July will be another busy month for care homes. There should be plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sunshine, hold activities outside and attend outdoor events. As always, there are a number of special days to look out for this month, many of which we have suggested activity ideas for below. Enjoy!
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1st July: International Joke Day
Laughter is the best form of medicine, so they say! Today is the perfect opportunity to get your residents chuckling.
Hold a viewing session of comedians that your residents would have enjoyed watching in the past, such as Morecambe and Wise, Jimmy Tarbuck and Tommy Cooper. A Carry-On film would also be a good choice of entertainment today.
At mealtimes, place cracker-style jokes (a quick Google search will find you plenty!) on placemats or trays for residents to enjoy. Make sure you either print them off in a large font size or have care home staff ready to read them out loud.
You could try a session of laughter yoga. This is a modern exercise involving prolonged voluntary laughter, based on the belief that laughter provides significant physiological and psychological benefits. Be aware that residents living with dementia may become confused by the situation, so carefully consider which residents you feel will be able to partake and understand the activity.
1st-24th July: Tour de France
The Tour de France is the world’s biggest annual sporting event. Nearly 200 cyclists race over 2,000 miles in just 23 days. Many residents will enjoy following the Tour de France, especially if there are any local competitors or residents with links to the race.
Spread your Tour de France-themed activities out over the course of the event. Perhaps you could hold a session at the start, middle and end of the race.
As always, aim to hold a discussion group that enables reminiscence. Gather some props such as a puncture repair kit, saddle bag, tyre pump, bell, helmet and chain. Talk about cycling in general, and ask residents to share their memories of cycling. Did any residents cycle to school as a child? Did anyone use a bike for work? Some residents may have been keen cyclists and competed in events of their own.
Talk about how bikes have changed over time. Perhaps someone in your community has an old-fashioned bicycle that you could borrow to compare to a modern bicycle or some images of the bikes that are ridden in the race. How do the bikes differ? Modern bikes are generally much lighter, and may not have features such as mudguards and baskets, which residents may recall from their own bikes.
To incorporate the cycling theme into your exercise sessions, source exercise pedals which can be used from a seated position. Demonstrate how to use them, then challenge your residents to cycle for a set time. Some residents may have the mobility and stamina to cycle for 30 seconds, some may manage a minute or longer. Make it fun, and encourage other residents to clap and cheer as though they are watching the real race!
Residents who aren’t interested in watching the event or discussing cycling may enjoy taking part in activities that are linked to the event more subtly. You could source an old bicycle wheel and decorate it with ribbons. Alternatively, ask local charity shops or recycling centres if they have any old cycle helmets that you could have – remove the inner lining and use the outer shell as a hanging basket frame!
At the end of the race, hold a French-themed celebratory meal. This could be a snack in the morning with croissants and brioche, or for lunch you could serve French onion soup with cheese and baguettes. An evening meal could consist of beef bourguignon or coq au vin. Involve your residents in choosing and making food together.
4th July: US Independence Day
Celebrate all things American today! If the weather is fine, hold a BBQ with hot dogs and burgers. Involve your residents in baking cookies, apple pie or key lime pie as a group activity, then serve this after your BBQ.
Make red, white and blue pom-poms out of tissue paper, then incorporate these in a cheerleading-inspired, chair-based exercise session. Organise a playlist of classic American songs, such as Born in the USA, American Pie, Yankee Doodle and Clementine, to play during the session.
Set up a simple game of baseball by using a bat, lightweight ball (a large foam ball is ideal) and a waste bin as the target.
Find a large map of the United States, and print off pictures of famous landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Niagra Falls and the White House. Encourage your residents to pin the landmarks onto the right area of the map.
7th-13th July: Hajj and Eid al-Adha
It is a good idea to approach your local mosque for their guidance or support in acknowledging these occasions. They may be able to provide a prayer session for your residents, or attend an event, or even provide suggestions for menu or craft ideas.
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. Hajj commences in the evening of 7th July. Eid al-Adha is the festival of the sacrifice. This is a holy Islamic festival which takes place on the last day of Hajj, which is expected to be the 13th July.
The prophet Abraham was visited by Allah in a dream, and he was asked to sacrifice his son to prove his faith. Abraham was going to do it, but he was stopped by Allah who gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead, as Abraham had proved himself.
It is now traditional to sacrifice a lamb for the festival. The meat is divided into three – one third is given to those in need, one third is kept for the household, and one third is given to relatives. So, make sure you have lamb on the menu today! Roast lamb is fine, but if you have any Muslim residents or residents with links to the Islamic culture, invite them to share their preferences and suggestions. They may have a family recipe they wish to share, or other ideas for how to celebrate this important occasion.
To make themed decorations for your celebration, hold a sheep-based craft session. You could make simple sheep treats by using white icing on ready-made biscuits or cupcakes. Cut out ears, faces and legs from a block of black icing, and use icing eyes (or blobs of white icing) to finish off the faces of the sheep.
10th-17th July: The British Open Golf Championship
The easiest way to incorporate golf into your care home is by making a golf target game out of old cardboard boxes. You will need lightweight balls, such as ping-pong balls, and golf putters or hockey sticks. You could use pool noodles to guide and channel the balls, so you don’t have to keep fetching them from underneath furniture! Be cautious of trip hazards, and make sure that balls are not left lying around on the floor.
Hold a golf discussion session. Print off pictures of famous golfers, such as Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer. Ask residents if they can think of each player’s name, and which country they represent.
Discuss golfing terms and meanings. Par, handicap, putter, tee, links, birdie, bogey, eagle, fairway, green, hole in one, bunker, caddy, the 19th hole… and so on – maybe your residents can think of more!
Print off the following golf facts and trivia to share and discuss with your residents –
- Some people say that GOLF stands for ‘Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden’!
- Golf has been played on the moon!
- An average golf ball has 356 dimples.
- Golfing was banned in Scotland between 1457 and 1502 as the King wanted men to concentrate on archery in case the English invaded.
- There are 18 holes on a golf course because St Andrew’s golf course reduced the number from 22 in 1764.
- Golf balls were originally made of wood. Later they used leather ones stuffed with chicken feathers!
- To walk 18 holes, you cover on average 4 miles!
12th July: Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne
This is a contentious celebration carried out by Ulster protestants and it has historically caused friction between them and the Irish nationalists. It is symbolic of the sectarian struggles between Catholics and Protestants. You will need to know your residents’ feelings on this if you wish to make it into a day of celebration. Nowadays, it is mostly peaceful and family-friendly with parades and celebrations.
The celebration is known as Orangemen’s Day. Use orange as the main theme of your celebration.
As a group, make large, orange tissue-paper flowers to decorate your lounge and communal areas. Make white paper doves to hang alongside the flowers, as a symbol of peace.
Scoop out large oranges and fill them with orange jelly for dessert, or squeeze your own fresh orange juice.
Have a creative writing morning and write simple poetry about peace. As always, be cautious to consider all residents’ feelings appropriately, and avoid discussing any events that may trigger distress or sad memories.
15th July: St Swithin’s Day
St Swithin’s Day is one of the key themes within our resources this month. It offers plenty of opportunity for reminiscence and discussion, plus inspiration for craft, cooking, and music and movement sessions. Find out about the history of St Swithin’s Day and read our activity suggestions here.
21st July: Anniversary of the first moon landing
Today is a brilliant day for reminiscence. What can your residents remember about the first moon landing? Did they watch it on television? What can they remember about the event?
Download old newspaper cuttings about the event. Use these as reminiscence props to encourage the sharing of more memories and experiences.
For a craft activity, you could make a textured moon picture. This works well as a communal activity, or you could make individual, smaller moons. First, cut out a large circle of thick, white card (or cardboard, painted white). Mix flour into white paint until it forms a texture similar to cottage cheese. Apply this mixture onto your card circle. Wait a little while, until the mix becomes quite sticky. Stamp different sized bottle lids into the surface, to create the appearance of moon craters. Once completely dry, stick the moon onto black card, and decorate with stars, planets and rockets, if you wish!
30th July: Anniversary of England winning the World Cup
This sporting event of 1966 may still be fresh in the minds of some of your residents. For those that are interested, or keen football fans, play video clips of the match and have images of the occasion to hand. Encourage your residents to share their memories. Did they watch it? Where did they watch it? How did they celebrate? Do they remember the players?
Write a list of the team members’ names and see if any of your residents can recall the positions that each of them played, or which football club they played for.
Hold a football-themed, chair-based exercise session using an inflatable beach ball. Try passing it around the room by kicking it or throwing it, depending on your residents’ mobility levels. You could even set up a small goal and encourage residents to take part in a penalty shoot-out! If the weather is good, take this activity outside onto the lawn.
Try to arrange for a footballer to visit the home to show off their ball skills. It may be a footballer from the local amateur football club, or it could be a colleague or resident’s young relative!
Remember that not everyone likes football, so be sure to arrange alternative activity provision for those individuals.
We hope you find these suggestions useful. We always love to see and hear what our readers have been up to – please email photos and stories to for your chance to be featured in our Reader’s Corner!