|The Activity Director's Office
|Silvana's Practical Insights
by Silvana Clark, Professional speaker, presenting keynotes and workshops on humor in the workplace as well as ideas on
creative activities. www.silvanaclark.com firstname.lastname@example.org
|Music: "Five Foot Two" furnished by Heart and Soul Music "Providing Quality Music for Nursing Homes"
Celebrate Some Untraditional Holidays
Visit any healthcare facility in the US during July and you’ll see colorful red white and blue flags
and decorations in the building. During October, assisted living centers across the country
celebrate Halloween. Nothing special about that.
How about celebrating National Dress Your Pet Day or International Puzzle Day? Let’s face it.
Celebrating untraditional holidays provides a new and unique activity for your residents. For
example, on April 22, there’s not too much going on in the way of special events. However, if you
are celebrating National Jellybean Day…you just might get some curious residents to
participate. Ask staff to dress in bright, solid colored clothes to look like jellybeans. Have a
“Guess the Number of Jellybeans” contest at the front desk. Give members bags of jellybeans (if
Doctor approved) as they visit the activity center. Ask children to visit and plan a jellybean hunt.
Fill small plastic eggs with jellybeans and hide them for the youngsters. Try a jellybean tasting
contest. Blindfold staff and see if they can distinguish between root beer flavor and French
Your residents will also create positive word of mouth publicity as they tell their family about the
unique holiday they celebrated while living in your facility. These untraditional holidays are all
easy to celebrate.
Try some of these:
June 1, Superman’s Birthday: Ask residents to display their super-hero skills such as tossing Q-
tips (instead of a javelin). Superman is only thwarted by green Kryptonite. Invite everyone to a
green Jell-O eating party. Pass out Superman comic books to everyone.
July 8th is Be A Kid Day. Have a contest to see who can tell the silliest knock knock joke. Ask
staff to dress like kids with overalls and pigtails. Get silly (like a kid) and award a rubber chicken
to the person that does the best chicken imitation. (To order inexpensive rubber chickens (and
rubber pigs!) check out S&S Worldwide. www.ssww.com They also sell novelties such as glow
in the dark bouncing balls and inflatable saxophones…perfect for National Saxophone Day of
April 29 is National Hairball Awareness Day…well, maybe that’s one day you don’t want to
If those holidays are too wild for you, then try something more “sophisticated”.
May 12 is National Limerick Day: Encourage residents to write limericks. Stage a Limerick
Reading evening with a coffee house atmosphere, complete with staff wearing berets and
looking like beat niks. Display all the limericks on a bulletin board where everyone can read the
The last Tuesday in August is Touch A Heart Day. Provide opportunities for your residents to
make a donation to a local charity. Get staff involved in a project. How about everyone chipping in
to sponsor a child in a developing country for $30.00 a month? Select a child from Childcare
International’s website at www.childcare-intl.org (Note: Childcare only spends 4% of their budget
June 19, Butterfly Day: Invite your residents to help plant a small garden with butterfly-attracting
plants such as Queen Anne’s lace, yarrow or snapdragons. A local garden club could help. Get
more information on www.butterflies.com
The holidays never end: Donald Duck’s Birthday is June 9th, the third week in July is National
Avoid Boredom week, and don’t forget National Mustard Day on the first Saturday in August. Even
if residents choose not to participate, they will still remember that the activity department
celebrated a unique holiday.
Don’t forget to celebrate National Bubble Wrap Day!
Naturally I’m partial to the book Every Day A Holiday, (by Silvana Clark) which gives activities, craft
and food ideas for over 320 holidays. Available at major book stores and on Amazon.com
Chases Calendar of Events lists thousands of holidays, anniversaries and special events.www.
|About Slivana Clark
Silvana Clark began her
activity/recreation career 20 years ago
as a spotter for kids on a trampoline.
Every Saturday, for four hours, she'd
watch kids bounce up and down, up
and down, up and...you get the idea.
Since then she's written eleven books
and is a popular speaker at
conferences around the country. She
was a keynoter at the British Columbia
Activity Professionals conference and
recently gave a keynote for the
Wisconsin Activity Professionals
Conference. Her sessions are filled
with humor, practical information and
small group activities. She is
recovering from her appearance on the
Fox reality show, Trading Spaces,
where she spent a week living with a
family that saw no need for any kind of
fun activities. Contact her at