Susan Berg's Activity Ideas Galore
By Susan Berg, CDP, AD,  BS(COTA/L)
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Susan Berg
Author, Activity Director
Activities Director Blog
Alzheimers Ideas
About Susan

Susan Berg has been a
healthcare professional and
educator for over 20 years. She
is the, activity director, of
many years, at Hunt Nursing
and Rehabilitation Center in
Danvers. While there, she has
gained much dementia care
and activity experience and
knowledge. She has had
special training in dementia
care and dementia activities
through the Alzheimer’s
Association and other
educational forums. Berg is the
author of Adorable
Photographs of Our Baby-
Meaningful, Mind-Stimulating
Activities and More for the
Memory Challenged, Their
Loved Ones, and Involved
Professionals, a book for those
with dementia and an
excellent resource for
caregivers and healthcare
professionals.
FEATURING TONS OF CRAFT AND BULLETIN BOARD SUPPLIES
LOW IMPACT EXERCISE SYSTEM DESIGNED WITH SENIORS IN MIND
Take a look
at Susan's book
Flash Cards are
available  to use
with Susan's Book
Note:  They can also be
used without the book
and are ideal for group
use.
National Clown Week

I can not believe August is almost here. Here are some great activity ideas that will help
you and your residents celebrate a special week in August.

The first week in August is clown week. To celebrate this week residents can draw a
simple clown face using a paper plate. You can make it simple by using magic markers
to draw the clown faces or you can add a big triangle for a hat, a red pompom or circle
for the nose and yarn for hair. For me a clown brings to mind a couple of things.

One is laughter and jokes. Laughing is good anytime because as you know, laughter is
the best medicine.  Telling silly riddles usually brings a smile to most residents’ faces.
For some simple riddles go to
http://activitiesdirector.blogspot.com/2010/06/laughter-is-
best-medicine-easy-riddles.html   

You may want to choose a clown leader from your audience. Print some of the riddles in
large print and let the residents take turns being the clown leader. You can make or buy
a simple clown hat. The riddle teller leader can wear the hat as she or he asks the
riddles.

Also you can talk about some famous clowns. Two that come to mind are Bozo the
Clown and Clarabell the Clown from the Howdy Doody Show. As you may or may not
know Clarabell was a mute and communicated by honking a horn. Not only can you
have a discussion about Clarabell, go to
http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Clarabell_the_Clown but you can also talk about communicating without
talking, go to
http://activitiesdirector.blogspot.com/2010/06/activities-directors-and-other.html

Other good ways to do this are to play charades, pictionary or a similar game.

For information on Bozo go to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bozo_the_Clown

Clowns also bring to mind the circus. For some ideas on writing a poem about the
circus go to
http://activitiesdirector.blogspot.com/2010/06/write-simple-circus-poem-or-
story.html

Besides writing a poem about the circus, you can reminisce about when members of
your audience went to the circus. You may want to show a movie about the circus such
as THE MARX BROTHERS AT THE CIRCUS (1938),  THE GREATEST SHOW ON
EARTH (1952), or  THE CIRCUS (1928). Why not sing this old favorite, “The Daring
Young Man On The Flying Trapeze”. You can tell the story that went along with this song.
For the story go to
http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=13967
Here are some words about the circus
  • ACROBATS
  • BIG TOP
  • CENTER RING
  • CIRCUS
  • CLOWN
  • COTTON CANDY  
  • ELEPHANTS
  • FUN
  • HIGH WIRE
  • LION
  • LION TAMER
  • PEANUTS
  • TENT
  • TIGER
  • TRAPEZE

Have a discussion about these words. Ask, ”Why do these words remind you of the
circus?”  For those with memory impairments simply tell the audience members why
these words remind you of the circus. Remember those with dementia relate best to
feelings and emotion. Talk about the excitement of going to the circus and the smiles
on peoples’ faces when they were at the circus.

You can make a word search using these words.

To make a word search draw a grid that has room for 20 letters across and 20 letters
down. Have those who are able, write the words in the grid either horizontally, vertically
or to make it challenging, they can write the letters diagonally or back words. Then have
the participants fill in the blank spaces with random letters. Now you can make copies
of a few of the word searches and hand them out for everyone to solve as a group or
individual activity.

Making a crossword puzzle is a little tricky. You may need the aid of a crossword puzzle
generator. One that is pretty good is
http://www.crosswordpuzzlegames.com/create.html

All of these ideas that I presented here can be adapted and modified for other special
or any day times throughout the year.

Now have fun creating your August activity calendar.