Some of my favorite activities are large group activities. I love having everyone in one big room having fun together. Also, sometimes we are short handed or it’s been a very active week and the residents still need activities but maybe not such physical activities.
I have come up with 10 easy to plan group activities that everyone can participate in and enjoy, no matter their ability level.
To prepare for this fun activity, I ask the residents to donate items such as clothes, purses, blankets, books, puzzles, etc that they no longer use to the auction to be “bought” by someone else. I obviously work as a quality control agent and just toss the items that are in unhygienic or broken condition. Because of storage issues at my office, I only give them about a week before the auction to donate. That’s honestly the hardest part. I then set up the room for a large audience and give them each bidding signs (linked below) made of cardstock and popsicle sticks. I act as Auctioneer and sometimes “Vana White” to show off the items for the bidding. Sometimes the residents are just given beans for “payment” and other times we use pennies for bidding (which I personally prefer). Whatever is collected goes to our social fund for our next party (since it’s summer, it will likely go to our Watermelon Social). And that’s it! Fun, simple and everyone can enjoy!
This is a great last minute activity or time slot filler. The set up is as easy as can be. I just set up some chairs, serve some drinks and hand over the mic! We have a karaoke machine I found at a garage sale for a bargain, they pick the tunes and let loose!
There are 2 ways you can do this activity, one is a traditional “Afternoon Tea” and the other is a “Tablescapes Tea Party”, the later is a bigger production, but mostly free except food expenses.
For a traditional Afternoon Tea, you need enough tea cups for everyone, some sort of snacks (I often do muffins, it’s easy for our kitchen to make quickly) and sometimes we have a guest speaker, sometimes we just let them gab & gossip. I have found a ton of tea cups for very cheap at thrift stores and garage sales. Also, I personally love how they are all mismatched and different sizes.
Tablescapes Tea Party Set Up: I get the families involved for this one, which makes for a slightly bigger production, but super fun for the residents. I ask the residents and their families to volunteer to decorate a table with a family dinnerware or tea set in a theme, Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, Colors, Seasons, etc. anything goes. This makes it free and fun for the families to plan together and get involved. My only expense is the food/tea. Last time we did desserts, an apple pie, strawberry shortcake and peach cobbler.
This has been a favorite activity for the residents. Many local zoos offer an outreach educational program in the form of a Mobile Zoo. They typically bring 4 to 6 animals that travel well and tolerate handling well. You will have to check with your local zoo, but it is definitely becoming a more common service. They bring each animal out, talk about it’s habits and other unique characteristics. Most of the time they also allow you to touch or pet the animals! The animals we have seen through our local program have included : chinchilla, rabbit, hedgehog, tortoise, horned lizard, and a barn owl. It’s really fun to learn about the animals and best of all, it’s usually a free service!
Group Wheel of Fortune
I have a slightly unique approach to this classic activity. I set up the room for an audience in front of our stage. We have a projector screen that can be hooked up to our iPad. I have the official Wheel of Fortune app downloaded on my tablet, which I project onto the screen. I start the show with a few volunteer contestants. We together go through the game/app in front of the audience. The audience likes to shout out letters and join in on the fun. Sometimes we serve punch and cookies, depending on the time of day. The app is free and there’s virtually no prep for this activity.
This is a super easy and very FREE fun activity that most everyone can do. Just put on some tunes and lead them in the steps. This is actually also a great brain activity as movement activates both left and right sides of your brain. You could even serve some cowboy chocolate chip cookies and some green Cactus punch and call it a party!
Senior Fashion Show
This activity is so fun! You just need some sweet volunteers for models and an audience! You can partner with a local store (they usually let you borrow the clothes for free) or you can just let the ladies (or gentlemen) model their favorite outfits from their personal collection. I usually host as MC and talk about the model’s interests and accomplishments as they make their way around the stage. This is always a winner!
Floats & Tunes
Easy Sock Hop sort of social party. Just put on some tunes and serve up the root beer floats, easy as can be!
Open Mic Night
If you are short on planning time, this is the activity for you! I just set up the room for an audience, provide refreshments and a stage. I usually act as host but I let the residents sign up for whatever talents they want to show off, piano playing, joke telling, singing, etc.
Battle of the Sexes Game
Much like the set up of the other activities, I set up for an audience in front of a stage. I have 2 teams of men and women (usually about 3 to 5 each). The first round includes true or false questions I ask each team of the opposite sex (so the men answer questions about women and vice versa). The second round is multiple choice questions and the last round is a game of charades. I use the card game version to get the questions (which is $29 on Amazon) but you can find tons of questions for free online.
Hope these activities give you some more ideas and save your budgets!!!