Get ready for some great May senior activities, including outdoor activities, fun food and recipes, arts and crafts, fitness, parties, and more! There’s something for everyone…
Commemorations for May
Many May senior activities involve various remembrances, as you will see in some of the commemorations below. And it’s a perfect time to get outdoors!
Mother's Day Month – The Second Sunday in May – Many groups do already have projects for Mother's Day. But if you're looking for a craft, be sure to check into our easy craft ideas page. Many can be modified for various seasons also.
Memorial Day Month – The Last Monday of May – This day is the designated to remember loved ones who are no longer with us. It may be a good time to make a lovely hand-made card, or see how to make a gift basket, when appropriate. A flower theme is always in order in May.
National Armed Forces Celebration – Third Saturday in May – No doubt there will be someone in your group who has been or knows another who has served in the armed forces at some time. Take this day to use a patriotic theme in your May senior activities – whether in the dining room, serving a special red white and blue themed dessert, or making a patriotic craft. You can get ideas on our 4th of July crafts page.
International Jazz Day – Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend – Who are the favorite jazz musicians, or what is the favorite jazz music, of your group? If you don't know, I'm sure folks will be happy to give their ideas. Special music will make your May senior activities more memorable. Have a little jazz fest, complete with live music. If you can get a small band to come in and visit, that would be ideal. Or even someone who can some little jazz on the piano. Even a bit of soft jazz background music during meal time. Or have a party! Need some fun party ideas? Visit our page for perfect party theme ideas.
Barbecue Month – This is the season to really get into barbecuing, so include it in your May senior activities. What are your favorites – hamburgers, hot dogs, maybe fish, and perhaps corn if you can get it. If your climate is still a little too chilly to eat outdoors, food can always be brought inside after it's done. Set up the tables like a picnic, perhaps special napkins or cups. And be sure to serve favorite picnic food and beverages, besides your barbecue specialties.
Blood Pressure Month – Some seniors do have blood pressure taken on a regular basis. But this is a good month for blood pressure awareness. You can help make sure no one slips through the cracks with this important health issue by including it in your May senior activities. Reminders and posters can be hung at least. Ideally, arrangements can be made for on-site blood pressure testing, if possible.
Family Month – Who is family? Many seniors, of course, may have family nearby to celebrate with. But what about those who don't? Your group may be their family. You can take this month to celebrate the togetherness of your group, for those who want to participate. Designate a special day during Family Month to have a special tea, snack time, music time, or perhaps even a dinner.
Grapefruit Month – This flavorful fruit has many health benefits. It's high in vitamin C and antioxidants so may help fight cancer, helps lower cholesterol, and prevents kidney stones. You may be able to find special recipes like tarts or cake, that include grapefruit. Serve grapefruit several times this month, whether in sections, sherbet, candied grapefruit, marmalade, a smoothie, in fruit cocktail, in punch, in salads, made with chicken, or simply grapefruit juice. You might provide a little tent card at the table telling about the benefits of grapefruit. Turn grapefruit into a food craft for your May senior activities -- like the idea below, which can be made from a grapefruit or orange.
Hamburger Month – And this can go along with Barbecue Month, complete with other picnic food. (There are many opportunities for food this month to enhance your May senior activities).
Dress up your hamburgers a bit besides the usual ketchup and mustard, by serving some unique add-ons – sautéed onions, sautéed or grilled zucchini, mushrooms, sauerkraut, sliced red or green peppers, a variety of greens, sliced tomatoes, avocado, sliced olives, sprouts, grilled pineapple rings, jalapenos for those who can eat them, bacon, prosciutto, different cheeses (my dad loved bleu cheese), barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salsa, steak sauce, various dressings, toasted breadcrumbs, even sliced beets! Some folks also add a fried egg or scrambled eggs. You can serve these items in a buffet, or provide a few small dishes of various items at the tables.
Healthy Vision Month – Vision is a big health issue during our senior years, and striving for optimal eye health is the goal, in order to avoid or lessen such problems as cataracts or macular degeneration (which my father seriously had). In taking care of dad, I've learned a lot about dealing with vision loss, and created a page which you may find helpful. It has lots of tips and activities for every day life, especially macular degeneration help.
Military Appreciation Month – Another opportunity to celebrate a patriotic theme in your May senior activities. We discussed quite a bit about this previously, under our National Armed Forces Celebration topic.
Older Americans Month - Of course your May senior activities must involve seniors themselves! This celebration was established in 1963 by Pres. John F. Kennedy. It especially honors the contributions, past and present, of older people -- particularly those who defended our country. Many communities have special ceremonies, events, even fairs. See what's going on in yours, and consider a field trip for those who can participate. Themes you may consider for your group are healthy aging, independence, contributions of your group whether past or present, positive attitude, and living life to the fullest now.
Potato Month – Oh boy! Another food celebration for your May senior activities! Needless to say, you can include a variety of potatoes with your meals and snacks, from the humble (or jazzed up) potato chip, to fries, waffle fries, sweet potato fries (let's not forget the sweet potato which is very high in nutrition), sweet potato chips, good old mashed potatoes and gravy, au gratin potatoes, hash browns, shepherds pie, etc.
Physical Fitness Month – Exercise of any kind is really important as we age. My dad is a real example of this. The photo shows him lifting his weights at 96. At age 94 my dad could still get down on the floor and do floor exercises, and get up with no problem! He was better at it than I am! His motto was simply, "just move something every day." Meaning, some part of the body. He moved his joints every day and had no joint problems at all until he was about 97 and then got a little stiff.
At any rate, most people can do some kind of exercise or basic movement. Be sure to check out our page about easy exercise for seniors, and exercises for the elderly. This month emphasize exercise and physical fitness, and see how many more people you can get to participate.
Salad Month – You may already have your favorites, but be sure to serve a variety of salads this month. And if you want to make some fun salad crafts as an activity for your May senior activities, take a look at our page on creative fruit salad characters. Very cute and easy.
Meditation Month – There are many ways to meditate, as you know. It has been medically found to be very good for our health, to calm stress, help with the heart, and create a positive attitude. See if you can have a guest come in to teach simple meditation that anyone can then do on their own. Even 15 minutes a day is enough. I meditate every day and find it has made an enormous difference. You can also get a variety of CDs with a led meditation to play. This would be a good month to start an ongoing group for anyone interested.
Dates for April Senior Activities
May 1 - May Day – May Day is actually an ancient spring festival. Now it is often combined with other cultural activities and religious events. You are probably familiar with the May pole, children dancing around the pole, sometimes crowning a May queen, and also giving May baskets.
But this is a great day to incorporate anything floral into your May senior activities. Certainly, placing little flower arrangements at the table, or setting up a type of May pole with streamers as a décor focal point, or simple crepe paper streamers in a main area. Even a trellis or arch with artificial flowers and foliage can be fun. This is a festive way to bring in the month of May.
May 3 - National Truffles Day – Party time! Chocolates, particularly truffles, are both fun and elegant. Whether you want to serve a different type of dessert or treat, or have an excuse for a special party for your May senior activities, consider truffles as your focal point. They're fabulous with wine. Take a look at our party ideas, including for wine and chocolates, on our perfect party theme ideas page.
May 4 - Bird Day – Well birds are certainly out in full force in May, and it's an excellent time for a little bird watching. One of my grandpa's favorite past times. He loved to sit in his wheelchair in the yard, watch the birds, and try to identify their calls and songs. Use a bird theme in crafts or art projects is well. You can find inexpensive stickers at a craft store and attach them to paper cups or napkins at the table. Below is a template that you can use for art projects. There are a couple more on our April Senior Activities page as well.
May 5 - Cinco de Mayo – This festival, meaning 5th of May, is ever increasing in popularity. A Mexican tradition, it celebrates a great Mexican victory in the battle of Puebla over the French in 1862. Many communities have yearly festivities that would be fun to participate in if your group is able. Otherwise, your May senior activities just must include a little fiesta of your own! See our ideas on our fiesta activities page, and also get some great recipes (like chicken in chocolate sauce -- delicious!).
May 6 - Beverage Day – What is the most delicious and unusual beverage you can think of? Or that your group would especially love? You can always take a poll. Whether hot or cold, serve up a special beverage on this day. Try a fresh smoothie, a special iced tea, perhaps hot cocoa with a little flavoring like caramel or mint or raspberry, punch, something sparkling, or wine and beer if appropriate for your group. Have you ever made ice cubes with edible flowers? We tell how on our edible flower recipes page. It can make a really fun activity too.
May 8 - VE Day – Also known as Victory in Europe Day, it was first celebrated in 1945 when Nazi Germany formerly surrendered to the Allies. It marked the end of World War II. This is a very meaningful commemoration to many seniors, and an excellent time to incorporate another patriotic type celebration into your May senior activities.
May 8 - World Red Cross Day – This date is actually the birth date of the founder of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant, born in 1828 in Switzerland. He later won the Nobel peace prize in 1901. After witnessing the horrors of the battlefield and all the wounded who were not receiving help, he felt something needed to be done. So he organized the local population, especially women and children, to help out. It took off from there and is now a global effort. It is now estimated there are almost 100 million volunteers, members and staff. It is very possible that someone in your group has either been helped by the Red Cross or worked with them, especially during any type of natural disaster.
May 11 - Eat What You Want Day – If your group could have anything they wanted to eat today, do you know what it would be? Just ask! And if that is not practical, you can always plan a special meal where people can have a variety of choices, perhaps buffet style. Mix it up! A bit of breakfast food for lunch or dinner, or lunch food for breakfast? Be sure everyone knows what's going on ahead of time to avoid any confusion! You can make this into a really fun day.
May 13 - Tulip Day – Put a few tulips on the table today. Whether fresh or artificial, tulips come in an amazing array of colors and add a little zest to any location. They are truly a symbol of spring. If you're looking for a craft project for your May senior activities, consider making greeting cards with a tulip theme. They can be used either on this day or any time throughout the year really.
Instead of cutting them out of plain colored paper, I also like to trace a basic tulip shape onto colorful pieces of wrapping paper or even fabric. It adds a little interest to a project. Even simple coloring pages with tulips are relaxing. Tulip themed pictures or artwork can also be enlarged to a place mat size, laminated, and used at your place settings. I'm including a tulip template below that you could use in one of your projects if you'd like.
May 15 - National Chocolate Chip Day – Wow! There are dozens and dozens of things to use chocolate chips in, including cookies. Any kind of baking with chocolate chips would make a great activity for today as well.
May 15 - International Day of Families – This particular day was instituted by the UN General Assembly in 1993. Its purpose was not only to celebrate the importance of family, but also create awareness of issues that families face today. You can create what ever meaning for this day that would be appropriate for your group. As we discussed before, one's community has sometimes become one's family. So this concept can be emphasized as well.
May 16 - Wear Purple for Peace Day – Yes, this is a real day. Its purpose, of course, is to promote peace around the world, and this could create a meaningful event for your May senior activities. Make this as simple or as elaborate as you'd like.
Besides wearing a little something purple, do other purple things too -- serve foods with purple in them, such as grapes or colored frosting and candies. Put out purple flowers and even balloons. If able, use purple at your table settings. The purple theme can also provide a host of craft and activity ideas. There are many shades of purple, and an easy coloring or painting project could involve using only shades of purples and lavenders.
The watercolor project shown to the right involved first just painting a swash of water shaped somewhat like a flower, not too runny, on a piece of watercolor paper. Then load the paint brush with purple watercolor paint and dab it into the puddle, allowing the paint to spread as it will. I used another shade, magenta, as well. As the two colors ran together in the puddle and blended, they created an interesting effect. I also did the same to the background, diluting the paint so it was lighter.
And of course encourage everyone to wear purple too, even if it's a simple piece of jewelry, or a flower pinned to the lapel.
May 20 - Pick Strawberries Day – If possible, go outdoors and have a little outing today. And if you're not able to pick a few strawberries, at least eat them! In many areas, strawberries are already coming into season. If you want an easy and fabulous strawberry pie recipe, my mom had one that everybody raved about. See it and many other delicious recipes on our page all about fresh strawberry desserts.
May 20 - Neighbor Day – A perfect time to encourage everyone to be especially neighborly. Discuss what that may mean for your group. Perhaps do a little something out of the ordinary for each other. You can also put names in a box ahead of time, draw a name, and decide what your group will then do. Perhaps plan a little surprise or gift for the person whose name you picked. Anything simple would work fine.
May 25 - National Tap Dance Day – When my dad lived in a senior retirement community in Arizona, they had a fantastic tap dancing group. Complete with costumes. In fact, they even won competitions and went to Europe to perform! Do you have anyone in your group who used to tap dance or perhaps still does? This is a good day to also have a local kids' dance group visit and perform a little tap dancing for you. Or you may locate a 50+ seniors tap dance group to come out and perform. With plenty of treats of course.
May 29 - John F. Kennedy's Birthday, 1917 – Despite individual political inclinations, the 35th president of the United States tends to be remembered by most. This date may be meaningful to your group. For those interested in history, this is a good time to have a presentation about the life and times of Pres. Kennedy.
May 31 - National Macaroon Day – Macaroons are one of the
favorite cookies in my family. Especially the chocolate kind. You can
even find natural sorts in the health food store. Serve up some
macaroons for dessert today, or include them in specialty recipes. You can
also learn how to make them from scratch if you want a fun food idea
for your May senior activities – there are many recipes online, and in
many shapes, styles, and colors. A delicious project that you can eat
Fun Elderly Activities -- You can modify these in many ways, for those who may need more help.
Easy Healthy Recipes -- Our "recipe central" page, directing you to loads of ideas to enhance any activities.
Finding A Hobby -- Lots of ideas to add on to your May senior activities, and any other time of year too.
Spring Senior Activities -- Lots of General activities that can be used throughout the spring season, to add even more possibilities for you.