Across the USA Theme – State of South Dakota

state of south dakota

Recognize South Dakota – the Across the USA state theme for August – by providing your residents with activities that relate to the Mount Rushmore state, including Native Americans, the Black Hills, and a few local South Dakota events.

Native Americans

Since South Dakota has one of the largest Native American populations, with nine official tribes, provide activities throughout the month that educate your residents about Native American culture. For instance, as a one-on-one activity, schedule a personal Native American History Class for one of your residents using a social studies book that you and your resident can read together. If your resident is a bit crafty, however, start a two-person Beading Club for the two of you to use a bead starter kit to make beautiful Native American beads. Consider selling the finished beadwork at your next Crafts Fair.

south dakotaFor your larger groups, plan several fun Native American crafts, like a Dream Catcher Weaving activity, in which you assist residents with crafting their own dream catchers. Another crafting option is to involve the men in a fun Woodshop Class activity to have the men paint wooden canoes that can be given to their grandkids as summer gifts.

Additionally, teach residents a few Native American art techniques. For example, schedule Sand Art on your activity calendar to teach residents the art of sand painting. Use the images, glue, and colored sand that come in the kit to show residents how to create beautiful Native American-style art pieces.

The Black Hills

across the usa south dakotaPay tribute to the Black Hills, the highest mountains east of the Rockies which make up western South Dakota, by scheduling a Park Visit activity in which residents watch a national parks DVD. Furthermore, since Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, honor the four presidents that are on the mountain by planning a few presidential-themed activities. For starters, host an Armchair Travel: Patriotic Edition to show a travel DVD that plays patriotic music for residents to enjoy as they view American sites. Secondly, invite residents for a Presidential Jigsaw Puzzle activity, in which residents work together to complete a jigsaw puzzle featuring the heads of our last 44 presidents. Finally, test your residents’ knowledge of their presidents with a Name That President trivia game in which you ask fun trivia questions about our nation’s leaders.

South Dakota State Fair

south dakota across the usaSince the South Dakota State Fair starts on the last day of August, host your own State Fair for residents featuring fun games and prizes. For example, set up several tossing games for residents to play, like a ring toss game, a target toss game, or even a Tic Tac Toe toss game. Be sure to provide carnival prizes for residents as well, like stuffed animals or candy.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

With one of the country’s largest motorcycle gatherings happening the first week of August in Sturgis, South Dakota, invite the grandkids to a Motorcycle Race at your facility, in which they color wood motorcycles and race them in your Activity Room. Before the activity, however, recruit a few of your residents to set up a Tattoo Parlor to give temporary tattoos to the kids.

South Dakota State Symbols

south dakota usa themeFinally, use a few South Dakota state symbols as inspiration for fun activities for your residents. For instance, since South Dakota is one of the top five honey-producing states in the U.S and has the honey bee as its state insect, host a Honey Tasting for residents. Simply purchase a few different brands of honey for residents to sample and to judge.

In addition, schedule a baking activity – Baking Class: Kuchen – to teach residents how to bake the state dessert of Kuchen, a German cake that became popular in South Dakota due to its German immigrants. While sampling the cake, educate residents about the German influence in South Dakota, where over 40% of South Dakotans have German ancestry. In fact, teach residents a few words and phrases in German, the second most spoken language in South Dakota after English.

Lastly, wrap up the tribute to the state symbols by honoring South Dakota’s state drink – milk – by treating the residents to a milk and cookies snack before playing a milk bottle toss game in your Activity Room.

About 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, 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.

Want even more ideas each month? Sign up for the Notjustbingo Membership to receive specialized activity ideas to keep your residents and staff engaged, active, and having fun!

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