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Australia Day and celebrating life ‘down under’ in your Care Home

Australia Day takes place this year on Friday 26 January. It is a day when Australians celebrate everything that is great about their country. From its rich and diverse Aboriginal past to its diverse and dynamic present, the day acknowledges the contribution made by each and every Australian citizen.

The good news is that Australia Day is not just the preserve of those living ‘down under’. It can be a spring board for a range of Aussie-inspired activities and themes to entertain and inform your own care home residents and their families. From delicious down under treats to Antipodean entertainment, here are some ideas for holding your very own Australia Day. While it may be Winter here in the UK, Australians are enjoying Summer right now. Making the theme a warm and welcome one to cheer up a cold day.

Famous Australians

From Nicole Kidman to Hugh Jackman; Steve Irwin to Shane Warne, there have been many famous people from showbiz, sport, politics and more come out of Australia. Celebrate some of these celebrities with fun games and activities. You could encourage people to dress up as their favourite Australian or write their names on post-it notes, stick them to people’s foreheads and have the rest of the group answer questions to help them guess who they are. Other ideas include watching films or sports matches featuring famous Australians, or looking them up online.

BBQ lunch

No Aussie celebration is complete without a BBQ , or ‘barbie’. Even in the Winter, you can bring the fun indoors and serve grilled steaks, chops, sausages and prawns for lunch or supper. Rounded off with some delicious peach melba (named after Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba) and washed down with some Fosters or lemon, lime and bitters. The great thing about an Aussie Barbie is its versatility. You can add mushrooms, vegetables and pizzas for non-meat lovers – as well as fish for that authentic Gold Coast experience.

Music to celebrate by

There can’t be many people out there who haven’t at least heard of Australia’s iconic pop queen, Kylie Minogue. Spending the day with her extensive catalogue of songs playing is bound to cheer people up, even if the weather is cold and dull outdoors. Other Australian singers and groups include the Bee Gees, INXS, Natalie Imbruglia and Danni Minogue. Or do some research into Aboriginal music and discover the intricate rhythms and fascinating instruments used. Does anyone you know nearby have access to a digeridoo?!

Quizzes and puzzles

A great way to keep the little grey cells ticking over is to provide fun quizzes puzzles, word searches etc., all themed to Australia to celebrate Australia Day. There are plenty resources available online that can be printed out as many times as you need. Choose from Antipodean animals, politicians, sports personalities, cities and states, famous landmarks and more. Get your residents to set their own questions for a quiz night – you could serve Australian snacks and drinks to continue the theme.

Aboriginal adventures

Dive into Australia’s rich past with some research into the Aboriginal way of life. Find out about the history of the boomerang – and see if you can learn the knack of throwing it so it returns to you. Get the painting materials out and lead the residents in creating some Aboriginal art. Delve into the world of bush craft and find out what it would have taken to survive in Australia’s unforgiving outback. Track the history of Australia’s indigenous people and find out what they are fighting to retain their identity in modern-day Australia. You can find a good number documentaries online to play residents interested in learning more.

Aussie sports day

Finally, Australia is synonymous with a number of top-league sporting events, with their teams giving world-leading performances across many different areas. Cricket, rugby golf and Australia rules football are just a few examples. The most famous cricketing tournament is the Ashes, when the English and Australian cricket teams play a series of test matches every two years to see who will emerge triumphant. You could play your own version of the Ashes, with a gentle indoor game of French Cricket, perhaps, or a round or two of catch.

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