how to plan activities for the next 12 months

How to Plan Activities for the Next 12 Months

Planning activities is hard enough under normal circumstances. But when you factor in all the upheaval and unknowns of the past year, it can feel downright impossible. That's why we've put together this helpful guide to walk you through the process of how to plan activities for the next 12 months. We know it's not easy, but with our resources and tips, you'll be well on your way to developing a solid plan.

How to Plan Activities: Where to Start

The first step is to gather all the information you can about who is available to participate in activities on a weekly basis. This includes staff members, volunteers, and participants. Once you have that information, you can start to develop a schedule. Keep in mind the skills and abilities of your participants when creating your programs. It's also important to understand any limitations of your facility or situation. For example, if you're working with a small group of people, you may need to be more flexible with scheduling. 

But before you get started, there are a few things you should have: 

  • An idea of who is available on a weekly basis 
  • Knowing the skills and abilities of your participants 
  • Understanding the limitations of your facility or specific situation 

Keeping the above three things in mind will help you develop and plan programs that are feasible and meet the needs of your population.

We've compiled a list of resources (both written and video) to help you on your way. And if you need a little extra help, our free database is always available. Just click the magnifying glass in the menu, enter your search term and see what comes up.

Video Resources for How To Plan Activities

There are countless videos available on YouTube and other sites that can give you some great ideas for activities. A quick search for “activities for nursing home residents” or “independent living activities” will give you an overwhelming amount of results, but we've gone ahead and saved you some time by putting together a few of our favorites.

This playlist will play all the videos we’ve put into the category of Working with Someone Else. Basically everything you need to work with someone else to help them tell their story. These ideas, prompts, and suggestions are applicable in most situations.

One great example is this video from Happier at Home, which features eight different activity ideas that can be done with little to no equipment. These activities are perfect for those who are living independently or in assisted living facilities since they can be done without much space or staff assistance. 

Creating your 12-month activities outline

You can approach this from a variety of directions. For the purpose of this article we'll stick with seasonal options and traditions.

Starting with seasons and established holidays in your geographic region makes It easier to go by calendar months. Using known local customs and holidays also means that it can help with memory recollection and is easier for participants to connect with.

How to Use Our Free Database for Your Storytelling Projects or Activities

There are over 100 pages on the Legacy Recorder website that are free for you to peruse, click through, and utilize in your planning, programming, and activities. We also include links to outside resources that can help fill in additional pieces and provide a deeper experience for your participants.

How to Plan an Activity with Storytelling in 3 Simple Steps

The beginning is always a great place to start. This video will walk you through how to plan an activity with storytelling included in three simple steps. You may have heard some of this before but we encourage you to watch or listen and implement.

Written Resources 

If videos aren't your thing or you just want something else to read through, we've got you covered there too! There are tons of articles with lists of activities that are perfect for any setting. Here are a few of our favorites: 

  • This article from Verywell Health offers 30 different activity ideas that can be done with little to no materials and can accommodate any level of mobility.  
  • This piece from NotJustBingo provides readers with 50 different activity ideas—10 each for cognitive stimulation, sensory stimulation, physical activity, and community involvement—that can be easily implemented in any setting. 
  • The Legacy Recorder website offers over a hundred pages of prompts, ideas, and techniques for interviewing

Still feeling overwhelmed? That's ok! We understand how difficult it can be to try and come up with new ideas all on your own. Fortunately, there's a helpful tool that can take some of the guesswork out of things: The Activity Idea Search Database from

This free online database allows users to search for activity ideas by setting, participant ability level, number of participants needed, and more!

How to Plan Activities: Mapping Out Your Next 12 Months

Planning activities for the next 12 months doesn't have to be an overwhelming task. With a little planning and forethought, you can easily develop a solid plan that will ensure your participants are engaged and supported. So get started today! Get a jumpstart with the 7 Days of Storytelling Activity Plan.

As you can see, there are lots of great resources available to help you plan activities for the next 12 months—regardless of your budget or staffing levels. We hope that this article has given you a jumping-off point and some helpful tools to get started! And if you need any assistance along the way, don't hesitate to reach out to us—we're here to help!