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Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on March 8th, 2022

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6 Playful Ideas for Seniors to Step Into Springtime

assisted living  |  Senior Living Communities CT  |  senior health  |  senior health tips  |  Independent Senior Living  |  healthy living  |  independent living in ct

If you’ve felt the strain of a long, dark winter, you’re probably ready to embrace the promise of spring. March may roar in like a lion, but it goes out like a lamb—bringing us the renewed warmth of extended sunshine and a gentler forecast.

For seniors who have been cooped up indoors for months, now’s the time to take advantage of the fresh air and soak in some vitamin D. It’s also the perfect opportunity to seize the power of play, reaping all the mental, physical and emotional benefits of reprioritizing fun


To help you or the senior in your life step into springtime with a focus on playfulness, here are six ideas for getting to it!


1. Stretch It Out


Older adults who may have spent the winter hibernating inside should consider the importance of getting their bodies moving. And while the practice of stretching may not be your go-to option for fun, it can certainly be an enjoyable experience if you apply the right mindset. As the days bring more blue skies and sunny weather, get out and get into a new frame of mind. 


Stretching routines can be performed just about anywhere, at any time, so use the call of springtime as an excuse to stretch it out in the fresh, warm air. In addition to helping the body stay limber, stretching can have other valuable benefits, such as pain relief, reduced stress, improved circulation, greater self-confidence and independence, and an overall feeling of wellbeing. 


By pairing this exercise with an opportunity for socialization, you can really kick up the fun factor. Buddy up with a family member or get together with a group of friends to make the stretching a more playful experience. Perhaps think about joining a stretching or yoga class that makes the group dynamic even more effortless.


2. Hit the Trails


Speaking of getting that body moving, there’s no better way for seniors to embrace springtime than with a lovely walk through Mother Nature’s beautiful spaces. Pick a walking trail you love—or a new one you haven’t yet seen—and lace up those sneakers for a stroll in the natural environment. 


Make it an opportunity for fun and exploration. Maybe invite the grandchildren or other kids in your life, as the youth have a way of finding opportunities for play wherever they go. 


If you or the senior in your life are challenged with mobility limitations, that’s OK. You don’t have to miss out on the fun. A paved, accessible walking trail is a great way to enjoy nature, even if you need to utilize a walker or wheelchair. The simple change of scenery and nature’s innate impact on the human spirit can do wonders for your sense of play. 


3. Sow Some Seeds


Spring is the best time to get your hands dirty. Linked to incredible benefits like improved self-esteem, heart health, physical strength, mental well-being, immune system regulation, and management of conditions like allergies and asthma, gardening is a top choice for playful springtime activity. 


Whether you prefer to garden alone or in the company of other green thumbs, there’s plenty of opportunity for playing with earth’s bounties. This is a fantastic, therapeutic outdoor exercise. It gives you extended time in the sun and fresh air and can be enjoyed in so many different ways. As an added bonus, gardening is known to activate a wealth of critical functions, from sensory awareness to problem-solving. 


If you’re new to the art of gardening, start small with a hanging plant, a container garden of annuals, or a small raised garden box with a few herbs and tomato plants.


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4. Pack a Picnic


Picnics and play go hand-in-hand in springtime, so why not pack a picnic lunch and head to a nearby park to take in the view? This is another activity that can be even more fun with kids in tow. Gather some favorite foods, snacks, and drinks, and bring along some fun aids for springtime activities, like bubbles, kites, sidewalk chalk, or a ball. 


If sitting on the ground or at a picnic table is not ideal for your specific mobility level, bring some folding chairs to make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable. And if you can’t get to a park, there’s always a deck, a patio, or a courtyard that can make for the perfect picnic spot. This is all about getting out, breathing in new life, and having a childlike sense of fun. 


5. Go Strawberry Picking 


The farm experience can be a fun-packed one, particularly this time of year. You don’t have to wait for apple and pumpkin season to make a day out of picking produce fresh from the farm. Strawberries hit peak ripeness in spring, and this can be a playful option for seniors in springtime. Check out local farms that offer walks or hayrides to the strawberry fields, or look for a strawberry festival nearby. 


Even when your strawberry adventure is done, there’s still more fun to be had! This is a great time to test out some new spring recipes that involve your fresh fruit, including salads, baked goods, smoothies and so much more. Get to playing in the kitchen with your farm-fresh fare, and extend the enjoyment into a feast for the palette. 


6. Build a Birdhouse


The birds are chirping and making their nests as the weather warms up in spring. That makes now a perfect time to engage in a fun birdhouse crafting activity. The playful experience of this creative exercise is complemented by the gift of continually visiting birds to your doorstep or yard. 


From simple DIY birdhouses of the peanut-butter-on-a-pinecone variation to more advanced ventures for veteran woodworkers, the sky’s the limit for enjoying this springtime craft. Crafting projects like these also provide seniors with physical and mental benefits. In fact, studies have shown that these sorts of activities help support cognitive function and mental agility, as seniors practice using both their hands and brains. 


Building a birdhouse is an ideal outlet for reaping these health advantages. So check out some online how-to’s, download a blueprint, or join a group class on the art of birdhouse building. 


For additional tips on senior health and lifestyle issues, check out our blog. To find out how United Methodist Homes provides a wealth of offerings and opportunities to support the health and wellbeing of our residents, contact us today or schedule a complimentary visit now.


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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.