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Re-creative Resources - ONE ON ONE ACTIVITIES
re-creative resources - products and services for therapeutic recreation in long term care facilities re-creative resources - products and services for therapeutic recreation in long term care facilities re-creative resources - products and services for therapeutic recreation in long term care facilities


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  • Involves 2 people (resident and staff, peers, family and/or volunteers)
  • Intervention depends on the needs and interest of the individual
  • Try to visit the same time and day
  • Don’t just visit; have something prepared
  • Document resident’s response to visit
  • With some creativity and adaptation, most group activities can be offered on a one to one basis

Activity staff, volunteers, family members, visitors, and other health care providers can provide one to one activities that are meaningful to the resident.  

Download your free one to one log


Activity A-la-Carte

Create a cart filled with a variety of recreational activity supplies and equipment such as word puzzles, books, magazines, current newspaper, trivia, reminiscing materials, craft projects (tip: create individual craft kits which includes all the necessary supplies to complete the project and put in a zip-lock baggie), sensory kits, a variety of balls, rhythm stick, CD player with extra CD's, table games and puzzles of various sizes and difficulty, manipulatives, etc.

Individualized Sensory Kits

Create individualized sensory kits for those who benefit from sensory stimulation. Ask family members to gather important and familiar items including favorite music, an award/trophy, family photos, favorite cologne or perfume, knick-knacks or memorabilia, anything that the resident really treasured and enjoyed in the past. Please inform family members that the items may get lo. make copies o family photos or even have the family take a picture of an item they they do not want to bring in for fear of losing. Try to create kits that include items for all six senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, movement)   Read: Sensory Kits and Themes

Individualized Reminiscing Kits

This is similar to the Individualized Sensory Kits above but focuses more on residents with little to no cognitive impairment. Family photos, family videos, scrapbooks, memorabilia, knick-knacks, travel photos, etc. are great for this type of kit.

Adapted Physical Games, Sports and Exercise

Residents who do not participate in group activities, often are not provided or offered the opportunity to participate in physical games, sports or exercise. For residents who are interested, offer 1x1 exercise and range of motion. Also for sports and physical games, you can motivate residents to participate in a One-One Sport's Competition. Choose a sport or adapted physical game such as bowling, basketball, horseshoes, beanbag toss game, etc. and keep score for each resident. Afterwards, announce the winner and give a ribbon or certificate.

Trivia Contests

This is similar to the adapted physical game contest, but includes trivia questions instead. Give the resident a point for each correct answer and tally up the points. Give a certificate or trophy to the person with the most points.

Fitness Trail

Ask the Physical Therapist for 10 simple range of motion or stretching activities, with accompany directions and picture. Make each station as attractive as possible, frame and hang in a hallway. The Fitness Trail may be utilized by all facility staff, family members, volunteers and the residents. It can be a scheduled activity or a spontaneous one. You may want to incorporate the Fitness Trail into restorative programs and/or therapy as well.

Traveling Tunes

Set up a cart with a variety of music, CD's, casettes, CD/cassette player, ipods or walkman's, headphones, etc. Visit residents who enjoy music. Be sure that you have the specific type of music that the residents enjoy. Traveling Tunes can also be done with live music such as a keyboard (on a cart), guitar, accordion, etc.


A bookmobile is primarily an independent activity in which residents choose a book or other reading material from a traveling cart of books. When finished, the resident returns the borrowed item. You can turn this into a one to one activity simply by spending some time with the resident and doing a book or literature review. Ask the resident if they liked the book. Who their favorite character was. Least favorite character, the ending, etc. Download a free Lending Library form which could be used for your Bookmobile as well.

Multi-Sensory Cart

More and more facilities are creating Snoezelen Rooms or multi-sensory rooms. You can bring the multi-sensory experience to the resident anywhere in the facility, whether it's in a resident's room, a corner in the hallway, the day room, etc. You do need a quiet area that can be darkened, however for the intervention to be most successful. There are several traveling-type Snoezelen carts, and multi-sensory carts available on the market now. You can also make your own by stocking a sturdy cart with aromatherapy supplies, soothing sounds, a water panel or bubble tube, a projector, flavored lip balms, scented lotions, textured objects, etc. Caution: be sure to securely mount bubble towers, water panels, etc. for they may tip over easily and create a big mess! (I know from experience). Some great resources include:

Portable Fish Tanks or Aquariums

Some Things Fishy sells an aquarium on wheels called the Rolling Sea. It has some great features and can be rolled from resident to resident. Most facilities have a fish tank or aquarium in the lobby, and sometimes in the day rooms. Having a fish tank that is mobile can be quite simulating  or relaxing for various residents. Consider a product like the Rolling Sea or

ask the maintenance department if they can mount a small fish tank to a cart.

"Take Out" Cooking

Perhaps there is a resident that has enjoyed cooking or baking in the past, but doesn't enjoy group activities. Well, bring the cooking right to his/her room. Many facilities have a toaster oven, convention oven, break machine, popcorn popper, waffle maker, blender, etc. These appliances are easy enough to put on a cart and bring to a resident in his/her room. Be sure to discuss with the resident what he/she would like to cook or bake and bring all the ingredients. You may want to try to keep the cook times brief though, unless a volunteer, staff or family member is available for safety reasons.


There are various types of photomurals available on the market. Many of them can be placed on a wall or on some type of portable, rolling device. These murals are often scenic and are a great way to stimulate a resident, promote solace, spirituality and peace. Bedscapes Healing Environments are beautiful fabric photomurals with accompanying CD soundscapes. Bedscapes bring nature's restorative benefits to the patient's bedside for comfort, peace and relaxation and are a wonderful resource for individual and group activities. Murals can be attached to privacy curtains and walls.

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