Keeping the Wheels Turning: Word Games

In the Activity Coordinator Certification Class, we were assigned a project in which we had to ask our residents what they wanted out of their activities or which activities they’d like to participate in but which might not be available to them and then develop a solution for them. While the residents I worked with (those still active in the evenings) mostly voiced that they wanted more things to do, rather than sitting and observing, a few residents took it a step further. They wanted something that would not only keep their bodies busy but their minds. One solution to that problem is our games. Every Tuesday, Friday and every other Saturday, we play games. From Wheel of Fortune and Scrabble to Jeopardy and word searches, we get together for 45 minutes after Wheel of Fortune airs on TV, and we play something that is entertaining as well as engaging.

With so many games to plan each month, the easier for me, the better. So on Tuesdays, we play “Word in a Word” (I write up a 10+ letter word or phrase and ask the residents to come up with new words using those letters; I make them work to at least 20 words before I use a new word or phrase, but we once had 57 words!), and on Saturdays, we play various word games: word searches (I make a list of 10-15 words and enter them into a word search creator, then transfer that to a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard), “Scattergories” (we choose a category as a group, then find a word that fits that category and begins with every letter of the alphabet; sometimes we randomly choose a letter and list as many words that begin with that letter as we can), “Change a Letter” (starting with a 4-6 letter word, we change one letter at a time to create new words, creating 20 words, then choosing a new word. I give them the first word, then give clues to help them come up with the next word), and Beginning and End (I chose 15 words that either begin or end with the same letters and read the definition, asking the group to guess what the word is; for more difficult groups (-ous), I list a word bank for them to chose from). These are all games that require little to no planning ahead of time, but that work the brains of the group, stimulate socialization, and which the residents really enjoy.

Because the word searches, “Change a Letter,” and Beginning and End do require some pre planning, I thought I’d share some that I’ve already created. These can be used with any group of residents, and can be adapted to better fit each group. Please let me know what you think and if you have any word games you play!

Beginning and End (download, slideshare)

Word Searches (download, slideshare)

Change a Letter (download, slideshare)

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