WINTER COMFORTS #howtosing
Sing-alongVol. 4The song says it best: “Baby, it’s cold outside.” While you may not enjoy tromping through the snow and ice or dealing with the frigid temperatures outdoors, you can still enjoy some of the comforts of winter indoors. Hot cocoa, a stack of good books, and a soft fleece throw might be on your short list of favorites. This month’s newsletter will provide some activities for weathering the cold and inspiring warm feelings about winter. Check out the ideas below. Winter Talk: Read the following quote by poet Edith Sitwell: “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” Ask: Do you enjoy winter? What do you like and dislike about the season? What things bring you comfort in the winter? Why do you think many people stick close to home during the winter months? Warm Fabrics: Pass around samples of winter fabrics, such as wool, corduroy, flannel, fleece, velour, suede. Talk about the best way to stay warm during the winter (ex: flannel sheets, wool sweater and socks, fleece throw, suede coat, corduroy pants). Hot Tea: Celebrate National Hot Tea Month. Listen to Doris Day’s rendition of “Tea for Two,” or sing the children’s song “I’m a Little Teapot.” Hold a tea-tasting event by offering five teas to sample. Vote on favorite flavor. Serve scones with the hot brew. Friendship: Ask your group to bring in pictures of old friends. Sing the Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne.” Share comforting memories of old friendships. Ask: What is a friend? Who is the oldest friend that you can remember? Sing “Make New Friends,” and ask someone in the group to explain what the song writer meant by suggesting that some friends are ‘silver’ and others are ‘gold.’ Fireplace: Show a vintage photo of a family gathered around a fireplace. Describe how a roaring fire looks, sounds, and smells. Ask participants if they ever cooked over a fireplace or ate dinner by the hearth. Talk about ways to spend a long winter evening at home with family. Serve hot cocoa or warm spiced cider. Knitting: Reminisce about Red Cross knitting projects for troops during World War II. Ask group members if they helped on the home front by knitting socks, mufflers, and sweaters from wool yarn. What do they recall about wool being in short supply during the war? Who taught them to knit? Winter Olympics: Enjoy some Winter Olympics activities. Learn about Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics in February. Share images of the three mascots chosen for the event. Make paper snowflakes. Play “Guess the Sport” by pantomiming the motions. Play Olympic Games (see Party Possibilities for suggestions on skiing, hockey, and bobsled). Music: Take a musical vacation. Listen to the song “Faraway Places.” Ask participants if they like to travel. If they could go to another country on vacation, where would they go? Using as much live music as possible, take a singing-dancing tour of the world. Examples of music suggestions: Ireland – “Irish Washerwoman,” “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”; Italy – “Santa Lucia,” “O Sole Mio,” “Funiculi, Funicula,” “Arrivederci, Roma”; Australia – “Waltzing Matilda,” “Tie Me Kangaroo Down.” (Activity adapted from the chapter titled “Musical Vacation” in the ElderSong resource Roses in December.) Birds: Gather for an afternoon of bird watching. Show photos of winter bird species, and ask participants to name them. Listen to a CD of wild bird sounds. Make a simple bird feeder to hang outside near a window. (Suggestions for homemade bird feeders can be found on http://education.audubon.org/activities/backyard-bird-feeders) Board Games: Enjoy an afternoon of old-fashioned fun. Collect as many older board games as you can find, and ask participants to share what they remember about the games and how to play. Ones to look for: Monopoly, Parcheesi, Life, Yahtzee, Backgammon, Chess, Chinese Checkers, Scrabble, Checkers, Chutes and Ladders, Mah-jongg. (Activity taken from the chapter titled “Games” in the ElderSong resource Down Memory Lane.) Eating: Prepare some simple comfort food. Try a slow cooker soup and homemade bread. Ask participants to share some of their favorite kitchen/warm-oven smells in the winter. Enjoy the scent of a fresh clove and citrus pomander ball. Snow: Listen to some songs about snow, such as “Let It Snow,” or “Winter Wonderland.” Ask participants to reminisce about a snowbound day in their childhood home. What indoor/outdoor activities did they enjoy with siblings? Stage a snowball “fight” using white Styrofoam balls or hold a snowball toss. Funny Songs: Beat the winter blahs: Sing some silly or novelty songs from the 1950s and 1960s. (Examples: “Name Game,” “Hello Muddha, Hello Fadduh,” or “Yakety Yak”) Poetry: Read and discuss winter poems by New England poet Robert Frost: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” “A Winter Eden,” “Dust of Snow,” “Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter,” “A Patch of Old Snow,” “Snow,” or “An Old Man’s Winter Night.”Check out the resources highlighted below for more activities on this month’s theme.Continue to look for upcoming editions of this newsletter the first day of the month. (Themes focus on the following month.) Our newsletter contains useful information to make your job of working with older adults more fulfilling. In this issue, you’ll find the following: Winter Comforts Resources Winter Trivia Quiz Thought for the MonthWINTER COMFORTS RESOURCESSet the mood for some wintertime memories with a group sing-along. Begin with a favorite: “The More We Get Together.” The CD, Sing-Along with ElderSong, Volume 4, features recordings of 28 songs in low, singable keys, with vocals. Each song is led by 1-3 singers with simple piano accompaniment. The set includes a large-print lyrics book (with extras available at quantity discounts). Sing familiar old tunes such as “Home, Sweet Home,” “Down by the Old Mill Stream,” “Sing Your Way Home,” “When the Saints Come Marching In,” “Yellow Rose of Texas,” “Ballin’ the Jack,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore.”Beat the winter doldrums with scenes of the great outdoors. The soothing DVD Ambient Calm: Scenes of Serenity features 14 serene vistas of waterfalls, passing clouds, fluttering butterflies, sand dunes, quiet ponds, beach sunrises, and rainfall – with natural sound effects. Or listen to music as you view the relaxing scenes – classical piano and guitar. Build your own custom playlist of scenes and music. There is a loop mode for continuous play.Settle in for a cozy afternoon of light conversation with Table Talk cards. Each of the 50 cards presents an interesting fact, and then poses an intriguing question for participants to answer. There are no right or wrong answers. Just pick a card and talk – no rules! Example: Studies have supported the common observation that different colors suggest different moods. Red is usually rated as exciting, blue as serene, yellow as attention getting, green as positive, and black as powerful. If you had to wear the same color for a year, what color would you choose and why?Warm hearts on a cold winter day with some spiritual activities. A helpful resource is The Amen Corner: Bible Trivia & Activities for Older Adults. The book features 32 trivia games on topics such as Christian Church History, The Life of Jesus, Biblical Firsts, Festivals and Holy Days, and Women in the Bible. You’ll also find 19 sets of reminiscing questions that encourage group members to reflect on their faith life. Help your group apply biblical truths and principles to their life with 32 spiritual life activities and discussion topics.Here’s a sample of an activity that could be used for a session on comfort:The oratorio “Messiah” begins with these words from Isaiah 40: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.” Later Handel uses this text from Matthew 11: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The Bible is filled with references to God being a comfort in times of trouble. Ask the group to share Bible passages that they find comforting. (A look through the Psalms will make this easier.) Ask the group to make a list of ways to comfort and be comforted – things to say, things to do, things to eat.WINTER TRIVIA QUIZ What is considered freezing temperature in Fahrenheit? 32 degrees In which state would you find igloos? Alaska Pine, fir, cedar, and spruce are varieties of what type of tree? Evergreen What is hypothermia? When the temperature of your body drops too low due to exposure to the cold When is the last day of winter on the calendar? March 20 On a house, where do icicles often hang in the winter? From the eaves Some animals go into a deep sleep-like state during the winter. What is the name for this? Hibernation How many points does a snowflake have? Six What is another word for sled? Toboggan, bobsled, sleigh According to the song “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” who is nipping at your nose? Jack FrostTHOUGHT FOR THE MONTH“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” ~ Jane Austen"Winter Comforts" was written by Sue Hansen. © 2013 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprint Policy: To reprint or republish all or portions of this entry, you must acquire written permission and agree to link back to the original source. Please contact us at email@example.com to obtain permission.