Happy New Year! For this month, we’re sharing more fun games and activities that you can do with residents in your senior living community. Try out a new card game, hold a ring toss tournament, test your memory and more!
If you have residents who are big football fans and are excited for Superbowl Sunday, why not throw a celebration party? Get your food in order, and lots of it. Good company is what makes a party, but good food is what attracts good company. There are tons of football-themed snacks you can make for the occasion, including snack stadiums and football Rice Krispie treats. Organize a couple games like a football pool, paper football, or cornhole. To decorate, make football paper chains and get balloons of the teams’ colours. Then, get that enthusiasm to cheer on the teams!
With this activity, residents sit in a circle while you play music in the background. As they pass the ball around the circle, stop the music at random times. The person who has the ball when the music stops has to change direction and pass the ball back to the person who gave it to them. This game is funny and it’s great for coordination, too!
This very simple game works great for memory care. It promotes socialization and stimulates memory. All you need is a deck of playing cards!
All you need is a deck of playing cards.
Start collecting those bottles! It’s seated bottle ring toss time!
To play this game, you’ll need as many bottles as you like and five rings. Get different types of bottled beverages, including soda, mineral water, and juice. You can use embroidery hoops or plastic rings if you have them. You can also make your own rings by shaping rope into a circle and wrapping it with duct tape. The size of the rings depends on the dexterity of your residents. The bigger the ring, the easier it will be to land on the bottles!
Set up six to eight bottles on a coffee table in any arrangement you like. Get a chair for residents to sit in while they’re taking their turn. Each resident gets to toss five rings. The goal of the game is to get at least one hoop around a bottle. If the resident succeeds, let them choose which beverage they want to keep as a prize! Replace the bottles and let the next resident take their turn.
This is a simple game that can be made of empty tins or empty plastic containers. The tins or containers can be decorated in a craft session. This could also easily be made into an intergenerational program!
To begin, gather some empty cans and containers from the kitchen. Soak them in warm soapy water to remove the labels. Place two layers of masking tape over the edge of each can for safety. Once you’ve prepped the cans and containers, your residents can decorate them in bright colours using paint, tissue paper, or paper mâché.
To play the game, stack the cans in a pyramid and have your residents sit a few meters away. Using a soft ball or beanbag, have your residents try to knock down as many cans as possible. The resident who knocks down the most cans is the winner! This game can also be played as a team tournament. For instance, you can play a game of fifty points and award one point for each can knocked down. Whichever team reaches fifty points first wins! To make the game more exciting, add prizes.
Who doesn’t love to have great smelling soap? Encourage your residents to join to create their own soap with the scents that they love!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for each soap bar:
To make the bars, combine the grated soap with water, food colouring, scented oil, and hand lotion in a bowl. The mixture will be thick, so you’ll need to combine the ingredients using your hands. First, cover your hands with hand cream to prevent sticking and to stop the food colouring from staining your skin. The soap can either be shaped freehand or you can use silicone chocolate or cupcake molds greased with hand cream to form shapes. Decorate the soap bar by putting a dried or artificial flower on top!
The scent guessing game is a great opportunity to stimulate the senses and reminisce with residents. You can make it conversational or create a game where residents write down their guesses and compare answers.
To play this game, you’ll first need to gather various things with distinctive scents like ground coffee, cinnamon sticks, dried lavender, rose petals, lemon, and mint. Put each one in its own paper bag so that your residents can’t see what it is.
Seat two to three residents around a table and pass around a scent, asking them to guess what it is. Encourage them by giving them clues like “It smells like something we drink in the morning” or “It smells like something we sprinkle on donuts.”
This is a great opportunity to both bake and have some fun by getting your residents to write their own fortunes or lucky numbers on small pieces of paper. Make sure to write fortunes on strips of paper that are about 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide so they will fit in the cookies. Then, set the fortunes aside and have the residents help with creating the dough for the fortune cookies.
To make the fortune cookies, you will need:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and generously grease 2 cookie sheets. Mix the egg white and vanilla until foamy but not stiff. Sift the flour, salt, and sugar and blend into the egg white mixture.
Place teaspoonfuls of the batter at least 4 inches apart on one of the prepared cookie sheets. Tilt the sheet to move the batter into round shapes about 3 inches in diameter. Be careful to make the batter as round and even as possible. Do not make too many at once because you will need to mold the cookies into shape while they’re still really hot. Once they cool down, it’s too late! Start with 2 or 3 to a sheet and see how many you can do.
Bake for 5 minutes or until the cookie has turned a golden color 1/2 inch wide around the outer edge of the circle. The center will remain pale. While one sheet is baking, prepare the other.
Remove from oven and quickly move the cookies with a wide spatula and place upside down on a wooden board. Quickly place the fortune on the cookie, close to the middle and fold the cookie in half. Place the folded edge across the rim of a measuring cup and pull the pointed edges down, one on the inside of the cup and one on the outside. Place folded cookies into the cups of a muffin tin or egg carton to hold their shape until firm.
Have residents exchange cookies to pick their fortunes!
Serve up a pancake bar to your residents this National Pancake Day on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023! Not only are pancakes easy to make, but they can be savoury or sweet and be topped with anything and everything! For those who acknowledge Shrove Tuesday, you can talk about this day, what they did as children, etc.
Recipe Ingredients (approx 7 pancakes):
Beat all ingredients until well mixed. Heat a lightly greased frying pan/skillet and then remove from heat. Spoon 2 tbsp of the batter and lift and tilt the pan to spread evenly. Return to heat, brown on one side, then on the other. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with jam, maple syrup, sugar, chocolate, fruit, and more — the possibilities are endless!
Did these activity ideas spark your creativity? Get more inspiration with 10 Senior Community Activity Ideas: Valentine's Day Edition or plan ahead for next month with these March Activity Ideas for Senior Living Communities!
Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.
Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.
Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
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