No matter your age, laughing and simply having fun is good for you. For seniors in particular, staying active and engaged in what is happening around them – and enjoying a hearty laugh – helps bodies stay strong and minds stay sharp.

Selecting a fun activity is quite subjective, as what might work for one senior may not work for another. But when it is found, that activity will provide the senior with happiness and pleasure.

The benefits for staying physically and mentally active include:

  • Enhanced overall health
  • Improved brain function
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Heightened sense of confidence and wellbeing
  • A feeling of accomplishment
  • Improved relationships with relatives and friends

Fun Activities for Seniors 

Note: Consult with a physician before beginning any new physical activity.

There is a wide variety of creative, cognitively enhancing, educational, relationship-building, and physical activities from which a senior can choose:

Exercise. Walking is a great exercise. A walk in a beautiful park or with a friend or family member can lift the spirit, as well improve the body. Find an easy walking trail for a low-impact adventure.

Gardening. Gardening counts as both a workout and a way to add beauty and a sense of accomplishment to one’s life. Digging, raking, planting, and moving about the garden can burn just as many calories as a gym workout. Plus, at the end of the day, seniors can sit in the shade and enjoy looking at the results of their hard work.

Dancing. Music and dancing bring us together, promote smiling and laughter, and makes us feel happy. Even the most basic dance moves are a form of exercise. If you think you can’t dance, there are online dance tutorials for every ability level.

Birdwatching. Birdwatching is a fun activity for seniors that allows them to enjoy nature, socialize with others, and enhance mental sharpness. Even seniors with mobility problems don’t have to travel beyond their backyards to birdwatch. Put out a couple of bird feeders and wait a few days. Have a manual and, if you want, binoculars on hand to learn about and enjoy your new visitors.

Pets. It has been shown that taking care of a pet encourages pet owners to take better care of themselves. For example, the American Heart Association states that studies have found that dog owners have better results after a major health event. The owners also move around more, and have less stress. Try to select a pet with an even temperament that’s not physically overwhelming to handle, and enjoy the companionship!

Cooking. Cooking can be therapeutic, as well as a delicious way to spend time. Food stimulates all the senses—sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Cooking improves appetite, encourages socialization, and helps retrieve fond memories.

Outings. Getting out of the house has become safer lately. Chances are there are some favorite spots that you haven’t visited for months, and potentially some new places to explore. A nature walk, game night, shopping trip, picnic, or just a walk in a park can provide exercise and a way to relax.

Arts and crafts. These activities keep the mind stimulated and the arms, hands and fingers moving. In the process of creation, there is a sense of accomplishment. Painting or drawing, quilting, knitting, collage-making, scrapbooking, or completing a photo album are fun activities for seniors that can be shared with family members and friends.

Music. Playing – or learning to play –an instrument and singing involve physical activity, cognitive stimulation, a sense of accomplishment, and the opportunity to socialize with others. It is an activity that can be pursued and enjoyed year-round.

Games and puzzles. Games and puzzles are great for keeping your problem-solving skills sharp. Whether it’s sinking a putt to win the match or looking for a piece of a puzzle that fits, the mind is working. Not only do games and puzzles encourage attention to detail, they offer fun and social collaboration.

Some examples:

  • Miniature golf
  • Billiards
  • Croquet
  • Frisbee toss
  • Horseshoes
  • Ball tossing
  • Scrabble
  • Pictionary
  • Bingo
  • Yahtzee
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • A multitude of card games

Learning. Learning, at any age, has demonstrated benefits for keeping the mind sharp. Discovering and exploring also provides a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

Many online courses are available. Reading also improves brain function, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves sleep.

Stay Motivated

Motivation is defined as “the reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” It is something inside us that keeps us going. The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of the fun activities for seniors above are well-documented. The key to accessing all those benefits is to put oneself in mental and physical motion each day to extend not only the length of life, but improve its quality as well.

Looking for more senior-friendly activities? Check out our blog.