Summer has been in full swing since before the first official day of summer. With record-breaking temperatures throughout the country, most of us are ready for the heat and humidity to die down. While you and your members wait for the hottest days of summer to pass by, don’t let lethargy and inactivity sweep in. Instead, embrace the dog days of summer with the activity ideas below, and make August your best summer month yet.
DOG SHOW – Kick off the month with a dog show for your group. Ask your coworkers, members, and/or their families to bring their friendly dogs to your community. Be sure to obtain a copy of their most recent vaccinations to keep on file. Then, ask each dog and owner to perform a few tricks for your group and share a few fun facts about their dog. Select a few members from your group to serve on a panel of judges. Give awards to the dogs, such as “Best Performer,” “Most Obedient,” and “Best of Show.”
PUPPY CHOW – Gather your group and make this tasty treat together. This recipe makes about ten servings. You’ll need a box of Chex cereal, 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips, ½ cup of smooth peanut butter, ¼ cup of butter, one teaspoon of vanilla, and 1½ cups of powdered sugar. First, pour the Chex cereal into a large bowl. Next, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter either in the microwave or over the stove. Once the mixture is melted, add the vanilla. Then, pour the melted mixture over the Chex cereal, stirring until the cereal is well coated. Next, transfer the mixture into a couple of gallon-sized Ziplock bags. Add three-quarters of powered sugar into each bag and tightly close the bags. Shake until the cereal is well coated; pass the bag along giving each participant a chance to shake the bag. Then, spread the mixture on waxed paper and allow it to cool. Once cool, scoop the “puppy chow” into individualized servings and serve while watching a movie about dogs.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND REMINISCENCE – Almost everyone has been a dog owner or known a dog over the course of their lifetime. Spend time reminiscing with members about their beloved dogs and other favorite pets. Gather a few dog supplies, such as a leash, dog toys, a bone, and dog bowl to enhance the activity. Pass around the items while you reminisce. Here are a few questions to help prompt discussion:
- Tell us about your favorite dog.
- What kind of dog did you have? Do you have a favorite dog breed?
- How did you get your dog? What was his or her name?
- What do you like most about dogs? What do you like least about dogs?
- Do you have a funny or memorable story you would like to share about your dog?
GIVE BACK WITH DOG BISCUITS – Use this month to give back to your community by baking homemade dog biscuits with members, then donate them to your local animal shelter. Find a dog biscuit recipe online and purchase a few bone-shaped cookie cutters. Set a goal of how many biscuits you would like to make as a facility and challenge your group to meet this goal. Members of all stages can participate, from those who can bake independently in their own apartments, to those who can lend a helping hand during a group activity baking party. Choose a date to complete the dog biscuits, then take a few members with you to the local animal shelter when you make your donation.
HOT DIGGITY DOG SUNSET PARTY – Celebrate the unofficial end of summer towards the end of August with a Hot Diggity Dog Sunset Party. If possible, host the party outdoors. Hire entertainment to create a concert-on-the-lawn type of atmosphere. Serve appetizers, such as mini hotdogs and hush puppies. Create a signature “mocktail,” such as the Pink Poodle (pink lemonade mixed with Sprite or 7UP). Give members Hawaiian leis and encourage them to wear their brightest summer colors. Decorate with beach balls, hula hoops, and sunglasses.
DOG BREED BINGO – Take a break from regular Bingo and create your own version of Dog Breed Bingo. Use this free bingo card generator to make your cards; simply type your words and title. Choose words related to dogs and dog breeds. Write each word on a small piece of paper to create your call pile.
GO FETCH – Purchase five dog bowls at a discount store for this dog-themed variation of bean bag toss. Assign each bowl a score value by writing the number on the outside or inside of the bowl. Then, line the bowls up and use painter’s tape to mark a line on the floor. Instruct participants to stand or sit at the line, then toss bean bags, aiming for a bowl of their choice. Play as teams or individually. This is a perfect grab-and-go game; play for a few minutes before a meal or take it outdoors.
PET THERAPY DOG VISITS – Use this month’s theme to find a volunteer pet therapy dog to make regular visits to your facility. If you already have pet therapy visits scheduled, ask your volunteers if they can squeeze in a few additional visits this month to support your theme.
DOG KENNEL SENSORY BIN – Place building blocks or foam blocks, popsicle sticks, and a couple of plastic dogs in a plastic container to create this sensory bin. Then, working one-on-one with participants, assist them in creating a dog kennel or dog house using the building materials. They can create a box around the plastic dogs, or leave an opening and move the dogs in and out. While you’re building together, share stories about pets and reminisce with participants about their favorite pet.
DOG EAR BOOKMARK – Make this cute craft with your book club group this month, or with any members who enjoy reading. Head over to Redtedart.com for step-by-step instructions. Use a black marker to make the eyes and nose, and skip the tongue if the cuts are too intricate for participants.
DE-STRESS WITH DOGS – Purchase a dog-themed adult coloring book for members to color throughout the month. Place coloring pages and colored pencils in a common area so that members can color at their leisure. Then, display their finished artwork on a bulletin board.
PUPPY PARADE – Call a local animal shelter or dog breeder and arrange for puppies to have playtime with your group. Place a cloth tarp on the floor to protect the area from puppy accidents. Seat members in a circle around the tarp so they can enjoy watching the puppies play. Purchase a few dog toys for your members so that they can play with the puppies.
DOGGY BARK-ALONG – Can your group remember these songs: “Hound Dog,” “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window,” “B-I-N-G-O,” “Where Has My Little Dog Gone?” For a little bit of Christmas-in-August fun, find a recording online of “The Dog Jingle Bells” by Barking Dogs. Invite your group to bark along with the song!
DOG DAYS OF SUMMER TRIVIA
- What is the most popular breed of dog, according to the American Kennel Club’s registrations? Labrador retriever
- What is the name of the dog on the front of the Cracker Jack box? Bingo
- Which dog breed is the smallest of them all? Shih tzu, Pomeranian, or Chihuahua? Chihuahua
- What is the favorite dog breed of the Queen of England? Corgi
- What is the dog’s most highly developed sense? Smell
- Which command is the most common training command taught to dogs: stay, dance, sit, or fetch? Sit
- Which Disney movie featured over one hundred dogs and a villain set on stealing them? “101 Dalmatians”
- Which dog breed can run up to 44 miles per hour? Greyhound
- In the comic strip “Peanuts,” what is the name of Charlie Brown’s pet beagle? Snoopy
- Which country launched the first dog into space? The Soviet Union
DOG DAYS OF SUMMER THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” ~ Josh Billings
“Dog Days of Summer” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2018 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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