Lots of ideas for all abilities…
At all different ages, people have some basic needs to explore, to have fun, learn, and live their lives to the fullest. Senior activities do more than just spending time. They help older people lead healthier and happier lives. Many older people lose their mobility due to illnesses such as stroke, severe arthritis, or injuries from falls. When this happens, the activities and hobbies they were doing may now be too difficult. Losing a mobility does not mean that they have lost the good times of their lives. There are plenty of ways to have fun, improve your mood, and stay involved with the world without having to move too much.
For seniors with dementia, you may want to check out these Best Activity Books for Dementia Patients.
Senior activity ideas and the ability to participate vary greatly, so we’ve provided loads of possibilities on our web site. This particular page includes senior activities for more participation, but can certainly be modified.
Whether crafts, food, relaxation, games, mind activities, party ideas, thereare many activities for seniors here for you!
Crafts are excellent senior activity ideas. Some are shown below…
Crafts for The Elderly –Easy yet satisfying crafts for the elderly can be challenging, especially with limited abilities.
Easy Craft Ideas — Craft central area pointing you to specific crafts, and organized into categories.
Share Your Crafts (forum) — This is a Share forum where our visitors submit their favorite crafts, often with a fun photo. You can share too, and we can provide a link to your web site as well.
Senior Activity Ideas
Collages — You’re probably aware that scrapbooking is one of the most popular senior activity ideas. Scrapbooking can be a type of collage. Collage can be an art in itself, and using a design template can create a really striking layout. But there are many other types of fun collages besides scrapbooking. Create them on thick poster board, small art canvases and Masonite board (a beautiful gift or art piece for yourself).
Medium weight particleboard. It is natural. The Masonite board is a Graphix chipboard sheets that are completely bare, so you can dress them up however you want. To paint; ink, stamping, sanding, abrasion of the cover with paper and fabric fibers, cut out layers and even create a scrapbook by hand. The possibilities are endless. It is acid-free. The package contains twenty-five imported sheets with dimensions of 12-inch by 12-inch.
More arts and craft templates — When you’re working on new senior activity ideas, it’s nice to have a quick template or pattern. These flower templates and designs will come in handy, whether for wood projects, glass etching, faux stained glass, decoupage, collages, painting on many kinds of surfaces, greeting cards, flyers and posters. Modify them, simplify them, or add a few together for a fancier arrangement.
Faux Stained Glass:
Authentic stained-glass window with this value package also known as gallery glass instant lead lines to simulate the look. This package includes 72 linear feet of Redi-Lead. Create perfect starter strips every time with foolproof Redi-Lead. Simply peel the surface, and weld the joints with Liquid Leading. Create your own simple geometric shape or follow a pattern. You can use it on your favorite glass pieces like frames, vases, jars, and more. If you like to decorate glass, make the Gallery Glass Instant Lead Lines Value Pack a must-have part of your craft supplies.
It is an all-purpose sealer, glue, and finish in one. It comes with a matt finishing. For the purpose of multi-layered build-up, it comes with quick-drying and it dries clear. To use it for crafting, apply it with a brush or sponge. Dries within 15-20 minutes. For smooth finishing, it can be sanded. It is made in USA and water-based, non-toxic glue best recommended by Amazon.
Play Chimes – the Easy Way — As adults age, physical and mental problems can develop. The more mentally and physically active a person can be, the more these challenges can be reduced. And making music, especially using chimes, can certainly go a long way in generating activity both mentally and physically. Chimes are a bit lighter than bells and much easier to ring. They are very accessible to adults and they would help especially the physical challenges if there are any in seniors. If you have chimes, you most likely have at least 2 octaves of chimes.
Best budget WB-01 Pro Chrome Percussion 25 Bar Chimes with Mounting Stand available on Amazon USA. It is a new 25-bell percussion wind chimes. This product contains 25 chrome bells and a wooden bar which is 16.5” wide. It comes with an adjustable tripod stand which is fully extendable to 4 feet high or as low as 2.5 feet. The sound of chimes is clear and bright. It is portable and can be easily assembled.
Make A Fleece Blanket — Making fleece blankets the very easy no-sew way, is a great gift activity for any season, holiday, or occasion. And for special projects for others, including charitable giving. This is a perfect project to do either in a group or individually. Get some new ideas and tips, if you’ve done it before. Kids love this one too.
Garden in A Straw Bale!— Any type of straw bale bed makes for an easy and convenient garden, but a particularly effective technique is straw bale gardening, sometimes known as bale gardening or hale bale baling gardening. In straw baling gardening, they use ordinary farmers’ straw as the primary growing medium conditioned with a small amount of potting soil, compost, and fertilizer, the straw itself gradually breaks down, providing its nutrients during the growing season.
We got some tips directly from the creator of the innovative method of straw bale gardening when we contacted him. He told us just why it is such a great senior activity. Almost like magic! The straw bale even makes its own soil. So you can garden even in areas with lousy soil and extreme climates. Plus, no bending, no weeding, bugs, or chemicals. And the veggies and flowers grown by this system are outstanding (and organic).
Coloring Activities — There are many interesting color-with-marker kits available with designs and pictures that are more complex for adults. Many are made on a fabric including a nice velvet, and frameable when finished. They can be found online or at your craft store. Some elderly do prefer the simpler designs too. Coloring is also a good project for memory care patients.
Bread Making — Other senior activity ideas involve baking, like homemade bread. The really easy way. Automatic bread makers process everything just like Grandma – they mix, knead and bake. Except you can walk away from it and come back later. They are pre-programmable, and many have automatic shut-off safety features. Models cost between $40 and $200. Time can range from 1.5 to 4 hours, so you can do another project while it’s baking’! Great aroma, with many ways to flavor and enhance the bread. Plus, you can use whole grains to get that fiber and nutrition everyone needs. Homemade saves money too.
Make Your Own Dried Fruits — Dried fruits are those that substantially all of the water content is removed by drying methods. The fruit shrinks during this drying process, leaving small dried fruit energy-dense. Dates, prunes, figs, and apricots are the most common type of raisins. Other varieties of nuts are also available, sometimes in the candied form (coated with sugar). This includes mangoes, pineapples, blueberries, bananas, and apples. Dried fruit can be kept much longer than fresh fruit and can be a useful snack, especially on long trips where refrigeration is not available.
For this you’ll need a food dehydrator with several trays. It’s really easy. Simply choose your fruits, slice according to instructions, and place in the machine. If you’re doing it in a group, members can help with these steps. Drying takes several days, and the results are fabulous. Then share and take some home. Or keep them for future parties and activities. Machines include easy instructions.
The recommended food dehydrator by amazon comes with auto shut off and clear lid. It has a 48h timer that works with auto shut off. The drying temperature can be adjusted according to the requirement with adjustable digital thermostat. The temperature can be maintained from 100 to 160°F. The fruit dehydrator (drying) also includes the continuous air flow. It comes with 5 stackable trays with a power of 500-watts. It includes fine mesh sheet for small foods like herbs and one solid sheet for making fruit rolls.
Make Gourmet S’mores! — Did you know marshmallows come in all sorts of unusual flavors? Some you’d hardly believe. And of course, chocolates do too. Plus, baking chips are far beyond the standard dark, white, butterscotch and milk chocolate. There are spectacular gourmet flavors! And you don’t need a bonfire or grill – we have lots of tips, including microwaving.
Making Healthy Snacks — Everyone loves snacking (and lots of times it’s not very healthy!) Senior activity ideas with making food are really popular — and we have some highly nutritious ideas and recipes to make (also ideas on snacks to just have around). Easy and are fun, either individually or in a group – then eat! Combine making snacks with other senior activity ideas, such as having a little party, or playing a game, afterwards. For recipes that are a little more advanced (but still easy) see our page for Healthy Snack Recipes.
Making Homemade Ice Cream — Who doesn’t love ice cream. Even those with sugar restrictions are in luck. We make ours with honey, or use a sweetener. Nowadays making ice cream is very easy because there are excellent gadgets out there. Great ice cream can even make a healthy dessert – we have some excellent, natural recipes.
But if you don’t want to make it yourself, get ideas on how to enhance already-made, plain ice cream. Then plan more senior activity ideas — have a fabulous party, or go all out and have an old-fashioned ice cream social. Remember those? You can get as elaborate as you want, using nice paper goods, or your best dishes.
Special Gardening Activities — We have a whole page all about various gardening possibilities, both indoor and outdoor, for all seasons and weather. Also arts and crafts ideas to go with them.
Try specialty gardens, such as attracting butterflies, song birds, hummingbirds, and more. Gardening activities are soothing, upbeat, and uplift the mood. See a whole array to add to your senior activity ideas.
Spa Afternoon — A Spa Afternoon for yourself or a group is always popular. Begin with relaxing music. A real plus is stringing small twinkling lights. And a little aromatherapy. Lavender helps calm and relax. Other favorites are rose, lemon and vanilla. Light some scented candles. Give an arm and hand massage with scented lotion. A scalp massage is also wonderful. How about a foot soak in warm, scented water, followed by a foot massage. And then a mini pedicure, complete with toenail polish for the ladies. (And yes, men enjoy Spa Afternoons too!).
Also take a look at handy hand reflexology chart, and try your hand at giving a gentle hand massage. It’s very easy and effective! Perfect for spa activities.
Lavender Pillow —
HOME SPA: Enjoy the luxury and comfort of a spa without leaving home. Soothe your senses, relax and rejuvenate the mind and body.
NATURAL AROMATHERAPY: This eye lavender pillow is filled with natural herbs and durable vegetable oils for effective aromatherapy.
SOOTHING ACUPRESSION: It is filled with natural flax seeds in addition to aromatherapy herbs, the soft weight of Eye Pillow can soothe and comfort you.
COLD THERAPY: For cold relief, seal in a plastic bag and let it freeze overnight before use. The cool pillow will calm you down and relax in no time.
MATERIALS AND CARE: The luxurious and soft fabric of the eye pillow elevates your experience to absolute bliss. Clean only stains. Do not let the grain filling get wet. Do not heat up.
Wonderful senior activity ideas that can even go along with your spa afternoon. An easy project for making a lavender pillow that can be warmed up in the microwave or cooled in the freezer. Lavender is wonderful for warmth, relaxation or sleep. Makes a nice gift too. This project can also be done with grandkids.
Make A Gift Basket — It’s easy to make a gift basket, and they make very satisfying senior activity ideas. Can be done in groups such as for silent auctions, fund raising, door prizes, or a group gift (perhaps a birthday, anniversary, holiday, sympathy, etc.), or also made individually. Our ideas will make it simple.
In the photo we included a cottage teapot, mug, and lots of tea, coffee, and chocolate items for a Coffee and Tea theme. You can get many donated items if your baskets are for a fund raiser; or have others bring in items from home. Perfect for tucking in a keepsake. Many possibilities, whether making money or helping others.
Make an Angel — This is just one of our many ideas. Angels are so popular and our projects have loads of uses. Lots of craft angels for you to make! All kinds, from glass centerpieces, to bells, to foil, to wood, to old-fashioned cornhusk dolls! These senior activity ideas are all easy and include projects for various abilities. Make a really satisfying project with many items you may already have around.
Regular “Giving Back” Drives — If you work with a group or want to start one with a purpose, projects giving back to the community (large or small) on a regular basis make great senior activity ideas. Try collecting items for disaster victims, Thanksgiving or other holiday baskets; coat, hat and mitten drives; sending a child to camp; helping with a scholarship fund; collecting back-to-school kits; assisting a special needs group; or helping the needy, and more. Anyone can have ways to reach outside of oneself and help others. It’s always good to have a way to get our attention off ourselves and into another worthwhile project.
Quilting Bee — Even if you don’t know how to quilt (yet), you can learn to make a wonderful project. Most likely there is someone in your family or group that knows how and who can teach you. Or perhaps a local craft or fabric store. Quilting bees, as you know, date back for hundreds of years and provide a wonderful means to socialize and, again, create a meaningful gift. Or something to raffle or auction off for fund raising.
Knit or Crochet a Prayer Shawl — Having knitting and crocheting groups are extremely meaningful senior activity ideas, and they can have a special purpose. Many groups use some of their time to create special shawls for those who are ill or grieving. Prayers are said while the needle work is done.
Sometimes the group knows who they are making it for, and sometimes they do not — it is given by a coordinator to those in need at various times. A small card can be prepared for the recipient explaining the gift and its meaning. Both my father and I received one of these and we cherish and use them all the time.
Tap Dancing Group — Yup. Did you know tap dance groups are really popular senior activity ideas? And it’s fabulous exercise. In my father’s previous retirement community in Arizona, the senior tap dance group became so well-known that they even went on a performance trip to Europe, complete with fabulous costumes! But dance can really just be simplified to stress the fun.
…Performances are only optional (although it’s really fun to dress up in the costumes!) There may be someone in or associated with your group who already knows basic tap steps and is willing to share. Or contact a local dance school and arrange for special classes (they may already have some) or to visit your facility weekly. Senior discounts are almost always available. You may also be able to enroll them in volunteer time.
Champagne and Dessert Party — Another of the most popular senior activity ideas, that you can also invite the public to if you are doing this as a group. Go beyond chocolates – if you have a local bakery they may be delighted to participate as a sponsor, and even donate free items or gift card.
…Be sure to also include some sugar-free treats too, and non-alcoholic sparkling wines. Maybe gift bags as door prizes (helps generate interest with the public as well). This is an excellent party to have others come in and visit your group or facility.
Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries — This is one of the favorite activities at a local senior campus. They can be prepared for the wine and chocolate party mentioned above, for other get-togethers, or to give as gifts (people love these!).
Adjust projects for abilities, making excellent senior activity ideas. Plus, some really fun ways to decorate them (a variety of holidays and seasons).
Edible Flowers — See our easy edible flower recipes for creating lots of new activities, learning experiences, and fun things to eat! Perfect to use in special food projects and events. Or use them in your own favorite recipes. Learn how to make sugared flowers and petals, and how to freeze flowers and petals in ice cubes; plus much more. Edible flowers add elegance to any event.
Apple Candle Craft — Apples are around all year round. Besides making very yummy snacks and treats, you can also make some really fun and easy apple craft ideas. This one is a candle. Stretch your imagination for variations and how it could also be used – with special (perhaps heirloom) mugs, glasses, candle holders, tea cups or tea pots, to create a keepsake gift for that certain someone. Make them for centerpieces and parties too.
Fiesta Party! —Includes simple and inexpensive craft projects. AND…We’ve got a fantastic Mexican chicken chocolate sauce (mole) recipe — if you’ve never tried it (or even heard of it?) you’ve just got to check it out.
Fishing Themed Party —You can throw a themed party along with a fishing outing, or even without actual fishing — just enjoy the fish recipes (several fun food ideas) and projects to make for the party.
Tell A Group Story — Have the group cut words and phrases from magazines ahead of time. Or simply write them out on pieces of paper. Have at least 50. They should include both verbs and nouns — get some unusual ones! Put them all in a bowl. Players sit in a circle and each player draws a word.
…The leader begins a story such as, “One dark, stormy night when the waves were lashing against the rocky shore, a mysterious ship…” The next person uses their word and continues the story. After about 2 or 3 sentences, they stop and the next person continues. The story is done when all the words are used up. Try recording it, then play it back later when everyone is having a snack. Loads of fun and laughter!
Rug hooking — This is one of my favorite senior activity ideas, because it can have special meaning. My children’s great-grandfather was in his 90s and living in cold northern Iowa when he discovered rug hooking.
…During the long winters he loved to get a kit from a craft story and create a keepsake rug wall hanging for each great-grandchild.
…He passed on more than 15 years ago, and they will always have that memento. They were bright, colorful and fun for him to do too, giving his hands good exercise which helped his arthritis, a common elderly issue.
…He chose a theme for each great-grandchild that was special to their interests, like pets, boating, and nature. This is a great senior citizen activity with a gift that can be handed down for generations.
Homemade marzipan creations — One of our popular yummy senior activity ideas! Marzipan is a sweet, edible play dough-like substance often used to build little figures and flowers on gingerbread houses and cakes. It’s molded much like play dough and is fun and easy. Or make them ornate.
…Use them for parties and gifts. Even make a marzipan box and lid with a marzipan flower or bird on top. And what’s inside? More sweets! Or if you create a really good piece, display it in a plastic display box that from a craft store.
Recording memoirs — Another of the meaningful senior activity ideas. When Dad was in his 90s we bought him a small digital tape recorder to tape his memoirs for us. Even though he was partially blind, it was very easy to use. He could pause at any time to re-group his thoughts.
…He started at the earliest age he could remember, and took it one or two years at a time, mentioning as much colorful detail as he could remember. We then downloaded it all into the computer.
…Later, we thought of all sorts of things to ask him about, and he continued to record. It was then out of chronological order, of course, but was easy to manage on the computer to get them in the correct order with previous segments.
…We then made copies for everyone in the family, and we all now have this memorable journey directly from Dad. One of our favorite senior activity ideas!
Crafts and Keepsakes — Do you have an heirloom or keepsake you plan to give away? Perhaps a teacup, dish, plate or picture frame? Make it doubly special with a craft. Like our Mouse in A Teacup. Very easy to make, and the mouse doubles as an ornament too.
Cookie cutter mini-pancakes — Some senior activity ideas are especially fun to do with grandkids, family or friends. You need a pancake griddle and metal cookie cutters to pour the batter into, such as stars, flowers, bunnies, bells, Mickey Mouse shapes, etc. Keep the cookie cutter around the batter until the shape sets. When done, they can be decorated with dried fruits, nuts, even whipped cream. Great for brunch!
Glamour manicure party — Senior activity ideas can include a bit of glam! Get together a group for a little glamour and pampering. If someone has difficulty, an assistant can be there to help. Have everyone bring their favorite nail polish color to share. First file and shape the nails, applying a cuticle softening for 5 minutes, and pushing back the cuticles with an orange stick.
…Care should be taken if clipping excess cuticle or hangnails. Then apply 2 coats of polish. When the second coat is still wet, try impressing a very small rhinestone on a chosen nail, such as the pointer fingers. Then cover with 2 coats of top coat.
…Really fun is having someone who is good at painting. With a very small brush and acrylics, tiny hearts, leaves, curly-cues, or flowers can be painted on a nail(s), after the second coat is dry. When the acrylic paint is dry, 2 apply coats of top coat.
Armchair Theater — Take senior activity ideas with book clubs one step further – into drama. Get a script for a favorite play with enough characters for the members of the group. Some members may play two parts. Characters can be drawn from a hat or volunteered. Members take the play script home to become familiar with it, and get into the feel of their character. At the meeting, the play is “performed” by simply reading aloud in the circle with great expression as if acting on stage. There is no audience unless desired.
…Members can also bring small props or costume pieces to enhance it, adding an element of surprise and fun. So does the way members interpret and act out their characters.
…It’s a very satisfying experience for those who previously performed and no long be on stage. And for those who always wanted to give it a try. And try a musical with members (or the group) performing the songs to CD music. Senior activity ideas involving music are a big hit.
Name Those Capitals — Stretch those memories and combine a mental work out with fun travel stories. Get a large wall map (laminated if possible) and mount it. In a bowl, have slips of papers with all the state capitals. Someone in the group picks out a capital and has to call out its state, and then attach it on its correct state on the map. Then anyone in the group who has had a travel adventure to that city (or who lived there) gets to share.
Study Rocks — If possible, this can be coupled with a field trip if you live near a good rock hunting area. Or have a nature expert come out. Share a rock collection that a group member may have, or that an expert can bring in. Rocks tell fascinating stories about the geology of your area long before humans were here. Some types of rocks only come from volcanoes, for instance. And some from sea beds.
…You may be surprised what your ancient geology was really like! Some of the desserts used to have sea beds; some rocks come from fascinating caves. Some are semi-precious or precious stones. Perhaps even a real gold nugget. Your group may have some very interesting tales to tell!
Share Your Collections — Members of your group may have quite interesting collections. And would love to tell about them! Some may be portable and can be brought to an activity room. Others may need to stay at home. So, if you live in a multi-housing building, why not have an internal “field trip” and visit a few apartments to learn about each other’s collections. This would need to be planned ahead, of course. The various hosts and hostesses may even like to share cookies with their visitors. Or have a coffee group after you’re finished back in the activity room.
Decorate a birdhouse— Painting and decorating birdhouses are not only relaxing and therapeutic but they can also keep a person’s attention for long periods. Providing a purpose behind decorating the birdhouses activity greatly increases the benefits. Creating something beautiful that is meant to be a home for another living creature is rewarding and helps give the individual a sense of purpose.
This activity is enjoyable for all seniors and is particularly good for men. It can be difficult to create activities specifically for men, and they are not always so willing to participate in crafts. Some of the men have experience working with wood, repairing things around the house, and working with their hands.
Small birdhouses from unfinished wood make wonderful senior activity ideas. Get them from any craft store, often on sale. Decorate them for a charming addition for your home or patio. Paint with acrylics and top with a couple coats of a water-base clear varnish. But take it a step further. Instead of paint, cut and apply colorful wrapping paper or fabric.
…First brush the birdhouse surface with decoupage or the varnish, adhere paper/fabric, then brush with two top coats of decoupage medium or varnish. At the edges of the birdhouse you can apply fabric puffy paint, ribbon, or twigs cut to fit.
…Use “puffy” 3D paint to edge the windows and door too. Using variety of colors will give it pizzazz. Glue faux moss onto the base and stud with small artificial flowerets. The roof can also be covered with moss if desired. Tiny birds from the craft store can be glued on the roof or peeking out of the bird house.
Candy birdhouse — Or (more crafts with candies): why not make it into a candy birdhouse and cover the roof with colored candy wafers? And the sides with gingerbread or graham crackers; and the base with colored coconut and gumdrop trees. You can still use puffy paint as edging, or frosting from a tube. If the birdhouse has a chimney, attach a little fluff of colored cotton candy as smoke. Make candy birdhouses any time, not just during holidays!
Beaded picture frame — Do you or family have any old beaded jewelry? Don’t get rid of them — they’re great for all kinds of senior activity ideas! Sometimes you can find beads and jewelry in bulk at thrift stores, and definitely at garage sales. Un-string those beads and sort them by color into small containers. (This is also a good group project, when everyone brings in beaded jewelry to share). Get a small photo frame; any size will do, but 5 x 7 is a good size.
More senior activity ideas…
Senior Activities – By the Month! — This Master Page points you to hundreds more activities each of the specific 12 months; PLUS pages of general activities for the 4 seasons.
Easy Food Activities — Doing anything with food is always a favorite!
Senior Reading Activities –For readers or those who need to be read to.A wonderful way to not only entertain, but also bond with loved ones.
Meaningful Dementia Activities — Meaningful dementia activities can be an ongoing challenge. Lots here, and not just the familiar basics.