3/18/2021 | By Kari Smith

These days during the COVID pandemic, isolation has become a key issue for many – especially those who live alone. But with the advancement of social and video chat technology (like Zoom!), it’s a lot easier to stay connected to friends and loved ones. And if you’re looking for some activities to do during your video chats, we’ve put together six of the best Zoom games for older adults.

These games require no additional technology, software, or programming!

1. Scavenger Hunt

A simple scavenger hunt is a game that involves looking for an item around the room or house. Consider whether all parties have the capability and mobility to walk around to look for an item. The leader will read from a list of items one at a time (for example, a blue shirt, a mug with writing on it, a red pen, etc.). Whoever finds the item and returns to the screen first wins a point.

The game can go on for as long as its participants want it to. The game can also be themed! For example, when playing the game during the Christmas holiday, the scavenger hunt items may be a candy cane, a Christmas tree ornament, or anything with an angel on it. If the game is in celebration of a birthday, the items listed could be reminiscent of the guest of honor, such as their favorite book, items that are their favorite color, etc.

2. Two Truths and A Lie

Here’s a throwback! Taking turns, each person will make three statements. One statement must be a lie, and the other two statements must be true. For example: I am an only child. I hate squirrels. I was a champion tennis player. Only two of those statements can be true.

Each person takes turns guessing which statement was a lie, and can keep track of their guesses on a piece of paper. After each other participant states which item they believe to be a lie, the person making the statements will reveal which was a lie. This can be interesting, hilarious, and a great way to get to know your family and friends better!

3. Charades

Everyone knows and loves Charades – which is why it’s one of the best Zoom games for older adults! Modify this classic game for different ages and skill levels, and use for any size group by simply splitting the group in half to create teams. You will need a list of words to act out, which you can either list yourself beforehand, or utilize a Word Generator online. Players will take turns acting out the words, and the members of the opposing team guess what word they are acting out. Players are not to use any sound effects or speak.

Unlike in real life, you can even mute the “actor” while they are acting, to make sure they do not accidently speak or give a clue! You may want to use a timer or a stopwatch. This game can also be themed to a holiday, a special occasion, etc. For example, choose words only relating to birthdays, summer, things that are green, etc.

4. Five Things

This simple game can also be adjusted to the needs of the group. The leader will choose a person and give them a topic. The chosen person will then have 15 seconds to name “five things.” For example, if the topic you give them is “green vegetables,” the answers could be cucumbers, green pepper, broccoli, asparagus, and lettuce. You can choose topics of varying degrees of difficulty that you can work up to.

5. Pictionary

Play this game remotely, using the whiteboard feature in Zoom. Again, you can use an online random generator to choose words. Using a stopwatch or timer, which most people have on their smart phone, set a time limit. When the time begins, the artist will draw until the time ends. If their team does not guess the word currently within the time limit, the other team can “steal” if they know the answer.

6. Scattergories

Remember the board game utilizing a giant die with all the letters on it? It’s also one of the best Zoom games for older adults! In the board game of Scattergories, you roll the die to choose a letter. Then, each person fills out a list that includes different categories – all with answers that begin with the chosen letters. For example, if the category is “fruit,” and the letter is “a,” you could write down “apple” or “apricot.”

Although there are official online versions of Scattergories, you can play on Zoom without having to register or download an additional app. Have a pencil and paper handy, and using a Scattergories list online like this one, take turns choosing a letter – or use an online letter generator. When the timer starts, fill in the list with words beginning with your chosen letter.

Even after we are able to safely gather again, use these games to gather with long-distance friends or far-away grandchildren to build relationships, keep your brain sharp, and simply have fun!

Kari Smith

Kari Smith is a frequent contributor to Seniors Guide, helping to keep those in the senior industry informed and up-to-date. She's a Virginia native whose love of writing began as a songwriter recording her own music. In addition to teaching music and performing in the Richmond area, Kari also enjoys riding horses and farming.

Kari Smith