Achieving engagement and participation for senior residents during events is a high priority for activity directors. In order to accomplish that, a director needs to keep the activities offered at a community fresh, exciting, and varied. And sometimes, that’s tough to do.

For anyone who’s stuck on brainstorming new ideas, know that they are probably others out there experiencing the same thing. The senior living industry is comprised of a vast network of activity directors who are creative and thoughtful in their approach to providing their residents with the best activities.

It only makes sense that directors should help each other out, providing ideas that have worked or not worked for them, sharing tips on how to save on budget, and so on.

We’ve enlisted three creative activity directors to share projects that have been successful for them.

Crafty Knick Knacks and Pieces of Art

Paint the Song


With a few easy steps, Stefanie helped her residents craft and create charming bowls and cups with Sculptey clay.

  1. Cut small chunks, roll into desired shapes. (A cup or bowl will make a perfect circle.)
  2. Use rubber stamps, lace, shells, or cookie cutters to personalize.
  3. Bake at 275 degrees, cool, then paint. (Both acrylic and watercolor work.)
  4. Once dry, apply a thin coat of glaze, dry again.

A Wall of Honor and Remembrance



For this project that began in 2010, April created a “Memorial Wall” at her community to honor all residents who have passed. Since its inception, the wall has grown into a beautiful tribute and a mainstay in the community. While this is probably an activity for the activity director alone, it’s a great way to create conversation for those who walk by and keep the memory of residents alive.

A Bald Head as a Blank Canvas


Alice believes that a dose of humor goes a long way with her residents. So, she tries to incorporate laughter and playfulness into her activities whenever she can. This Father’s Day, Alice printed drawings of men with bald heads and provided her residents with the paint to unleash their inner artist. (Glitter, markers, crayons, and stamps also work.) Once the residents completed their balm head art, Alice laid them on a table, so everyone could have a good laugh.