Providing Internet Resources
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

Copyright 2004-Present
The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved

Christine's Activities
by Christine Jennings
Join our Activity Director
Community message
Activity Professionals
across the country. This
is a free service.
Be sure to subscribe to
Activity Director Today
E-magazine for the
latest news and more
about your profession.
Only $19.95/year
At Resident Shopping &
More you will find
clothing and more for
your residents.  Also, you
will  find Activity
Department supplies
Activity Director
Novelties features and
gifts for you, your
residents, your facility
and your Department.
Be sure to visit.
Activity Director
Excellent Resources for
Activity Professionals
Featuring supplies for
parties, holiday
celebrations  and
special events
Click Here

Christine has contributed
special activity themes for Re-
Creative Resources since
March 2009 and for Activity
Director Today since July
2010. Christine received her
North Carolina State AD
qualification through Rowan-
Cabarrus Community College,
Continuing Education Health
Occupations Program in
November 2007. She has done
volunteer work at several living
assistant facilities, as well as
an adult care center. She
keeps current on the changes
and issues that AD’s encounter
in the profession through on-
line webinars, newsletters and
several AD group blogs. She is
currently a full time care giver
for her grand-daughter,
however she continues to
research, create and plan
activities to offer AD’s that
might have a need for an
activity agenda with special
Christine Jennings
Food Fun!

Since November is the month that kicks off the holiday cooking it only seem appropriate
to have a theme based on nothing but food. Preparing food for football tailgates, family
gatherings, parties, and for holiday gifts is a tradition with just about every culture and

I have created several activities for this theme so you can pick and choose for a day
theme, or you can make this a week theme and use one activity for each day. If you
choose to do none of these activities I hope as you read through this theme agenda it
will inspire you to create your own food activities that will work for your residents.
Activity 1: Discussion group “Calling all cooks!”

Most all of your residents have cooked something at least once in their life, even if it
was opening a can of soup and heating it on the stove or in the microwave. Let’s get the
discussion started by asking the residents some questions and maybe combine this
discussion group with food snacks. See if the kitchen staff will make a tray of goodies,
along with coffee, tea or juice, or purchase a variety tray at a local store. You could also
check to see if a local bakery would be willing to donate a tray and in exchange create
an ad space for them in your monthly newsletter. Here are some questions to help you
get started:

Name one of your favorite foods?

What was one of your favorite foods to prepare for football season?

Did you prepare an old family recipe on Thanksgiving or other family gatherings?

What was the one special recipe that your friends or co-workers asked you to make for
holiday parties?

What food recipes did you make to give as holiday gifts?

What was the strangest food you or a family member ever cooked with? What did you
make with it?

During the discussing you can also pass around some old cookbooks, empty food
boxes or food tins to get some interesting conversations going as well. You can find old
cookbooks or old food tins at Goodwill stores, yard sales or flea markets. Empty food
boxes can come from your own cabinets or check with the kitchen staff to see if they can
save you some food containers once they are empty.

Activity 2: Game “Food Fight!”
Relax it’s not a real food fight, but a game that the residents can play in a group setting.
You can divide the residents up into teams and keep score, or you can just let them
answer as individuals. Give points for each right answer by a resident or the team. The
resident or team with the most points get a fun food basket, which you can make with
fruit, candy, small packs of cookies or just make some cookies and wrap them in
colored plastic wrap with gold ribbon as prize. Note: questions were created based on
information from .
Questions with answers in the ( )
1.        How many pounds of candy do Americans eat per person annually?
a.        5.9 pounds
b.        15 pounds
c.        20.7 pounds
d.        100 pounds
(c. 20.7 pounds) Fun Fact: The Dutch eat three times as much candy as Americans.
2.        Who spends approximately $25 billion each year on beer?
a.        Germans
b.        Italians
c.        Scottish
d.        Americans
(d. Americans)
3.        What was the first ready-mix food to be sold commercially in 1889? Hint:  It was
pancake flour.
(Aunt Jemima pancake flour)
4.        How many milligrams of caffeine are in an eight-ounce cup of brewed coffee?
a.        1 - 25
b.         50 - 75
c.        100 – 150
(c.  100 – 150) Fun Fact: Caffeine has 100 – 150 milligrams of caffeine in 8 oz cup of
brewed coffee, 10 milligrams in a 6 oz cup of cocoa, 5 – 10 milligrams in 1 oz of
bittersweet chocolate, and 5 milligrams in 1 oz of milk chocolate.
5.        California’s Frank Epperson invented the -------------- in 1905 when he was 11-
a.        Pizza
b.        Kool-Aid
c.        Popsicle
(c. Popsicle)
6.        What can neutralize the hot pepper taste in your mouth?
a.        Water
b.        Milk
c.        Bread
(b. Milk) Fun Fact, however an important fact if you eat hot peppers: After eating a hot
pepper never drink water because it will intensify the heat of a hot pepper. Bread will
help endure the heat, but only milk will neutralize the heat taste of a hot pepper.
7.        What use to be the leading source of iron in the American diet?
a.        Steak
b.        Iron vitamins
c.        Cast iron skillet
(c. Cast iron skillet) Fun Fact: Cooking in a cast iron skillet cooked the iron into the food
that was being cooked.
8.        In 1916 George Jung, a Los Angeles noodle maker invented a cookie. What type
of cookie did he invent?
a.        Chocolate
b.        Double stuffed
c.        Fortune
(c. Fortune)
9.        What is the most popular meal ordered in sit-down restaurants in the US?
a.        Fried chicken
b.        Steak
c.        Fried fish
(a.        Fried chicken) Fun Fact: The next in popularity are: roast beef, spaghetti, turkey,
baked ham, and fried shrimp.
10.        Goulash originated in Hungary in the 9th century A.D. is what kind of soup?
a.        Chicken
b.        Beef
c.        Vegetable
(b.        Beef)
11.        Hostess Twinkies were invented by James Dewar, manager of Continental
Bakeries’ Chicago factory in 1931. He wanted to use the company’s thousands of
shortcake pans which were otherwise employed only during the strawberry season.
Originally called Little Shortcake Fingers, there were renamed Twinkie Fingers, and
finally “Twinkies”.  Is this information True or False? (True)
12.        Large doses of coffee can be lethal. Ten grams, or 100 cups over 4 hours, can
kill the average human. Is this information True or False? (True)
13.        Laws forbidding the sale of sodas on Sunday prompted William Garwood to
invent the ice cream sundae in Evanston, IL in 1975. Is this information True or False?
(False, it was in 1875)
14.        Mayonnaise is said to be invented by the French chef of the duke de Richelieu in
1756. While the Duke was defeating the British at Port Mahon, his chef was creating a
victory feast that included a sauce made of cream and eggs. When the chef realized that
there was no cream in the kitchen, he used olive oil instead of the cream. A new
culinary masterpiece was born, and the chef named it “Mayonnaise” to honor the Duke’
s victory. Is this information True or False (True)
15.        Refried beans aren’t really re-fried. Although their name seems like a
reasonable translation of Spanish frijoles refritos, the fact is that these beans aren’t
fried twice. In Spanish, refritos literally means “well-boiled”, not “re-fried”.  Is this
information True or False? (False, refritos means well-fried, not well-boiled.)
16.        Rice is the staple food of more than one-half of the world’s population. True or
False (True)
17.        Saffron, made from dried stamens of cultivated crocus flowers, is the most
expensive cooking spice. True or False (True)
18.        Sliced bread was introduced under the Wonder Bread label in 1959. True or
False (False, 1930)
19.        The difference between apple juice and apple cider is that the cider is
pasteurized and the juice is not. True or False (False – the juice is pasteurized and the
cider is not.)
20.        Van Camp’s Pork and Beans were a staple food for Union soldiers in the Civil
War. True or False (True)
21.        The pound cake got its name because after baking it felt like it weighed a
pound. True or False (False – It’s because it contains one pound of butter)
22.        The first ring donuts were produced in 1847 by a 15 year old baker’s apprentice,
Hanson Gregory, who knocked the soggy center out of a fried doughnut. True or False
23.        How much does the fungus called truffles cost per pound?
a.        $350 - $400
b.        $600 - $800
c.        $800 - $1,500
(c. $800 - $1,500) Fun Fact: The extremely expensive truffles are sniffed out by female
pigs, which detect a compound that is in the saliva of male pigs as well. The same
chemical is found in the sweat of human males.
24.        The English word “soup” comes from the Middle Ages word “sop”, which means
drippings poured over a slice of bread. True or False (True) Fun Fact: The first
archaeological evidence of soup being consumed dates back to 6000 B.C. with the
main ingredient being Hippopotamus bones.

25.        The hamburger was invented by Louis Lassen.  He broiled the ground beef and
served it between two pieces of toast. In what year did he make the hamburger?
a.        1500
b.        1897
c.        1900
   (c. 1900)
Tie breaker question: When honey is swallowed, it enters the blood stream within __
a.        5 minutes
b.        20 minutes
c.        30 minutes
   (b. 20 minutes)

Activity 3: Sensory “Taste the Rainbow”
Food comes in a rainbow of colors and flavors. Let’s see if the residents and staff can
figure out what the food is by letting them smell it and taste a single spoonful of it. Let
them know the rainbow color of the food when you give them the sample, for example
“This fruit is in the red color of the rainbow”, let them taste the pomegranate. If they have
a hard time determining the fruit by taste then give them a hint with a food fact. You can
use any food item you like but you must either chop it or smash it so it does not look like
its original form.  It’s best not to mix anything other than water or some sort of food
preservative, which will prevent the food from turning a yucky brown color like some
fruits do after cutting it. You can use the fruit juice; however you will miss out on texture
and color of the natural fruit. Here are a few suggestions to use for the Taste Test:
Pomegranates (red)
Rhubarb (red)
Papayas (yellow)
Persimmons (yellow)
Yellow watermelon
Avocados (green)
Kiwi (green)
Eggplant (purple)
Figs (purple)
Purple potatoes
Cauliflower (white)
Ginger (white)

I found a great pdf document that has lots of information that you can print as handouts
to give after this activity.

Activity 4: Game “Food Mixer”
This is a food word scrambler game. This is an activity which can be played in teams,
as a group, or as an in room activity. Below are foods or food related words scrambled
for your residents to unscramble:
cnaob (bacon)                aspotteo (potatoes)                hitpasgt (spaghetti)                
mahregrub  (hamburger)
pelpa (apple)                aktes (steak)                        asebn (beans)                        eprpep  
ahepc (peach)                matoenlwr (watermelon)        csikepl (pickles)                golnaob
toaemlaf (meatloaf)        knichce (chicken)                saresclseo (casseroles)        
kupacec (cupcake)
aostropt (pot roast)        sretsde (dessert)                nisoon (onions)                setegi hgw
(egg whites)
gusarapas (asparagus)        cdoasova (avocados)                cmbresuc (cucumbers)        
vargy (gravy)
ctuelet (lettuce)        mtoaot (tomato)                cinhicuz (zucchini)                psearg (grapes)

If you need more just scramble any food word to add to the list.

Facility activity “Mystery Basket Challenge”

This is really two activities based on the Food Network “Chopped”. The purpose of this
activity is to engage your food staff to participate in an activity that is challenging, fun and
entertaining for them as well as the residents. If you have never seen the show I highly
recommend that you watch it on the Food Network before planning this activity, or at
least read about it on-line at . On the
show “Chopped” four chefs are provided three different mystery baskets which they
have to create an eatable dinner course food plate for the judges to taste.  The food
items are unusual and most chefs would never think to use them together to make a

Unlike “Chopped” we will only have three chefs and provide two mystery baskets. The
mystery baskets should only have three to four food items in them and the three chefs
have a set amount of time to make something eatable for the judges to taste. After the
first dish then the judges will eliminate one chef (chopped) that had the least favorite
dish in the first category. The remaining two chefs will move on to the second basket.
The least favorite dish from the second category will be chopped leaving the last chef
named as the winner.

Provide the winner with a certificate naming him/her as “(facility name) Chopped
Champion” and award them with a special prize like a Chef hat or a fun apron. All the
chefs should get a certificate of appreciation for participating in the Mystery Basket

You can ask or select three residents to be judges for the first basket and three different
residents for the second basket. All the residents are invited to watch the challenge and
even though they may not be able to participate in the tasting or judging they can have
fun watching all the drama of the chefs trying to figure out what to fix from the mystery
basket items.

Below are some suggestions for food category and mystery basket items that you can
use or you can come up with some of your own. Just keep in mind your kitchen area or
lack of one. I recommend that you let the chefs know ahead of time what the food
category will be for each basket so they can bring items that will help them to prepare
the food. Remember, do not tell them what’s in the basket, only the food category. If you
don’t have a full kitchen then you will also need to either provide or ask them to bring
small appliances so they can prepare the food with, like an electric grill or skillet,
electric hot plate, hand mixer, blender, chopping board, knifes, or any other utensils that
will be useful in the challenge.  They can also bring their own spices as well as other
food items they think they might need like mike, flour, sugar, onions, peppers, etc.
Remind them of their limitation and that they must use all items in their mystery baskets
in the food preparation. Do not forget the plates to present the food on to the judges.
Presentation is a big deal on the show and should be in your challenge too.

Each mystery basket should have one item from at least three of the five food groups
(fruit, vegetable, protein, grains, and dairy) which can be found on
http://www. and choose one food item that is not
normally combined with the others to make a recipe.  

Activity 5: Category 1:  Appetizer (Pick a reasonable amount of time to allow the chefs to
prepare the dish. Suggestion 30 – 45 minutes – Note: Once the time is called the chefs
must stop immediately what they are doing and hands must go up in the air or they will
be eliminated.)
Mystery basket example for appetizer: pita bread, orange, kale, ham and honey.  

Activity 6:  Category 2: Dessert (30 - 45 minutes)
Mystery basket should be prepared just like the first mystery basket, however use
different foods. Example for the dessert mystery basket: crackers, can pumpkin, peanut
butter and candy corns.

Remember each chef receives one basket for each category and each basket will have
the same ingredients. The chefs can use any other ingredient they have on hand and
they must use all the basket ingredients from the mystery basket, display the food in a
creative presentation on the plates provided in the time given for the challenge.

Another take on the Mystery Basket Challenge is to provide each resident with a small
basket or bag filled with two slices of bread, a meat, cheese, vegetable and fruit to
create a special sandwich. Have other items on the table that they can use like mayo,
mustard, peanut butter, etc, different cookie cutters and dishes. Instruct them to create a
tasty sandwich and be creative with it by making it a fun design using the cookie cutters
to cut the shape. Allow them 15 to 20 minutes to build the sandwich and cut it out into
the shapes they desire, arrange it on a dish. Ask staff members to view the finished
sandwiches and select the one that looks the most appetizing to eat. Have three
winners, 3rd place, 2nd place and 1st place. Give the winners a chef hat or apron and
give all residents a certificate of participate in the Mystery Food Challenge. Afterwards
let them eat their creation.

Activity 7: Tools of the Trade

Residents will have a great time checking out and remembering some of the vintage
cooking tools. It will get them talking with you and with each other. You can check with
the kitchen or contact an antique shop or museum in your area to see if they will loan
you some old kitchen items to use for this activity. If the shop or museum won’t help out,
then check with some of the Goodwill stores because they always seem to have some
oldies, but goodies there and they might loan them to you if the explain why you need
them. If you can’t find all the kitchen items you need then you may have to do a Google
Image search for Vintage Kitchen or appliances. They have some good vintage picture,
however I think having the object is much better, such as an old potato masher, flour
sifter, hand held meat grinder, juicer, old cookbook, etc. can bring back lots of
memories. It’s not just the sight of the object, but the feel and sound it makes when in
use. It also helps the residents that have little sight left that can’t see pictures so well,
but can feel the object in order to invoke their memory and get them involved in the
discussion activity. I can imagine the residents will have some funny or interesting
stories to tell about the kitchen tools, so have someone take pictures and record some
of the stories to add to your yearly memory books if you keep one for the residents.

Activity 8: Family Recipes

This craft project is for both the residents and staff. They can make recipe cards to give
as gifts to family members or friends. Ask for their favorite original recipe or a recipe that
they have altered in some way to make it their own.

If you have computers for the residents to use let them try typing up the recipe on a word
doc or directly on a recipe card template such as this free recipe project from HP
// and you can even include a
picture of the resident on the card. Other options are to type up the recipe on index
cards and let residents and staff members express their own artistic ability by
decorating a 4x6 or larger card. Have markers, paint, and glitter, just anything they can
use to decorate the recipe card with. Have business size magnets to glue on the back
of the cards so it can be used as a refrigerator decoration as well.

Enjoy all the wonderful blessings that each day brings and be thankful for all that you

Happy Thanksgiving!
Christine Jennings