The Best Lockdown Activities

For our competition this Autumn, we asked you to share some of the ingenious ways you’ve been running activities during lockdown. We’ve been blown away by the responses – and your incredible ingenuity – so will be sharing all the entries shortly. For now, enjoy the best of the best, with all the winners….


“Matching pairs of hearts were made by St Johns volunteers, staff and residents and sent to us at St Johns Moorside Nursing Home, specialising in dementia care. There were matching pairs for each resident in a variety of designs and sizes. Our residents chose their hearts and we photographed them, while explaining one would go to their loved ones and one was theirs to keep. Relatives loved this symbol of connection when no visiting was allowed. This is a simple activity with a positive impact on families in difficult times. The hearts could also be made by residents in a craft activity.”

WINNER: Kate Harfield, Moorside Nursing Home, Winchester


“Bushfield have a very active nature group, encouraging everyone, despite ability or age, to connect with nature. When lockdown hit, all the activities we’d planned suddenly had the brakes put on. It could have become an overwhelming situation for us all, until we heard that the Wildlife Trust were doing a challenge during June, which could not have come at a better time. We signed up for their activity pack for care homes, and took part in their challenges – from making bird feeders and planting seeds, to a nature hunt, poetry workshops and learning about folklore around favourite wildflowers. A donation of two iPads enabled us to watch live webcams of birds and badgers, as well as keeping in touch with families. All in all, it was a great way to observe the seasons and for the residents see that nature was still busy.”

WINNER: Marie Barley, Bushfield Court Retirement Scheme, Bilston


“We aim to host activities in a way that does not make anyone in isolation feel different. If it’s gardening club day, we take individual planters into lockdown rooms, so they are involved in gardening club. For seaside weekend, we took individual buckets and sand to bedrooms. Our whole objective is to ensure lockdown residents don’t feel secondary. Skype, Facebook, Zoom, distanced visits etc are in place to ensure communication with families. When we had to cancel our teddy bears’ picnic, the community decided to support us and 70 locals sent pictures of their families hosting their own teddy bears’ picnics. Our advice to coordinators would be to accept things are different, don’t criticise yourself, and believe you GENUINELY make a difference every day.”

WINNER: Louise Voss, Mill House Care Home, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire


“We have played bingo on units, had singalongs, done Zoom activities, and read the Daily Sparkle. Residents kept in touch with their families by using our tablet to make video calls. My advice to give anyone currently in a lockdown is to try your hardest to get residents involved in activities. I noticed a drop in residents wanting to take part when families stopped coming in. These are the people I went to and did one-to-one with as I felt it was really important for their mental health to spend the time with them which they would usually spend with family. Even if it was just a game of dominoes or even a half-hour conversation, it makes such a difference to them.”

WINNER: Kirsty McMullen & Charlotte Grange, Flaxton Street Care Home, Hartlepool


“During lockdown we introduced a pen-pal scheme to our residents. We posted this on our Facebook page and had such a good response from family and friends that it went viral! A few of our residents were interviewed on the local BBC News to explain what the scheme meant to them, which was very uplifting. Plus, their families were happy to see their loved ones on television. The scheme has allowed our residents to make new friends, not only in our community, but worldwide. Local primary schools and nurseries have written to us too, which we believe is important for two very different generations to stay connected.”

WINNER: Tyanna Robinson, Cleeve Lodge Care Home, Bristol