What’s a game without prizes? Activity directors lead many games multiple times a week in senior living communities. Games are crucial to a senior’s daily life as they encourage socialization, exercise mental abilities, and are great relationship builders.

Most activity professionals are stuck with minimal budgets, so it’s up to them to be creative with the prizes they offer their residents.

Here are a few prize ideas that might work for your community.

Tangible Items

Everyone loves instant gratification. And winning prizes is certainly exciting, no matter what your age.

When you’re shopping for prizes, get a mix of fun and practical products.

Fun Products: candy, chocolate, chips, greeting cards, books, stuffed animals
Practical Products: toothpaste, toothbrushes, water bottles, lotion, scarves

Sometimes the cost of prizes can add up quickly, so do some research on bargains and coupons at local stores or online, and find value stores that will give you a bang for your buck.

Get Your Money’s Worth: The Dollar Store, the $1 section and deals on the Cartwheel App at Target, Good Will, Housing Works, etc.

Bingo Bucks

Bingo Bucks are pretty standard in the senior living industry. It’s basically play money to use as motivation to win any game – it doesn’t have to be Bingo. They can be used for card games, Connect Four, completing puzzles, you name it.

Let your seniors use their Bingo Bucks to choose their own prizes. Set up a fake prize store for the seniors to purchase prizes with their winnings.

Here’s how:

  1. Decorate an existing storage cart.
  2. Designate a day of the week for when the cart is open for business. “Friday is Bingo Cart Day!”
  3. Play music from the cart to stir up some excitement. Hopefully, this will help prompt seniors’ memories that the “store” is associated with game prizes.
  4. Fill your cart with the tangible items we discussed above: Candy, chips, greeting cards, toiletries, tchotchkes
  5. If you’re feeling extra creative, come up with prize themes. Olympics, the beach, seasonal or holiday themes, etc.

Most of all, have fun with it.


Let’s be honest, everyone loves a little extra cash. Give away nickels, dimes, or quarters as prize money.

If your community takes outings, schedule an outing to the Dollar Store so your seniors can spend their prize money as they wish. For seniors who like to practice their faith, they can also use the prize money to donate at mass.

Round up of Bingo Prizes

One great way to get seniors engaged, socializing, and having fun is through daily activities. Bingo is a staple in many senior communities! It’s a simple, collaborative game that can be played in countless ways – Even in times of social distancing.

What is bingo without a great prize? We have rounded up the best bingo prizes that seniors will love!

1. Fun Money
If your senior community has a gift shop or cafe on the premises, “fake money” is a perfect prize idea. This way, they can choose their own prize.

2. Candy
You can’t go wrong with hitting their sweet tooth! Some chocolates or hard candies in a goodie bag is an easy option.

3. Spa Basket
If you’d rather go a different route and put together a basket, there are tons of themes. One theme that the ladies will have their eye on is a spa basket. You can include a towel, lotion, a candle, and/or slippers.

4. Movie Night Basket
To appeal to any senior bingo player, a movie night basket is a perfect option. Throw in a gift card to the movie theatre or to purchase a movie online, some popcorn and candies.

5. Drinks
A simple bottle of wine or a package of tea will do the trick!

6. Crafty Items
You can’t go wrong with supplies for independent or group crafting! The artists in the group will love new colored pencils or paints!

7. Home Decor
Signs or picture frames to change their home decor around is always appreciated. If a holiday is coming up, you can choose some specific decorations for that time as well!

8. DIY
Don’t worry – You don’t have to spend tons of money to have some great prizes. By getting creative you can make one of a kind prizes with snacks, candy, and paper supplies. You might opt for a simple “winner” certificate printed off the computer, or a jar of ingredients for a recipe like hot chocolate!

9. Bingo Materials
Step their game up with some upgraded bingo markers! These might be chips or the inkblot markers.

10. Flowers
Can’t go wrong with beautiful flowers, or even plants. Pro tip: Consider going for the fake ones instead, they are just as beautiful and last forever!
11. Comfort Items
You can’t have too many blankets. There are inexpensive throw blankets, neck pillows or even soft sweaters!

12. Lotion
A singular or pack of new, delightfully smelling lotion is a great option for seniors.

13. Cards
There are basic 52 card decks, or decks specialized for other games like UNO or old maid.

14. Puzzles
Puzzles are a relaxing activity, and your bingo players might enjoy this new challenge.

15. Word Game Books
Keep their minds sharp with books of word searches, crosswords, and other brain games.
16. Books
A simple book is a perfect prize for the readers of your community!

Time To Play!

One way to ensure you’re getting the best prizes for your group is to ask them! What would they like? Chances are you’ll get some great ideas and you can sprinkle in some from this list for a surprise.