Just like physical exercise, mental “exercise” is important. Mental activities can include doing puzzles, playing cards, reading books, going to lectures or concerts, or learning a new activity. These can be coupled with physical exercise such as learning new dance steps. Just like with physical exercise, there is no single “right” mental exercise. Social interactions are an important source of mental stimulation, and many activities can be done with friends or family members.
Here are some suggestions and activities to boost your brain:
- Cooking new recipes – helps connect steps, uses memory for measurements
- Singing – helps with recall and memory, also good for exercising your voice
- Word searches – helps with word identification
- Playing card games – relies on memory to recall rules and strategies
- Meditating – clears your mind and instills relaxation
- Word association games – match words in same category, helps retrain vocabulary
- Chess or other strategic games – uses memory to recall rules and strategies and uses body to move pieces
- Memory – Matching games – helps increase attention span
- Trivia games – rely on memory recall and reasoning skills to narrow down choices
- Reflex games – games using mind and body together preserves coordination. A good example is Simon.
This great article about keeping your brain healthy from our May/June 2022 newsletter has some great exercises, as well.
Activities from the Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) Program
Activity 1: Differences and Similarities
How can you group each of the images down below in each set. Think about the differences and similarities. Can you find more than one association between them? Write down your categories or print out the images and create physical groups!
Activity 2: Sports
1) Do you like to watch sports? Why or why not?
2) How do you think sports have changed throughout the years?
3) Did you play any sports in your childhood?
a. What is a memory of playing a sport in your past?
Answers: 1) Basketball, 2) Soccer, 3) Tennis, 4) Boxing, 5) Baseball, 6) Football, 7) Hockey, 8) Golf, 9) Bowling
Activity 3: Synonyms
1. What strategies did you use to complete this activity?
2. Which terms were easier for you to think of words with the same meaning?
a. Why do you think that?
3. Set a timer for 60 seconds and try this activity with new words. Did you think of more or less words?
Activity 4: Music Memory
May 22, 1965 Beatles’ “Ticket To Ride” single hits #1!
Listen to the song and discuss the questions below:
1. Did you enjoy listening to the Beatles? If so, what did you like about them?
2. What are your favorite songs from the Beatles?
3. Do these songs bring back any specific memories?
4. Why do you think the Beatles were so famous?
Activity 5: Fashion Trends
Discuss the fashion trends from each decade
What fashion trends have stayed and what trends have faded out?
How has women’s fashion changed over the years?
How has men’s fashion changed over the years?
Did you wear any of the fashion trends shown above? Why or why not?
Activity 6: Toys
1. Did you play with these toys as a child?
2. If yes, who did you participate with?
3. Which toys or games were your favorite? Why?
4. you think children nowadays play with toys like these?
5. Describe what children play with now. How have toys changed since you were a child?
Activity 7: Vacations
1. What are some activities you could do in each of these places if you traveled there?
2. Which destination would you want to travel to and why?
3. Where have you traveled to in the past?
a. Who was with you?
b. What type of transportation did you use to get to that destination?
4. How has your interest in vacationing changed since you were younger?
Activity 8: On This Day
1. $2368 in today’s money is not a lot for a sports car. How have car prices changed since 1964?
2. How much do you think a 1964 Ford Mustang would cost in 2020?
3. Why do you think the Ford Mustang was so iconic?
4. Do you like cars? If so, what types and why?