When planning field trips, you and your students are missing out if a nursing home or residential care center isn’t on your list. Often overlooked, a care center offers many opportunities for learning and growth.
I personally struggle to prioritize visiting our community’s local care center. There never seems to be enough time or I need to visit my own grandparents who still live at home. However, I always feel blessed when I take my own kids or our class for a visit.
5 Great Ideas for a Visit
- Put on a Performance. Act out a reader’s theatre, play musical instruments, have a talent show, sing songs or read poetry. Our American Sign Language class did a 20 minute program with songs and Bible verses using both our voice and sign.
- Make items to give away. Handwriting practice on bookmarks or doorknob hangers, art gifts, small sewing projects.
- Can’t Visit? Send something; Children make cards each year at our home school support group’s Valentine’s Day party. We drop the cards off at a local nursing home for the staff to distribute.
- Hold a Science Fair. Students will learn so much by sharing their knowledge with others. Set up displays along the perimeter of a large room and leave lots of space in the center for people to move around easily.
- Host a Craft or Art workshop. Students can explain techniques they have learned. Rubber stamping is an easy art that everyone can enjoy.
- Bring Animals for show & tell. Just ask first. When I was young, my family brought our farm animals to the nursing home for their “State Fair Days” celebration.
For a short time before I had my children, I worked in a nursing home as an activity assistant. I was able to see first hand how meaningful children are to the elderly. I also experienced what an activity director really needs:
3 Useful Tips
- Contact the care center’s activity director and volunteer to help with their programs.
- Visit in the summer or other times of the year instead of just the holidays.
- Ask which residents would benefit the most from visitors.