submitted by Thia Rutledge of Oakwood Terrace Adult Day Program on February 2, 2009
Size of Group: 4-6 participants 1 staff but 2 is better
Equipment: 1 large pot, tea cups, black tea, milk, honey, 8 whole black pepper corns, 8 green cardamom pods, fresh ginger 2
Objective: educational, sensory, social
Description: Seat participants around a table preferably near kitchen stove. Bring 1/2 pot of water to boil, while water is heating pass around tea ingredients and discuss. See if participants can guess what the ingredient is. Ask if they remember using any if the ingredients. Talk about the smell etc.. Tell participants about the health benefits of each ingredient (this info is avail on google.) Add ingredients one at a time after passing around to group. Let boil 15-20 minutes. Every 5 minutes or so I removed the pot from the stove and brought it to the table so participants could see how tea was progressing.You can even share info about where the spice is from or how it is grown while tea boils. Add 2 bags black tea at the end let steep 3 minutes. Then serve Tea with milk and honey. We had some cookies with our tea as well.
submitted by Brie Smith on March 9, 2010
Size of Group: 3-6
A box- To carry all of the objects listed below.
Sight- binder full of pictures, Lava lamp and a glitter ball.
Touch- Shower puff, play dough, Textured ball, the glitter ball can apply here too, hand lotion.
Smell- Lavender body wash (or essential oil and diffuser)
Hearing- CD player and relaxation CD
Taste- anything that you would like to (be sure to take residents diets into account) The great thing about this box is that you can individualize it to your client/resident or group and your box can grow, anything that may stimulate a person may go into this box.
* To provide a clam and relaxing environment
* To provide clam and relaxation to a client/resident emotions
* To stimulate all of the senses
* To provide clients/residents with a sense of well being
Description: To get started turn on the lava lamp and the CD player with the relaxation music, lower the lights place all of the other sensory items on the table, pour some body wash in to a bowl and pour hot water over it (great for long term home setting, because of fire codes you may not be able to use essential oils and diffuser) the sent will fill the air. Then start bring resident into the room. As you bring the clients in encourage them to look through the picture book, to touch the play dough and so on. As you look through the picture book ask questions or ask them to tell you a story/memory that coincides with the picture. The taste part of the program can be the refreshments.
Constructed for moderate to low functioning clients/residents but can be modified.
Submitted by Shelley Park
Size of Group: two or three
Equipment: Scented facial
supplies (a variety of different ones), make up mirror, warm
Description: Spend time
with each participant helping her choose her favorite smelling
facial supply. Use a mirror so they can watch what is going
on. If the participant doesn't like having her face touched,
maybe she can help give a facial instead.
I can't tell you how enjoyable
this was for a few people I used to work with who had profound
Submitted by Lynda Griffin of Helping
Hand on June 24, 2004 at 04:28:59
Face washers, bowls for water. Mixing Bowl, eggs, lemon juice.
feelings of Self worth and enjoyment
Beat the whites of eggs in a bowl (work out the number you
need by the size of your group) until fluffy like meringue.
Add a few drops of lemon juice. You can either put it on
clients faces or get them to do it themselves. They then
can place a slice of cucumber over each eye and relax to
music. Leave mixture on face until set and then wash off
with warm water. There is a lot of giggling and fun and it
leaves clients faces shiny and clean. Then place a little
moisturizer on hands and massage into clients faces.
Rice or Fruit Grab
Submitted by Vivian Middleton on of
Lampasas Nursing & Rehab
April 26, 2004
Size: 10+ can be played in teams or 1on 1
Equipment: 10lbs. rice , 2 dishpans, 2 blindfolds, 20 small
objects (balls, quarters, med. caps). You can also use this
with fruit by mixing the fruit and have the pick as many of
one fruit as possible
Objective: sensory, hand and arm movement
using the fruit will stimulate smell also
Description: mix 5lbs rice and 10 objects in each pan. Have
two people from the group blindfolded tell them. They each
have 1min. to locate as many objects in the rice as they can.
The one with the most when time is called wins.
Submitted by Susan on January 16, 2002
Equipment: bubble wrap sheet
Objective: sensory stim and stress
Description: use any size of bubble
wrap (for packing materials) and have the resident try and
pop the bubbles. the people at my place of business absolutely
love doing this. even the residents that have dementia, alzheimer's,
submitted by Donald & Lisa Kottas
of WildHeart Photos Studio on Thursday, August 14, 2003
Size: Any size
VCR player will do and Wyoming Experience video
Objective: A Visual
& audio experience, allowing the patient to relax and soothe
the senses, taking one on a journey. Accompanied by a fine compliment
of classical ensembles that lift the spirit and soothe the soul.
Wyoming Experience is a wonderful Video filmed on location in
western Wyoming, three yrs. in the making, showcasing Grizzly
bears, Wild Horses, Moose, Big Horn Sheep, Antelope, Elk , Fox,
Porcupine, etc. this is a non-narrative video 30 mins. in length,
with excellent music, we've had excellent success with nursing
homes, alzheimer's units, children's hospitals, and long term
care facilities feel free to visit our web site www.wildheartphotos.com
5 Senses Group
submitted by Theresa
Zaffini of Pine Knoll Convalescent Center on Monday, January
Therapy, audio therapy, and sensory items.
group is for the hard to reach low functioning residents who
usually do not respond to any type of stimulation. Our residents
have MS, Huntington's Chorea, or have declined physically and
are unable to participate independently. This activity offers
an opportunity for the resident to get a change in surrounding
and reduces contractors and breakdown and hopefully further
have the nursing staff transport the residents to a dayroom,
we have the aroma therapy going, we have a rehab aide that comes
in and does upper and lower extremity range of motion. The activity
staff reads, provides tactile and sensory stimulation to each
resident. We have soft music playing. This a low functioning
activity in a small group setting. We monitor each resident
closely to see if they provide eye contact, pain response such
as; jerking, painful facial expressions, or any verbal response.
I hope this idea helps you, I know it is difficult to program
for the lower functioning but we have to be the ones to help
them maintain any functioning they have left and prolong physical
and mental decline. This activity is also nice to include the
family members to attend, so often they don't know how to visit
with their loved one and this offers a time for them to care
for the resident as well have a meaningful visit.
on Wednesday, November 13, 2002
of fresh, scented, various colored flowers,large vase, scissors,
table protector. (de-thorn roses and have approx. 6 of each
sensory stimulation and social discussion, reminiscence. Best
with small group. Excellent for people with dementia and visual
by passing round flowers to each participant. Encourage them
to hold and smell each one. Provide little bits of info for
each flower, eg. origin, uses, superstitions etc. Encourage
them to discuss their gardens, favorite colors, flowers etc.
When finished, arrange flowers in vase
submitted by Amanda Shotts on
January 18, 1999
Size: Any size
Equipment: Vaseline, Textured surfaces, i.e...Various
textured sandpaper, swatches of cloth, wire screen, fake fur...anything
that is textured.
Objective: For participants to manipulate items
in their environment, and to become more aware of their environments.
(This is a hands on ful-activity).
Description: Have participants choose the type
of surface they want to work with. Once the surface has
been chosen, the teacher/assistants are to tape the item down
(if it will move around easily), to prevent the item from falling
onto the floor. Next, place a "glob" (about
a tablespoon) of vaseline onto the textured surface. Verbally
and with gestures prompt the students to work the vaseline into
their work surface. After a certain amount of time, have
the participants move to the next work area or station to experience
a different textured work area. The vaseline augments,
and at times, changes the feel of the item, creating a different
tactile sensation for each station. Not only do the participants
have fun manipulating the various surfaces, but the vaseline
helps to moisturize their hands. (This is a bonus in
submitted by Michele Tarsitano, ATR-BC of Kendal
Size of Group: 1-16
Equipment: essential oils,
light bulb diffuser, Book by Valerie Ann Worwood, "The
Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aroma therapy
Objective: We have been
using aromas to stimulate activity, reduce agitation, assist
the cognitively impaired in locating rooms, and to stimulate
appetites. The Director of Nursing and myself (Director of Creative
Arts Therapy)have begun a process to assist our nursing home
residents with the most non-evasive treatments possible. The
book by Valerie Ann Worwood has been very helpful in methodology.
We are still attempting to gather data to publish, for the effectiveness
in the use of aroma in our facility.
Description: For appetite:
We purchased a bread machine. Placed in the dining area. 2.5
hours prior to dinner, ingredients are placed in to the machine
by residents, and turned on. By dinner time, the smell is waifing
down the hallways and residents are lined up to eat! We have
slightly increased consumption for some residents.
For room location: Test different
smells with the resident. Find one that resident particularly
enjoys, or is "drawn to". 10 mins prior to meal ending,
before resident goes to room, place essential oil of that resident
enjoyed in room on light bulb diffuser, leave door open so that
smell will be in hallway. Resident will follow smell to room.
For more information contact Michele
Tarsitano at email@example.com
Herbal tea party
Submitted by Shelley
Equipment: electric tea
pot, variety of herbal teas, a "switch" to allow someone
with limited mobility to turn pot on, cups, sugar, honey, milk,sponge
Objective: To stimulate
Description: Boil hot water
for tea using a "switch" to turn on tea pot. Make
a variety of different herbal teas. Have each person in the
group smell and taste the variety of teas, and if possible the
participants choose their favorite.
I did this activity with people
who have profound mental and physical abilities. It's a challenge
for me just to keep my class awake and attentive. However, during
this hour long activity the entire group stayed alert and responsive.
Half the group was on feeding tubes and could not actually drink
the tea, but they thoroughly enjoyed watching, smelling, and
tasting the teas. This activity can be adapted to fit the needs
of higher functioning groups, by using a microwave or stove
top, and voting on favorite teas for "the tea of the month".
Submitted by Becky
Size of Group: 3-10, clients
with Alzheimer's disease or dementia
Equipment: 1- North star
shaped hanging Christmas ornament ( must be glittered )
Objective: As determined
by therapist, client will display one outer sign of an emotional
Description: This activity
is extremely simple; just hold ornament at a reasonable distance
in front of participant, and observe their reaction. I first
did this activity with a small group of Alzheimer's patients
in a LTC nursing facility, and one of them had a quite amazing
reaction; she gazed upon the star as if witnessing a miracle,
and then tears flowed down her face. Later, members of the nursing
staff told me that she had shown no emotional reaction to anything
in over one year.
An experience such as this never lets us forget why we are in this profession!
submitted by Lorraine
Gibson of Reactivate (for more sensory stim activities go
to her web page)
The Discovery Bottle can
be purchased through Reactivate, or you can follow the insert
below and make it yourself!
The Discovery Bottle is a sensory
kit housed in a recycled juice container. This kit can be used
with all ages (6-106). However, supervision is needed as the
bottle contains small objects. Use this kit as a starter kit
and add objects as you experiment with various items. I would
also recommend that you use this kit for intergenerational programming.
Many of the items will promote stimulating discussion between
the participants, regardless of their ages. First you need to
get a large plastic Cranberry juice container 3.78 litre bottle.
Take off the label and replace it with your own.
Add items that you think are appropriate
for your particular group or individual participants. You may
also want to discard some items if you feel they are not appropriate
for your clients. Do not use this kit with clients in the middle
and later stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Items could be mistaken
as edible items and possibly eaten.
The discovery bottle may contain
the following items:
Metal slinky: Slinkies have fascinated
people for years. This slinky is small (in order to fit inside
the bottle!) and is metal. Use the Magnetic handle to get the
slinky out of the bottle. A little childish, but a great sensory
stimulation item. Discuss who had a slinky when they were a
child, or who's child or grandchild had a slinky.
- Hyper Silly Putty®: Hyper
silly putty will change color with the heat of your hands.
This can lead to a discussion regarding what you can tell
about a person by how warm their hands are "cold hands,
warm heart...." The egg shaped container fits inside
the bottle. Always return the putty to its container after
use. Have participants wash their hands before proceeding
with the program. For hygienic reasons, if you are using this
kit with more than one person, it is recommended that you
purchase putty for each member of the group or participant.
Please be aware that putty may stick to hands and clothing.
- Glider ball: A small
glider ball that may shock some participants, so introduce
it carefully.... An eye ball?? If anything it may generate
some laughter. Do not try to bounce this ball it may break,
but it will skitter across the floor or table. Check out a
novelty store, toy store or dollar store.
- Magnetic Handle:
Add some large magnetic objects to the bottle. Use the handle
to get the other items out of the bottle!!
- Chinese Yo Yo: A fun,
novelty item. Watch out the yo yo stretches........
- Shell Discovery: A small
clear box housing shells. The box has a magnifying top so
you can see what is inside easily. Change the contents of
the box often and keep your participants guessing...
- Pencil: A strange item
to add to the discovery bottle?? Yes but use it to generate
discussion about how warm people's hands are. This pencil
will change colors when you hold it. You may find this item
in a novelty store.
- Kaleidoscope: This is
a small kaleidoscope, but try it out. Why not add a larger
kaleidoscope or an item that reflects light, such as a crystal.
If you are using this kit for an intergenerational program
have the participants make their own kaleidoscopes.
- Bug in a box: Another
silly item??? Use this item to stimulate discussion on insects,
collecting bugs.. etc..
Use the discovery bottle for an
intergenerational program. Ask the children to collect items
for the bottle. Why not get the children to make their own discovery
bottles? All with different themes....
Or ask your adult participants
to suggest items to put in the bottle. This could be a brain
teaser as each item can be no wider than 1 1/4". Change
the contents of the bottle weekly to add some variety to your
An easy, quick program for
* If you find the pencil too small
to hold, but want to include this type of discovery in your
program, try "Fickle Foam" in Reactivate's Best Picks