Nowadays, every day is a national holiday. Specific days are designated to celebrate everything from pizza to country music to frogs. Some of the days are quite cheesy (like National Cheese Puff Day on March 5), while others are patriotic or educational. Whatever the case may be, national holidays offer a wonderful array of ideas for nursing home activities.
This week I’ll share activity suggestions for two special days in January. The first is National Milk Day on January 11. We celebrate this holiday in honor of the first day glass-bottled milk was delivered to American homes in 1878.
Dress Like A Cow
Encourage residents and staff to dress like a cow. You’ll find oodles of easy, inexpensive ideas on Pinterest. Offer a small prize for the best costume such as a gift certificate to an ice cream shop.
Try Different Types of Milk
These days there are many different kinds of non-dairy milk substitutes such as almond, soy, rice, coconut, and flax. Ask residents to taste-test different types and vote on which kind they like best. You can also try unusual types of cheese such as brands made from tofu or goat’s milk.
- Fill a mason jar halfway up with heavy whipping cream.
- Be sure the lid is tight, then start shaking.
- Pass the jar around and let the residents take turns shaking until the cream separates into a solid mass of butter and liquid buttermilk.
- Pour off the buttermilk.(You can drink this or use it for baking.)
- Place the mass of butter in a strainer and rinse with cold water to remove the remaining buttermilk.
- Mix in salt as desired.
- Serve the butter on warm bread fresh out of a bread machine. Delicious!
Host a Guest Speaker
Invite someone in to talk with your residents about occupations related to milk. Consider a dairy farmer, someone who delivers milk, or a professional chef. Residents enjoy reminiscing about how things have changed over the years. Better yet, go on a field trip to a farm, creamery, or ice cream shop.
Try Milk Carton Bowling
- Rinse and dry 6 milk cartons.
- Place a light weight on the bottom of each carton for stability.
- Set up the cartons in a pattern like bowling pins: 3 in the front, 2 in the middle, and 1 in the back.
- Use a toy ball as a bowling ball, or it’s even more fun to use a piece of round fruit like an orange.
Serve A Dairy Snack
The possibilities here are endless: ice cream sundaes, cookies & milk, frozen yogurt, cottage cheese with fruit, root beer floats, cheese & crackers. Ask residents for their suggestions, too.
While residents are enjoying their snack, you can share some fascinating milk trivia.
Hold A Moo-ing Contest
This activity is guaranteed to result in peals of healthy laughter. Invite residents and staff to compete for the best “moo”, and offer a trophy to the winner. This just might become an annual event.
Sponsor A Milk Mustache Photo Shoot
Do you remember when the “Got Milk?” campaign started in the 1990’s, and everyone was being photographed with a milk mustache? Did you know that it takes a special recipe to create a good mustache? Try it out here, then give residents and staff an opportunity to have their pictures taken.
What other ideas do you have for celebrating National Milk Day? Please share your ideas in the comment section.
One more note: January 12 is National Pharmacist Day. Offer your residents the opportunity to make thank-you cards for the pharmacists who supply their medications.