Celebrating Sporting Events During COVID

With coronavirus still effecting our social lives, a lot of sporting events have had to be put on hold or rescheduled, leaving gaps in the activity calendar. Robyn Taylor shares her suggestions for keeping up with those sporting highlights that your residents so enjoy…

While some sporting events are still taking place, many have been cancelled, and those that are on television can be strange to watch with no crowd or spectators. Have you watched the football without any cheering? What are your thoughts? How do your residents feel?

If sporting events have been cancelled, or are hard to access on television, it doesn’t mean you have to put a hold on them in the care home. For a start, if you look on The Daily Sparkle Activity Bank you will find lots of sporting events to watch and reminiscence over, along with some helpful ideas for how to run the events. And you can also see plenty of videos of past matches, games and races in our Sporting Video Library.

Below are some of our top suggestions for keeping up the sporting energy in your care home….


  • Set up a mini football pitch in the garden – improvise by using chairs or buckets for the goal.
  • Walking football is a great workout for the elderly.
  • Using a soft ball or balloon, kick it to each other around the room.
  • Watch classic old matches, including the 1966 World Cup.
  • Play ‘Guess The Player’ – give clues on the person, can they guess who it is? Show them a picture at the end.


  • Balloon tennis – either using hands or badminton rackets.
  • Restring tennis rackets – can you get hold of some second-hand kids’ rackets and restring them? Or draw the outline of a racket and weave string and wool through some holes.
  • Watch an old tennis match on the big screen – enjoy with fresh strawberries and cream.
  • Who can throw the tennis ball the furthest? (Outside only!)
  • Tennis ball hunt – hide tennis balls around the garden or lounges (in places which you know will be suitable for the resident to reach). They have to get the balls to a designated place in the garden.
  • Use tennis balls for arts and crafts – paint them, make bunting from them, or even be inspired by the Disney film ‘Up’ and put them on Zimmer frames for decoration.
  • Alternative egg and spoon race – the same concept but use a racket and a ball.


  • Decorate a soft ball to look like a cricket ball – sit in a circle and shout out a person’s name. The person whose name you shout must catch the ball and then shout someone else’s name.
  • Make cricket balls and bats out of pre-made icing and then decorate them.


  • Play darts – risk assess beforehand. You can purchase dartboards online that have suction ends rather than needles.
  • Use a water gun to shoot a triangle of plastic cups stacked up – can you knock any off?
  • Use a darts game to inspire you to do maths equations – print off a darts board, get each resident to point at a number – who is the quickest to add up?


  • Use a ping-pong ball to throw into different sized containers.
  • New Age Kurling sets – these are a must for sporting activities in your home. They may be expensive, but definitely worthwhile.


  • Make a lasso out of rope – encourage the person to throw the lasso around a suitable object. You could maybe watch some old Western films to follow.
  • Make a horseshoe from papier-mache, and use card or other materials to make it a bit sturdier – throw the horseshoe like a frisbee to see if it lands on targets.


  • Purchase, borrow, or see if someone will gift you a snooker table – this is a great activity for the residents in the home. Even if they are not playing by the rules, it is still fun to just pot the balls around the table.
  • Organise an evening to watch the snooker on TV – drink beer, sing and chant as if you are watching it live.


  • Throw a ball as far as possible in the style of a shot put.
  • Throw a javelin as far as possible – make a javelin beforehand out of papier-mache.
  • Swimming – using the different swimming strokes in a movements class.
  • Fill water balloons with paint and throw them onto a canvas.
  • Use a beach ball during an exercise class. Write questions on each side so they have to answer the question they can see when they catch the ball.


  • Borrow some golf shoes – spend time threading and tying shoelaces, and cleaning the shoes. Golf shoes, football shoes, tap dancing shoes, ballet shoes, running shoes and more – see if you can get an array of different sports shoes. Can the residents guess which shoe is for which sport?
  • Indoor golf-putting machines are fantastic – another must-have for sports activities in the home.


  • Balance a broom or a large stick on the palm of your hand.
  • Fill empty bottles with rice, water or stones – decorate them and use them as weights for exercise classes.
  • Set out an obstacle course around the garden – chairs to walk around, zigzag patterns to follow etc – and have the person complete this while holding a ball.


  • Bowl with marbles – on a table, roll the marbles across the table to hit a target at the other end. It could be paper cups, bottles or even target circles.