It may be a common misconception that senior life is serious business. While acting "grown up" may be a childhood goal, experts now acknowledge that having fun is a way to retain a youthful attitude and enthusiasm for life. The two are not mutually exclusive, and the most productive, well adjusted, healthiest adults seem to know instinctively that the ability to play, laugh and have fun are valuable assets at any age.
August 30 Is Slinky Day!
It's absolutely true. Named in honor of that stair-walking spiral toy that has captivated generations of children, it is now a nationally-recognized, if little known, day to celebrate the exuberant silliness of childhood and recapture that youthful spirit. It's worth noting on your calendar. Activities for seniors on Slinky Day don't have to include that particular toy. What matters is what you do with that day, and how much enjoyment you capture. Why not celebrate in a way that focuses on the wide-eyed wonder of your younger years?
Recapture the Fun
Break out some toys to enjoy with your friends. If you have stairs, it's almost a given that you'll all be laughing as you watch your individual Slinkies navigate the distance. Make a list of other simple childhood toys and games, then stock up and schedule a party, or plan a "bring your own favorite childhood toy" evening. These old-time toys are not expensive and they're just as much fun for seniors as they are for preschoolers. Think about a marathon with Tabletop Jacks. Or gather a group of Bouncy-Ball Paddles and plan an endurance contest.
Introduce your children and grandchildren to Black and White Scottie Dogs. If you have a vintage set of the magnets, so much the better, but you can also find newer models at very reasonable prices, considering the hours of fun they provide.
Then, there are yo-yos. Master some new tricks, and then share your expertise! You'll regain that teenage swagger almost before you know it.
Plan an Outing
No matter what your senior life routine consists of, make time for some sort of group activity to celebrate Slinky Day. It's as good an excuse as any to visit an indoor amusement park, enjoy the array of games at a pizza party pavilion, or visit an outdoor art show, bazaar or community fair. Pick a favorite animal on Carol Ann's Carousel at Smale Riverfront Park. Play mini-golf, try your hand at arcade games, watch the balloon glow, and ride the Ferris wheel at Coney Island. Eat cotton candy, have a pretzel, or just enjoy an ice cream cone at this fifth largest amusement park in the country. You'll feel like a kid again, for sure, and you'll return home with the "right kind of tired" and a big smile.
Indulge in the Taste of Childhood
Have pancakes for dinner! Make yourself a peanut butter and banana sandwich for lunch. For a single day, turn your nose up at healthy vegetables and eat creamed lima beans or order French fries along with your old-fashioned meatloaf. It's okay, just this once, to eat like a kid. Be "picky," combine all your favorites at one meal, or insist on two desserts. Nobody will tell on you! Plan a party and have everyone bring a special childhood dish. Or ask your grandchildren to bring you their best-loved meal to share. You'll probably love it too!
As the Years Go By
At Episcopal Retirement Homes, we think there is little reason to forget the wonder of childhood just because the years roll by. We aim to keep the zest for living alive every moment in our residential communities, so that each of our residents retains that youthful sparkle. We'll be celebrating Slinky Day. Count on It!