After the busyness and wonder of the holidays, January can leave a lonely feeling hanging in the air. Instead of allowing the winter blues to set in, embrace the colder weather and shorter days with the activity ideas below. This month, we celebrate National Hot Tea Month, National Hobby Month, National Soup Month, and more, to lead your group to Cozy Up to Winter.
HOBBY CORNER – Celebrate National Hobby Month by hosting multiple hobby corners throughout the month. Feature a different hobby for your members to explore. Ideas include photography, adult coloring, woodworking, pottery, scrapbooking, and cooking classes. Perhaps your members will discover a new hobby that they can pursue throughout the year.
SUNDAY SUPPER – A waning tradition, the Sunday Supper was once an opportunity after a busy week for families to gather and spend time together. Invite members and their families to a Sunday Supper at your community. Serve classic comfort foods, such as fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Encourage families and members to linger over conversation by providing conversation starters at each table.
FALL PREVENTION EDUCATION – Winter is a dangerous season, especially for seniors, as snow and ice cover sidewalks, roads, and parking lots. Recruit a physical therapist, doctor, or senior fitness expert to give a presentation on fall prevention and winter safety. If possible, arrange for your group to receive a balance screening and add a balance class to your programming.
TEA AND TRIVIA – Keep members warm and engaged with weekly Tea and Trivia activities. Serve hot tea while challenging members to a friendly competition. Members can play individually or in groups. Use a different theme each week to simulate a game show, or choose topics your members enjoy.
COZY UP IN THE KITCHEN – Bring out the crock pot and participate in National Crock Pot Month. Search for easy recipes in cookbooks or online and walk your group through preparing delicious meals. Then, allow the aroma of various stews, sweet treats, or breads to fill your community. Of course, serve samples for members to enjoy.
CHICKEN SOUP – Reminisce with your group while making homemade chicken noodle soup. Often a go-to comfort food, the aroma is sure to bring back memories for your group. While the soup is simmering on the stove, read stories from the classic Chicken Soup for the Soul book and reminisce with members about comfort foods, cooking with mom, and caring for children with colds or flus.
PAINT THE SNOW – Help your group create their own snow paintings. First, fill some plastic cups with water and add a few drops of food coloring to create instant paint. Then, head outdoors and fill a disposable aluminum foil pan with snow, one per participant. Be sure to flatten and pack the snow into the container to create a flat canvas. Hand out paint brushes and instruct participants to dip their paintbrushes into the water paint, then paint directly onto the snow. Work quickly, before the snow melts.
PJS ALL DAY – On bitterly cold days, there’s nothing better than staying warm and cozy in pajamas. Plan a PJs All Day event, where your group and staff dress in their favorite pajama set or loungewear for the day. Set up a movie theater atmosphere and plan a classic movie marathon. Serve popcorn and provide warm blankets for members to cozy up in while watching the films.
SNOW GLOBES – Use the glittery snow outside as inspiration and create a wintery blizzard in a jar with your group. Clean out a small, empty glass jar, such as a baby food jar. Fill the jar with glitz, such as tiny beads, glitter, and sparkle. Add water and use glue to secure the lid closed. Once dry, shake it up and enjoy a wintery scene from the comfort of indoors.
JIGSAW PUZZLES – As you clear away holiday decorations, dig out jigsaw puzzles that have been put aside during the holiday season. Place them on tables in common areas for members to put together at their leisure. Be sure to put together a small portion of the puzzle so members are motivated to jump in and complete the picture.
HOMETOWN TOUR – Even though it’s cold outside, prevent your group from experiencing cabin fever by taking them on a hometown tour of your surrounding community. Members don’t need to leave the comfort of the bus or van, making this an appealing outing for most. Research some historical facts unique to your community and, as you drive along, share the information. Reminisce about what the town used to look like for members who are lifelong residents of your greater community.
HOT CHOCOLATE TASTING PARTY – Invite members to warm up by sampling a variety of hot chocolate. Serve dark, peppermint, and/or white hot chocolate. Provide toppings for members to add, such as whipped cream, sprinkles, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Hold this activity just after your group has returned from the Hometown Tour Outing.
COZY UP SENSATIONALLY – Provide a comfort sensory box filled with cozy items. Encourage members to reminisce as they explore each item. Items could include mittens, gloves, a scarf, earmuffs, winter hats, tea bags, a mug, a snow globe, and HotHands hand warmers.
FLEECE BLANKETS – Help your group to stay warm this winter by making no-sew fleece blankets. Most craft stores sell fleece blanket kits, but all you need are two color-coordinated pieces of fleece material per blanket. Detailed instructions can be found by doing a quick Internet search.
COZY UP TO WINTER TRIVIA
- In the Northern Hemisphere, is the winter solstice held on the longest or the shortest day of the year? Shortest
- Although some regions may have snow prior to the winter season, when is the official start of the winter season? Winter solstice (around December 21)
- In the Northern Hemisphere, winter occurs when the Earth is closest or farthest from the sun? Closest
- When melted, how many inches of water does one foot of snow produce? One inch
- There are many holidays celebrated in winter. Name at least three of them. Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Kwanzaa, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Groundhog Day, St. Patrick’s Day
- True or false: Your metabolic activity drops in the winter. True (That’s the reason you may feel more sluggish and have difficulty getting out of bed during colder months.)
- According to The Guinness Book of World Records, the largest snow flake fell in Montana and was how many inches across – 7 inches, 11 inches, or 15 inches? 15 inches
- What shape are snowflakes – pentagons, hexagons, or octagons? Hexagons (five-sided)
- True or false: When the weather is extremely cold and dry, snow is less likely to fall. True
- The term for how the air temperature feels on the skin is known as what? Wind chill
COZY UP TO WINTER THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” ~ Anton Chekhov
“Cozy Up to Winter” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2017 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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