Outdoor Elderly Activities
Need some outdoor elderly activities ideas?
People ask about the outdoors when we have nice weather, no matter what season. Whether playing outdoor games, gardening, trying metal detecting, or visiting a park, there is always an activity to do outdoors, for almost anyone.
Some ideas here are group outdoor elderly activities, but some can be done solo as well. And many senior activity ideas that were done inside during challenging weather can now simply be brought outside, such as clubs and crafts. And you can get kids involved in several of these activities as well.
If you're an activities director -- These outdoor elderly activities range from easy ones that can even be done with nursing home residents, to more difficult. Some can be done solo and some in groups.
Metal detecting -- One of the unique outdoor elderly activities that can also be done with the grandkids. Metal detectors can be ordered online and begin at about $50 on up. They can be taken to beaches, parks, and other public places. You never know what you can find! If you really get into it, special trips are planned for metal detecting excursions all over the country and world. I know a retired gentleman in town here that takes his metal detector everywhere he travels. (There are many kinds of specialty metal detectors too -- one for gold -- and he has several kinds). From Mexico alone he had a shoebox of dozens of pieces of gold and diamond jewelry. Once a year at a family reunion he gets out the box and lets everyone dig through it. Books on the best places to find treasures and artifacts can also be found online and in bookstores. Metal detectors provide very intriguing outdoor elderly activities. See a special page written for us by our guest expert at Treasure Hunting With Metal Detectors.
Outdoor craft shows or flea markets – Just about anyone can enjoy these outdoor elderly activities. There are several possibilities here. You may just want to take your loved one on an outing to enjoy the show and perhaps buy something special. Vendors are very eager to share their expertise, so it can also be a valuable learning experience. The senior may also discover a new hobby that could be of interest, and in which to become involved. And you can also load up on inexpensive items to use with your senior activity ideas and projects.
If you are a director within a senior community, organizing a craft show can involve the surrounding community as well. Get the community involved with your facility. It can also serve as a fund raiser if you charge a small amount per booth, and/or a small percentage of the sales. Helping with the many facets of a craft show provide many outdoor elderly activities.
Outdoor theater or concert -- Almost all communities, including small towns, have outdoor plays, song fests, or productions of some kind. If you live or work in a communal setting, invite some of the actors or performers to visit, answer questions, and do a little special acting for you. Those in your group who are "hams" may like to also participate.
Flying kites -- This is ideal to do with kids, of course, but also in just adult groups. You may even like to build your own kite, including as group outdoor elderly activities. Kits are available ranging from very easy to more advanced. Kites can also be flown from a wheelchair. Keep it simple by just going outside in your own grounds, or have an excursion to a nearby park.
Garden party – And this is not just for women! Many organizations sponsor these, and you can attend. Or you can host one yourself. Invite a few or many friends. Does your home (or your community building) have a garden or patio? Set it up the old-fashioned way with table cloths, fancy napkins (paper goods are fine if they are high quality and decorative), china, vases of flowers, fancy sweets or savory snacks. Perhaps wine and cheese. Or champagne? Bring out some speakers for music, or go all out and get live entertainment. Make it casual or more formal. Do you want your guests to dress up? The possibilities are endless for these types of outdoor elderly activities.
Picnic – A more casual version of outdoor eating, it can be hosted in a yard, on a patio, or as an outing to a park. Destination outdoor elderly activities are very popular. If you want to keep it simple, do a potluck (if your guests are able to cook). Simple outdoor games are great senior activity ideas to include. See some of ours listed below.
Yard games – Popular outdoor elderly activities include easy games. Games are also a wonderful means of exercise for seniors. If you are planning a group function, consider prizes! Depending on mobility and physical health, here are some favorite senior games for outdoors:
- Cup and ball game - You can buy the old-fashioned wooden cup with a ball attached on a cord. One version is to see who can get the ball into the cup the most times in a given timeframe. This is a great game for those with limited mobility who can't participate in other games. You can also do a special project to make your own cup and ball from a plastic picnic cup and pingpong ball. Then play!
- Horseshoes – For those with good arm strength. A modified version can also be set up for wheelchair participants.
- Beanbag toss – Tossing games make great outdoor elderly activities. This often involves tossing into a cut-out hole or into a ring. This may need to be modified for seniors, especially if vision is an issue for your group.
- Ring toss – Again, a gentle tossing game that may require modifications. One version is to toss rings onto an upright object such as a weighted down bottle or a peg.
- Croquet – A great game that can be set up for a shorter or easier course.
- Shuffleboard – This game is extremely popular, if you have access to a court. Some parties are themed around a facility that provides shuffleboard.
- Badmitten – Some of these outdoor elderly activities need a little mobility. Active, but more low-key than tennis. You can play across a sidewalk or path too, if you're playing just for fun.
- Walking races – Try the old carrying an egg in a spoon too!
- Water balloon toss – If your group doesn’t mind getting a little wet! There are teams of two. Begin by standing three feet or more across from each other. With each toss, teams take another step back. If you break your balloon you're out. Whoever is remaining without breaking their water balloon wins.
- Yard darts – There are sets that are both sharp and stick into the ground, or not sharp.
- Lawn or patio bowling – Best to use on a flat surface or really short grass. This is simply a plastic bowling set that is set up and scored in the traditional manner, except it's outdoors. Because the pins and balls are so light weight, it is perfect for seniors. Even manageable by wheelchair participants.
- Wiffle ball – With this light weight bat and ball set you can have a batting contest to see who can bat the ball the farthest the most times. Make a line in the yard to serve as a boundary, or even set up a low badmitten net. Get a volunteer pitcher, and you're ready to go.
- Beach ball volley – This is played with several teams of two people. Each team of two has a beach ball. Throw it up and start volleying it back and forth (you can determine the distance between the two people). Which ever team keeps the volley in the air the longest, wins. Another version is a leader calling out the name (or first initial) of player, and the person with the ball must toss it over to them.
- Frisbee target toss - Set up a net and attach an item in the middle to serve as a bullseye. It can be as small as a paper or plastic plate, or as large as a towel, depending on the players. (An actual target would be ideal, if available). Players take turns throwing the frisbee at the bullseye. Whoever hits it or is the closest, wins.
- Ladder toss - This game set consists of a three rung ladder, and several bolos (two balls connected by a rope). You toss the bolos at the ladder and watch them wind around the rungs. The different rungs are worth different points: 1, 2, and 3. The goal is to get exactly 21 points the fastest.
Boat rides – The water makes a great backdrop for outdoor elderly activities. Do you, or does anyone in your church or organization have a pontoon boat? If they are willing to assist for an afternoon, this is the manner of boating for seniors. Pontoons can also be rented. With a proper plank, even those in wheelchairs can access this type of boat. It would ideally have a covering. But there are also mini yachts and a variety of motor boats too.
Just about anything can be rented. Including a river boat excursion. Boats rides are wonderful outdoor elderly activities. All participants should also wear sunglasses and sunscreen, appropriate attire, and perhaps bring a water bottle. Snacks and beverages can be included. Depending on the size of the boat, other activities can be included, as well as...
Fishing – So many seniors enjoy and perhaps are skilled at fishing. And they love to share their fishing tips (and stories). Whether on a pier or pontoon, fishing boat, or from shore, this is a relaxing way to get outdoors and socialize. Bring along some food and drink. And make sure there is someone who knows how to handle the gear, hooks, and fish! And what about a fish fry afterwards? Bring your picnic gear too!
Botanical garden or conservatory– Gardening is one of the all-time favorite outdoor activities, including for those who don’t actually garden. But they do enjoy the results! Strolling through a garden is also a very good way to get a little exercise. If your town does not have its own public garden, consider a trip to a nearby city that does. Many also have a restaurant, sometimes a zoo, making it an ideal day trip.
Garden Club -- Join a garden club or start one! It is very likely that if you belong to a group or live or work in a communal setting, someone knows about gardening and is eager to share! Or if you are a gardener, think of ways you can share this special green-thumb gift with others, right where you live. If you are not able to garden, it may be possible to still share ideas and experiences, and visit the local gardens of others.
Get seed catalogs -- And plan on what you can do and when. Very fun to do with a group, especially when winter is getting rather old. Choose plants that bloom for a good part of the season, and that are easy to care for. Make a big calendar with your garden game plan – when to water, when to prune, when to pick or harvest.
Start Planting – There is nothing like planting a little something in some good, rich soil to cheer the spirit. Planting is one of the most satisfying of outdoor elderly activities. As opposed to just looking at gardens, how about participating? A garden can be made just about anywhere, including on a small patio. Gardening boxes can also be elevated to table height to accommodate a wheelchair. Start seeds sprouting in containers of water, or small pots.
Check with your local nursery to see which are the best for sprouting this time of year, especially to begin indoors. They’re fun to watch grow! A nursery will help you decide what to begin with, and what supplies you will need. Your local garden club is also a great resource, and they love to help newcomers. There are many gardening books (even films) in libraries if you have never done this before. Begin simple.
Paint a clay pot -- For your seedlings to grow in. See our instructions on Painting Clay Pots, and how you can make this (like many other crafts) into special outdoor elderly activities. Using a colorful rubber rain boot to paint in a similar manner is another outdoor project. In a more protected area, you can use a fancy old purse as a planter too. See Fancy Purse Planter Craft, a unique idea submitted by one of our readers.
Build a raised garden -- Are you handy with wood? Or do you know someone who is? Perhaps they would volunteer some time to help build a raised garden, on legs, easy to access from chair level or standing. It can be placed either outdoors, or inside for year-around enjoyment. This is one of the truly special outdoor elderly activities, and will bring months and years of satisfaction. And those who can't help build may love to watch the progress.
Outdoor florist presentation -- Arrange with your local florist or a volunteer to visit your group and give a demonstration on flower arranging -- and have the presentation outdoors. They may even donate older blooms they will not be using, which your group can then arrange and use for centerpieces, an event, or as a prize or give-away.
Gather morel mushrooms -- Go to the local woodlands and look for morel mushrooms. You can’t miss their odd shape, and they’re delicious to eat. Get pictures and study about them a little ahead of time. And make sure everyone is quite sure what they are looking for. Morels often grow in moist areas near dead trees. Then bring them back to use in a favorite recipe.
Berry Picking -- This outdoor elderly activity makes a nice, mildly active excursion. And you have a delicious end result! Take the berries back with you and have a get-together, eating them or making a dessert. If you pick strawberries, we have lots of great Fresh Strawberry Dessert Recipes, and out very simply way to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries (which can be done outdoors).
Visit an apple orchard -- Many communities have commercial orchards where you can pick your own apples and even go on a hay ride or cart ride to the picking areas. And the staff love to talk about all the different types of apples and what they are best for. It can be quite educational. Plus they often have a little cafe or shop to buy and eat delicious homemade apple treats. But then again, you may want to make your own! We have several easy, healthy apple recipes at our Delicious Healthy Dessert Recipes page. Apple crafts are always popular too and can often be done outside. Take a look at our Apple Craft ideas.
Visit a pumpkin patch -- There may be a local pumpkin farm near you that welcomes visitors. You can choose and pick your own pumpkin, then bring it back and have either an outdoor carving activity, or painting pumpkins (much easier). If you want a really excellent all-natural pumpkin pie recipe, be sure to check out Spicy Easy Pumpkin Pie. A pumpkin patch may also grow a variety of gourds, which are not only delicious to eat, but also make really fun and easy craft projects and can also be done outdoors. See Gourd Craft Ideas - Gifts, Ghouls & Grannies.
Hiking -- Great outdoor elderly exercise which can be modified for different levels of mobility. Hikes can be taken around nature centers, zoos, lakes, urban routes, or in the country, to name a few. Hats, sunglasses, sun screen, insect repellent, water bottles and snacks are recommended. Make sure you wear good walking shoes and comfortable attire. Always do this activity in groups and with a buddy system.
Outdoor concerts and plays – Whether afternoon or under the stars, these outdoor elderly activities mix socializing, fun, and culture. Many are free and performed by local theaters, bands, and orchestral groups. Or if you participate in such a group yourself, consider offering a free performance at a senior center, retirement community, or nursing home. Most activities directors would be thrilled to hear from you.
Miniature golf or putting – This can either be a morning or afternoon trip to a nearby green, or setting up a game in your yard. There are many games available that are take-offs on golf. Some can also be played from a wheelchair. You can also have a little contest complete with prizes. Swinging that club and walking around if possible, is a fun source of elderly exercise.
Treasure hunt a.k.a. scavenger hunt – These are really fun outdoor elderly activities that can be done in a smaller community setting, or yard, or neighborhood. They usually involve teams with instructions and a list of clues. Teams can hunt for completely different items, or the same items, "racing" to see who can find them first within a given time frame. Prizes can be awarded to the winners. Hunts can also be brought indoors, with treasures hidden throughout a grouping of rooms, should the weather be inclement.
Birdwatching – This is becoming very popular for outdoor elderly activities. This may take a little study, but it is learn as you go, and can become a very satisfying hobby. Many communities already have a birdwatching group established, but the library certainly will include resources. There are also CDs and movies available for bird song identification. Your state’s DNR (Department of Natural Resources) can assist you in finding local trails. There are certain items you will be need – a bird book for your region is the first.
Make sure it includes photos or pictures and migration patterns, to make sure you know which birds will be where, and when! Also take binoculars, notebook and pen, carry bag, and camera if desired. A club can recommend the best types and brands of equipment. Again, good walking shoes are required! And pants with pockets, such as cargo pants, are a plus. For those of you who love to travel, excursions and even exotic expeditions can be booked around birdwatching activities. See our travel section for special travel tips.
My grandfather loved to ride around the property in his wheelchair at our lake home, picking up various bird feathers, collecting and identifying them. When his sight failed, he enjoyed sitting outdoors to identify bird calls and songs. He was delighted to share stories and knowledge with his children and grandchildren when we were together. This is one of the outdoor elderly activities that can be shared with the family.
Photography -- With digital cameras so available, this is fast becoming one of the popular outdoor elderly activities. And it is not difficult. Young people love to teach about electronic gadgets. Photos can be immediately viewed on the camera and saved…or not. Photography can be enjoyed with limited mobility as well, and photographs easily downloaded into a computer and printed out. No need for trips to the store to develop film! This activity is also sometimes done in conjunction with scrapbooking or a web site (another subject entirely).
See these pages for more ideas to make into elderly outdoor activities:
Check out Easy Crafts and Gifts You Can Make, and find out about lots more easy yet quality craft ideas for many seasons, reasons, ages and ability levels; plus free templates you can use for a variety of projects.
Senior Activity Ideas -- A nice variety of senior activity ideas for those with more mobility or a higher ability level. Some great to do alone, and some in groups.
Meaningful Dementia Activities -- Finding meaningful dementia activities may be new to you if you're caring for a loved one, or an ongoing challenge if you're a professional caregiver or activities director. We have all kinds of suggestions on this page, and not just the basics we are all familiar with.
Easy Craft Ideas -- We have a large selection of easy crafts, many of which can be done as outdoor elderly activities.
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