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Recreation Therapists planning for May....

mother's day "Humor provides us with a valuable tool for maintaining an inner strength in the midst of outer turmoil." Brian Deery

  1. Special Events Days
  2. Facts
  3. Birthdays
  4. Activities

Special Events in May

  • 1st week- Health Care Administrator's Week
  • 1st week- National Hospital Week
  • 1st week- Be Kind to Animals Week
  • Week beginning with Mother's Day is National Nursing Home Week
  • 2nd Wednesday- National 3rd Shift Day
  • 2nd Wednesday- National Receptionist Day
  • 2nd Sunday- Mother's Day
  • 3rd Saturday- Armed Forces Day
  • Older Americans Month
  • 1- May Day
  • 1- Hawaiian Lei Day
  • 1- Loyalty Day
  • 5- In Japan, Children's Day and Boy's Day
  • 18- Visit Your Relative Day
  • 30- Memorial Day, celebrated last Monday of May

May Facts

  • Birthstone- emerald
  • Flower- Lily of the Valley and hawthorn
  • 1st Saturday- Kentucky Derby
  • 6- Hindenburg exploded (1937)
  • 7- Lusitania sunk by German sub in WWI (1915)
  • 10- 1st transcontinental railway completed in Utah (1869)
  • 11- Minnesota Day (1858)
  • 21- Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic (1927)
  • 23- South Carolina Day (1788, 8th state)
  • 27- Golden Gate Bridge opened (1937)
  • 29- Rhode Island Day (1790, 13th state)
  • 29- Wisconsin Day (1848, 30th state)

May Birthdays

  • 1- Kate Smith (1909)
  • 2- Bing Crosby (1904)
  • 6- Willie Mays (1931)
  • 8- Harry S. Truman (1884)
  • 10- Fred Astaire (1899)
  • 25- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803)
  • 26- John Wayne (1907)
  • 29- Bob Hope (1903), John F. Kennedy (1917)

May activity ideas

This day is
submitted by Mary Thoma of Eastern Oklahoma County Adult Day Services on August 3, 2010

Note from the editor- "This Day is" can be adapted to any number of event ideas. In the example given by Mary as shown below, she chose BIRDS as the theme of the day. Be creative in creating your theme!

Size of Group: any number

Equipment: Recordings of bird calls can be found on the internet at no cost. We do the chicken dance to the You Tube video from the Lawrence Welk chicken dance demonstration. Recordings of the “bird” music named below. Eggs and egg dishes prepared. Have caramel or chocolate to melt in the microwave and cover small nests of Chinese noodles to make bird nest snacks, bird puppets, bird masks and/or costumes. Bird masks, feathered hats, feather boas. Have a large dry erase board and markers. Bird puppets or marionettes.

Objective: Recognize how much people really are “for the birds” :)


This day is “For the Birds”. (All things “Bird” for the whole day)

Do the Chicken Dance and/or square dance to “Turkey in the Straw”

Sing Songs about Birds, Lets All Sing Like the Birdie Sings, Mocking Bird Hill, When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along, Recite sayings or phrases about birds: a bird in hand is worth two in the bush, stick your head in the sand like an ostrich, and don’t count your chickens before they hatch. He/she cackled like a hen laying an egg, he/she is a birdbrain, write these on a dry erase board as they are called out.

Listen to bird calls and try to mimic them.

Eat boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, or souffle.

Make bird’s nest snacks with Chinese Noodles and melted chocolate or Carmel.

Bird costumes and masks worn by staff and participants.

Feathered hats and boas worn by staff and participants.

Bird Puppet show (we made our own paper Mache’ bird puppets) Name bird cartoons & characters, commercials and products with birds: Road Runner, Heckle and Jeckle, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweetie Bird, Daffy Duck, Big Bird, Woody Woodpecker, Red Goose shoes, Kentucky Fried “Chicken”

Tell bird jokes: Why did the chicken cross the road? Tell bird stories about pets and wild birds from personal experiences.

Write a story about birds as a group collaborative effort.

If your group is up for it watch “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock

Memorial Day Decoration Line
Submitted by Frances Poulson of Sentara Nursing Center Norfolk on May 03, 2004

Size: 6 to 10

Equipment: Red, White, & Blue Paper, Colored Markers, Tape

Objective: Reminiscing/Making a time line of what your Resident can recall about being patriotic when they were young.

Description: You can do the activity in a day or work on it each day of May.
1. On red paper write down the names of Wars/Spanish-American, World War I & II, Korean War, Vietnam War.
2.On white paper make Flags
3.On blue paper write down some for the words from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
4.Repeat colored paper pattern draw flowers
5.Write the names and some of the words to patriotic songs
6.Write down the names of a few people that your residents know that are in the military.
7.Then have your residents draw a few patriotic pictures.
8.Cut out red, white and blue shapes
9.Tape the red, white,& blue paper together to make one line.
10. Post it up for all to see at the LTC or ALF cook out.

International Luncheon
submitted by Anitra Ingram of Anson Community Hospital on July 25, 2001

Size: any number

Equipment: decorations for different countries, food

Objective: socialization, opportunity to experience other cultures.

Description: The staff, families and local businesses were asked to donate different dishes representing the country of their choice and to dress from that country. Residents from a nearby facility were also invited. While the residents gathered, we had music music to greet them as they entered the door. We also had the dining tables decorated from different countries. I had a song and dance that was performed for the residents. Afterwhich, music was played and the food was enjoyed by all.

The local newspaper came out and took pictures.


Make up a poem
submitted by Margaret Harrison of Valley Healthcare Center on November 12, 2000

Equipment: Paper and pen

Description: Residents will write their own holiday poem for a season or holiday

Example- Mother's Day

M is for marvelous, that's my Mother.
O is for _________
T is for _________
H is for _________
E is for _________
R is for _________

Have the participants think of something about Mother that begins with all the letters in the word Mother.

You can use this for any holiday.


Box Lunch Auction
Lynne Hoover of Samaritan Keep Home on May 3, 2000

Size: 30-40

Equipment: Decorated boxes, Auctioneer, residents, community members, food, etc..

Objective: To involve the community members in a nursing home activity. Residents enjoy meeting new people from the community. It is also a good fundraiser for your facility.

Description: The Box Lunch Auction is a fundraiser for your facility. You invite people from the community to come to your facility and purchase a decorated box lunch. The box lunches are auctioned off and each community member purchasing a box will be eating with a resident. You can make it as special as you want; my facility has invited the mayor, sherrif, local TV stations, Councilmans, and others. We have also added entertainment to the program, along with prize give-aways. This program helped raised alot of money for our facility and allowed the people out in the community to see what living in a nursing home is all about.


clown day Clown Day
submitted by Susan White of Research Mental Health Services

Size: 8-30
Equipment: face painting, munchies, balloons, decorations
Objective: social interaction, humor, creativity

Description: Bring in a storyteller and have them recite "funny" stories. Have a juggler.  Have someone do simple magic tricks and teach the clients to do them. Have someone do face painting. And most importantly...bring in the clowns.  Have the staff and clients dress up as clowns.  Staff can put on a skit and involve the clients, too.


Send your favorite activity ideas for May here.

Activities & Tx pages sponsored by compuTR and maintained by Charles Dixon
If reprinting ideas from these pages, please give credit.


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