Whether playing outdoor games, gardening, trying metal detecting, or visiting a park, there is always an activity to do outdoors, for almost anyone. Some ideas here are group outdoor activities, but some can be done solo as well.
Elders/ Senior Citizens have a great range of interests. These outdoor elderly activities range from easy ones that can even be done with nursing home residents, to more challenging. Some can be done solo and some in groups. See how you can modify them to fit your needs.
Our Outdoor Elderly Activities
One of the unique outdoor elderly activities that can also be done with the grandkids. Metal detectors can be ordered online and begin at about $50 on up. They can be taken to beaches, parks, and other public places. You never know what you can find! If you really get into it, special trips are planned for metal detecting excursions all over the country and world.
Outdoor craft shows or flea markets
Just about anyone can enjoy these outdoor elderly activities. There are several possibilities here. You may just want to take your loved one on an outing to enjoy the show and perhaps buy something special. Vendors are very eager to share their expertise, so it can also be a valuable learning experience. The senior may also discover a new hobby that could be of interest, and in which to become involved. And you can also load up on inexpensive items to use with your senior activity ideas and projects.
If you are a director within a senior community, organizing a craft show can involve the surrounding community as well. Get the community involved with your facility. It can also serve as a fundraiser if you charge a small amount per booth, and/or a small percentage of the sales. Helping with the many facets of a craft show provides many outdoor elderly activities.
Outdoor theater or concert
Almost all communities, including small towns, have outdoor plays, songfests, or productions of some kind. If you live or work in a communal setting, invite some of the actors or performers to visit, answer questions, and do a little special acting for you. Those in your group who are “hams” may like to also participate. Or if you participate in such a group yourself, consider offering a free performance at a senior center, retirement community, or nursing home. Most activities directors would be thrilled to hear from you.
This is ideal to do with kids, of course, but also in just adult groups. You may even like to build your own kite, including as group outdoor elderly activities. Kits are available ranging from very easy to more advanced. Kites can also be flown from a wheelchair. Keep it simple by just going outside on your own grounds, or have an excursion to a nearby park.
And this is not just for women! Many organizations sponsor these, and you can attend. Or you can host one yourself. Invite a few or many friends. Does your home (or your community-building) have a garden or patio? Set it up the old-fashioned way with table cloths, fancy napkins (paper goods are fine if they are high quality and decorative), china, vases of flowers, fancy sweets, or savory snacks. Perhaps wine and cheese. Or champagne? Bring out some speakers for music, or go all out and get live entertainment. Make it casual or more formal. Do you want your guests to dress up? The possibilities are endless for these types of outdoor elderly activities.
A more casual version of outdoor eating, it can be hosted in a yard, on a patio, or as an outing to a park. Destination outdoor elderly activities are very popular. If you want to keep it simple, do a potluck (if your guests are able to cook). Simple outdoor games are great senior activity ideas to include. See some of ours listed below.
Popular outdoor elderly activities include easy games. Games are also a wonderful means of exercise for seniors. If you are planning a group function, consider prizes! Depending on mobility and physical health, here are some favorite senior games for outdoors:
Cup and ball game
You can buy the old-fashioned wooden cup with a ball attached to a cord. One version is to see who can get the ball into the cup the most times in a given timeframe. This is a great game for those with limited mobility who can’t participate in other games. You can also do a special project to make your own cup and ball from a plastic picnic cup and a ping-pong ball. Then play!
Fast becoming a leading game. It’s an easy-going court type game somewhat like tennis, and the ball bounces a bit like ping pong. A light Wiffle ball is used with a paddle racket. Only underhand motions are done, so it’s easy. They say it’s great for the rotator cuff too. Very relaxed and especially social. Definitely worth finding out more and starting a group.
For those with good arm strength. A modified version can also be set up for wheelchair participants.
Tossing games make great outdoor elderly activities. This often involves tossing into a cut-out hole or into a ring. This may need to be modified for seniors, especially if vision is an issue for your group.
Again, a gentle tossing game that may require modifications. One version is to toss rings onto an upright object such as a weighted down bottle or a peg.
This game is extremely popular if you have access to a court. Some parties are themed around a facility that provides shuffleboard.
Some of these outdoor elderly activities need a little mobility. Active, but more low-key than tennis. You can play across a sidewalk or path too if you’re playing just for fun.
Water balloon toss
If your group doesn’t mind getting a little wet! There are teams of two. Begin by standing three feet or more across from each other. With each toss, teams take another step back. If you break your balloon you’re out. Whoever is remaining without breaking their water balloon wins.
Lawn or patio bowling
Best to use on a flat surface or really short grass. This is simply a plastic bowling set that is set up and scored traditionally, except it’s outdoors. Because the pins and balls are so lightweight, it is perfect for seniors. Even manageable by wheelchair participants.
With this lightweight bat and ball set you can have a batting contest to see who can bat the ball the farthest the most times. Make a line in the yard to serve as a boundary, or even set up a low badminton net. Get a volunteer pitcher, and you’re ready to go.
Beach ball volley
This is played with several teams of two people. Each team of two has a beach ball. Throw it up and start volleying it back and forth (you can determine the distance between the two people). Whichever team keeps the volley in the air the longest, wins. Another version is a leader calling out the name (or first initial) of the player, and the person with the ball must toss it over to them.
Frisbee target toss
Set up a net and attach an item in the middle to serve as a bullseye. It can be as small as a paper or plastic plate, or as large as a towel, depending on the players. (An actual target would be ideal, if available). Players take turns throwing the frisbee at the bullseye. Whoever hits it or is the closest, wins.
This game set consists of a three rung ladder, and several bolas (two balls connected by a rope). You toss the bolas at the ladder and watch them wind around the rungs. The different rungs are worth different points: 1, 2, and 3. The goal is to get exactly 21 points the fastest.
The water makes a great backdrop for outdoor elderly activities. Do you, or does anyone in your church or organization have a pontoon boat? If they are willing to assist for an afternoon, this is the manner of boating for seniors. Pontoons can also be rented. With a proper plank, even those in wheelchairs can access this type of boat. It would ideally have a covering. But there are also mini yachts and a variety of motorboats too.
Just about anything can be rented. Including a riverboat excursion. Boat rides are wonderful outdoor elderly activities. All participants should also wear sunglasses and sunscreen, appropriate attire, and perhaps bring a water bottle. Snacks and beverages can be included. Depending on the size of the boat, other activities can be included, as well as…
So many seniors enjoy and perhaps are skilled at fishing. And they love to share their fishing tips (and stories). Whether on a pier or pontoon, fishing boat, or from shore, this is a relaxing way to get outdoors and socialize. Bring along some food and drink. And make sure there is someone who knows how to handle the gear, hooks, and fish! And what about a fish fry afterward? Bring your picnic gear too!
Botanical garden or conservatory
Gardening is one of the all-time favorite outdoor activities, including for those who don’t actually garden. But they do enjoy the results! Strolling through a garden is also a very good way to get a little exercise. If your town does not have its own public garden, consider a trip to a nearby city that does. Many also have a restaurant, sometimes a zoo, making it an ideal day trip.
Join a garden club or start one! It is very likely that if you belong to a group or live or work in a communal setting, someone knows about gardening and is eager to share! Or if you are a gardener, think of ways you can share this special green-thumb gift with others, right where you live. If you are not able to garden, it may be possible to still share ideas and experiences and visit the local gardens of others.
Paint a clay pot
For your seedlings to grow in. Using a colorful rubber rain boot to paint in a similar manner is another outdoor project. In a more protected area, you can use a fancy old purse as a planter too.
Outdoor florist presentation
Arrange with your local florist or a volunteer to visit your group and give a demonstration on flower arranging — and have the presentation outdoors. They may even donate older blooms they will not be using, which your group can then arrange and use for centerpieces, an event, or as a prize or give-away.
This outdoor elderly activity makes a nice, mildly active excursion. And you have a delicious end result! Take the berries back with you and have a get-together, eating them, or making a dessert.
Visit an apple orchard
Many communities have commercial orchards where you can pick your own apples and even go on a hayride or cart ride to the picking areas. And the staff love to talk about all the different types of apples and what they are best for. It can be quite educational. Plus they often have a little cafe or shop to buy and eat delicious homemade apple treats. But then again, you may want to make your own!
Visit a pumpkin patch
There may be a local pumpkin farm near you that welcomes visitors. Again, this is an ideal outing to do with kids. You can choose and pick your own pumpkin, then bring it back and have either an outdoor carving activity.
A pumpkin patch may also grow a variety of gourds, which are not only delicious to eat, but also make really fun and easy craft projects and can also be done outdoors.
Gather morel mushrooms
Go to the local woodlands and look for morel mushrooms. You can’t miss their odd shape, and they’re delicious to eat. But be sure you know what you’re looking for — get pictures and study about them a little ahead of time. And make sure everyone is quite sure what they are looking for. Morels often grow in moist areas near dead trees. Then bring them back to use in a favorite recipe.
A great outdoor elderly exercise which can be modified for different levels of mobility. Hikes can be taken around nature centers, zoos, lakes, urban routes, or in the country, to name a few. Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, water bottles, and snacks are recommended. Make sure you wear good walking shoes and comfortable attire. Always do this activity in groups and with a buddy system.
Treasure hunt a.k.a. scavenger hunt
These are really fun outdoor elderly activities that can be done in a smaller community setting, or yard, or neighborhood. They usually involve teams with instructions and a list of clues. Teams can hunt for completely different items, or the same items, “racing” to see who can find them first within a given time frame. Prizes can be awarded to the winners. Hunts can also be brought indoors, with treasures hidden throughout a grouping of rooms, should the weather be inclement.
Miniature golf or putting
This can either be a morning or afternoon trip to a nearby miniature golf course or putting green, (You may also find them indoors in some communities). Or set up a portable style putting a green game in your yard. There are also other games available that are take-offs on golf. Some can also be played from a wheelchair. You can also have a little contest complete with prizes. Swinging that club and walking around if possible, are fun sources of elderly exercise.
Yes, archery! For those with more mobility and strength, no matter what your age. This sport, often using easy-draw bows, has actually become quite popular among seniors. Great for eye and aiming coordination, strength, plus focus.
This is becoming very popular for outdoor elderly activities. This may take a little study, but it is learned as you go and can become a very satisfying hobby. Many communities already have a birdwatching group established, but the library certainly will include resources. There are also CDs and movies available for bird song identification. Your state’s DNR (Department of Natural Resources) can assist you in finding local trails. There are certain items you will be need – a bird book for your region is the first.
Make sure it includes photos or pictures and migration patterns, to make sure you know which birds will be where, and when! Also take binoculars, notebook, and pen, carry bag, and camera if desired. A club can recommend the best types and brands of equipment. Again, good walking shoes are required! And pants with pockets, such as cargo pants, are a plus. For those of you who love to travel, excursions and even exotic expeditions can be booked around birdwatching activities.
With digital cameras so available, this is fast becoming one of the popular outdoor elderly activities. And it is not difficult. Young people love to teach about electronic gadgets. Photos can be immediately viewed on the camera and saved…or not. Photography can be enjoyed with limited mobility as well, and photographs easily downloaded into a computer and printed out. No need for trips to the store to develop film! This activity is also sometimes done in conjunction with scrapbooking or a web site (another subject entirely).
Outdoor arts and crafts
Outdoor elderly activities can include art. Remember to take advantage of the good weather and bring your projects outside! If you have an experienced artist in your group or can have someone come in, offer an outdoor painting class. You can certainly have a field trip to a scenic spot. But you can also set up on your own grounds near a garden, gazebo, etc. Or instead of painting what is in front of you, bring along a photo or image of what you’d like to paint.
Outdoor daily activities are important for the elderly and senior citizens. It encourages mental stimulation and uplifts their mood. It is also a great way to engage them in family gatherings and events. Plus, they would like to take part in anything that keeps them busy during the day. Therefore, why not try some of the ideas mentioned above to share a lifetime of happiness and excitement.