have particular relevance for conduct-disordered and delinquent
youth... Games offer the opportunity to experience positive peer
pressure and acceptance of authority in a non-threatening atmosphere."
(Game Play- Therapeutic Use of Childhood Games, Eds., Schaefer
& Reid, 1986).
submitted by Joanne McAulay of Edgewood Park Nursing Facility on July 15, 2010
Size of Group: 10-15
Equipment: Letters on cardboard much like Scrabble, cloth bag
Objective: Friendly competition and socialization....residents enjoy this and helping one another
Description: Get each resident to choose seven letters from the bag and try to make words like you do in scrabble. They need to start with a word and join all the other letters on to make other words...you then count up all the letters (as you do in scrabble) and keep a tally. The one with the highest number at the end of the game wins a chocolate. The residents love helping one another. We called it squabble as to not to copyright the scrabble name.
Gamblin' For Gifts
submitted by Barbara Konuszewski of Huron Woods Nursing Center, Kawkawlin, MI on September 23, 2009
Size of Group: 8-14
Equipment: One set of dice, 11 prizes that fit into a lunch-sack
Objective: Social/Humor Game and Competition of Chance.
Description: Tables are connected end to end to seat up to 14 players. A variety of gifts are purchased ahead of time (can be small stuffed animals, candy bars, knick-knacks, funny hats, lotions, goofy eye-glasses, etc.) and placed in each lunch bag. Each bag is clearly numbered with marker (2 thru 12) and are lined up down the center of the tables. Announce that this activity is called gamblin' for gifts and that its no different than going to a casino, there are no guaranteed winners. Some people will win...and some will leave empty-handed. Choose the starter, the first person to roll the dice.
Prizes change hands again and again until the final round is completed.
submitted by Mary Donaldson of mcd on March 4, 2006
Size of Group: three
Equipment: empty wooden spools of thread
Objective: feeling of accomplishment
Description: flick the spools into table goals with fingers.
With fingers and brightly colored spools. Yell touchdown when
they get it in your goal. Good with male residents.
Dice & Grab Bag
Submitted by Mary Jane Newlon, ADC of Newark Healthcareon May
Size: large or small
Equipment: Six lunch bags with one prize in each bag. Number
the bags 1-6, three dice and container to use to place dice
in to throw
Objective: The activity helps with eye and hand coordination,
gives a competitive spirit, allow a resident a chance to interact
with other residents, have fun, and win a prize or prizes.
Description: Each resident rolls the dice. If two of the same
number comes up, the resident wins the bag with that number
on it. The next resident rolls and if he rolls the same number
he gets the bag. A resident can win one or more of the bags.
At the end of the game whichever resident has the bag(s) gets
to keep them.
Submitted by Gail Hammer,
AD of Birchwood Care Center on Monday, January 20, 2003
shapes cut from Construction Paper, magnets, paper clips, yarn
and dowel rods.
coordination, socialization, group interaction in a competitive
situation and physical activity
you have cut out the fish shapes, place a magnet on the back
side of each. Attach the yarn to the dowel rod-this is your
pole and the paper clipped the the end of the yarn-this is your
the group sit in a circle and place the fish on the floor in
the middle. One the count of three everyone starts "fishing".
Our residents really enjoy this activity and if you have too
many people have them pair up one fishes and the other person
helps take the fish off the hook. We play several rounds before
the "master fisherman" receives his/her prize which
is a small bag of gold fish crackers. I place this on my calendar
year round as several different names; Fishing rodeo, bass tournament,
ice fishing, etc.
submitted by Evelyn B. Mika, CTRS of North
Broward Medical Center on May 9, 2001
Size: 4 or more
Equipment: Piece of paper
and pencil for each team
social interaction, Creativity, Reminiscence/Improve memory
Description: Split group
into two teams. Give both teams a topic and a time limit. The
team with the most qualifying answers wins.
Each team brainstorms and writes
the answers to questions such as: "Songs titles that have
girls' names in them" (or boys, flowers, states, the word
love, the word you, colors, weather words, etc.) Teams stop
writing when time is called (5 minutes is average depending
on age, ability, etc.)
To gather responses, each team
takes turns singing one or two lines from the chosen song. They
are the only team allowed to score points for that song. They
must be able to sing the song to gain the points. The team with
the most points at the end of the game wins.
What's in the
K. Slade of Snow
Valley on September 10, 1999
Size: 8 to 10 with mild
to severe cognitive deficits
Equipment: Variety of balls,
baseball, basketball, bocce, croquet, koosh, nerf, golf, squeeze,
etc all in a big box
Objective: reminisce of
past activities, sports group, sensory awareness
Residents sit in a circle around the therapist who has the large
box close to her/him. Starts discussion about various types
of balls and brings out a ball from the box. Passes the ball
around and asks for description of ball...is it heavy?, light?,
smooth, bumpy, etc.. Continues by asking someone if they can
think of another type of ball and then bring it out of the box
and continue. Nerf and koosh balls are good sensory stimuli
and also new to geriatric patients. Same with squeeze balls.
Activity can be expanded to kick the balls, lift over head (large
light balls) and even bat a balloon (instead of a ball).
submitted by Kathy
Watson of SunBridge Care & Rehabilitation for Dresden June
Size of Group: 8-15
Equipment: play money, small
items for prizes
Objective: promotes social
interaction,promotes a sense of well being.
Description: Each resident
is given a $100 bill. Each resident get to bid on the objects
they want to purchase. Some of the residents really bid real
hard against each other. Have enough prizes for all the residents
to "buy" something. That way no one leaves empty handed
Heather Myers of Innsbruck Healthcare Center-MN
Size of Group:
- Any number decks of cards, depending
upon the number of players
- One full deck for the facilitator
- Prizes (optional)
Objective: Increased socialization
skills, Cognitive maintenance
Description: Seat players
at a table. Pass out 5-7 cards to each player (with fewer players
it takes longer with 7 cards.) The players will lay each of
their cards face up in front of them. The facilitator will call
out cards from the full deck, when a player discovers they have
the same card, they turn that card over. The first one to turn
all of their cards over is the winner.
Prizes are optional, but usual
"Carnival" Coin Toss
Submitted by Carol A. Johnson who is caring
for her mother with Alzheimer's.
I "invented" a game where
we toss coins (or whatever) into a large bowl/pot on the floor.
She can toss them from her wheelchair and I adjust the distance
of the bowl according to her strength for the day (sometimes
good sometimes not). She takes the pennies (if this doesn't
work try something with a little more weight) and I take the
dimes (100 each)-[we built up to this amount] and we take turns
trying to toss them in the pot. Like a carnival toss game.
This game used to end when we were
out of coins. Then a friend of mine told me that her disabled
son likes to "sort things". So I tried that out and
sure enough it was true. So now, she will sort the pennies and
dimes while I get to do something else and then she will count
the ones that were in the pot to see who "won". I
don't know how long she will continue to be able to do all of
this activity but we both enjoy it and it is "therapy"
for me as well. The down side is until they get good at it you'll
have to sweep up the coins that don't make it into the pot or
put a sheet under the pot to pick up the ones that missed.
[I just had a thought... for a
man you might want to use "nuts and bolts" or "washers
and gaskets" from the hardware store. They would be cheap,
about the right weight and he might enjoy sorting them (i.e.
it would be "functional.) Let me know if it works out.
Size of group: sets of 3
Focus: fun, social interaction,
Description: A group of
3 people face each other. Each person clinches his fist and
on the count of "one, two, three" throws out the fist
and any number of finger (from 0 to 5). Count the total number
thrown by each group member. If the total equals eleven, then
the group "wins."
Submitted by Brad Brunfelt Woodland Hills,
Group Size: 8-?
Objective: to teach about
misinformation and how rumors start when communication goes
through several people.
Description: this is a common
activity but some may not have heard it.
- Whisper a phrase to your first
group member (i.e "Steve sells magazines on Thursdays
to a guy who likes to drive a mazeratti"). Tell him or
her only one time.
- That group member must repeat
it to the next group member. (whisper of course!)
- Have the last group member repeat
the phrase. Chances are that it will be WAY off. This gives
you the opportunity to have some fun and to teach on the importance
of getting things from the source and getting it straight!
good luck, email me with questions
submitted by Kathy Deik of Twining Village
Size of Group: small to
Equipment: a jar of pennies
(about 25 per person and 100 more for the "pot"),
questions written on index cards beforehand
Objective: increase socialization
Description: Residents sit
around a table. Each has 25 pennies placed in front of him/her.
The "pot" of pennies is placed in the middle. Each
resident takes turns reading a card and following the directions
on it. Each card tells the reader to either give or take a penny.
The resident with the most pennies at the end "wins",
but this is also just a fun socializing game and is good for
ice breakers too. Very quick to organize after you've done it
Some sample cards would be:
- IF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN TO HAWAII,
TAKE A PENNY FROM THE POT
- IF YOU ARE WEARING EYEGLASSES,
GIVE A PENNY TO THE PERSON ON YOUR RIGHT
- IF YOU LIKE ICE CREAM, GIVE
A PENNY TO EACH PERSON SITTING AT THE TABLE
- IF YOU KNOW HOW TO TYPE, TAKE
A PENNY FROM THE PERSON ACROSS FORM YOU AT THE TABLE
- IF YOUR FAVORITE COLOR IS BLUE,
GIVE A PENNY TO THE POT
- IF YOU CAN SAY HELLO IN ANOTHER
LANGUAGE, DO SO, THEN TAKE A PENNY FROM THE POT
- SHAKE HANDS WITH THE PERSON
ON YOUR RIGHT, AND GIVE HIM A PENNY
- IF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN ON A BOAT,
TAKE A PENNY FROM THE POT
- WHISTLE DIXIE, THEN GIVE A PENNY
TO A PERSON WEARING RED
- ETC. ETC. ETC.
"Hope this is helpful!
Let me know if you try it."