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9 activities to keep seniors occupied at home

If you’re stuck at home and are taking care of your elderly parents or are a senior yourself, you may have started to feel a little edgy. Your usual routines have been disrupted, and eventually, cabin fever may have started to set in. 

Worry not, however. These are some simple activities to keep your mind active and drive away boredom, along with improving your physical and mental health. 

1. Buttons and Zippers Activity

Practice their fine motor and coordination skills using items you would find in your home! No other equipment needed!

Have your senior do and undo buttons on shirts and zippers on pants!

Skills: Fine motor, coordination, sensory awareness, self-care


  • Button down shirts / polo tshirts
  • Jeans / pants

For a less/ more challenging activity, you can:

  • Decide on the number of buttons for them to work on
  • Instruct your senior to do alternate buttons
  • Size of buttons (i.e. smaller buttons will increase the challenge of the task)
  • Working on jeans or pants, would require your senior to manipulate both buttons and a zipper

Additional Resources:

2. Plastic Grocery Bag Folding

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Fold plastic bags into triangles so that they can be easily kept into the kitchen cabinets. It is not only a good way to organise your kitchen drawers, it can also be an activity used to encourage your senior to practice their coordination and sequencing skills.

Skills: Coordination, sequencing skills


  • Plastic bags


  1. Smooth out the plastic bag on a flat surface.
  2. Fold it into half on the longer side.
  3. Fold it into half again on the longer side.
  4. Fold the bottom corner up to create a small triangle.
  5. Fold the bottom corner again to keep the triangular shape. Repeat until only a small area is left.
  6. Insert the remaining area along the side of the triangle.
  7. Press down to flatten and it’s done!

For a less/ more challenging activity, you can:

  • Vary the size of bags
  • Vary the number of bags

3. Clothes pegs activity

Encourage your senior to practice their fine motor and balancing skills, and train their endurance using items you would find in your home! No other equipment needed!

Give instructions to your senior to move and/or sort the clothes pegs, using one hand at a time (i.e. left hand, then right hand).

Skills: Fine motor, balance, endurance 


  • Assorted pegs 
  • Clothes rack / bamboo poles

For a less/ more challenging activity, you can:

  • Vary your senior’s position between sitting and/or standing.
  • Direction: Provide instructions to move pegs horizontally, vertically or across the clothes rack / bamboo poles.
  • Height: Vary the height that your senior is required to reach (i.e. lower / middle / upper) 
  • Number of pegs 
  • Variety of colours for sorting 
  • Sizes of pegs: big and small for varying pinch strength

4. Reminisce: Life Story Work

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Our life experiences shape us into who are as individuals. Seniors who have problems with memory loss and communication sometimes need help to communicate important aspects of their identity. 

A life story work will record your senior’s life, including their past, present and hopes for the future. There are various formats in which his/her life can be recorded: photographs, scrapbooking, collage, memory box, slide show, video etc. 

Skills: Memory, social interaction, communication, storytelling


  • Download the template to get started!
  • Photographs
  • Memorabilia (optional)


  • Enhance sense of identity
  • Encourage better understanding of your senior’s needs and wishes
  • Develop closer relationship
  • Opportunity to share memories and thoughts
  • Look beyond your senior’s age and ailment

Points to note:

  • Use simple language, large texts and contrasting colours so as to minimize confusion for your senior.
  • You can start by letting your senior talk about an aspect of their life that they are most comfortable with and take one topic at a time so that it does not become overwhelming for them.
  • Complete the story at their own pace. It does not matter even if it takes days, weeks or even months.
  • Your senior’s life story work is never finished! It is an ongoing process and you can always add to it!
  • Keep the life story work in an easily accessible place and use it regularly to prompt memories.

5. Sensory Board

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Skills: Fine motor, sensory awareness 


  • Cardboard box (base)
  • Glue
  • Dish sponge
  • Beads
  • Marbles
  • Pom poms
  • Foil
  • Felt
  • Cellophane paper (scrunched)
  • Silky material
  • Cotton wool

Instructions to assemble board

  • Cut cardboard into 9 squares (5cm by 5cm).
  • Apply a layer of glue onto cardboard squares.
  • Add the material on top and hold it in place until stuck.


  • Have your senior run his/her fingertips over the bumps and edges of the various surfaces and textures.
  • Ask them to describe what they feel.

For a less/ more challenging activity, you can:

  • Perform task with eyes open/ close.
  • Ask your senior to guess the material.

6. Ball Squeeze

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Skills: Fine motor, grip strength 


  • Foam ball / stress ball 


  1. Squeeze the ball and hold it for 3-5 seconds.
  2. Release slowly.
  3. Repeat 10-15 times.
  4. Repeat with other hand.

For a less/ more challenging activity, you can:

  • Vary your senior’s position between sitting and/or standing.
  • Use a variety of ball sizes 

7. Would you rather? (Question and answer game)

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A game that can be played across generations. Would you rather questions are a great way to spark some interesting conversations and to get to know the person you are interacting with better.

This game can be played in a group or in pairs.

Skills: Social interaction, cognitive


  • Question cards (download PDF)


  • Flip the cards over such that the blank side is facing upwards.
  • Take turns to flip open the card to reveal and answer the question.
  • The turn ends when the person has answered the question and/or ‘why’.

8. Shape building and colour learning with ice cream sticks

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This simple tutorial will show you how you can make an ice cream stick shapes and colour learning activity for your senior.

Skills: Fine motor, construction skills planning skills, coordination


  • Ice cream sticks (pack of 50 sticks)
  • Velcro dots


  • Attach the velcro dots to every end of the ice cream sticks
  • Ensure that each end on the same side of the ice cream stick has the same kind of dot.
  • Instruct your senior to form shapes by sticking the ends of different ice cream sticks together.
  • For template of shapes to form, refer to ‘Create cards’ under additional resources below.

Additional resources:

9. Airboxing

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Photo by Quinn Buffing on Unsplash

No equipment required and you can carry out this activity anywhere!

Skills: Balance, coordination

Here are some benefits of airboxing:

  • Improves balance and posture
  • Strengthens upper body and core
  • Boosts endurance
  • improves hand-eye coordination


  • Punch slowly for 1 minute.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.

For a less/ more challenging activity, you can:

  • Vary your senior’s position between sitting and/or standing.
  • Increase duration: Punch into the air for 3-5 minutes at any speed.
  • Vary the type of punch: jabs, hooks, uppercuts, guard position
  • Include head and/or foot movement

Additional resources:

We create localised games and activities for seniors. It’s time to engage them socially. Buy our games here.

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