Creative Activity Programming/
Not the same old Theme
Linda Amoroso ADC
Whether you are looking at your first or 300th blank activity calendar, there are some
months you can just get stumped, but creative programming ideas can come from
everywhere. Creativity consists of looking at the same thing everyone else does and
thinking of something different. A big part of being an Activity Professional is being
creative and maybe a little bit different as well. The creative person wants to be a know
it all. They want to know about history, how things work......they have eclectic tastes and
always wants to learn. There are always mental blocks to creativity but there are ways to
Rules: sometimes rules have to be modified to accommodate new
being practical: just because an idea isn’t practical doesn’t mean it can’t be
Not my job: Making our elders happy is everyone’s job
Fear of being foolish: Take a chance, use it as a new power, make fun of
Being in a rut: This maybe the hardest, but stepping out of your comfort zone is
Creativity can be needed in times of difficulty as much as during the good time. For
Getting fired or not getting your raise: will make you examine yourself more closely
Losing staff / Budget cuts make you look for new ways to get things done for your
elders and can turn out to be more beneficial to our elders than it was before!
When you’re on the verge of burn out learn a new skill. Go to a community school
take a class in pottery, learn a new language just get out there and grow.
These situations can cause you problems or they could be the catalyst for you to start
thinking differently. Sometimes set backs can be the best thing to happen to you. It can
help you discover opportunity and generate new ideas. Remember anyone can look for
fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. The creative person looks for history in a
hardware store and fashion in an airport
Explore ideas by daydreaming to music, at flea markets, in creative arts classes, in
magazines outside of your area of interest / knowledge, professional publications,
history books, newspapers / TV, surfing the net, and network / brainstorm with your co-
workers, family, friends, and especially other activity directors!!!! Be dissatisfied:
Dissatisfaction can be good for the creative process. Otherwise you lose the shove you
need to spot potential problems. Get rid of excuses: Sometimes it takes more creativity
to get rid of the excuses than it does to come up with new ideas.
Be courageous Don't be afraid to fail!! Be Outrageous
Here is a program that came about when thinking outside the box. When this was first
done Flamingo products were scarce, however, now you can find products everywhere
from the dollar stores to the internet.
Dinner Party: Menu-
Spinach Salad: Spinach, strawberries, grapes, bean sprouts, sweet pink ruby red
grapefruit, raspberries, onion, bacon, topped with Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
Chicken Flamingo: Grilled Chicken breasts topped with mild salsa and topped with
Fried Red Cabbage Beets
Strawberry Pie Cream Soda
Flamingo Lounge: Play 50’s lounge music: Dean Martin, Sammy Davis
Jr., Louis Prima, Sinatra, Tony Bennett. Serve Pink Ladies- Vanilla Ice Cream blended
with Strawberry Soda with a splash of grenadine.
The Flamingo Casino: Set up room as a casino with a black jack table,
craps, roulette, and poker table. Give residents $20.00 pink money (made by copying
play money on pink paper) seat residents at the various tables after 15-20 minutes
tables rotate (it’s better for the staff to move tables than residents) when all the
residents have had a chance to play all the games, we end the program with an auction
for prizes or they can purchase prizes with their winnings. (sometimes the auction
doesn’t work it depends on the abilities of your residents)
Flamingo Party: Your resident’s favorite music is played. Residents are
served pink punch and Petit’ fours, Flamingo trivia game played with all winning a
Flamingo Races: 6 plastic flamingos are numbered and put on a track
(floor squares are used as spaces if that is not available mark off 20 to 25 spaces with
masking tape). Residents choose the Flamingo they want to bet on and are given a
ticket with the name & number of that flamingo. Residents take turn shaking a large
dice twice in a clear container. The first number rolled is the Flamingo to be moved the
second number is how many spaces. The winner is the first Flamingo to reach the
finish on the exact number (for instance, if #4 needs a one to reach the end and a four
is rolled #4 does not advance, it can only win with a one.) Note: be creative with the
names of the flamingos and the prizes. For instance some of the names we had were
Flambo, Flingo, GoFling, Big Pink, some of the prizes were pink cotton candy,
Flamingo glasses, stuffed flamingos, flamingo pens.
Pass the Flamingo: Pass a plastic flamingo like hot potato
Ring the Flamingo: There is a flamingo toss game in the Oriental Trading Catalog
but you could also use a plastic or cut out flamingo to toss rings over it’s head.
Flamingo Whoppie: Residents are set at tables of 5-6, Each resident is given a
sheet of paper with cut outs of 11 flamingos numbered 2-12. The residents take turns
rolling the dice and covering the numbers they roll, if they roll a number they already
have covered they lose a turn unless it is a 7 or 11, 7 & 11 become wild once covered.
The first person at each table to cover their card completely wins.
Flambingo: Bingo with flamingo prizes
Scavenger Hunt: Print out the pictures of flamingos. Find facts &/or
questions, print them out and tape one on the back of the pictures.
(we used questions about our facility). Put out flyers and posters announcing the
Game, Time, Rules and place to start. About an hour to 1/2 hour before the start of the
hunt tape the photos on the walls or other areas of your choosing. (watch for those
residents who like to “collect things” so they don’t take them down.
The Rules: A team consists of a resident and staff members
Sign ups can begin as soon as the fliers go up to 10 minutes before the game begins
& can be changed as needed. Each team is given a sheet with numbers (attached).
Questions on the back of the flamingos must be answered and written on the sheet.
When the game leader says go each team leaves the gathering area to look for the
flamingos. Participants do not have to go the same way.
Sharing answers with other teams is allowed.
The first, second, third and fourth team back with all of the answers correct wins
prizes. We gave candy to everyone that participated. First place received a Flamingo
yard/ room ornament & boxes of Celebration Candy. Second Place received a
Flamingo pens and large candy bar, Third place received Flamingo cup holders, and
fourth place one flamingo glasses.
This turned out to be a wonderful bonding game many of the staff and residents who
were teammates continue to have a special relationship now. There was lots laughter
and hugs that day.
Another contest that was great fun was:
Residents, Families, and Staff were encouraged to dress their tackiest in Pink every
Thursday in Aug. There were be prizes for the Tackiest outfit each Thursday and a
grand prize on Aug. 28th at the Flambango Party We had some pretty wild looking prize
Flamingo Necklaces & Earrings: Small plasitic Flamingos were found in oriental
trading catalogs as key chains. The flamingos were removed from the key chains and
put on earrings. Necklaces were made using one flamingo and different shades of
pink, violet & clear beads strung on a pink ribbon.
Suncatchers: Copies were made of picture, residents used markers to color them,
then they were wiped with and oily paper towel, dried and framed.
Flamingo Sunglasses: Decorated inexpensive sunglasses with flamingo stirrers and
About Flamingos: videos and books that teach the residents about
Flamingo Puzzle: How many words can be made from flamingo.
Where were you in 1957? Plastic Flamingos were born in 1957. Reminisce with
residents about what they were doing then. A great book to use is “Remember the
Fabulous ‘50’s” available through Reminisce Magazine 1-800-558-1013 - web site:
www.reimanpub.com or your local library may be able to get it for you
Out trips: zoos with a special trip to see the flamingos.
Lunch out at a ‘50’s style restaurant
Service project: In keeping with the pink theme, Pink Ribbons, pens, and bags were
sold and proceeds were donated to the St. Alexian Hospital cancer Center in Chicago,
where they have a special boutique set up for women with breast cancer. They have
wigs, hats, make up tips, seminars and support groups for women going through
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