Summer Activity Suggestions

Written by Active Minds on Wednesday the 10th of July 2013.


Elderly Person with Carer in Garden

Photograph Copyright of Graham Turner (for The Guardian Newspaper)


We daren’t announce that “Summer is here!” because Sod’s law dictates that as soon as we do, it will rain. However, seeing as we are currently experiencing some lovely weather in Britain, we thought we’d make some suggestions for some summer activities if  you happen to be spending these splendid hours of sunshine with a friend or a loved one with dementia.

Indoor Activities

When it’s not always possible to be outside, then why not bring some sunshine inside?

Flower arranging is a great indoor activity that quite literally brings the outside, in. Collect a bunch of  flowers and branches with as many plant varieties as you can. Then find either find a sturdy, low vase or a vessel containing some flower oasis, and use the various flowers you’ve collected to spark a conversation about each of the different cuttings – their sizes, colours and smells – while you guide the arrangement of the flowers into a pretty bouquet. This will hopefully create a great sense of satisfaction and pleasure for the senses.

You could also save some of the smaller leaves and flowers to flatten between a sheet of folded paper in a book to create a collection of beautiful pressed flowers which, once dried out (in 3-4 weeks) spur another great activity of arranging and sticking pressed flowers to colouful paper to be mounted in easy clip frames and hung on the wall to be enjoyed all year round.

Another great activity is making a fruit salad. With an abundance of delicious fruits and berries available in the summer, why not put together a punnet of colourful fruits of differnent colours, textures, sizes and tastes and make a fruit salad together. Fruits such as strawberrys, nectarines/ satsumas, bananas, berries and grapes are easy to prepare by hand and will look great together. Choose a big summery bowl to put them all into once they’ve been prepared, if you can resist the urge to eat as you go!

Puzzle and picture books with summery themes can also be a great way of remembering summers past, spent by the seaside or in the garden.

Summery Puzzles 

Lady in Red

Coastal Path

Summery Picture Books 

Beside the Seaside

In the Garden


The Countryside

All of these activities might benefit from some summer background sounds as well, such as some British birdsong. You can buy British birdsong on CD via the RSPB.

And what about the feeling of grass under bare feet? A metre of rolling turf costs next to nothing and can be cut to the size of a large wooden or plastic kitchen tray which can then be placed under bare feet when seated.

Outdoor Activities

If you can get outside into a spot in the shade, then some great outdoor activities include any of the above suggestions for indoor activities (all possible from the comfort of a cushioned summer chair and an outdoor table) but you can also stay seated to plant bulbs such as alliums, agapanthus and cannas (which will all grow nicely if you plant them in the summer).

A small walk around a garden watering the plants can be an enjoyable activity; reminiscing, smelling and touching as you go. Crumbling soft stale bread into a  bowl or a dish for the birds can also be a good outdoor activity. Then you can find a place for the dish to go together – perhaps somewhere in view of a window so that they may watch the birds visit it later from the confort of their favourite spot indoors.

Seated bowls is a fun outdoor game to play if you have a flat patch of dirt or grass to play on. Roll the jack 4-6m or so from your seated positions and take it in turns to toss the bowls in the direction of the jack, the aim being to get the bowls as close to the jack as possible, or even knocking the jack away from your opponant’s bowls if you can! Use plastic bowls balls rather than metal ones as the metal ones are often too heavy to be held or tossed.

A good article on using gardens to engage with those with dementia and stay safe, is this article by the Alzheimer’s Society.

We hope some of these ideas help you to enjoy a safe, sensory and sunny summer.