Games are not only for the young. But games can sometimes be costly and seniors are often on a fixed income. Here are some inexpensive or free game ideas for the young at heart.
Paper Airplane Flying Contest
This game will keep you on your toes. All you'll need is an old bed sheet, marker, scissors and a stack of paper. First, fold and design your own paper airplanes. Cut holes in the bed sheet big enough for a paper airplane to fly through. Mark number points on the sheet for each hole. Then, each participant stands an equal distance away and tries to fly his airplane through a hole in the sheet. Keep score as to how many airplanes make it through the holes. The person with the most points wins. This game can be modified for Frisbees, bean bags and tennis balls, too.
Card Game: Concentration
Grab a simple pack of playing cards and let the fun begin. Most card games cross over generations, so seniors can play these games with friends or their grandchildren. To play "Concentration," place the cards face down on a table. Each player can turn over two cards at a time. If they match, the player gets the pair. If the cards do not match, the player turns the cards back over and the next player takes a turn. Remembering where the cards are is key to winning pairs when it is your turn.
Remember when there were no devices to record a message on the phone? Here's a game that brings back and enhances memories. Sitting around a table, the first player makes up a saying, a rhyme or a joke. She whispers it in the ear of the person sitting next to her. That person whispers it in the ear of the person sitting next to him and so on. After the whispers go around the table, the last person remaining announces out loud what was whispered to him. Often, the statement has gotten so muddled that it is no longer in its original state.
I Remember That Tune
Everyone, old and young alike, enjoys singing. For seniors, this is a walk down memory lane. Have some paper and pens available. Sitting in small groups, have one person pick a theme word, for example, "love." Each group has 15 minutes to write down as many song titles as they know that have the word "love" in them. When time is up, each group has a chance to sing the part of a song with the theme word. Of course, everyone in the room wants to join in! If other groups have written down that same song , they mark it off their list and have to sing from a song that has not been presented yet. The group with the most song titles on their sheet wins.
Finish the Picture
This game requires only a few colored pencils or watercolor paints, some paper and your imagination. Each person folds his piece of paper into thirds. Draw only a head at the top third of the paper. When you are done, fold it over and pass the paper to the person next to you. Everyone draws or paints a torso on the center of the paper in front of them. Fold it over and pass the paper to the next person. Each person draws the legs and feet of the body on the bottom third of the page. When you are all through, unfold the drawings and see what kind of characters you created.
Annette Rivlin-Gutman wrote and produced videos for 18 years. She has also contributed to various online publications, authored the children's book "Mommy Has to Stay in Bed" and contributed to teacher resource books by Gryphon Publishing. Rivlin-Gutman holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and is a yoga instructor in Northern California.