Winter Sensory Activities

Stay connected to the world around you by consciously using your sense of smell, vision, hearing, taste, and touch.

bucket of snow


Sensory activities give an older person with dementia an opportunity to stay connected to their world. Try these familiar, and maybe not so familiar, winter time activities with an older loved one. They are the simple things of life that can bring us pleasure.

  • Fill bird feeders for the birds who may winter in your area. If you don’t have a bird feeder make one from an old plate or old cup and saucer glued together.
  • Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows or cocoa with crushed up candy canes in it for a chocolate-mint taste.
  • Have a bowl of warm cereal in the morning. There are many kinds. Try many additions to it like raisins, granola, fruit, or nuts.
  • Find a webcam to keep an eye on. Maybe a place your loved one has been to or animals awaiting to be born. These can be fun to view.
  • Wrap up in an old afghan or old quilt. Touch it, smell it, and look at the colors. Reminisce about who made it, how long it must have taken to make, and about the fabrics/yarn used in it. Does it tell a story?
  • Be a weather watcher. What’s the weather like? Do you have a weather monitor in your home that tells the temperature outside? Do you have a weather vane? A rain gauge? Are there icicles outdoors to look at or snow to measure?
  • Take a break with a cup of hot tea (there are many kinds-try out different ones everyday) and cookies.
  • Cook and bake with a loved one. All the senses can be stirred up in the kitchen.
  • Make a rice pillow and use it when your loved one is chilled. It is great for warming hands, feet, and just sitting it on your lap.
  • Ask the grandchildren or neighborhood children to make a snowman in your loved one’s yard. (If you live where it snows) Have it facing his window so he can see and enjoy the snowman’s face.
  • Bring in snow from the outdoors in a bucket or on a tray to feel the coldness. Or you can bring in snowballs and have your loved one help to make a mini snowman in the house. Use whatever items you have to make the eyes, mouth, and arms. (Things like chocolate chips for the eyes, pretzels for the arms, licorice for the mouth, a jumbo size marshmallow for a hat) Keep the snowmen on a cookie sheet to catch the melting water. You’ll have to work fast before the snow melts! The grandchildren can help with this as well.

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