September 2013 Senior Activity Calendar
This calendar contains fun and unique September activity ideas. Each day has four different activities that you can easily add to your existing senior activity calendar. For every Sunday and Thursday, find interesting arts and crafts for senior citizens that are easy to make. In addition, each afternoon contains a fun and unique afternoon social idea for your residents. There are also, when needed, links throughout the activity descriptions (found below the activity calendar) to third-party sites that give detailed instructions on how to complete the activities.
Performing Arts Day
September is ...
- Classical Music Month
- Fall Hat Month
- Healthy Aging Month
- International People Skills Month
- Library Card Sign-Up Month
- National Biscuit Month
- National Chicken Month
- National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)
- National Honey Month
- National Mushroom Month
- National Piano Month
- National Prime Beef Month
- National Rice Month
- National Senior Center Month
- National Square Dance Month
- Whole Grains Month
- Emma M. Nutt Day, honoring the first woman telephone operator
- First Anglo woman settler, Narcissa Whitman, settled west of the Rockies (1836)
- Variety show "Art Linkletter's House Party" premiered on television (1952)
Crafts: Labor Day Paper Lanterns
Invite residents to make paper lanterns for decoration for the upcoming Labor Day Parade on September 2.
Wilderness Survival Skills
Have fun quizzing residents on their wilderness survival skills on this day that the first Anglo woman settler, Narcissa Whitman, settled west of the Rockies.
Encourage residents to showcase their talents in a fun variety show on this day that the television show "Art Linkletter's House Party" premiered.
Hello Girls Social
In recognition of the first woman telephone operator who began her career on this day, Emma M. Nutt, have fun reminiscing about the good ol' days of having telephone operators. Ask residents if they remember hearing about Hello Girls from World War I. Serve popcorn and soda as a snack.
- Congress established the United States Treasury (1789)
- Labor Day
Labor Day Parade
Host a fun Labor Day Parade featuring your residents. Set up plenty of chairs in your Activity Room for spectators (those residents who are not in the parade). Serve doughnuts and coffee as the residents watch the parade. Have those residents, who volunteered to be a part of the parade, march through your Activity Room, one-by-one, with a sign that gives a clue as to their former occupation. Have the spectators guess each resident's occupation.
Making a Mint
Recognize this day that Congress founded the U.S. Treasury by hosting a fun money trivia game. Test residents' knowledge about U.S. currency.
Labor Day Pictionary
Encourage residents to play a fun game of Labor Day Pictionary, in which residents draw pictures of different occupations and have their teammates guess which occupation they are drawing. Divide the residents into two teams. Beforehand, write down different occupations on small sheets of paper and place them in a bowl for residents to choose. The occupations can be easy, like nurse or doctor, or a bit harder, like White House press secretary or school crossing guard.
Honey & Tea Social
Celebrate National Honey Month by supplying residents with an array of hot teas and honey.
- American flag was flown for the first time in battle during the Revolutionary War (1777)
- Launch of first successful penny newspaper, New York Sun (1833)
For this first day after the Labor Day weekend, host a fun Back-to-School Week that includes "classes" for your residents. For example, set up a theater class in which residents perform short skits at your facility. Invite your local high school's drama club to stop by and give a few pointers.
Baking Club: Homemade Biscuits
During this National Biscuit Month, invite residents to make delicious homemade biscuits for your afternoon social.
On this day that the American flag was flown in battle for the first time, encourage residents to draw Americana pictures. Provide residents with paper and colored pencils.
In recognition of this day that the first successful penny newspaper was launched, honor one of America's leading newspaper publishers, William Randolph Hearst, at your afternoon social. Serve the biscuits made earlier today by the Baking Club as residents discuss what they remember hearing about William Randolph Hearst and the Hearst Castle.
- Apache Chief Geronimo surrendered to United States (1886)
- Newspaper Carrier Day
Show a DVD on an interesting historical event during this Back-to-School Week. Borrow a DVD like Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997) from your local library or video store.
Read All About It
In honoring this Newspaper Carrier Day, be the newspaper carrier and supply residents with an assortment of newspapers and coffee. Consider starting your own facility's newsletter. (Encourage residents to make it a resident-run newsletter.)
On this day that Apache Chief Geronimo surrendered, encourage residents to partake in an American Indian custom of swapping goods with others. Have residents bring their unwanted items to your Activity Room to "swap" with the unwanted items of other residents.
Math Quiz Social
Quiz your residents with a list of easy math problems during this Back-to-School Week. Serve apples and peanut butter as a snack.
- Birthday: Jesse James, outlaw (1847)
- Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year (September 5-6, begins at sundown on September 4)
Crafts: Decoupaged Pencil Boxes
Invite residents to make decoupaged pencil boxes during this Back-to-School Week. Encourage the residents to give the finished craft to a loved one that is in school.
During this Back-to-School Week, host a home economics class in which residents make easy lemon cookies.
In remembrance of outlaw Jesse James's birthday today, host a saloon social for residents. Turn your Activity Room into a saloon and encourage residents to dress in western gear. Play fun western music as you encourage residents to dance. Serve shots of root beer.
Rosh Hashanah Dinner
Celebrate the Jewish New Year with a special Rosh Hashanah dinner for your Jewish residents.
- President McKinley was shot in Buffalo, New York (1901)
Reminiscence & Tea
For this Back-to-School Week, serve tea to residents as they reminisce about their favorite subjects in school.
Encourage residents to try their hand at building a fun wood project, like assembling a small bird house or wooden truck, for Woodshop Class. Use small wood kits that can be found at your local dollar store or supply store.
Secrets of the Secret Service
On this day that President William McKinley was shot, share little known presidential secrets.
Whole Grains Social
Encourage residents to eat healthier during this Whole Grains Month by serving whole grain muffins as a snack. Discuss the nutritional value of whole grains.
- Birthday: Buddy Holly, singer (1936)
- Game show "Truth or Consequences" premiered on television (1950)
- Grandma Moses Day, celebrating American artist Grandma Moses's birthday on this day in 1860
- National Waffle Week (September 1-7)
Create a waffle bar in your dining room and ask Dining Services to make waffles to order during this National Waffle Week.
Honor painter Grandma Moses on this day that she was born by inviting residents to paint. Supply each resident with a canvas and paint.
"Truth or Consequences" Social
Play a fun game of "Truth or Consequences" on this day that the television game show premiered. Ask residents fun trivia questions. For those unable to answer correctly before the buzzer goes off, give them easy "consequences" to do, like drink a shot of cranberry juice. Serve residents cheese and crackers to eat with their shots of cranberry juice.
Rock & Roll Party
Celebrate rock and roll star Buddy Holly's birthday today by hosting a fun rock and roll party. Invite residents to kick up their heels as they listen to some of Holly's greatest hits, like Peggy Sue or That'll Be The Day.
- National Grandparents' Day
- President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon for crimes committed while in the White House (1974)
- "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was first broadcast nationally (1986)
Crafts: Family Picture Frames
For this National Grandparents' Day, encourage the young relatives of your residents to stop by for an intergenerational craft, like making picture frames to feature family photos.
Grandparents' Day Brunch
Host a special brunch to honor residents on this National Grandparents' Day. Coordinate with Dining Services to serve a spectacular meal with champagne (or sparkling apple cider).
Famous Presidential Pardons
Have fun discussing famous presidential pardons on this day that President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for crimes committed while in office.
Talk Show Social
During the afternoon social, create a fun talk show theme in commemoration of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" going national on this day. Invite your fellow managers and administrators to be the guests on the show as residents get to ask them questions. Serve ice cream as a snack.
- Birthday: Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (1828)
- California became the 31st state (1850)
- National Assisted Living Week (September 8-14)
During this National Assisted Living Week, coordinate fun, themed days for residents to enjoy. On this day, create a fun Athletic Day, in which you encourage residents to take a "track walk" (or roll in a wheelchair) down your facility's hallways.
Encourage your facility's registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to host a discussion with residents to discuss healthy aging habits during this Healthy Aging Month.
Invite residents to write a short story on this day that Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy was born. Ask residents to write the story about a memorable time in their lives. Encourage residents to share their stories with one another. Supply residents with writing journals and pens.
California Dreamin' Social
Share beautiful photos of California landmarks on this day that California became the 31st state. Ask residents about the places in California to which they traveled. For a snack, serve juice and small boxes of California raisins.
- First drunk driving arrest was made in London for George Smith, who drove his taxi into a building (1897)
- Nathan Hale agreed to become the first American spy in the Revolutionary War (1776)
- National Assisted Living Week (September 8-14)
- Swap Ideas Day
Band & Chorus
Take your residents back to their high school days in band on this Performing Arts Day, by encouraging them to sing along and play along (with hand-made instruments or whatever is handy) to music from the 1930s and 1940s.
For this Swap Ideas Day, gather residents to share some of their culinary recipes to be placed in a facility cookbook. Include popular recipes from staff as well.
On this day that patriot Nathan Hale became the first American spy of the Revolutionary War, host a fun spy game (similar to a treasure hunt). Give residents a piece of paper with five questions about your facility's staff on it (each resident can have different questions) and have the residents discover the answers to the questions without letting the staff know what they are doing. Use easy questions so the residents can easily find out the answers, like "How many kids does the Administrator have?" or "Where was the Dining Services Coordinator born?" But, remember to remind residents that they cannot let the staff know what is going on - they have to act like spies! Reward the resident-spy who is the first to get all of their questions answered.
On this day of the first drunk driving arrest, have a sobriety social in which you serve residents nonalcoholic drinks.
- National Assisted Living Week (September 8-14)
- Patriot Day, commemorating terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001
Baking Club: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
On this Patriot Day, encourage residents to make delicious oatmeal raisin cookies to drop off at your local fire station.
Trip to Fire Station
Take residents to your local fire station on this Patriot Day to drop off the oatmeal raisin cookies made earlier today. While there, ask for a brief tour of the fire station.
Bobbing for Apples Social
For Harvest Day, get your residents ready for the harvest season by inviting them to "bob for apples." Have fun encouraging residents to eat apple sauce out of a bowl without using their hands.
Host a special ball commemorating the harvest season on this Harvest Day. Encourage residents to dress up and dance the night away. Hire live entertainment for this special evening.
- National Assisted Living Week (September 8-14)
- President John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in Rhode Island (1953)
Crafts: Mystery Box
For this Mystery Day, encourage residents to make a fun mystery box for your facility that can be used for sensory stimulation, in which residents place their hands in the mystery box to feel an object and determine what it is.
Alfred Hitchcock Matinee
On this Mystery Day, show the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie, Suspicion (1941), with Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant. Serve popcorn.
Invite residents to act out roles to solve a fun whodunit? case on this Mystery Day.
American Royalty Social
Celebrate American royalty on this day that John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier by discussing presidential marriages. Serve muffins as a snack.
- National Assisted Living Week (September 8-14)
Early Morning Yoga
Invite your facility's early-risers to a fun chair yoga exercise during this Healthy Aging Month.
Invite residents, especially the men, to make beer bread to serve at this afternoon's social on this Men's Day.
Beer & Nuts Social
For this Men's Day, serve residents an array of nonalcoholic beer with nuts and the beer bread made earlier today. Encourage residents to talk about their favorite beers.
"Men Make the Appetizer" Happy Hour
Encourage the male residents to make a delicious appetizer on this Men's Day like a tomato, corn, and avocado salsa for a resident happy hour.
- National Line Dance Week (September 9-14)
- Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, begins at sundown on September 13
Trip to Library
For this Library Card Sign-up Month, take residents for a trip to the library to get a library card.
Quick on Your Feet
Host a fun line dance competition among your facility's staff, on this last day of National Line Dance Week, with the residents acting as judges. Play fun music as you teach the staff a new line dance. After a few minutes of dancing, ask the residents to "politely" ask those staff members who are just not picking up the new dance steps to leave the dance floor. Have fun with the competition by supplying the winner with an inexpensive trophy. In addition, be sure to make fun contestant signs featuring a number that the contestants wear on their backs, just like a real dance competition.
Hat Fashion Show
Encourage the ladies to participate in a fun hat fashion show during this Fall Hat Month. Assist the residents with finding hats in their closets for them to model. If an option, coordinate with a local hat shop to borrow their hats for the fashion show.
Honey & Biscuits Social
Celebrate this National Honey Month and this National Biscuit Month by hosting a fun honey and biscuit social. Encourage residents to make their own honey butter to spread onto warm biscuits.
- Birthday: Agatha Christie, English mystery writer (1890)
Crafts: Air Force Pins
Encourage residents to make veteran pins out of safety pins and small beads for the upcoming Air Force Ceremony on September 18.
During this Library Card Sign-Up Month, recruit residents to assist you with cleaning out, organizing, and re-shelving the books in your facility's library.
Invite classical music students from your local college or high school to play for residents during this Classical Music Month.
Spooky Story Social
Read scary stories on this birthday of English mystery writer Agatha Christie. As a snack, serve pretzels and ginger ale.
- President Franklin Roosevelt approved the military draft (1940)
Trip to Senior Center
Take your residents to your local senior center to meet and socialize with other seniors in the community during this National Senior Center Month.
On this day that President Franklin Roosevelt approved the military draft, start a discussion about being drafted and what that meant to the families left behind. Pass around copies of old draft cards.
During this National Piano Month, encourage residents to learn how to play the piano. In addition, encourage those who know how to play, to play a few notes.
Wine & Cheese & Bach Social
For this Classical Music Month, play music from Bach as residents enjoy sipping wine and eating cheese.
- United States Constitution was signed by delegates in Philadelphia (1787)
Know Your Constitution
On this day that the U.S. Constitution was signed, give residents a constitutional quiz to test their knowledge.
During this International People Skills Month, quiz your residents to test their people skills.
Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Taste Test Social
During this harvest time, gather several different types of apple pies (from Dining Services or your local grocery store) and have residents do a taste test as to which pie tastes better.
Square Dance Hoedown
Celebrate this National Square Dance Month by having a fun hoedown for residents. Play music and teach residents how to square dance. Encourage residents to dress up for the hoedown.
- Birthday: Air Force (1947)
- United States Capitol building's cornerstone laid by George Washington (1793)
Air Force Ceremony
On this birthday of the Air Force, host a flag raising ceremony outdoors. Honor those residents who served in the U.S. Air Force by pinning on them the veterans pins made in the Crafts activity on September 15.
Armchair Travel: U.S. Capitol
To commemorate this day that the cornerstone was laid for the U.S. Capitol building, show a travel video depicting all of Washington, DC's great monuments, America's Greatest Monuments: Washington DC (2008). Borrow the video from your local library or video store.
Science Class Social
As the leaves change color, encourage residents to work on a science project that explains the change. (Scroll down the website to view the science projects.) Serve residents warm cookies for a snack.
Chicken Fajita Dinner
Plan a special chicken fajita dinner for residents to celebrate this National Chicken Month.
- Balance Awareness Week (September 15-21)
- Build a Better Image Week (September 15-21)
- Harvest (Full) Moon
Crafts: Mexican Sombreros
Encourage residents to make mini sombreros during this National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Baking Club: Rice Pudding
Invite residents to make delicious rice pudding to celebrate this National Rice Month.
For this Build a Better Image Week, encourage residents to make a fun self-portrait, using printable faces, yarn for hair, and googly eyes. Supply residents with frames for their self-portraits. Serve the rice pudding made earlier today by the Baking Club.
Harvest Moon Nightcap
Set up a telescope and invite residents to come view the full moon, called the Harvest Moon by American Indians. Serve residents juice and cookies for the nightcap.
- Explorer Magellan left Spain looking for a strait that would lead to the Pacific Ocean (1519)
- First Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France (1946)
- Tennis stars Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs played in the "Battle of the Sexes," in which King beat Riggs (1973)
During this Balance Awareness Week, encourage residents to do exercises that will improve their balance.
Battle of the Sexes
On this day that tennis great Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes," set up a tennis court in your Activity Room. Divide the room in half and separate the men from the women. Supply residents with plastic tennis rackets and a blown-up balloon, and see who wins.
U.S. Geography Social
See how well your residents know their American skylines on this day that explorer Magellan left Spain looking for a strait to the Pacific Ocean. Serve chips and salsa.
(Your Facility's) Film Festival
To commemorate the first Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on this day, show the popular movie To Catch a Thief (1955) featuring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Serve popcorn.
- Big Whopper Liar's Contest in New Harmony, Indiana
- Birthday: Chuck Jones, Warner Brothers cartoonist who created Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote (1912)
- International Eat an Apple Day
Baking Club: Baked Apples
For this International Eat an Apple Day, encourage residents to make a delicious baked apple dessert that can be served at this evening's Apple Martini Night.
Encourage residents to make a fun cartoon drawing that they can give to their grandkids or great-grandkids as a gift on this birthday of Chuck Jones, creator of Warner Brothers characters Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.
Big Whopper Stories Social
See how creative your residents can be with a big lie contest on this day of the Big Whopper Liar Contest in Indiana. When it is their turn to tell a story, encourage residents to have fun making up an unbelievable story (lie) for all to enjoy. Serve residents veggies and dip as a snack.
Apple Martini Night
Serve residents nonalcoholic apple martinis on this International Eat an Apple Day. Serve the baked apples made earlier today by the Baking Club.
- Autumn (September 22 - December 21)
- President Abraham Lincoln set over 3 million slaves free by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation (1862)
Crafts: Fleece Hats
For this Fall Hat Month, encourage residents to make fleece hats for the season.
Afternoon at the Museum
Enjoy this first autumn afternoon of the year by "taking" residents to the museum (in your Activity Room). Show residents a documentary about a popular museum, like The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Treasures of the Metropolitan (2004). Borrow the video from your local video store.
Little Known Secrets of Lincoln
On this day that President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, setting over 3 million slaves free, discuss some little known secrets about our 16th president.
Celebrate this first day of autumn by serving hot apple cider and reminiscing about fun autumn activities that the residents did when they were young.
- Banned Books Week - Celebrating the Freedom to Read (September 22-28)
- Planet Neptune discovered by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle (1846)
Biscuit & Gravy Breakfast
Host a biscuit and gravy breakfast for residents as you recognize September as National Biscuit Month.
Red Hat Ladies Volunteer Project
Encourage your red hatters to visit the bed-ridden residents in your facility and read to them on this second day of Banned Books Week - Celebrating the Freedom to Read.
Invite a member from Dining Services to perform a cooking demonstration featuring mushrooms, during this National Mushroom Month.
Show residents pictures of constellations on this day that the planet Neptune was discovered. Ask residents about the constellations with which they are familiar. Serve butter cookies as a snack.
- Birthday: Jim Henson, Muppets creator (1936)
- International Week of the Deaf (September 22-29)
- Judiciary Act of 1789 established first U.S. Supreme Court (1789)
- National Punctuation Day
Learn a New Language: Sign Language
For this Deaf Awareness Week, teach residents American Sign Language.
On this day that the first Supreme Court was established, invite residents to act as judges as you read them real cases and ask them what they would do if they were the judge.
Take residents down memory lane as you give them English punctuation quizzes to do on this National Punctuation Day. Serve cookies and milk as a snack.
- The first Congress passed the Bill of Rights (1789)
Trip to Farmer's Market
Take advantage of the season's harvest by taking residents to your local farmer's market to pick fresh produce like apples for the September 26 Baking Club activity.
Encourage residents to "check out" books from your facility's library during this Library Card Sign-Up Month. Take a cart filled with books from your facility's library or your local library, and distribute the books to residents.
Bill of Rights Social
Quiz residents with Bill of Rights trivia to test their knowledge on this day that the first Congress passed the Bill of Rights. Serve chips and dip as a snack.
Prime Rib Dinner
For this National Prime Beef Month, have your residents licking their chops over a mouth-watering prime rib dinner. Coordinate with Dining Services to serve this unique meal for residents.
- Birthday: Johnny Appleseed, planter of apple orchards (1774)
- World Maritime Day
Crafts: Homemade Ships
Assist residents with making ships using everyday household materials on this World Maritime Day.
Baking Club: Apple Betty
Using the apples bought from the Farmer's Market activity on September 25, encourage residents to make a delicious Apple Betty on this birthday of Johnny Appleseed, to be served at this afternoon's social.
Discuss interesting facts about pirates on this World Maritime Day.
Nutrition Class Social
Have a nutritious social as you ask residents questions about nutrition. Serve the Apple Betty made earlier today by the Baking Club.
- Ancestor Appreciation Day
- Hug a Vegetarian Day
- Love Note Day
- World Tourism Day
Letters to Family
On this Love Note Day, encourage residents to write letters to loved ones. Supply residents with stationery and pens.
Coordinate with Dining Services to serve a delicious vegetarian lunch on this Hug a Vegetarian Day.
Trace Your Family Social
For this Ancestor Appreciation Day, invite residents to complete a family tree that can be given to their loved ones. Serve small slices of homemade apple pie as a snack.
Armchair Travel Night: World Tour
Show a documentary like Touring the World (2008) featuring amazing places in the world to visit, including Scotland and China, for this World Tourism Day.
- Birthday: Ed Sullivan, television personality (1901)
- National Good Neighbor Day
Baking Club: Honey Pie
Encourage residents to make a delicious honey pecan pumpkin pie during this National Honey Month.
Invite residents to assemble paper neighborhood centerpieces for your Activity Room tables for the upcoming Meet & Greet Social.
Celebrate television host Ed Sullivan's birthday today by hosting a talent show at your facility. Encourage residents to share their talents with the other residents. Ask staff members to participate as well.
Meet & Greet Social
For this National Good Neighbor Day, invite residents to come out and meet your facility's newest residents. Serve the Honey Pie made earlier today by the Baking Club.
- Birthday: Gene Autry, actor and singer (1907)
Crafts: Autumn Centerpieces
Encourage your residents to make beautiful autumn centerpieces for the tables in your Dining Room.
For this International People Skills Month, discuss how different gestures vary in different cultures.
Good or Bad?
Test residents' knowledge about their health during this Healthy Aging Month.
Singing Cowboy Social
Play music and invite residents to sing along on this day that the original "Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry was born. Serve chips and salsa.
- Actor James Dean died in car accident at age 24 (1955)
- Birthday: Johnny Mathis, American singer (1935)
- Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed from movable type, was published (1452)
Invite a resident or staff member, who knows how to play piano, to play a few songs for residents during this National Piano Month.
Invite residents to a bible study on this day that the Gutenberg Bible was first published.
Name That Johnny Mathis Song
Play "Name That Tune" with residents, playing only Johnny Mathis songs on this day that the great singer was born.
Famous Young Actors Social
On this day that actor James Dean died in a car accident, reminisce about famous actors like Dean, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe, who tragically passed away at such an early age. Serve ice cream as a snack.