As our hopes for an easing of lockdown increase, Jan Millward says that activities this month can be great fun, with so many things to celebrate and moments to mark…
I always think of March as an activity coordinator’s dream, with so many events happening.
CELEBRATING ST DAVID
The 1st March is St David’s Day which is a riot of paper daffodils, poetry and music. For a reminiscing session with a difference, explore the meaning of Welsh place names. Aber, for example, means the ‘mouth of a river’; Llan, which starts the name of many a Welsh village means ‘parish’. If you want a giggle, have a look at the name of the village in Dylan Thomas’s book Under Milkwood. It is called Llareggub. Try spelling it backwards!
You could also draw or print off pictures of a Welsh dragon and sheep and colour them in. Do plenty of them, and when you have enough, use them as true/false cards – the sheep for ‘true’ and the dragons for ‘false’. Make up your own statements, such as: ‘Snowdon is higher than Ben Nevis’ or ‘Welsh cakes are made in Cornwall’ – the sillier the better – and get residents to hold up the cards they think are right.
Mothering Sunday is on 14th March this year, and it is the perfect opportunity to get out the china cups and organise a tea party. Not everyone may be a mother, but everyone certainly had one. Little posies of flowers made by the residents and put in jam jars in every room is a lovely touch. This year, Mother’s Day falls on the birthday of Mrs Beeton, so get creative in the kitchen and have a go at baking and decorating cup cakes.
CELEBRATING ST PATRICK
St Patrick’s Day is on 17th March, and is a great opportunity to celebrate all things Irish. Try writing your own limericks or doing some chair-based Irish dancing – you can find some fun music here.
One of my favourite festivals is the Hindu festival of Holi – celebrated 28th-29th March. It is sometimes called the Festival of Colours or the Festival of Spring, and marks the triumph of good over evil and the arrival of spring – especially apt after the year we have had! Traditionally, coloured ink is thrown around for people to dance in. For a less messy option, fill your home with colour: use paper streamers and coloured pom-poms and use ribbons on sticks and balloons in exercise classes. Create a colourful game – throw beanbags onto a target, and after each round, the one furthest away gets a bucket of colourful crepe paper pieces thrown over them! You could also do some outdoor paint splatter pictures or finger painting too.
You could also try marbling. Use oil paints to create beautiful patterns on paper, which can be hung up in front of a window. You will need oil paints (thinned with a little oil paint thinner), a shallow oblong tray full of water, and paper or card (not shiny). Simply put a few drops of different coloured paint on top of the water, swirl them around with a cocktail stick or cotton bud, then carefully place your paper on the top of the paint to take up the colour. Remove it (you might want gloves for this bit) and allow it to dry, lying flat.
Now is the time to start planning your garden. Have a look at seed catalogues, and ask your residents what they would like, even if they only have a window box – it’s good to fill them with colourful plants.