38 Crafts & Sensory Activities for Blind Adults

blind-elderly-senior

Today we’re diving into a huge collection of crafts and activities for blind adults!

It’s not unusual for seniors to lose their vision as they age, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to enjoy various activities! There are many games, hobbies, and crafts low-vision seniors can safely enjoy – sometimes it’ll just require a bit of setup help from a family member or caregiver.

Not only are these activities enjoyable for seniors and adds variety to their day, they also encourage elderly individuals to employ the use of their more active senses, such as touch. Some activities also allow seniors to exercise their hand dexterity or other skills that they risk losing if not actively maintained.

In this guide, we’ll be diving activities into several different sections – outdoor activities, indoor activities, puzzles, and crafts. Feel free to jump ahead!

Outdoor Sensory Activities and Sports for the Blind

1. Gardening

senior gardening

Gardening is an activity that most blind adults enjoy. While a blind senior might need help initially setting up a raised garden bed and planting seeds, it can be immensely enjoyable for a senior to visit their garden each day, water their plants, get their hands in the fresh soil, and monitor their plants’ growth!

There are also a number of features and adjustments you can make to design a visually impaired garden that’s easier to navigate for a blind gardener.

If this sounds like a bit too much of a mess, a senior might enjoy an Aerogarden! These devices can grow plants from just water! However, the water does need to be topped off regularly, and a senior might need a caregiver to monitor when the “add water” light is flashing.

2. Fishing (With a Partner)

Fishing is another activity a blind elderly person can get plenty of satisfaction out of, so long as a seeing individual is there to provide some assistance as needed.

3. Bird Listening

While bird watching may be off the table for blind seniors, bird listening is still tons of fun! Apps like Merlin, Audobon, or other bird-enthusiast websites can allow a senior to familiarize themselves with various bird songs.

To make things easy, we suggest just focusing on birds that can be found locally or on your backyard. After that, it’s just a matter of getting outside and listening!

birding

Indoor Activities for Blind Adults

4. Listen to Audiobooks

Audiobooks can be enjoyed by blind seniors easily, so long as a family member or caretaker helps set up their audiobook.

Audible is a great option, where members can get access to thousands of audio versions of best-sellers!

Plus, if you have an Audible account alongside an Amazon Alexa device or a Google Home, a blind senior can deliver a simple command to the smart device in order to start listening to their stories anytime!

audibooks

5. Trivia Games

Trivia games are perfect for blind elderly individuals who are still smart as a whip, but just don’t have their vision intact. There are plenty of trivia apps and trivia board games that would allow a seeing player to read off trivia questions to a blind senior.

Or, alternatively, many smart devices offer the option to play trivia games (you might need to install an app first on the smart device, but try saying “Alexa, ask me a trivia question” and see what happens!)

6. Clay Molding / Play-Doh

Clay molding (whether with Play-Dog or another clay material) is another excellent activity for visually impaired adults. It allows seniors to create beautiful art pieces or other items, and can be a fun creative form of therapy for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia!

clay

7. Listening to Music

Listening to music is always a great way to bring joy and comfort to any individual – seeing or not.

There are many benefits of listening to music for seniors, including decreasing anxiety, improving concentration, and more. Some seniors may especially enjoy sing-a-long sessions with family members and friends!

There are a number of ways seniors can listen to music they enjoy, from portable CD players to old-school album turntables!

8. Crochet & Knitting

Knitting and crochet are great activities for limited mobility or low vision seniors! Well, so long as they already have some past experience with these activities. That’s not to say that blind seniors can’t pick up knitting or crocheting – they certainly can, but it will most likely be easiest for those who have already had some practice in the past.

Many elderly individuals love knitting and crocheting as it allows one to create a beautiful piece of art while listening to the radio or chatting with friends. Plus, the final products can be given out as gifts!

knitting

9. Mess Around with Large-Style Building Blocks

If you’re looking for a way to keep active for seniors with limited mobility, then why not try building with large-style building blocks!

This is another activity that those with dementia might enjoy too. Larger-sized stacking blocks (like XL Legos) are usually easier for even those with limited dexterity to manage, and they allow seniors to get creative making different shapes and structures!

10. Meditation

Meditation is a relaxing activity for seniors that allows them to just sit back and reflect. Apps like Headspace and other meditation-related apps can help guide seniors in the right frame of mind, allowing them to calm their minds while enjoying a bit of peace.

11. Chair Yoga

Chair yoga is great exercise for blind elderly seniors who have trouble getting down on the floor. While a caregiver or friend may have to help a senior initially get the hang of various chair yoga poses, once a few movements are mastered, the senior should be able to do gentle chair yoga on his or her own as a way to keep active and improve balance!

12. Learn a New Instrument

For seniors who still have plenty of dexterity in their fingers, learning a new instrument can be tons of fun! Ukelele and harmonica are two simple instruments that should be easy enough to pick up for someone who is interested.

The ukelele only has four strings and it’s easy to distinguish between fret marks with one’s fingers, making it a fairly simple instrument to pick up, even without visual cues. The harmonica is similar!

ukelele

This likely won’t be a doable option for seniors with severe mobility issues or limited hand dexterity, but it can be a great project for those who are able and interested, especially if a senior is musically inclined or has played a different instrument in the past!

13. Baking (With a Partner)

Blind elderly adults may have trouble using an oven on their own safely, but they can still serve as a great sous chef with a helper! A blind or low-vision can assists cooking or baking in a number of ways, such as kneading pizza dough, or pouring pre-measured items into a bowl.

14. Crossword Puzzles (With a Partner)

Crossword puzzles are always a fun way to spend some time on the weekend with friends or family, and the answers can be easily read off for seniors who can’t see. So long as there’s a helper to read riddles and write in answers, crosswords are an excellent and challenging activity for blind adults!

15. Folding Laundry

Many people brush off folding clothes as boring, but it can be a simple, calming activity for seniors with limited mobility. This is especially true if they enjoy completing chores as part of a daily routine or familiar habit.

Plus, the ability to fold one’s own laundry can help foster a senior’s feeling of independence and build confidence.

laundry folding

16. Drying Dishes

Many blind seniors will have no trouble drying dishes on their own, and they may appreciate doing this as part of a daily routine. However, it might be best to only use dishes that are not especially important or special in case some get broken! If a senior is especially clumsy, they could try drying dishes over a laundry basket to provide some extra cushioning in case something falls.

17. Beaded Jewelry (Simple)

Seniors with low vision or who are completely blind can still make simple beaded jewelry! Look for extra-large-sized beads from places like Walmart, Hobby Lobby, craft stores, or Amazon and some thick twine.

A senior can string twine through the beads to create their own necklaces or bracelets!

beads

Puzzles and Adaptive Games for Blind Adults

18. Sensory Puzzle

Sensory puzzles are a great way for low-vision seniors to exercise their brains through tactile sensory and puzzle-solving. For example, the Coogam adaptive puzzle game features a Tetris-style design where players must feel out each piece and fit them together in order to complete the larger square they collectively form.

19. Wire Puzzles

Coogam Wooden Metal Wire Puzzles Brain Teasers, 8 Set Mind Game Unlock Interlock IQ Hand Puzzle Toys Party Favor Gifts for Kids Adults All Ages Challenge

Wire puzzles are another tactile puzzle option, requiring players to adjust, turn, and slide various panels in wooden and wire shapes to “unlock” the items.

20. Sensory I-Spy

Sensory I-Spy is a tactile recognition game in which players pull out small miniature figurines from a giant pile. They must then feel the figurines and guess what the creatures are!

21. Water Beads

Water beads can be a soothing tactile experience for elderly seniors. Water beads are small beads filled with water that come in a variety of different colors and shapes. Not only are they relaxing to hold, scoop, and handle, but they can also be used for a variety of sorting games (such as sorting based on color).

22. Adaptive Tic-Tac-Toe

Tic Tac Toe Wooden Board Game Table Toy Player Room Decor Tables Family XOXO Decorative Pieces Adult Rustic Kids Play Travel Backyard Discovery Night Level Drinking Romantic Decorations (Standard)

A low-vision adaptive version of the classic Tic-Tac-Toe, this edition features all the same rules, but uses physical models of X-es and O-es that can be aligned into any one of the game board’s 3×3 square slots.

Sensory Arts & Crafts for Blind Adults

23. Fleece Blanket Craft

Making fleece blankets can be a fun and rewarding craft for any visually senior – it’s also incredibly simple, easy, and results in a super functional, cozy blanket! First, have a family member or caregiver cut strips into the borders that surround the two square fabric pieces (which serve as the two sides of the blanket).

After the cutting with scissors has been done, the senior can go ahead and get to work tying the edging strips together to make a lovely and cozy blanket!

24. Green Pea Sensory Mat

Green pea sensory mats are a quick, super-easy sensory activity that may relieve a stressed-out senior.

Place a bunch of frozen peas into a large gallon-sized zip-lock bag, and fill it about 1/3 of the way with cold water. Then, put the bag on its side and tape it to a table (or the floor) to keep it stable. This allows the elderly player to press and roll the peas around without making a mess. Just make sure that bag is sealed well!

This can be an especially easy and soothing game for an elderly senior with dementia.

25. Make Oobleck Goop

Oobleck goop is a simple sensory activity for blind kids and adults alike – it’s goop that’s squishy, fun, and easy to play with!

Oobleck is a non-Newtonian liquid, which means it acts differently when pressure is applied to it. For example, if you press on the oobleck with your finger, it will become thicker and more solid. However, the moment you take your finger off of the goop, it will start acting like a liquid again!

slime

This fun and simple experiment can be loads of fun for those with sight as well as those without.

Oobleck goop is super easy to make at home – you just need some water, cornstarch, and whatever food coloring you’d like to color it.

There are tons of oobleck activity ideas at Artful Parent!

Oobleck goop is especially famous for the odd slurping noises it makes as you move it around!

26. DIY Sensory Cube

A DIY sensory cube is a great sensory game for helping to calm a senior down and giving them soft, cozy materials to rub and hold.

Just get a cardboard box and glue various fabrics with different textures to different sides of the cube!

The senior can potentially even help make this (depending on their mobility), they just might need some help cutting out the fabric squares, but they can choose their favorite fabrics and even glue on the pieces themselves!

27. Make Dish Soap Silly Putty

Did you know you can make your own silly putty? That’s right! All you need is some liquid dish soap, food coloring (optional), and some cornstarch.

Silly putty can be fun for blind seniors to squish, stretch, and massage for a wonderful tactile experience. Some may also enjoy molding the silly putty around objects, so make sure to have some fun-shaped items on hand to work with!

28. Build a Threading Station

straw threading

Threading is a relaxing activity for the elderly, as it’s quite meditative and helps to relieve stress. To make a threading station at home, all you need are some straws (we recommend choosing colorful ones), pipe cleaners, and a small to medium-sized bin to put the supplies in.

Cut the straws into small pieces and encourage the senior to thread the fuzzy pipe cleaner through the straw pieces They may even be inspired to thread straw pieces on the pipe cleaner in a colorful pattern. The edges of the pipe cleaner could even be tied together to turn the creation into a bracelet!

This activity is great because it allows an elderly individual to exercise their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness.

29. DIY Stress Balls

Making DIY at home stress balls can be a fun and simple project for blind seniors. All you need to do is grab some balloons and fill them with different materials that can be molded and moved.

Popular balloon fillers to create a stress-ball sensation include flour, rice, or beans. Now the senior has a stress-relieving object to hold and squeeze when nervous – and it was made by hand!

stress ball

30. DIY Sensory Book

Make a DIY sensory book to give an elderly individual a book they can “read” when they need something to do.

Fill the sensory book with soft fabrics like fleece and velvet that they can rub and experience. You could even consider making a special one-of-a-kind sensory book that uses fabrics and items from the senior’s past!

31. Play the Animal Sorting Game

The animal sorting game is a wonderful way to stimulate the mind of seniors – especially animal lovers!

To play, get a bunch of rubber animal figurines and put them in a pile. Next, cut out large circles of colored paper- green to represent land animals, blue for water animals, and yellow for animals who can go on both and and sea!

toy animals

Have the senior pick up, identify, and sort each animal into its category. Alternatively, you can have the senior sort the animals into different categories, like farm animals vs pet animals, furry vs scaly animals, etc.

If that’s too challenging, the senior can just try to identify the animal figurine – that works too!

32. DIY Floam

Floam is another fun tactile material that can be made at home. All you need is Borax, Elmer’s Glue, Poly-Fil micro beads, and food dye.

Once the floam has been made, the senior will love squishing and molding it as they please. What’s neat about floam is that you can keep it in an air-tight container to maintain its consistency, or let it air dry and it will harden, allowing it to also function as sculpture material!

33. Echo Playing

drums

An example of a game that blind adults can play is the echo playing game. Rather than focusing on the tactile experience, as many of these sensory games do, the echo game involved listening to sounds.

This game requires two players and two drums (makeshift drums like an upside trash can work fine too)! The session leader will drum a short four-beat pattern. Then, the senior will imitate (or “echo”) the leader.

From there, the leader will choose another four-beat pattern, with the potential to add words or additional sounds to the song, and the senior will have a go at remembering and repeating those!

Basically, it’s a DIY Simon Says game!

34. Wash the Dog Game

Wash the Dog is a sensory activity game that gives a senior the chance to wash their favorite animals. It’s also a great way to get another use out of the animal sorting figurines!

The game goes like this: get a shoebox-sized plastic bin and fill it with several rubber dog figurines (or any type of animal figurines). Pour a bunch of messy mud into the bin and mix it around the animals.

Next, fill another plastic bin with warm, soapy water. Provide the senior with a gentle sponge or brush to help the seniors clean off the animals. You might even provide a soft terrycloth towel to help dry off the critters.

This game is great because it provides nice tactile sensations while also allowing for some imaginative play. You could encourage the senior to pretend they are a pet groomer and are cleaning up various pets and zoo animals before they are presented to the public!

Another bonus of this game is that it could tie nicely with encouraging an elderly loved one to bathe – the animals got their bath, maybe now it’s time for their own!

35. DIY Kinetic Sand

These instructions for making DIY kinetic sand will allow you to create the ultimate sensory activity for your senior! Elderly low-vision individuals will have tons much fun squishing, stretching, and shaping this sand, offering the ability to get creative and exercise basic hand dexterity skills. Plus, there’s no right or wrong way to build with kinetic sand!

sand

36. Pattern Blocks

Pattern blocks are allow bling elderly adults to use their fingertips and sense of touch to build patterns with three-dimensional shapes.

And since pattern block sets come with many different shapes and colored blocks, it is a great way for seniors to exercise their imagination and creativity, too! For those who like more structure, pattern block sets also come with template pattern designs that ambitious seniors can work to replicate themselves (or modify for their own unique design).

37. Build a DIY Sensory Bag

A sensory bag is another great way to add some sensory fun to your senior’s day! What is a sensory bag exactly? It’s a thick plastic bag filled with objects of various shapes and sizes – plus a bunch of gooey gel!

The ability to squish, rub, and manipulate the materials inside of the bag will provide an exciting sensory activity for any visually impaired person. The individual doesn’t need to have any specific hand strength or speed for this activity – it’s all about tactile experimentation!

You can make your very own sensory bag quite easily with a large, sturdy freezer zip-lock freezer bag, various items, and a bunch of hair gel. Alternatively, you can purchase some sensory bags online!

38. Seasonal Sensory Bin

This seasonal-inspired activity is a must-do for any seniors who appreciates the changing seasons but can’t go out and experience the seasons in person! Simply go out into nature and find various items, like flower petals, pinecones, leaves, bark, moss, shells, small stones, etc and ask the senior to identify the various objects!

pinecone 1

There are many games, activities, and crafts that blind or low-vision seniors can safely enjoy. These adaptive games are beneficial for seniors because they allow them to use their other senses (especially touch) or encourage maintaining hand dexterity skills at a time when it’s easy for these abilities to start fading with age.

If you know of more great activities or crafts suitable for the elderly, be sure to leave your ideas in the comments below!

Last update on 2021-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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