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Activities Home | Index of Activities | Therapeutic Activities

Cognitive Stimulation Activities

submitted by David Gerjets of Happy Siesta Health Care Center on November 8, 2010

Size of Group: 4-8

Equipment: Multiple items of different colors (cloth, crayons, balls, paper, etc.), flash cards, baskets

Objective: Encourage residents to use cognitive thinking skills

Description: Get a basket for each resident and fill it with several different items of different colors. On the flash cards write different descriptive words (i.e. black, white, round, square, soft, hard, etc). Show the residents a card and have them select an item that matches the description. Could be used as a game by rewarding residents with points and the highest score receiving a prize.



Stories out of the Hat
Submitted by Denise Schwind of Centre for Neuro Skills on January 23, 2004

Size: 4+

Equipment: Hat or bowl
strips of construction with descriptive questions

Objective: stimulate memory
allow staff to see clients as ""real people""
encourage communication, sharing and trust within group

Description: prior to session group leader will write out memory stimulating questions and/or phrases on the strips of paper, fold paper in half and place in hat/bowl.

Questions will reflect group objectives for session. for example, favorite memory of mom? favorite book or movie, Why? favorite season what is your favorite thing to do? who were you closest to growing up? best friend story, first drive in date, each client/staff chose a slip from the hat. Tell their story and pass the hat on.

Hoy Card Game
submitted by Donna Redfern of Cox/Collins Court Residential Facility on October 24, 2001

Size: small to large

Equipment: two packs of cards

Objective: to promote concentration

Description: Leader has one pack of cards. Leader gives clients for or five cards each, more or less depending on size of group.

Cards are then turned face up.

Leader holds up a card (eg, Seven of diamonds) and announces it to the group. Whoever has that card turns it over. Play continues in this manner until all cards are turned over. Whoever has all their cards turned over first yells out "Hoy"

Three or four games can be played to fill a morning or afternoon session.

Conversation Group
submitted by Barbara Van Dyne, M.A. Speech Pathologist of John Muir Memorial Hospital on June 15, 2000

Size of Group: 4-12

Equipment: Workbook: 52 Weeks: Social Themes for Language Stimulation

Objective: Conversation group to stimulate long term and short term memory, word-finding, sharing of thoughts and feelings, increase communication

Description: The workbook provides weekly lessons on topics relevant to historical events, holidays and topics of high level interest to adults. There are 52 pre-planned activities for stimulation of cognition and communication. Each unit contains paragraphs for short term memory, trivia questions, discussion questions and other miscellaneous communication activities. The material is appropriate for the alert, older adults or those with mild-moderate communication problems.

Famous Faces
submitted by Connie Todt of Sunnyview Hospital on March 24, 1999

Size: small 3-6

Equipment: Pictures of famous people

Objective: Increase cognition, communication skills, problem solving and pragmatics.

Description: One patient is picked to be the first person to guess. Everyone else is shown the famous face. The guesser must then ask questions to find out who the famous face is.

Are they a man or woman?
Are they alive or dead?
Are they an entertainer?
Are they a politician?

In My Suitcase
Submitted by Dennis Klenow CTRS of Havenwych Hospital on March 15, 1999

In this activity, one client will start by stating what he or she will pack in their suitcase for their trip. The second person will state what the first person identified, and one article that they will add to the suitcase. The third person will identify what the first two added, and one article that he or she will add. By the end of the activity, the final person to take a turn will have several articles to remember. Not only do the clients have to come up with what they personally will take, their concentration level must be high enough to focus on his or her peers. This will keep the clients attention focused on the activity and prevent them from becoming bored or disinterested in the activity.

Product Slogans
submitted by Sandra Parker, CTRS, Marshall University
from her book Activities for The Elderly, Volume 1, Idyl Arbor, 1993.

Mental: memory, creativity
Emotional: feelings of success, competence, challenge
Social: group interaction, conversation

Greeting Suggestions.
Have participants exchange names
Have members think of their favorite advertisements
.As a group, brainstorm to name quality products

We often identify products with the slogans used to advertise them over the years. This activity will challenge the participants to remember and connect products with the appropriate slogan.

1.Matching. Write 5-10 slogans on a large sheet of paper. Hand out
Pictures of the products and have participants match each with the corresponding slogan.

2. Guessing. Read a slogan and ask participants to call out the corresponding product. This may be done in teams or individually.

3. Create a Slogan. Have individuals or small groups create their own
Slogans for a number of products. See if the rest of the group can guess the right product for each slogan.

Sample Slogans

  1. "It floats." -Ivory Soap
  2. "The breakfast of champions"-----Wheaties
  3. "When it rains, it pours."------Morton salt
  4. "The candy with the hole in the middle."-----Life Savers
  5. "You can be sure if it's----- Westinghouse
  6. "Good to the last drop."-----Maxwell House Coffee
  7. "Hasn't scratched yet"----Bon Amir Cleanser
  8. "Chases dirt"----Old Dutch Cleanser
  9. "The flavor lasts"-----Wrigley Gum
  10. "It keeps on ticking."----Timex
  11. "Ask the man who owns one."----Packard
  12. "They satisfy"-----Chesterfield
  13. "Covers the earth."----Sherwin Williams Paint
  14. "His master's voice"----Victrola
  15. "The pause that refreshes"----Coca-Cola
  16. "57 varieties"----Heinz
  17. "The skin you love to touch." Woodbury
  18. "Time to re-tire"----Fisk Tires
  19. "From contented cows"----Carnation Milk
  20. "Makes clothes sparkle"----Oxydol
  21. "Squeezably soft"----Charmin toilet paper
  22. "Double the flavor, double the fun"-----Doublemint gum
  23. "Which twin wears the...."----Toni Home Perm
  24. "Mm-Mm good"----Campbell's Soup
  25. Not a cough in the carload"----Old Gold
  26. Mountain grown"----Folgers Coffee
  27. "I'd walk a mile for a..."-----Camel
  28. "Call for...."----Phillip Morris
  29. "Hires to you"----Hire's rootbeer
  30. "Reach out and touch someone." ----AT&T
  31. "LSMFT"-----Lucky Strike
  32. "Take me away."----Calgon
  33. "Plop-plop, fizz-fizz"----Alka Seltzer
  34. "How do you spell relief?----Rolaids
  35. "When you care enough to send the very best."-Hallmark

Conversation Starters.

What products have you bought because of the advertisement?
What products would you never buy because of the advertisement?
How do you decide which products to buy?
Does advertising serve a useful purpose?
What is your favorite slogan?
Create a slogan to promote your talents.
Create a slogan for each month in the year.
Do you think that slogans are more effective on T.V., over the radio,
Or in the paper?
What is the oldest slogan you can remember?

School Days
submitted by Debbie of Western Prairie Care Home on January 6, 1999

Size: 4 - ?

Equipment: One set of encyclopedias (any year) or One dictionary

Objective: To stimulate cognitive abilities and to initiate reminiscing.

Description: Encyclopedia - With everyone seated in a circle, or at a table(depending on preference), I choose one book and let the participants know  which one  it is.   (Example, the answers today will all begin with the letter "N".)  I then randomly read from various sections and the participants  call out the subject/topic. 

Dictionary - I randomly choose a word, asking each participant, one at a time, to spell the word, give their definition of the word, and then ask him/her to use the word in a sentence. If person doesn't know what the definition is, it is read to them.

At the facility I work at, the encyclopedia is the most successful.  If anyone has any questions, don't hesitate to email me at


Please submit other activity ideas for others to use.

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