batter. Place the cones in a muffin pan and bake for about 21-24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool complete. Frost with icing; use a piping bag to create an ice cream look by spiraling icing on top of the cupcakes. Add sprinkles and a cherry if preferred.
SPIRITUAL – We also celebrate Independence Day in the U.S.A. this month; what a great time to pause and pray for our government this month. Start your group by singing the National Anthem. Then, pray a blessing over our government leaders. You can use specific names, or keep it simple by praying for the different sections of our government. Pray a blessing over our President, Vice President, Congress, the Supreme Court, and state and local officials. Find a patriotic prayer online, or use this website to guide your session: http://www.presidentialprayerteam.com/prayertools. End your group by singing “God Bless America.” To keep with the ice cream theme, serve ice cream with red (cherries), white (whipped cream), and blue (blueberry syrup) toppings.
INTELLECTUAL – Play “Trivia Tuesday” each Tuesday this month, using the ice cream trivia questions listed below. Type one question per week and print enough copies for each person. Hand out the trivia question at the beginning of the day and encourage participants to answer. Be sure to include space for their name and answer on the paper, and have pencils handy to use. Collect their answers by lunch and place in a bag. During lunch, draw a random winner from the bag. This is a fun way to get everyone involved.
TRIP – This month, take your group out to your favorite local ice cream parlor. If there are several in the area, consider visiting multiple locations this month. You could have a contest where participants judge each ice cream parlor on variety of flavors, best vanilla ice cream flavor, best atmosphere, best outdoor seating area, and most original ice cream flavor. Call ahead and arrange a tour of the shop.
ROOM-TO-ROOM – Don’t have the budget to rent an ice cream truck? Transform your cart into a traveling ice cream cart and bring ice cream room-to-room to your residents! Play ice cream truck music on wireless speakers – you can download music on iTunes and add it to your playlist. Offer ice cream novelties. Be sure to follow all dietary restrictions and have other options for residents with restrictions. Put this on your calendar at least once this month, or make it a weekly activity.
HEALTH & WELLNESS – This chocolate banana ice cream uses only frozen bananas, almond milk, cocoa powder, and almond butter. Team up with your dietician to feature this healthy alternative treat during one of your health and wellness groups: Place six frozen bananas – cut into chunks – half cup of chocolate unsweetened almond milk, two tablespoons almond butter, and one tablespoon cocoa powder into a food processor. Pulse and process until smooth and creamy. Scoop into bowls and serve; this recipe makes four servings.
ICE CREAM TRIVIA
- What is the most popular ice cream flavor? Vanilla
- Neapolitan ice cream is usually made of chocolate, vanilla, and which third flavor – pistachio, strawberry, or butter pecan? Strawberry
- True or false: Ice cream sundaes got their name because religious conservatives claimed ice cream sodas were too sinfully good to have on Sundays. True. Ice cream shop owners held back on the soda water when serving ice cream sodas on Sunday, thus creating the ice cream sundae.
- A “black cow” is made from chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, and which kind of soda? Root beer
- Which month is “National Ice Cream Month”? July
- On what day of the week do most people buy ice cream? Sunday
- When was the waffle cone invented: 1896, 1904, or 1916? 1904
- Which state produces the most ice cream: Wisconsin, California, or Georgia? California
- What is the most popular ice cream topping? Chocolate syrup
- In 1929, “Rocky Road” ice cream was created after what historical event? The Great Depression
Five Fun Facts about Ice Cream
- Baskin Robbins made Beatle Nut ice cream for the Beatles’ first visit to America.
- Rock star Jerry Garcia has an ice cream flavor named after him – Ben and Jerry’s flavor, Cherry Garcia
- The original maker of Haagan Daz ice cream thought Denmark had a good marketing image at the time he started his company and chose this name to make his gourmet ice cream sound Danish. It’s actually made in New York.
- Italy boasts of the birthplace of ice cream.
- The U.S. Army delivered pints of ice cream right to soldiers in foxholes during WWII.
- President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July “National Ice Cream Month” in 1984.
WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“My love for ice cream emerged at an early age, and has never left!” ~ Ginger Rogers
“We All Scream For Ice Cream” written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2016 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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