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Recreation Therapist planning for January

happy new year! "Clients with dementia involved in therapeutic recreation programs showed reduction in need for medication (Schwab, Rader, & Doan, 1985)." from Benefits of Therapeutic Recreation, Eds.Coyle, Kinney, Riley, & Shank.
  1. Special Events Days
  2. Facts
  3. Birthdays
  4. Activities


  • Mid January- Hindus fest of Makara Sankranti
  • 4th Friday- National Activity Professional's Day
  • 1- New Year's Day
  • 2- Epiphany, celebration of visit of wise men to infant Jesus
  • 15- or 3rd Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • 19- in the South, Robert E. Lee Day
  • 20- Presidential Inauguration Day (every 4th year)
  • 21- National Hugging Day


  • Birthstone- garnet
  • Flower- carnation
  • 1- Emancipation Proclamation issued 1863 by Lincoln
  • 10- 1st great oil strike in Texas (1901)
  • 24- gold discovered in California (1848)
  • 28- space shuttle Challenger exploded (1986)
  • 30- 1st Lone Ranger broadcast on radio (1933)


  • 1- Paul Revere (1735) and Betsy Ross (1752)
  • 6- Joan of Arc (1412)
  • 8- Elvis Presley (1935)
  • 9- Richard M. Nixon (1913)
  • 15- Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929)
  • 17- Benjamin Franklin (1706)
  • 18- Muhammad Ali (1942)
  • 30- Franklin Roosevelt (1882)


New Years Resolutions
Submitted by Rita Penniman, CTRS  of White Oak Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on 1-5-15

Size of Group: Small (1:1) or as large as 10-12 people

Equipment/Supplies Needed:  Paper/craft supplies if you wish to do the craft portion

Activity/Treatment Objective or Expected Outcome:  Be able to identify personal goals and resolutions that each individual wishes to improve upon in the new year and develop a way to remember and keep track of those resolutions.

Description of the Activity:
- What are New Year's resolutions?
- Does anyone have any traditions they follow or have heard about?
- Has anyone ever made any New Year's resolutions?
   - What were they?
   - Did you keep them?
-Have you heard of other people's?
-Do you enjoy making New Year's resolutions?
-What are some of the benefits of making them?
-What are good solutions to help you keep your New Year's resolutions?
   - Accountability...
   - Write them down...
- What are some ideas that you have for this year's New Year's resolutions?
   - Business...
   - Personal...
   - Spiritual...
   - Health and wellbeing...
   - Family and relationships...

Craft Portion:
Create a fun way to display your New Year's resolutions and help you to remember them!

Vision Board
- Create wheel-shaped collage to display your various resolutions/goals for each area of your life (ie: business, personal, spiritual, etc...)
- Use words, drawings, magazine clippings, etc...

List out your resolutions
- Create a simple list where you write or type your resolutions and can place it somewhere you can remember

General Collage
- Create a collage displaying pictures cut from magazines that remind you of what you wish to work on this coming year


Beat the Holiday/Winter Blues
submitted by beth O'Bryan of MeadowWood Assisted Living on January 8, 2008

Size of Group: 15+

Equipment: entertainment, staff involvement, family & friends involvement

Objective: involvement by staff, tenants, and families To reminisce and rid of the winter blues

Description: Schedule activities throughout the entire day relating to the theme. In the morning we have a baking group to bake homemade bread. For the duration of the day we invite tenants, staff and families to bring in their quilts and afghans to put on display. If they have a history or special fact relating to it we print that to put with the quilt or afghan. For lunch that day, tenants can sign up for a homemade soup/bread luncheon. Staff sign up to bring in a crock pot of homemade s o up or homemade bread. That afternoon we share winter Good Old Days Stories. Then that evening we have a Pajama Party. Everyone comes to the Activity Room in their P. J.'s to enjoy hot chocolate, fresh popped popcorn and entertainment.


Secret Pal
submitted by Bonnie Knudsen of Highland Cove Assisted Living on September 15, 2003

Objective: To create a feeling of belonging and importance.

Description: Each associate chose one or more residents to be a "Secret Pal" to. Each day during the week the "Secret Pal" (associate) would leave a small gift, card, goodie (dietary information was given with each resident name), or decorate the door of the resident's room. The surprise was left at their table or their door with a note saying" "From Your Secret Pal". At the end of the week we held a party. All the residents and the associates were invited to attend. The name of the resident was read and then the name of the associate who was their "secret Pal. The Secret Pal then served a refreshment to the resident. This gave them time to get acquainted and laugh about the fun of the week. It was a very successful activity for the staff as much as the residents. It was a wonderful way for everyone to get to know each other and for the resident to feel important. They would love to share their surprise with other residents. On a scale of 1 to 10.....this was a 10!!

January Winter Picnic
Mary Gould of Cordata Healthcare and Rehabilitation on December 16, 2001

Size: 5--20

Equipment: cooking supplies to make potato salad and baked beans (in a can) and fried chicken (frozen strips), and checkered napkins and table cloths

Objective: to create memories and to stimulate socialization and to meet needs to create via cooking and decorating. To stimulate senses too

Description: In the morning place baked beans (from a can) in a crock pot, and place in a room where residents can smell the beans heating. Also, bring in boiled, un-peeled potatoes and eggs. Have residents peel each and chop. Have residents chop onion and pickles. Then have them mix this together with mayo and discuss the way they all like to season potato salad. Have them season and taste until it meets group approval. Then set the dining tables where the residents will eat with paper plates and checked table cloths and napkins etc. to make a picnic atmosphere. If not all your residents can attend , because of dietary restriction, be sure you have your picnic in a room away from those who cannot join in , to avoid hurt feelings. Pop your chicken (frozen and boneless) in the oven. When ready, let your residents serve themselves family style. Ask the kitchen to provide drinks and dessert. This activity causes them to reminisce and to have fun creating the food. They will probably eat lots, because they can smell it cooking and because they can eat family style. It is a wonderful way to beat the winter blues.

Winter Carnival
submitted by Yvon Trépanier of Centre Montarville on September 14, 2000

Size: large group

Equipment: we made a boat with plastic board and had accessories from a boat store

Description: Here in canada winter is long and cold. this is a week long activity in mid winter and brings a bit of sunshine in every residents life. This year's theme was the "Love Boat." The main idea was a couple who was inviting everybody on a cruise because at the end of the week they where getting married! (for fun). So we had two willing resident to help us and it was fun all the way. Every resident had a passport and every day when he came he got it stamp on his passport. We had a casino, all kind of activities and on the last day, I, as the captain, was able to marry them! There was a big banquet with the help of the kitchen and we had a dance with a live Caribbean band! Lots of fun. (sorry for my english).

Balloon Stomp
Submitted by Lisa Spivey, CTRS

Instructions: Write the letters that spell out "Happy New Year" on 1 inch square pieces of paper. (Have as many sets as you have teams for.) Place the squares inside as many balloons as there are letters in Happy New Year (12), one letter per square. Blow the balloons up with the letters inside. Place the balloons in a large trash bag. Place the trash bag across the room from each team. Have the team race to the bag, bust all the balloons and try to spell out "Happy New Year" The first team to retrieve all the letters and spell out Happy New Year wins. this activity can be used on any holiday with the substitution of the letters to be placed inside the balloons, esp. on Fourth of July & New Years Day activities when fireworks is not an option. Have a poppin' stompin' good time.



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