A Different Kind of April

Jan Millward shares her ideas for April, from spring planting and bird feeders, to Easter baking and crafts – all ideas and activities that can be done in the home or during one-to-one sessions if your movements are limited…

Oh to be in England, now that April’s there

While a lot of the world feels strange and uncertain, activities hopefully move ever onward. Isolation is a problem for anyone elderly or living with dementia, and the coronavirus lockdown means more creativity is needed than ever. Luckily, all of Jan’s brilliant ideas are ‘lockdown friendly’, and most can be done on a one-to-one basis, so get planning!

Spring Clean

April is the month for a good spring clean, so get out any old brass or silver and get polishing. Make sure you put down plenty of newspaper and wear disposable gloves! Residents could also help with tidying cupboards, organising magazines and sorting through crayons and paints.

Get out in the Garden

After the long, wet, dreary winter, now is the time to get planting. Nothing lifts the spirits more than getting close to nature, so try starting off with some tomato plants and cucumbers indoors – you can buy seeds online. Lettuce, French beans and spring onions can also be planted in trays, ready to transplant out when they are big enough. You don’t have to have a huge garden either – try growing herbs in window boxes, and strawberries in hanging baskets.

Feed the Birds

The garden birds will be busy nest-building now. If you have pets in your care setting, when you groom them, save the hair and put it in a fat-ball feeder. The birds will happily come and collect it to line their nests.

Easter Celebrations

Easter dominates many an activity calendar, with chocolate nest eggs, Easter egg hunts and bonnet-making on most plans, but it may be a quieter affair than normal this year. Why not try something different and make some miniature Easter gardens? Use old seed trays half filled with compost, and supply some moss, gravel (for mini paths) and flowers. You can use artificial flowers if you want them to last. Try cutting up old CDs to make a reflective pond and surround it with small pebbles. You could award small prizes for the best garden.

William Wordsworth

Wordworth’s birthday is celebrated on 7th April. Use this opportunity to not only read his famous poem ‘Daffodils’ (or ‘I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud’), but to read other poetry that your residents may know, and to decorate your home with a host of golden daffodils, which the residents could help you make out of yellow paper.

St George and William Shakespeare

St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday both fall on 23rd April. Celebrate in style with regional English foods (Cheddar cheese, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Yorkshire puddings and Cornish pasties). You could even print off a list of English counties and see if you can match a food item with each one. For crafts and decoration, try making roses out of paper and, before folding, write famous Shakespearean quotes on the petals.

Anzac Day

25th April is the best excuse I can think of to make some tasty Anzac Cookies. Originally made for the Australian and New Zealand army, these biscuits are delicious oaty creations, find a simple recipe here.

Not every resident is able to get out and take part in group activities, especially at the moment. Grab a trolley and take round the things you have been making and planting to individuals in their rooms. They will feel much more involved if you keep them up-to-date with what is going on. Decorate their rooms with your arty creations and bring in fresh spring flowers.

Keep busy and stay well.