All over the country, Americans are preparing to celebrate Independence Day with parades, concerts, fireworks, and backyard barbecues. It’s only fitting that July’s theme is All American. Take members on a patriotic journey and extend your Independence Day celebration beyond the Fourth, with the activity ideas below.
AMERICAN SYMBOLS – Some of the most popular and familiar symbols of the U.S. include the flag, the bald eagle, the Liberty Bell, and the Statue of Liberty. Share photos of American symbols with your group and discuss the significance of each one. Can they identify the symbol by looking at the photo? Where would they find it in the country? Print patriotic adult coloring pages, found on the internet, to share with your group.
BIKE PARADE – Invite a nearby neighborhood to participate in a bike, wagon, and stroller parade. Encourage members to decorate their own walkers and wheelchairs with streamers, artificial flowers, balloons, and ribbon. Then, cone off a parade route outside. Serve refreshments afterwards to encourage intermingling between your group and the community.
ALL-AMERICAN TRIVIA – Quiz your group on their knowledge of the U.S.A. Gather questions via trivia books or the internet, ranging from U.S. history, American icons, tourist attractions, presidents, and more. Divide participants into groups or challenge them individually.
FLAG CEREMONY – Honor Independence Day by arranging a brief ceremony. Reach out to a Boy Scout group and ask them to lead the Opening Flag Ceremony. Invite a chaplain to say a prayer and reflection on Independence Day. Lead the group in a few patriotic songs. Honor and acknowledge veterans in your group. End with a Flag Closing Ceremony.
FAMOUS FACES & PLACES – From the St. Louis Arch to the Grand Canyon, and Abraham Lincoln to Elvis Presley, there are dozens of famous faces and places across America. Take your group on a virtual tour of famous U.S. landmarks through travelogue DVDs. Reminisce with members about famous American celebrities and icons. Who would your group pick to be in the top ten of American icons? What about the top ten must-see U.S. destinations? (See the ElderSong book Famous Folks for more ideas.)
AMERICAN GIRL TEA PARTY – Invite members and their grandchildren to an American Girl Tea Party. Ask the children to bring along their favorite dolls. During the tea, reminisce with participants about playing with dolls. How have dolls changed over the years? What was the most popular doll when your members were younger? Display dolls as the table centerpieces. Serve tea, lemonade, scones, and fruit.
USO SHOW – Feature the talent of your members, family, and staff by hosting a USO Show. Acts can include singing, dancing, magic, lip-syncing, comedy, or other hidden talent. Ask each department to represent an act. They can work with members or as a department to develop a routine for the show. Invite family and friends to attend the show.
AMERICAN PASTIMES – Host a weekly reminiscent circle that focuses on favorite American pastimes. Topic ideas include victory gardens, baseball games, military drafts, summers on the front porch, women in the workforce, and Independence Day celebrations. Be prepared with a few conversation prompts to get the discussion started, serve lemonade, and give time for participants to ponder each question.
BASEBALL GAME – Arrange for your group to go to a baseball game this month. Whether it’s the big leagues or a minor league game, there’s something special about relaxing at the ball park. Consider renting a private suite or rooftop deck so that your group can experience the game VIP style. Indoor suites are also perfect for hot, muggy days.
DANCE HALL DAYS – Bring back this familiar American pastime for your group by creating a dance hall of your own. Decorate with balloons, streamers, and a disco ball. Arrange chairs around a dance floor. Hire an entertainer to play popular tunes of the day and encourage members to move to the beat. Make a whole day of it by giving mini makeovers to the ladies and inviting participants to dress up for the occasion.
AMERICAN BANDSTAND – Across America, from 1952-1989, many households tuned in to watch American Bandstand with Dick Clark. Reminisce with your group about this popular American show. What were some of their favorite acts? What do they remember about the show? Did they watch it as a family? How has television changed since the 1950s? Then, purchase a season of American Bandstand and feature an episode in the evenings.
DRIVE-IN THEATER – Bring back the nostalgia of the drive-in theater. Arrange chairs in twos and fours, similar to a four-door car. Give each participant a shower caddie filled with their own drinks, popcorn, and other goodies. Set the scene by using cardboard boxes to create the back of a car, and display near the front of the room.
- Where is the lowest point of the western hemisphere? Death Valley, California
- Located in the U.S., which five lakes make up the largest body of water on Earth? The Great Lakes: Huron, Erie, Superior, Michigan, and Ontario
- The Declaration of Independence was signed in what year? 1776
- How many presidents have been inaugurated in the U.S.? 45
- Which American swimmer made history at the 2008 Summer Olympics, winning the most gold medals yet at a single Olympic Games? Michael Phelps
- The Statue of Liberty was a gift from which European country? France
- Before Washington, D.C., where was the first capital of the United States? Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Which of the following U.S. presidents does not have their face carved into the side of Mount Rushmore: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, or Abraham Lincoln? Dwight Eisenhower
- Located in San Francisco Bay, which island served as a federal prison from 1934-1963? Alcatraz Island
- Of the fourteen states bordering the Atlantic Ocean, which state has the least oceanfront, only thirteen miles: New Hampshire, Maryland, or Delaware? New Hampshire
ALL-AMERICAN THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“The Constitution only guarantees you the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
“All American” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2019 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reprint Policy: To reprint or republish all or portions of this entry, you must acquire written permission and agree to link back to the original source. Please contact us at [email protected] to obtain permission.