Activity Ideas

May Activity Ideas for Senior Living Communities

April 6, 2023

April Showers bring May flowers, so we have some spring-themed activities that will bring flowers, colour, and sunshine into your residents’ lives this month. Read on to learn more! 

  1. Paper Plate Sunflowers Craft

Bring that sunshine inside by making some paper sunflowers out of plates! The result is a lovely garden of vibrant sunflowers that can be displayed around the community.


  • Paper plates 
  • Cardboard/thick paper
  • Yellow or orange construction paper
  • Tissue or crepe scraps in any colour to decorate sunflowers
  • Glue
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • Glitter (optional)


  • Using cardboard or a thicker piece of paper, make a sunflower petal template for each person attending the program. 
  • Ask the residents to trace the petal template onto construction paper and cut out the petals. Each person will need about 10-20 petals.
  • Take two paper plates. Turn one plate upside down and cut it into a star shape. Cut the center out of the other plate and throw away the outer rim — this will be the sunflower's center.
  • Roll each triangle flap of the star-like plate tightly with a pencil and hold it for 10-15 seconds before releasing. Repeat this step for all the flaps.
  • Glue the small circle to the inside of the paper plate and wait until it dries.
  • Turn the plate around and put some glue on the center of the flower.
  • Decorate the center with glitter, straw, or cut crepe/tissue paper.
  • Staple the petals to the edges of the flower. You may need to staple twice to hold them in place.
  • Decorate around the center with tissue or crepe paper ribbons as desired.
  • Hang the sunflowers on walls or doors using blue tack to secure them.
Image via The Craft Train

  1. Create an Indoor Craft Garden 

If rainy spring weather has you down, bring your mood back up by creating an indoor craft garden that won’t require any maintenance! This project is perfect for residents who enjoy gardening but may not have the mobility or space to do so. 

Using simple materials such as paper, scissors, and glue, residents can create a three-dimensional garden that includes a variety of different flowers.


  • Round polystyrene balls
  • Dry floral foam
  • Crepe paper in any colours you like
  • Scissors & flower punch
  • School Glue (3 parts glue 1 part water and mix well)
  • Party cups, drinking straws, and skewers
  • Sticky pins with bling, glitter, magazines (to cut out pictures of flowers), ribbons, buttons, or any other decorative material


  • Place floral foam in a cup, attach skewer, put straw over skewer, and attach a round polystyrene ball on top.
  • Cut crepe paper into about 2 inch squares, cut out flowers.


  • Take crepe paper and crumple it into small balls.
  • Dip the crepe paper balls into glue and stick them onto the polystyrene ball. Repeat this process until the entire ball is covered in crepe paper.
  • Place flowers, buttons, or beads onto the covered ball and secure them in place using a pin. Keep repeating this step until you achieve the desired look.
  • Use any decorations or craft materials you have to decorate a cup.

Tip: You can spray a gloss over all of them as a finishing touch and then put them on display in your community! 

Image via Red Ted Art

  1. Create Recycled Carton Bird Feeders

Since it's springtime, the birds are chirping and flying around in search of food. Maybe you can create some bird feeders with your residents to encourage them to come visit your community! 

This activity is both eco-friendly and fun, as residents can turn old milk cartons into functional bird feeders. The residents can decorate the cartons with colorful paints, stickers, and other materials to make them their own unique creations.


  • Several empty cartons of milk or juice (1L or 2L cartons). Make sure the cartons are rinsed well in warm water and dried.
  • A sharp pair of scissors or a knife
  • Poster paint or kindergarten paint (check that it’s a non-toxic paint)
  • A black marker and strong string
  • Plastic primer
  • Block sander to sand carton
  • 2 lengths of dowel rod 40cm each (15 inches each). You can also use straight sticks if you can’t find these! 
  • Bird seeds


  • Give each participant a recycled carton.
  • Demonstrate how to apply the primer and then distribute brushes and supervise the process. Let cartons dry for about 30 mins to 1 hour. 
  • Use a black marker to outline a small door on one side of each carton. 
  • Cut out the 'door' on 3 sides leaving the top attached. 
  • Cover masking tape around the door edges to make it smooth.
  • Apply primer over the masking tape. Leave to dry for about 30 minutes. 
  • Paint or decorate as you please! 
  • Make two small holes close to the bottom of the cartons just big enough to insert dowels.
  • With a skewer or a pair of scissors, make two holes at the top of the cartons to insert string.
  • Fill with seeds and hang high on a tree.

Note: It can take birds a couple weeks to find the seeds, so don’t be disappointed if they don’t come right away.

Image via Crayola

  1. Fruit and Veggie Sensory Kit Program

When various fruits and vegetables become available during their season, you can use them to create a beneficial sensory experience for your memory care residents. Here are some ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into an amazing sensory experience!


  • Photos of colorful farmer’s market displays
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Colorful fruit basket
  • Cutting board


  • Fruits and vegetables all offer a different feel. Pass out a whole pineapple and contrast it with the smooth feel of an apple.


  • Listen to how the fruits and vegetables sound when cutting them.
  • Classical music or relaxing piano can also pair well.


  • Taste is the best part of this sensory experience! Be sure you are tasting a variety of fruits and vegetables and comparing them with one another as appropriate.


  • Smell the fruits and vegetables before and after you cut them.
Image via The Washington Post

  1. Foam Flower Centerpiece Craft

Your residents can express their creativity by making flowers that can be used as centerpieces to add color and liveliness to the dining room. This activity can also provide a sense of accomplishment and pride to the residents, as they see their creations being used and appreciated by others.


  • Sheets of thin coloured craft foam
  • Glue 
  • Scissors
  • Wooden cotton reels
  • Thin wooden sticks
  • ’Jewels’ to decorate
  • Flower templates from Google images


  • Cut out several templates of paper flowers in different sizes.
  • Place the paper templates on top of foam and cut out two different sizes of flowers.
  • Glue the two flower shapes together and decorate as desired.
  • Add some glue to the back of the flower and place it into a hole in a cotton reel. If the glue stick is too thin, insert a piece of paper into the hole to secure it. The flower may hold in the hole by itself, but it can also be glued in place. 
Image via Baker Ross

  1. Drawing the Outdoors 

With spring here, there are many things to observe in nature. This activity is designed to be relaxing and restorative for residents and can be done as a group activity, a self-guided activity, or a one-on-one activity.


  • Any kind of drawing or copy paper 
  • Pens, pencils, paints, colored pencils, markers, whatever you have
  • Stickers and other sticky materials to create small flowers or berries 


  • Ask your residents to sit by a window and observe what is in view. Ask them what they see and what is most beautiful to look at. 
  • After looking for a while, ask them to choose a piece of nature, such as a tree or shrub that they like the shape of. 
  • Place the piece of paper on the window so you can see the outline of the tree through the paper. 
  • With their pencil or marker, encourage them to start following the shape of the tree all around as if they were touching the tree with the pen / marker. Encourage them to make it big enough to fill a good part of the paper and to colour in the tree trunk or shrub if they’d like.
  • Then, encourage them to get creative by drawing organically: flowers, petals, berries, leaves. They can also create flowers with other materials such as stickers. 
Image via Love to Draw

  1. Terracotta Pot Painting Activity

This is a two-day activity (so paint can dry). It can be a great way for residents to get creative and make pots for their own windowsill herbs and succulents or to share with a loved one as a gift. 


  • Terracotta pots - new or used - one for each person in the group
  • Terracotta sealer (terracotta are porous and unless you seal them, water will seep through in a few months, ruining the projects)
  • Acrylic craft paint in desired colors
  • Foam brushes and artist paint brushes

How to clean used terracotta pots: 

You’ll need a stiff brush and soft brush, white vinegar, and a large plastic container or sink. 

  • Wet and remove dirt with a stiff brush as much as possible. You may use sandpaper for stubborn dirt.
  • Make a vinegar and water solution (the ratio should be half & half) and submerge pots and soak for 30 minutes.
  • Use a soft brush to scrub off the remaining dirt. 
  • Allow to dry thoroughly either in the sun or overnight.

How to clean new terracotta pots:

  • Remove tags and stickers by soaking in warm water for one hour, then scrub clean with a brush. Dry completely before painting.

Instructions for Painting:

  • Spray terracotta sealer thoroughly on the insides of the pots (this is done outdoors by staff, preferably on the day before the session).
  • Cover the work surface with newspaper to avoid a mess. 
  • Give each resident a pot or two, plus a foam brush and paint.
  • Instruct by example if needed; sit with them and start a project. 
  • If the pot absorbs the first coat, apply a second, even a third. It is a good idea to let the paint dry for 15-20 minutes in between coats.
  • Protip: Don’t apply paint to the bottom; it hinders drainage. 
  • Encourage residents to customize their projects.

Here are some examples of designs:

  • Use painter’s tape to create a geometric herringbone outline using the artist brushes 
  • You can glue pictures or cord braids around the pot to give it more texture 
  • Use neon paint to make bright, beautiful designs! 
  • Use some old, recycled nail polish as paint for the finer details in the design
  • Write messages, such as “Happy Spring!” or “Spring has sprung!” 
  • Scallop the edges in a different colour to make the pots pop!
Image via Clever Poppy

  1. Recycled Spring Dream Tree Program

To commemorate the arrival of spring, you can create a "dream" tree using spring flowers, blossoms, and inspiring messages! The end result will allow you to see each of your residents’ artwork displayed in a large tree where they can see their creations come together. 


  • Colourful magazines, old calendars, or travel agency brochures
  • Construction paper in bright colours and plain paper
  • Glue and blue sticky tack 
  • Pencils, crayons, markers and/or paint 
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Large drawing paper (to put a large tree on the wall)


  • Create a few flower cut outs on a strong piece of cardboard to make some durable templates.
  • Sit residents around a table and give each a pair of scissors.
  • Using the cardboard templates, trace flowers onto magazines, calendars and brochures. Talk about spring with your residents while you do this. Have a little game going by asking what words they remember relating to spring. Use the opportunity to reminisce about what sort of flowers they used to plant and love.
  • Ask residents to cut out traced flowers from magazines and encourage them to use images and colours that inspire them. 
  • Trace some flower templates onto some plain white paper in case residents feel like colouring or painting.
  • You may also trace some onto colourful leftover construction paper on which the residents can then draw the stamen and the pistil.
  • Tape up the large drawing paper to a wall you wish to display the dream tree on and draw the trunk of a tree, with branches extended
  • Sit residents around to watch and ask a couple to hand you the flowers as you apply sticky tack to them, and then add them to the tree!  

Enjoy the view!

Image via Golden Carers

  1. Make Your Own Colander Planter 

This is a great way to encourage your residents to get creative! Not only will this provide social interaction, it’s also a great sensory experience and gives your residents a sense of accomplishment! 


  • Colander (get these at the dollar store in bright colours)
  • Twine
  • Glue
  • Sheet moss
  • Potting soil 
  • Seasonal plants (such as ferns, pansies)


  • Take a colander and wrap half a yard of twine tightly around one handle, making sure to push the pieces together to avoid gaps.
  • Once the handle is completely covered, tie it off and add a small amount of glue to secure it in place.
  • Tie a yard of twine to each end of the handle and repeat the process with the other handle.
  • Then, line the colander with sheet moss and fill it with potting soil and seasonal plants.
Image via Country Living

  1. Start a group gardening project!

Residents can work together to plant and care for a community garden! This activity provides opportunities for physical activity, social interaction, and sensory stimulation through working with the soil, planting seeds, and watching the plants grow. Additionally, the garden can serve as a beautiful and colorful addition to the community's outdoor spaces. As a bonus, this could be a way to involve family members, as well.


  • Choose a location for the community garden, or assign individual flower pots for interested residents.
  • Provide the necessary gardening tools and supplies such as gloves, shovels, watering cans, pots, gardening decorations, and potting soil.
  • Help residents select the plants they would like to grow, taking into consideration their preferences, level of care needed, and the climate and growing conditions of the area.
  • Demonstrate the proper planting techniques, including how deep to dig the holes, how much water to use, and how frequently to water the plants.
  • Encourage residents to work together, sharing tools and tips, and enjoying each other's company while they garden.
  • Schedule regular check-ins to monitor the plants' progress, provide additional care as needed, and celebrate milestones such as the first flowers or vegetables harvested.
  • Consider hosting a garden party or harvest festival to showcase the residents' hard work and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.
Image via

Did these activity ideas spark your creativity? Plan ahead for next month's calendar with 10 Senior Living Activity Ideas: June Edition!

Katie Stewart

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 Mathias

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 Riopelle

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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