11 Fun Activities That Require Little to No Movement

Nate Birt

Written by Nate Birt on Sun Nov 20 2022.

11 Fun Activities That Require Little to No Movement

As we get older we may need to find fun activities that require less flexibility. No matter your age, you should feel empowered to relax, have fun, and stretch your imagination. There are plenty of fun activities everyone can enjoy without needing to walk long distances or push muscles and joints. Whether you’re caring for a loved one with limited mobility, visiting a parent or grandparent, or looking for something to do with your family, here are activities you can do together.

1. Page through a photo album

Few activities can bring as many smiles and memories as looking through a photo album. Do you have a big book at home or an entire library of family history? Take one of these photo books off the shelf and go through it with your loved one. If you’re look ing through it with an older loved one, ask questions that jog their memory. Not only is this good for mental well- being, it’s also an opportunity for you to learn about your ancestors. You can collect valuable stories of your family’s past that you can share with your family one day. 

2. Write a card

If they are able to do so, invite your loved one to write a greeting card to someone important in their life. It could be a grandchild who lives far away, a childhood friend, or a family member they miss. The card doesn’t have to be overly long or complicated. Even a couple of sentences can go a long way to boost someone’s spirits. If it makes things easier, offer to fill out the envelope, place the stamp and mail it for them. If your loved one is feeling creative, encourage them to draw a picture to go with it. These kinds of activities are engaging because they include a touch of their own personality and voice.

3. Play a board game

Whether your loved one chooses a classic board game such as checkers or chess, or one of many modern games of entertainment or strategy, this is a great fit for families. You can engage both your loved one and even younger family members. With new games hitting online store shelves each month, you’ll never run out of fun options that engage the mind and result in plenty of laughs. Games also create a great opportunity to ask older loved ones about activities they enjoyed as children or young adults. You can learn a lot about a person from the games they like. 

4. Do a crossword or word search puzzle

Your loved one doesn’t need to be a Scrabble champion to enjoy answering clues or hunting for words. Crossword books and word searchers are affordable and can be bought online or just about anywhere. You can even keep a dictionary or thesaurus within arm’s reach of your loved one in case they need to look something up. For homes equipped with a voice-activated assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, invite your loved one to ask for guidance on spelling difficult words. This can save them the time and hassle of looking through a big book.

5. Enjoy some outdoor time

Nature offers your loved one exposure to the sun and a natural source of Vitamin D. It also allows those that are usually inside an environment with many sights and sounds that differ from home. If your loved one uses a wheelchair or a walker, consider a short walk around the neighborhood. If your neighborhood doesn’t have great sidewalks, find a place in your yard where you can set up a comfortable chair with a good view of your surroundings. Bring a drink and a snack and enjoy the scenery.

6. Phone a friend

Encourage your loved one to call a friend for a quick visit. They can schedule something in advance or simply give them a call to catch up. Phone conversations help strengthen relationships. It also shows the other party your loved one cares and creates positive memories for them. There are many affordable phone plans available today, especially for seniors. There’s never been a better time for your loved one to rekindle friendships and check up on people they care about.

7. Listen to music

If your loved one happens to have a record player, throw on some vinyl. Or simply turn up some of their favorite tunes on Pandora, Spotify, or another music-streaming app. For seniors, songs are activities they can enjoy that have a way of reminding them of the past. Music brings beloved memories to mind and makes us happier. If you listen together, take turns playing your favorite songs. Compare and contrast how much styles and lyrics have changed over the years. 

8. Watch a show

We have access to more great movies and TV shows than ever before. Whether your loved one enjoys animation, mysteries or true crime, romance or science fiction, start a series or revisit a classic. Invite your loved one to make a wish list of shows they’d like to watch. For an occasional dose of entertainment and fun, movies and TV can be a great fit, especially for loved ones with limited mobility.

9. Plan (or make) a meal

Does your loved one enjoy a great meal? Cooking requires you to use a variety of skills at the same time: organization, planning, smell, and fine motor skills. If their mobility limits them from cooking the entire meal, offer to pick up the ingredients they need and help them prepare it. Whether they make breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it’s a great way to bond and enjoy time together.  

10. Install a bird feeder

Even when it’s cold or snowing outside, a well-placed bird feeder can give your loved one hours of fun. You might even discover your loved one has a knack for building things by hand. Bird feeders make an excellent low-impact carpentry project. All it takes is a few boards, some nails or other types of fasteners, and a string for attaching it to a pole or tree. You can find simple instructions online for free. Encourage your loved one to keep a journal describing the birds that arrive at the feeder throughout the year. Also ask them about the patterns they see. For example, which birds show up at which times of year? Those fun facts might offer clues about which bird types are traveling through your neighborhood. It’s fun and science rolled into one activity.

11. Volunteer for an important cause

If your loved one is able to get out and about, volunteering can be rewarding and allows them to give back to their community. Options include assisting at a local food pantry, helping voters on Election Day, petting cats or dogs at a local animal shelter, and so on. Many nonprofits and community-based organizations gladly accept volunteers for any amount of time on almost any day of the week. Volunteering gives your loved one a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Those they help will be grateful, too.

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Nate Birt
Nate Birt

Nate Birt is a healthcare writer with a journalism degree from University of Missouri. He lives with his wife and their four children on a small farm in Missouri.