Independence Day quickly comes and goes, but that doesn’t mean the celebration needs to stop after the Fourth. With summer in full swing, soak up the sun and celebrate our nation’s birthday all month long with the ideas below.
PATRIOTIC SING-A-LONG – There are many songs written about America that your community members are sure to recall. Sing songs such as “America the Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” and our national anthem. Include a few about summer as well, such as “In the Good Old Summertime.”U
SIP & SAY – There are many ways to reminiscence with your group this month. Plan a weekly Sip & Say activity group to recollect favorite summer pastimes. Topics could include summer vacations, July 4th celebrations, baseball games, and family reunions. Bring suitable props to each session to help prompt discussion and serve lemonade or iced tea.
FLAG CAKE – Bake your favorite cake in a 9” x 13” pan and decorate it as a flag using blueberries, strawberries, and whipped icing: Once the baked cake has cooled, spread white, whipped icing over the top. Place the blueberries on the top left corner of the cake to represent the blue and white stars. Then, carefully slice strawberries in half and lay in rows across the cake, sliced side down to create the red strips of the flag.
PRESIDENTIAL PASTIMES – Reminisce with your group about their favorite U.S. president. Ask if they know who was president when they were born and who was in the presidential election the first time they voted. Find a few fun facts about popular presidents of their era to share with your group.
BACKYARD BBQ – Independence Day certainly calls for picnics and barbeques. Work with your dining team to plan a picnic for members and their families. Beforehand, paint mason jars red, white, and blue with your group and fill with daisies to use as centerpieces. Decorate with red-checkered tablecloths and your patriotic centerpieces. Provide backyard games such as bean bag toss or horseshoes.
PATRIOTIC CLOTHESPIN WREATH – Create a patriotic wreath with your group using clothespins, paint, and white foam star stickers. You’ll need 60 clothespins and a 12-inch wire wreath frame per wreath. Start by painting the clothespins: 12 blue, 22 white, and 23 red. Once dry, pinch each clothespin onto the wreath frame. Start with all the blue clothespins, then three white clothespins, and then alternate four red and four white clothespins until you circle back to the blue. Stick the star stickers on top of the blue clothespins and use twine or ribbon to hang the wreath.
COLORFUL SENSES – This month, browse through your supply closet and select items that are red, white, and blue. Create three separate sensory kits, one per color. Be creative with your selections. From colorful silk flowers to safe kitchen items, participants will enjoy discovering the variety of items in each container. Use the kits separately or use all three together and encourage participants to sort items by color. Reminisce with participants about how they may have used each item in their life.
PATRIOTIC PUZZLES – Challenge your group with a few patriotic puzzles this month. Do a quick internet search for lists of states, capitals, and presidents. Then, challenge participants to name all 50 states. Can they recall each state’s capital? Name the U.S. presidents. End by asking participants to say – in five minutes – as many red, white, and blue items as they can.
CONDUCTOR-CIZE – Add flair to your fitness group with “Conductor-cize.” Seat participants in a circle and distribute straws or chopsticks – one per participant. Then, play marching music, such as “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and lead the group in conducting along to the music. This is a fun way to keep participants’ attention while gently working upper and lower arm joints and increasing finger dexterity.
RED, WHITE, & BLUE SOCIAL – Bookend the month with a Red, White, and Blue Social. Decorate with flags and banners. Serve strawberries and blueberries with white fruit dip. Make patriotic mocktails by pouring three ounces of red fruit punch, three ounces of blue Gatorade, and three ounces of sugar-free Sprite or 7-Up over ice (one serving). Invite an entertainer to perform a summer concert for your group.
THREE CHEERS FOR THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE TRIVIA
- Which patriotic recitation is heard in U.S. classrooms every school day morning? The Pledge of Allegiance (Bonus point: It was written by Frances Bellamy)
- In the famous song, what did Yankee Doodle call the feather in his hat? Macaroni
- The 13 red and white stripes on the U.S. flag represent what? The 13 original colonies
- Which organization sponsored Bob Hope’s trips to entertain troops overseas, beginning in 1940? U.S.O.
- July Fourth is also known as what? Independence Day
- What is the name of the U.S. national anthem? “The Star Spangled Banner”
- Who wrote the words to “The Star Spangled Banner”? Francis Scott Key
- Which country gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States? France
- Who was the first president of the United States? George Washington
- What is the name of the official residence for U.S. presidents? The White House
THREE CHEERS FOR THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
“Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue,” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2017 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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