March is the month of St. Patrick’s Day, the leprechaun, shamrocks, green beer, and all things Irish. If you are an activities director at a nursing home and are planning Irish-themed activities for this month, here are some suggestions for activities to consider.
Trivia games can be about all things green or about Ireland. A party theme could be the same and there are also plenty of crafts to do in the spirit of the Irish! Ireland is well known for its legendary leprechaun, pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, shamrocks and beer. While it’s probably best not to serve beer to residents, you can serve many green drinks and use food coloring to change the look of many food dishes. Dressing in the spirit of the Irish is also very easy for you and the residents, just wear green!
Palm Sunday and Easter sometimes fall in this month. If you choose to celebrate these dates or recognize them for your religious residents, it is also possible to find resources for religious crafts and curios online. Christmas and Easter are usually the times to introduce the gospel songs that everyone is willing to sing together. So dust off the CDs and sing along with the DVDs if you don’t already use them, and get some backing instruments if that’s your thing.
Is it spring that you’d rather focus on rather than the Irish as a month’s theme? The activities you can do for spring are endless. It’s a good time to get some potting soil and seeds. The smell of rich compost is a beautiful spring scent and all seniors can be a part of planting seeds in the ground to get the spring blooms started. In a few weeks, they’ll be ready to transplant outdoors or into larger pots for all to enjoy.
Spring crafts could focus on butterflies, flowers, birdhouses, and bird feeders. These can be relatively simple or more complex for those who require less help and supervision. From glitter and pom poms to sunflower seeds and wood, you can get quite creative with the crafts you choose to make. The good thing about crafts is that you can have several different ones for older people to choose their preference. Not all men want to make butterflies and flowers.
In keeping with the Spring theme for March activities, there are also plenty of outings to do. Everyone has been “locked up” indoors for months and needs to get out, stretch, feel the sunlight on their faces and breathe in the spring air. Some outdoor activities will depend on where you live. Spring takes longer to arrive further north, but as it warms up, it can take seniors out for a walk through a zoo, open-air market, park, or just going for a walk around the block.
Because it’s the beginning of spring, new changes, and the new birth, March is a great time to consider little makeovers to freshen things up. From hairstyling and manicures to moving furniture and adding art and new pictures to many walls, in their common activity areas and in residents’ bedrooms. As everyone’s spirits lighten with the longer days and fresher air, have a group sing or invite a musician to your facility, someone you haven’t had before. Perhaps a new and special talent. Spring is the time to try something new.
A sensory stimulation box could be a good activity for those who are bedridden. This could also be a spring theme, an Irish theme or in keeping with a religious tone for Easter. Items you can use are stones, candles, flowers, chocolate coins, clover shaped or cross shaped items. Include a CD of the gospel, the Bible, or scripture promises in some other form. It’s also good to include images of Ireland, the outdoors in general, and different flowers.
After months of soups and stews, maybe older adults would like to try an ice cream cone or sundae. Ask them! They may have suggestions for other things they are eager to do. Get their feedback and see where it takes you. March could be a great month for everyone.