Lots of Beanbag Activities!
Depending on who is in the group, I might present some of these beanbag activities as good exercise rather than calling it a game, as some people think that playing games is for young people and childish. Below you will find five different types of beanbag activities.
1. Sometimes, I place an empty wastepaper basket quite close to a resident, hand him/her three beanbags and ask him to throw one of them into the basket. If he gets it in, I move the basket a bit further away and ask him to throw another one, and so on. If he misses, he gets another go at it, and if he misses again, I quickly move the basket back to the last successful position, praise the effort and say: this is how far you managed to do it, well done. Always aim to end the activity on a positive note.
2. Use a stool and place it between ½ and 2 yards in front of the resident, depending on their physical ability. Hand them three bean bags and ask them to throw the bags, one at a time to land on the stool without them falling off. It is a lot harder than it sounds. You will want the participants to land at least one bean bag, so if it looks like failure, quickly move the stool a bit closer. If they didn’t get one on at all, give them another go until they are successful.
3. Draw some ‘targets’ on sheets of printing paper or paper plates. It can be numbers, shapes (like circles or rectangles), maybe let the residents color them. Then place the targets a distance away and use the bean bags to try and hit them. Making the targets is a fun craft exercise, and playing a game with props that you made yourself instills pride. If your plates are numbered, place them out so that the highest number is the one furthest away.
4. If you have a resident who likes to fidget with things and their hands like to be busy. Holding and manipulating a bean bag can be soothing and also a good exercise for the hands. Great passive exercise.
5. If you don’t have any props to hand, throw one of the bags a distance away and then try to land several more on top of the first one.
Many of these activities are suitable for early stage, middle stage, and late-stage dementia/memory care and fun activity for people in long-term care.
If you would like to know how to make your own mini beanbags watch this tutorial.