Though the definition of “fun” may be the same for everyone young or old, what constitutes “fun” is certainly a matter of taste, experience, and maturity.
Though your idea of fun may change dramatically as you get older, there are very few activities that are off-limits to those with good health, but despite that, many older people do look for a slower pace and a social component to what they do for fun.
Below are some great fun ideas for seniors to do.
1. Board Games
There are so many board games to choose from, it would be nearly impossible to narrow the list down to suit every taste, but suffice it to say, board games give seniors a reason to gather together with friends and talk or just enjoy the game!
There are wordplay games like Bananagrams or Scrabble that are common favorites as well as Monopoly or Scattergories that are fast-paced and concerned with strategy.
It would be best if you chose a board game with pieces that are easy for all of the players to grasp, even those with fine-motor impairments. And pick a game that everyone in your group will like (one that’s not too difficult and not too easy for everyone who will be playing).
If you’ve never picked up a pencil or a paintbrush to create a piece of artwork, it’s never too late to try.
Many seniors over the years have discovered hidden talents that they never had time to explore when they were younger. Grandma Moses, for example, revolutionized the art world when she took up painting in her late 70’s to portray her life growing up on a farm. After a lifetime of painting, Paul Cézanne didn’t have any success as an artist until his 50’s and 60’s and artist Bill Traylor started sketching when he became homeless at age 85, producing over 1,000 works of art in his lifetime.
There are many activities like art and writing that almost require a seasoned or at least mature eye or voice in order to express something of value to the world. A number of well-known, extremely successful authors didn’t even start their writing career until they were in their 60’s and beyond, so if you’ve never really tried to put pen to paper to write something for other people to read, that’s okay.
Laura Ingalls Wilder is a now-famous author who didn’t record her stories in writing until she was 65 years old and Frank McCourt didn’t record his memoirs of growing up as a poverty-stricken youth until he was 66. If you have a story to tell, it might be time to put it on paper and just journal for your own enjoyment, start a blog, or even try to publish your work.
As people get older, their stamina diminishes, but that doesn’t have to stop you from going outdoors and enjoying the world of hiking and nature! Instead of pushing your body to the limits, you can set different goals for yourself like finding and identifying plants in your region.
If you live in an area of the world that’s close to an animal reservoir or state or national park, you might consider finding quiet locations along trails to sit and watch for wildlife. Natural settings are rewarding places, no matter what your age and there’s no need to exhaust yourself to find ways to enjoy it!
It doesn’t matter whether you volunteer to act for a local theater or whether you gather together a group of friends and go out for a night of food and fun at a local dinner theater on a regular basis!
You can support the local theater scene by working in sound and lighting or just by buying tickets regularly to attend performances. Most theaters are always in need of support of one kind or another, so your presence either on the stage or in the audience will be welcome indeed. The theater is a great place to explore new ideas while socializing with a group of friends.
6. Go to the Local Senior Center
Check out the local senior center to learn about what kind of entertainment options they have available for their patrons. The senior center is a great place to meet other people in your age group with similar interests and you might even decide to eat meals there several times a week just to socialize or enjoy scheduled special events! In addition to fun activities, many senior centers also provide health-related screenings and other important resources to senior citizens in the communities they serve. If you have a special skill like a nursing or nutrition degree, you might be able to contribute your expertise as a resource to the people there as an outlet that would help you keep your skills sharp while contributing something of importance to the community.
7. Go to a Movie
If you’re looking for a good reason to get out of the house either by yourself or with a group of people, going to a movie is a good option. Though the big cinemas tend to host movies that appeal primarily to the younger generation, there are a number of specialty cinemas in urban environments that cater to a more refined and older crowd.
Find a cinema that hosts independent films that would interest you, or just go to the big cinemas for the candy, popcorn, and positive youthful vibes!
As people get older and their work responsibilities diminish, they often see new opportunities to contribute to society in entirely new and productive ways. Though volunteering may seem like work to some people, to others, it’s a way to find meaning and purpose in life, which is definitely “fun” in that the work is uplifting and it distracts them from their own troubles. There are tons of organizations that need help to perform a huge variety of different types of work by volunteers. Volunteering can be extremely engaging and fun, if you find an activity that resonates with you and that utilizes your experiences in the world.
9. Learn a New Skill
Learning something new is work, but it’s also fun! Take up a new instrument, learn how to golf, take up swimming, or tai chi, or become an expert on the local history of your community. Think about the things you always wished you’d had the opportunity to learn to do when you were younger and take the opportunity to learn them now. You never know just where that new skill will take you or who you’ll meet as a result of what you learn and learning new things is a way to really make the time fly!
10. Go Back to School/Start a New Business
Non-traditional, older students are becoming the norm more and more perhaps because the older you get, the easier it is to know what you want from your life and follow through on a plan to achieve those goals. Going back to school is a way to meet new people while keeping your mind super-sharp. And starting new businesses (big or small) is becoming more and more popular with senior citizens who are less concerned with the bottom line and able to focus more on accomplishing less profit-centric goals through business. Seniors today can start online businesses or attend classes online to accomplish goals that may have been out of reach when they were younger.
Bird-watching can be as challenging or as laid-back as you’d like for it to be. If you’re just getting started with this hobby, you’ll probably want to start by identifying local birds, but motivated seniors could always work up to a Big Year and set a personal challenge to identify as many bird species as possible within a 12 month time period. This type of challenge can take seniors to the ends of the earth searching for rare birds that may have never been observed in the wild by anyone else in the developed world.
Gardening is a relaxing hobby that’s as practical as it is enjoyable. Plenty of seniors choose to take up gardening as a hobby because it’s a great way to connect to nature, and it also offers some quality time to think and grow something that matters. And, as a bonus, you’ll get some fresh produce that you can use to cook up some amazing meals!
Gardening can be as big and grand or as small and humble as you choose to make it; some people have large plots of land available for a vegetable garden, while other people have a few lovingly tended herbs in the kitchen. No matter how you choose to garden, you’ll surely notice the mental and physical benefits that it offers through exercise as well as healthy foods!
Shopping is, of course, something essential that must be done, but it can also be a good way to have some fun while socializing and getting a little exercise. Some people love to shop for clothes, while other people prefer to shop for a specific set of things for their hobbies.
One of the things that makes shopping particularly fun is being able to go with a group of friends or even just one really good friend. Shopping usually initiates conversations or at least some witty banter among friends, so it’s a lighthearted way to spend an afternoon while getting in some socialization and possibly running some errands (without them feeling like errands).
14. Travel with a Group
Traveling is fun at any age! Seniors who want to travel often choose to go as a part of a group, whether one arranged by a tour company or a self-constructed group of friends, since traveling in a “pack” is both safer as well as a lot more fun. Visiting a new country is an amazing experience, and what better time to go than now?
Even a visit to a new state or city you’ve never seen before can be an excellent way to get out and explore! You may not have had the opportunity to travel in your younger years, but you may also have saved for retirement with the hope that one day you’d get to travel! If travel is your goal, chances are that you’ll be able to get together a group of friends or interested acquaintances with just a little advertising and in no time head out on an adventure to someplace new.
15. Do Art Gallery Tour
Doing an art gallery tour in your city or area can be a thought provoking and interesting way to spend the morning or afternoon. There are many different types of art galleries displaying all different styles of artwork, and visiting a few different locations in one day can be a lot of fun, especially for art lovers! This is a particularly senior-friendly activity, since visiting art galleries tends to be a fairly relaxed affair.
There are exhibits that are interactive, but more often than not, engagement is limited to observing artwork rather than getting involved. Nonetheless, an art gallery tour will help you decide which galleries interest you the most! Finishing your tour with a lunch or dinner at your favorite coffee house or a new and interesting restaurant can be the perfect way to wrap up the day.
Dancing is usually considered to be a pastime that’s reserved exclusively for young people, but that’s simply not true! Seniors can derive just as much enjoyment from dancing as young people can and are just as capable of learning this skill. There are many different kinds of dancing, such as traditional ballroom dancing, that are well-suited for seniors, and other types of dance that can be easily reformatted for elderly individuals who have diminished stamina.
Dancing is a great way to maintain mobility into older age, and it’s also a therapeutic process for the body and mind. Elderly couples often cite dance as one of their favorite activities to do together, and dance can also be a fun way to make new friendships or even bond with the grandchildren!
Scrapbooking is a particularly popular hobby for senior women, but there are also some men that have taken up the activity. Making a scrapbook (or many scrapbooks!) is a good way for seniors to document their lives, as well as the lives of family members, in a creative and engaging way that many generations will enjoy. It combines practicality and organization with creativity and flamboyance, something that is often in need of balancing for people who like a combination of logic and creativity and their lives.
While there are some basic “rules” of scrapbooking, nearly anything goes! And, in addition, you can involve younger family members in the scrapbooking process as another way to connect and create lasting bonds between yourself and your grandchildren.
Baking is a popular activity for seniors because people of all ages gravitate toward and thoroughly enjoy an attractive loaf of bread or a well-decorated cupcake. Baking is not a high impact activity, but it allows seniors to get up and move around just the right amount without overexerting themselves. Baking is a fantastic activity for grandparents to do with their grandchildren, and it’s also a good way to make and maintain new social connections!
Have you started attending a local game night or movie night with other seniors? Bring a plate of your fresh, homemade cookies and you’re sure to make new friends right away! Baking can be fun for both men and women, and it’s never too late to learn how to do it.
19. Attend Sporting Events
From football and soccer games to gymnastics and martial arts tournaments, there are a diverse array of sporting events that you could attend as a senior citizen. No matter what kind of sport you’re interested in, chances are good that there’s a live event nearby for that sport. This can be a particularly fun activity for seniors since it’s possible to go either alone, with a group of friends, with a significant other, or even with extended family. Sporting events are almost always a social occasion though for event goers, so this can be a good way for seniors to get an extra dose of socialization along with some excitement.
20. Visit a Museum
Visiting a museum is a low-key activity for seniors who want to do something interesting and fun without worrying about overexerting themselves. There are a lot of wonderful, fascinating museums to visit in the world, and there’s probably a local museum (or a few) that you’ve never even thought to visit before. Museums are thought-provoking and often educational, and they can be a fun way to spark conversations with friends. A quick online search or a visit to a local tourism office is all that’s needed to find the museums in your area.