August is filled with superb international days to observe. It also happens to be International Peace Month, making it the perfect month to explore other cultures and traditions. Beat the heat with your group and invite members to join you for an international adventure using the activity ideas below.
AUG. 1-7, INTERNATIONAL CLOWN WEEK – Whether you love them or fear them, clowns worldwide are celebrated during the first full week of August. Reminisce with your group about clowns and the circus. Does anyone remember watching Bozo the Clown on television? Purchase clown paint and invite members to have paint their faces like a clown, or give everyone a red clown nose to wear. Host a “Clowning Around” social. Serve ice cream and invite a clown to entertain your group.
AUG. 1, INTERNATIONAL FORGIVENESS DAY – Kick off International Peace Month by inviting members to do some life review. Encourage them to write a letter to someone they’ve lost touch with or need to forgive. They can choose to mail the letter or not. Host a group about forgiveness. Read inspirational stories of people who’ve forgiven the unforgivable. Ask members to share how they’ve learned to forgive over the years. (You might invite your social worker to be part of this session.)
AUG. 6, INTERNATIONAL BEER DAY – Invite members to an outdoor Happy Hour, weather permitting. Serve samples of international beers, craft beers, non-alcoholic beer, or root beer. Teach members how to give a toast in other languages. Invite someone from a local brewery to come in and talk about how beer is made.
AUG. 8, INTERNATIONAL CAT DAY – Invite cat lovers to a group all about felines. Share fun facts about cats. Reminisce with participants about their favorite cat and what they loved most about their cat. Arrange for a cat therapy group to visit with participants outdoors. Make catnip toys to donate to your local animal shelter.
AUG. 9, WORLD INDIGENOUS DAY – World Indigenous Day recognizes the achievements and contributions that Indigenous people have made to improve the world and protect the environment. Prepare a brief lecture about Indigenous people worldwide. Lead a drum circle with your group. Fold and decorate paper boomerangs, then try throwing them.
AUG. 11, WORLD CALLIGRAPHY – Invite members to learn the art of calligraphy. Invite a local calligraphy artist to teach, or find an instructional video online. Purchase necessary materials, such as paper and calligraphy pens. Discuss calligraphy across the globe, including the countries of China, Japan, and Korea.
AUG. 12, INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY – Plan an intergenerational program to celebrate International Youth Day. Invite a local preschool to visit or arrange for members to read stories to young children virtually. For more active members, plan an intergenerational kickball game. Members can kick and kids can run the bases or play in the field. If you don’t already have an intergenerational pen pal program, start one today.
AUG. 13, INTERNATIONAL LEFT-HANDERS DAY – Celebrate all members who are left-handed. Reminisce (or commiserate) with left-handed members who may have been forced to write with their right hand during their school years. Look up famous left-handers and discuss traits they might share. Ask right-handed members to try using their left hand only in a balloon volleyball game.
AUG. 15, FERRAGOSTO FESTIVAL – Take your group on a virtual trip to Italy to celebrate one of the biggest Italian national holidays, Ferragosto Festival. Research a little about the holiday and share fun facts with your group. Serve Italian ice out on the courtyard and reminisce with your group about Italian heritage. Has anyone traveled to Italy? What was it like? What did they see and do? What was most memorable about the country? Coordinate with your dining team to serve Italian foods at meal times. Play Italian music or lead a sing-along featuring songs by Dean Martin or Mario Lanza.
AUG. 19, WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY – World Humanitarian Day commemorates the many men and women all over the world who are working in the poorest countries. Invite members to acknowledge the efforts of humanitarians by sending them encouragement. Write notes of appreciation, partner with a local humanitarian organization in your area, or find ways your group can support their efforts.
AUG. 21-22, INTERNATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE AND LIGHTSHIP WEEKEND – Find a documentary about lighthouses to share with your group. Purchase miniature lighthouses from a craft store and invite members to decorate with paint. Invite participants to turn terra cotta pots into an adorable lighthouse to add to your outdoor landscaping. Reminisce with your group about touring lighthouses, taking a cruise, boating, and spending time at the sea.
AUG. 24, ICONIC AMERICAN RESTAURANTS DAY – Gather your group and name as many famous and popular American restaurants as you can. Can you name over 20? Did anyone work in an one or these restaurants? Reminisce about soda shops and the start of the fast food industry. Which soda shop? What was their job? Arrange a trip out to eat at a popular restaurant chain with your group, or order take-out delivered to your facility. Discuss iconic American restaurants that are now popular across the globe, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks.
AUG. 26, INTERNATIONAL DOG DAY – End the month by inviting dog lovers to a group about man’s best friend. Share fun facts about dogs. Reminisce about members’ favorite pet dogs. What’s their favorite breed and why? Who owned the biggest dog? Smallest? Oldest? What sort of tricks did they teach their dog? Make homemade dog treats with your group to donate to a local animal shelter. Find a recipe by doing a quick internet search.
INTERNATIONAL ESCAPADES TRIVIA
- Who is the most famous clown in the world (hint: think Golden Arches)? Ronald McDonald
- Which country is the global leader in beer production: China, U.S.A, or Brazil? China
- Which ancient civilization considered cats to be magical creatures and mummified them when they died? Ancient Egypt
- More than anywhere else on Earth, there are over 100 indigenous tribes in which large, South American country? Brazil
- Which English word, used to describe decorative handwriting, is derived from the Greek words Kallos (which means “beauty”), and Graphein (which means “to write”)? Calligraphy
- On average, what percentage of the world is left-handed: 8%, 12%, or 17%? 12 percent
- The Ferragosto Festival, a pagan national holiday in Italy, coincides with which Catholic celebration, every August 15th? The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Which European country has the oldest existing lighthouse in the world, dating from approximately 20 B.C.? Spain
- What is the most popular restaurant in the United States? McDonald’s
Which dog breed is the most popular one in the world: German Shepherd, Labrador retriever, or Bulldog? Bulldog
INTERNATIONAL ESCAPADES THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu
“International Escapades” 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.