A Jolly July

July is a wonderful month in a care home, says Jan Millward. Many residents will enjoy the warmth and will get outdoors, and there are plenty of other things to keep you all happy, entertained and sharing memories together…


Make Your Own Ice Cream Trolley: Adapt a trolley to make your own ‘Stop & Buy’ trolley. You could buy choc ices, or use cones with a scoop of ice cream and a flake, or choose some fruit lollies. Use bunting and laminated pictures of vintage ice creams to decorate your trolley and use an icebox to store your lollies. Carry some paper napkins as well. Lollies are a great way to hydrate everyone, while the cool, soft feel and the sweet taste of ice cream is a lovely sensory experience – and you will be very popular! Take your trolley around the rooms, or the garden, and play some traditional ice cream van music on your iPad as you go!

Fruity Iced Drinks: Simple but easy, and residents can help you do this. Slice up oranges, lemons and limes and freeze the slices. Then pop them in a jug of water for a refreshing drink on warm days. Talk about memories of homemade lemonade, picnics and tea parties.

The Passion Flower: There is a lot of symbolism linked to this pretty summer flower. The petals are said to represent the ten apostles of Christ and the inner bit the Crown of Thorns. Google the history of the meaning – it may promote an interesting conversation or two. Many other plants have historical meanings behind them as well, for example, rosemary for remembrance, red roses for love, and iris for respect, to name but a few!

In the Garden: Can’t afford raised beds? Have a go at making them by piling up old tyres. They will need to be bolted together to stop them from slipping and they will need weed-suppressant matting underneath. Fill them with soil and get planting. You could use tractor tyres or car tyres stacked higher. You could plant vegetables, strawberries or flowers for cutting in them.


This year, we are still hopeful that the Tokyo Olympics will take place in some form. Make your own Olympic rings by winding wool around cardboard circles or simply paint and interlock the rings. You don’t have to stick to traditional colours! Reminisce about favourite sports – you may have some old Olympians in your midst!

Care Home Games: Encourage your residents to take part in your own versions of some of the sports, or make up your own Olympic games. You could stretch this idea out to last the whole summer. At your Olympics, anything goes. You could try the following outdoor games:

  • Throw a potato into a bucket
  • Beanbag target games
  • Mini golf putting
  • Throwing the frisbee
  • Chair-based ribbon dancing to music
  • Non-competitive laps of the garden
  • Balloon badminton

You could also invite in grandchildren and the local nursery to help out and form teams! Don’t forget hats and suncream, and don’t overdo it if the temperature spikes.

Japanese Blossom: Have you tried painting with cotton buds? It gives a great result. Draw a tree or a branch on to card. Tie a bundle of six cotton buds together with an elastic band and dip into pink paint. Dab all over your branches. Try different colours and have a go at individual flowers as well.

Other craft ideas to link in with Japan: Paper fans, basic origami – including paper hats or butterflies.

Other major sporting events this month: Euro 2021 (11 June-11 July); F1 Austrian Grand Prix (4 July); Wimbledon Final (11 July); Golf Majors (15-18 July)