June welcomes the warmest season – summer! Invite members to lather up with sunscreen, put on their sunhat and sunglasses, and head outdoors for some fun in the sun. Splash into summer, with the activity ideas below.
MAKE SPONGE BALLS – Make several sponge balls with your group to use throughout the month. Purchase rectangular sponges in an assortment of colors. You’ll need two sponges in different colors for each sponge ball. Ask participants to cut each of their sponges lengthwise into three pieces. Once cut, lay out three pieces of sponge, alternating colors (i.e. blue, yellow, blue). Then add a second layer on top, alternating those colors (i.e. yellow, blue, yellow). Place the stack of layered sponges on top of a piece of string. Tie the string tightly around the middle section and trim the ends of the strings to create your sponge ball.
SPONGE BALL BULLSEYE – Draw a large target with sidewalk chalk on an open area outdoors, such as a sidewalk or courtyard. Make concentric circles and label each circle with a different point value. For example, the outer ring is worth ten points, the next ring 15 points, and the center bullseye is worth 25 points. Gather participants outdoors and sit them around the target. Fill a small bucket with water and three sponge balls. One at a time, instruct participants to throw the wet sponge ball at the target, aiming for the bullseye. After they’ve thrown three balls, record their score and move on to the next participant. Play in rounds or as teams.
ICE CUBE PAINTING – The day before this activity, fill ice cube trays with water, add a drop of food coloring to each cube, and stir. Be sure to mix a variety of colors. On a sunny day, invite your group to paint with ice cubes. Provide a large piece of white fabric, such as a cotton or canvas. Spread the fabric out on a large table. Pop the colored ice cubes out of the trays and give each participant a few different colored cubes. Give the cubes a few minutes to warm up in the sun, then instruct participants to swirl the cubes around on the fabric, creating colorful patterns. When finished, hang the fabric on a clothesline to dry in the sun. Once they are dry, find a place to display your group’s artwork.
WATER BALLOON TOSS – Fill up a bunch of water balloons and play a game of water balloon toss with your group outside. See how far your group can toss the balloons. To make this more challenging, set up targets (such as cones) for participants to aim for.
SQUIRT GUN PAINTING – Another fun art activity to try this summer is squirt gun painting. Fill small squirt guns with water, then add a drop of food coloring to each gun. For simplicity, match the color of water to the color of the squirt gun. Arrange an easel outdoors and clip watercolor paper to one side. Working with one participant at a time, place participants about one-two feet away from the easel. Give them the squirt guns and instruct them to squirt one at a time, creating their own abstract art. Adjust their distance as needed, depending on the distance they can shoot the squirt gun. Once their painting is complete, remove it from the easel and let it dry in the sun. Place a fresh piece of watercolor paper on the easel for the next participant.
SOAP BOAT RACES – Prior to the activity, purchase a section of rain gutter from a hardware store. Make simple soap boats with your group using a bar of soap, toothpick, and fabric. Ask participants to cut a triangle out of a piece of scrap fabric, scaled to the size of the toothpick. Assist members with gluing their triangle to the toothpick, using a glue gun. Then stick the toothpick into the soap bar and it’s now a boat. Place the rain gutter on a slight slope. Stick a hose on one end of the gutter, turn it on low, and let the race begin.
SWEET SUMMER REMINISCENCE – Gather your group and reminisce about summertime. To keep with the theme, reminisce about swimming. Ask members to describe their favorite swimsuit. Reminisce about how swimsuits have changed over the years. Did anyone frequent the neighborhood pool as a child? What was it like? Reminisce about swim lessons, what it felt like to jump into the pool off a diving board for the first time, the pool atmosphere, and other memories. Was anyone a lifeguard or on a swimming team? Ask them to share what they remember most about that time.
BREW YOUR OWN SUN TEA – Use the power of the sun to make a refreshing spot of sun tea. Place eight tea bags in a gallon beverage dispenser. Fill with water and cap. Place the dispenser outside, in a sunny location, for three to five hours. You can ask residents to help keep an eye on the dispenser and move as needed so that it remains in the sun. Remove the tea bags when the tea has reached your desired strength, then place in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool, serve to your group.
POOL NOODLE GOLF – Create an outdoor pool noodle golf course for you group. Cut pool noodles in half. Place one, six-inch stake in the ground, slide one half of the pool noodle over it. Bend the noodle to form a loop and place another stake in the ground where the noodle meets the ground, to secure the other end. Set up eight more of these loops to create a nine-hole course. Use another pool noodle to make a golf club: Measure and cut a pool noodle to four feet in length. Measure and cut a second piece of noodle, about eight inches long. Secure the eight inch piece at the base of the four-foot noodle with heavy-duty tape. Wrap the tape around the noodles several times. Use a Ping Pong ball as your golf ball and play as you would a regular round of golf.
SQUIRT GUN WATER RACES – For this fun, wet race you’ll need three long pieces of string, three disposable cups, nine stakes (such as a garden post), a screwdriver, and three squirt guns. Set up the race course prior to the activity. Use the screwdriver to punch a hole in the bottom of the disposable cup, closer to the edge rather than in the middle of the cup. Cut three, long equal lengths pieces of string. Thread the string through the hole in the cup, tie the string to one end of the stake, and secure it into the ground. Pull the string taut and tie the other end of the string to another stake, and secure that one into the ground. Repeat with the other two cups and strings, creating an equal distant race course. Move all three cups to one end of the race course, so that the open end is facing the starting line. Give three participants a squirt gun. At your command, instruct participants to squirt water into the cup, moving it along the race course. Encourage participants to continue to squirt water into their cup until it reaches the end of the line. Make the length shorter or longer, depending on level of difficulty you need.
SPLASH INTO SUMMER SOCIAL – Celebrate summer’s official arrival with a Splash Into Summer Social. Serve individual blue Jello cups with a dollop of whipped cream, submarine sandwiches, fresh fruit, and lemonade. Fill a few baby pools with water and place in the grass as decorations. Invite members to pull up a chair and dip their feet in the pool. Lead a sing-along or invite an entertainer to set the mood. Toss around a beach ball or play one of the water games listed above. Provide sunscreen and give members a pair of sunglasses to take home.
SPLASH INTO SUMMER TRIVIA
- How many meters long is an Olympic-sized pool? 50 meters
- Which chemical is added to pool water to kill bacteria? Chlorine
- Which U.S. president had the White House pool installed in 1975? Gerald Ford
- Which infamous ocean liner was the first one to have a swimming pool? The Titanic
- Women weren’t allowed to compete in the Olympics until which year: 1912, 1924, or 1936? 1912
- Who invented swim fins to help move through the water more efficiently? (Hint: he also invented the lightning rod) Benjamin Franklin
- What is the name of the sport best described as dancing in the water? Synchronized swimming
- What is the name of the oldest known swimming stroke? Breaststroke
- In 1926, Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim which European waterway? The English Channel
- Where was the first bikini invented? Paris (in 1946)
SPLASH INTO SUMMER THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.” ~ Woodrow Wilson
“Splash into Summer” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2021 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprint Policy: To reprint or republish all or portions of this entry, please acquire written permission and agree to link back to the original source. You can contact us at [email protected] to obtain permission.