For the Across the USA theme for March, take residents to the great state of Texas, since March is Texas History Month. Be sure to use the whole month as inspiration to provide activities that celebrate The Lone Star State. Here are some great ideas from notjustbingo.com:
Remember the Alamo
Throughout March, schedule fun activities for your residents that educate them about the history of Texas. For instance, on March 2nd which is Texas Flag Day, decorate your Activity Room with a Texas state flag and share fun facts with residents about the state and how it became a part of the union in 1845. Consider hosting a Texas Trivia Contest to see who really knows their stuff about America’s second largest state.
Then on March 6, recognize Alamo Heroes Day, a day to honor all those who died defending Texas against Mexican troops during the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. Help your residents “Remember the Alamo” by showing them a DVD from your local library about this memorable battle that occurred during the Texas Revolution.
Don’t Mess With Texas!
Host fun Texas-themed food and musical activities throughout the month to get your residents into the Texas spirit. For example, designate your facility’s Baking Club as the Texas Baking Club for the month of March. Organize weekly baking activities where you share tasty recipes for your residents to make, like Texas shortbread cookies, Texas cowboy cookies, and the classic Texas sheet cake.
Don’t forget to coordinate with Dining Services to serve a few Tex-Mex meals for your residents as well. For instance, treat residents to the Texas state dish of chili for a fun Chili and Cornbread Dinner, or plan an afternoon social featuring the state snack of tortilla chips and salsa, in which you purchase several salsas for residents to sample during a Salsa Taste Test.
In addition, host several musical activities that pay tribute to the state music of Texas: western swing. Teach residents how to do the Texas Two-Step, or recruit them to learn the official folk dance of Texas: the square dance. Once residents become familiar with the new steps, organize a Square Dance Competition or a Texas Hoe-Down at the end of the month for residents to show-off their newly acquired dancing skills.
The Yellow Rose of Texas
With spring arriving in March, be sure to provide activities that relate to
gardening and nature. One option is to plan several activities that relate to the state insect of Texas: the Monarch Butterfly. For example, arrange to have a few of your residents grow an indoor butterfly garden, where they can watch caterpillars slowly turn into beautiful butterflies. For those residents who enjoy going outdoors, provide them with butterfly nets to help you catch butterflies, or to at least get plenty of exercise trying to do so.
If instead you have residents who would like to remain indoors, set up crafts where they can make butterfly necklaces using colorful butterfly beads or provide them with beautiful butterfly art to paint or color.
Plan several gardening outings for residents, like taking a trip to a local butterfly exhibit or taking a trip to your local nursery to view the beautiful flowers, like the Texas state flower, the Bluebonnet, or the state shrub, the Crape Myrtle.
Find even more butterfly items here.
This month, try to play up the “cowboy” image that most people associate with the state of Texas by turning your Activity Room into a “Dude Ranch for the Day”. Pass out cowboy hats and bandanas for residents to wear. Or, they can even decorate their own cowboy hats. Recognize the state sport – the rodeo – by teaching residents how to lasso a horse during a Lasso Competition using a stuffed horse. If you are working with a smaller group of residents for this Dude Ranch Day, like a men’s group, consider organizing a special event like a Huevos Rancheros Breakfast (eggs with tortillas, salsa, and avocados) that is just for them.
Don’t forget about your residents who enjoy independent activities. For instance, set up different cowboy-themed tactile activities in your Activity Room for the day for residents to perform, like assembling cars.
Friday Night Lights
Spend a few days paying tribute to the favorite Friday night pastime of the state of Texas: football. Schedule several football-related activities for your residents, like a Football Target Competition, in which residents toss soft foam footballs through a hoop hanging from a tree, or a Kicking Competition, in which seated residents take turns kicking the football in the yard.
Host a few intergenerational activities in which your residents get to be the spectators. For instance, invite the grandkids to participate in a Football Practice to show-off their throwing skills using a football target game . Alternatively, plan a Sprint Flag Football Game for the grandkids to play one another using flag football equipment.
In addition, take advantage of baseball season quickly approaching by getting your residents to play baseball. Have residents be more active by setting up a batting tee in your backyard for residents to compete in a Slugger Competition to see who can hit the ball the farthest. For those less mobile baseball-loving residents, provide a fun afternoon of playing this Baseball Matching Card Game instead.
Finally as a fun resident-exercise, honor the large cheerleading squads throughout the state of Texas by passing out pom-poms as props during your Exercise Class, to get residents working their arm muscles.
notjustbingo.com is an online resource of fun, senior activity ideas for activity professionals of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They have been providing fun activity ideas online since 2009, and we continue to assist activity professionals across the country by creating meaningful and engaging activity ideas for their residents that go “beyond bingo.” Don’t get them wrong – bingo is fun, but we want to spread the word that there is more to life than just bingo. Overall, notjustbingo.com feels privilege to help activity directors better the living experiences of their residents while demonstrating that a senior’s quality of life can actually improve when they move to a nursing facility.