An activity that invariably produces lots of laughs and good interaction during group sessions is target games.
As an activity it is also very suitable to do one-on-one and works well for both men and women. Residential living facilities for the most part have a lot more women than men and finding activities that appeal to both is important. Inviting staff members to take a turn in the activity is usually popular with the residents.
Playing a target game can be competitive or not. You know your clients best and will choose the best option with the individual. I find it often brings out a competitive streak and the most unlikely persons are suddenly fully intent and focused on the task in hand.
There is a wide variety of target games to choose from and they don’t have to be hugely expensive.
If you are doing a competitive game with scoring, a good variation can be that instead of the highest score winning, the lowest score will. This would usually be determined before the start of the game.
If you want to make the game a bit more random and give a better chance to those people that might not be quite as able to hit the mark, keep track of the scores, put two written signs in a box , one saying “lowest score” and one, “highest score”. At the end of the game pull one out of the hat and find your winner.
A few examples of target games are:
Skittles: you can get plastic or wooden sets. If you are working with a person who is a bit unpredictable and may be likely to throw the ball fast and hard, the plastic version might be the safer option.
Basket ball: If the person doing the activity is mobile and able they can of course use the normal version of a hoop set high on the wall. For others there are products out there with a low movable basket that you can throw a ball into from a seated position.
Ring games: Reminiscent of horse shoe tossing, you throw rings over pegs on a wooden frame on the floor or onto hooks on a board on the wall. The pegs or hooks will all have different numerical values.
Darts: Your normal dart board have sharp metal darts and might not be ideal if you are moving the board around the room with people sitting opposite each other! A good alternative version is magnetic dart board where the ends of the darts are flat. You can also get dart boards where you throw Velcro balls onto it.
Carpet bowls: Comes with balls, but beanbags can be a good alternative.
Ball games: Can be used as a game of catch and throw, in exercise routines etc. Use a variety of sizes from large beach balls to small versions.
There are many more versions of target games out there and with a bit of lateral thinking, you can make your own with materials (buckets, paper plates etc) that you might have at home. Have fun!