Senior Focus

• Many seniors enjoy friendly competition … especially if the winner receives homemade pies or a special dessert. Divide seniors into groups of four or five. Provide each group with a roll of duct tape and a stack of newspapers. The goal is to create a “bridge” that has an arch tall enough for a water bottle to go underneath. The bridge also has to be strong enough to support a filled water bottle. It’s amazing how different each bridge is constructed.

• Consider having a year-round holiday tree at your facility. Put up an artificial Christmas tree and encourage seniors to decorate it on a year-round basis. In February, conduct a red-heart ornament class where people can make Valentine’s Day decorations. Look for green items to hang on the tree for St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe you can interest some men in decorating the tree for the World Series or Super Bowl.

• Check to see whether the community has a speed-stacking club at one of the schools. Seniors (as well as any age adult) are fascinated by the way students stack plastic cups. Yes, I know it sounds boring, but these groups compete to see how fast they can stack cups, and then return them to their original starting position. Even 8-year-olds move these cups so fast their hands are a blur. Then of course, the seniors try their hand at cup stacking with funny (and slow) results. Check out www.worldsportstackingassociation.org for more details.

• With a larger group of seniors, divide them into groups of four or five people. Give each group the same list of five to seven unrelated words, such as “peacock,” “banana,” “slipper,” “Starbucks,” “Hawaii,” etc. The seniors are to come up with an advertising jingle using at least four of the words and sing it before the rest of the group. Each group will have a totally different jingle, providing plenty of laughs.

• Have you ever wanted to write the great American novel? How about writing a memoir in six words? There are now all types of groups writing about an experience in six words. Give seniors a general topic and have them describe the situation in six words. Here’s one that summed up a man’s life, bringing me to tears: For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn. On a lighter note, ask seniors to describe their most memorable meal in six words. Here’s my favorite: India trip. Bad chicken. No restroom. That says it all!

Silvana Clark has over 20 years experience helping thousands of children create arts and crafts projects. She presents keynotes and workshops on a variety of recreation-related subjects. She can be reached at (615) 662-7432 or via e-mail at silvanac@msn.com.

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