Ageless Play: 11 Physically Engaging Games for Seniors

Senior citizens like to be active and have a good time like anyone else. However, many outdoor activities, sports, or other games require a level of physical engagement and exertion that can make it hard for elderly to compete safely or enjoyably. 

If you’re looking for some physical and active games you can play with grandma and grandpa or other seniors in your life, we’ve got a list that will give you plenty of options.

Physically Active Games for Seniors

1. Bocce Ball

A classic and simple game, Bocce ball offers several benefits that make it a perfect game for seniors to enjoy. It is not costly to play and it does not require a lot of space, but you can enjoy the outdoors while participating in a challenging and enjoyable physical activity. 

Maintaining balance and coordination are essential aspects of healthy aging. Bocce ball requires players to throw or roll their balls with precision, aiming for a specific target. This action enhances hand-eye coordination and proprioception, which is the body’s awareness of its position in space. Improved proprioception helps seniors maintain balance, reducing the risk of falls and related injuries.

In addition to promoting balance, the throwing and rolling motions required provide a low-impact workout for muscles and joints. Unlike more taxing activities like running or jumping, Bocce ball puts minimal stress on the body while still engaging various muscle groups. 

There are also cognitive benefits1. Strategic thinking and problem solving keep minds stimulated. Each throw or roll requires the mind and body to work together to produce the best trajectory and force required. This mental engagement exercises cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and spatial awareness.

If you do not have a Bocce ball set, they are not expensive. This version offers a softer ball for safer indoor/outdoor games that might be suitable for some groups. Check out current cost on Amazon here

2. Seated Volleyball

If you need a physically active game for seniors who may be limited in their ability to stand for long durations or use a wheelchair, walker, etc. Seated volleyball is an adaptable and unique game that can be fun and provide physical exercise.

In addition to being an inclusive game that most anyone could play, it promotes quick decision-making and coordination between teammates. This, combined with the anticipated movement needs, makes Seated Volleyball an ideal activity that offers physical exercise and solid mental exercise. 

Probably the best aspect of this game is that seniors of different ages and abilities can play enjoy this game for an extended period of time if desired. This is possible because it is less taxing than other physical activities and obviously the participants remain seated. 

The rules are straightforward and you can set up the “court” in just about any way that suits your scenario or group. Ideally you will want 4-8 players on each side. They will all be seated about arms length apart. 

The game can be played indoors or outdoors. You can use a badminton net or a tablecloth, sheet, or other item as your “net” and you don’t have to hang it very high unless preferred. Outside of that, you would simply need a beach ball, balloon, or other lightweight inflatable ball. 

3. Balloon Tennis

Many seniors would love to do the sports or activities that they did when they were younger. While many still do participate in tennis, golf, bowling, etc., there are some who are now facing a physical limitation that curtails their ability to do so. 

You can take one of these sports they love and adapt it to meet their specific needs. Balloon Tennis is a great example of this. It is pretty straightforward, but here is the basic setup:

  • Equipment: You will need a balloon and two lightweight rackets or a facsimile of a racket, such as a plastic paddle, large wooden spoon, fly swatter, etc.
  • Playing Area: Clear a space, preferably indoors; outdoors can work if there is minimal wind. Create a boundary using a rope or tape to serve as the
    “Net” between the players.
  • Game Play: Stand on opposite sides of the “net”, facing each other. Use the rackets to hit the balloon back and forth over the “net,” trying to keep the balloon from touching the ground.

Balloon tennis requires participants to use quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination to successfully hit the balloon back and forth. The unpredictable nature of each volley will challenge seniors to react quickly and anticipate its trajectory. Regular play benefits seniors in a number of ways: sharpens reflexes, improves coordination, and enhances motor skills.

4. Pickleball

This sport combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played on a court similar to a badminton court, and the net is placed lower than a traditional tennis net. Players use solid paddles to hit a tennis ball sized whiffle ball back and forth over net. They must keep the ball inside the boundaries of their opponent’s side. The game can be played in singles or doubles.

Pickle ball is a fast-paced game that is very fun for all ages. The is known for its fast pace and strategic shot placement. It is another great way to provide engaging activity when the physical demands of regular tennis may be too much.

Engaging in pickleball helps participants, particularly seniors, improve their cardiovascular fitness. The combination of aerobic activity and quick movements during rallies can contribute to increased heart rate and improved overall cardiovascular health.

Seniors looking for a fun and unique group activity can start a pickleball league. If you want to see how much it cost to invest in a Pickleball set you can check out the cost here.

5. Lawn Bowling

You may have heard of “bowls” or “bowling on the green”. Lawn bowling is a sport that involves rolling small wood or composite balls towards a smaller target ball called the “jack”. The objective of the game is to get your balls as close to the jack as possible. The twist is that the balls have a “bias” that causes them to roll in a curved line.

Gameplay: Players take turns to rolling their balls, either as teams or individually. The balls are rolled along a prepared grass or synthetic surface known as the “green.” The green is divided into rinks, and each player or team aims to place their balls closer to the jack than their opponents. The curved trajectory of the biased balls adds an element of strategy and skill to the game.

Lawn bowling provides a form of physical activity that is gentler on the body than other games. It can easily be enjoyed by people of varying fitness levels. The game involves walking, bending, and rolling the balls, all of which can benefit mobility, muscle strength, and flexibility.

6. Corn Hole/Bean Bag Toss

Cornhole is a popular lawn game all ages. The game can be played by just about anyone regardless of age or ability. The game is easily adaptable, you can move the boards closer together to accommodate players if needed. 

While cornhole does not include much cardiovascular engagement, this game allows seniors and younger individuals to complete and enjoy the game together. This may not be the case for some of the other games on this list that are not as common or appealing to kids.

Speaking of kids, if you ever do find yourself entertaining a rowdy group, be sure to check out these games to keep 11 year old kids engaged

7. Horseshoes

One of my all time favorites, Horseshoes is a classic game that does require some strength. It has a lot of similarities to Corn Hole in that it requires tossing a token towards a target. People of all ages enjoy it. So while the physical benefits are there, this is a suggestion primarily due to the fact that it is fun; whose grandpa wouldn’t like to school them in some horseshoes!

The strength needed to toss the horseshoe can limit who is able to play, however, there are several modified versions of this game that are lighter weight for kids or elderly. Explore these options online to find one that will appeal to your group!

8. Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard is a game that joins the elements of precision, strategy, and skill into an engaging activity for players of any age. It can be played at a leisurely pace or in more competitive manner. The objective is to score points by accurately sliding the discs on the board.

It is an easy game to learn for new players. For many seniors it offers a dose of nostalgia as it is a game that has been around for awhile and they may have enjoyed in their youth.  

Shuffleboard offers entertainment, social interaction, strategic thinking, and light excercise. The best part is that you don’t need an elaborate setup, you can play shuffleboard anywhere you have a smooth surface as long as you have one of these kits.

9. Table Tennis

Ping pong might be the more commonly used name today, but Table Tennis is a superbly fun and challenging game. When it comes to physically active games for seniors, table tennis is a great option. 

The game provides low impact exercise and the use of hand eye-coordination. As mentioned previously in this post, both of those are shown to promote healthy aging. 

Table tennis requires paddles, the ping pong ball, and a table with net. However, you don’t necessarily need the expensive table to mimic the real game. A net can be installed on any large rectangular table. All you need is to come up with paddles and balls. This ping pong set can be used on almost any table

10. Golf Putting

Golfing and retirement are often associated. There is a reason why many seniors choose to play a game of golf: it is a game about constant self improvement and involves the entire body and mind working together. 

If physically able, golfing an entire round is a great activity for seniors, but if aging has limited ability to play a full round of golf, putting is an aspect of the game and can be still be enjoyed. 

It does not have to be simply putting the ball into a cup; you can find many products these days that make the simple act of golf putting more challenging, exciting, and competitive. In fact, there is a relatively new game called Putterball. It is a combination of shuffleboard and putt putt. Check it out here

11. Croquet

With a history going as far back as ancient Egypt, there is evidence they played a form of croquet by hitting a ball with a mallet. Croquet is timeless. Although it has evolved over time, the basic game remains one that can be enjoyed leisurely while providing some physical activity for seniors.

Most people are likely familiar with croquet. There are variations of the game when it comes to rules and scoring. Essentially, the players compete to hit their ball through a series of hoops to score points. When the ball passes through each hoop in the correct order, the player can then attempt to hit the stake and earn more points. 

Players can attempt to hit their opponents ball to knock them out of bounds or make their next shot harder.

Croquet sets are inexpensive. Often garage sales are a great place to pick one up for next to nothing. If you cannot find one, there are endless varieties available online

Before You Go

Remember, it’s always important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new physical activity, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions or mobility limitations.


1:Louis Bherer, Kirk I. Erickson, Teresa Liu-Ambrose, "A Review of the Effects of Physical Activity and Exercise on Cognitive and Brain Functions in Older Adults", Journal of Aging Research, vol. 2013, Article ID 657508, 8 pages, 2013.

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