BlogPlaying tips

11 prop ideas to spark happiness and laughter

A picture of ping pong racquets to be used as props

How can props be used to spark happiness and laughter?

We have put together 11 prop ideas for your dementia care sessions with the magic table 360. We hope to maximise your use by making each session as person-centred as possible in order to spark happiness and laughter among residents. To enhance your interaction with the magic table 360, check out our best prop ideas below: 

Adding Sensory Props

a bowl of water used as a prop

Amazon Alexa

Many of our games can be made even more meaningful with the use of an Alexa, or a Spotify playlist. Select songs that match the theme of a session for a more immersive experience. A seaside song can easily transform a game of Boing or Bubbles. A countdown theme tune can enhance a game of Word Spell. The possibilities are endless.

Feathers

A gentle prop to encourage soft and mindful movements and interaction. This can be used in a fun and creative way to boost engagement. Use a single feather or feather duster to reach leaves, complete paintings or even pop balloons.

A Glass Bowl 

To add another layer of excitement to Fish games, introduce a glass bowl of water. Players can dip their hands in the water and the fish will be attracted to the movements. This makes the game more realistic and provides a great bridge between resident and nature. 

Adding Physical Props

A picture of ping pong racquets to be used as props for dementia care

A Soft Ball

This can be used effectively with games like Leaves, and Bubbles, Piano and Balloon Pop. Roll the ball over the table for a hand-eye co-ordination challenge and to spark interaction. 

Ping Pong Racquets

If you have a set handy, ping pong racquets can enhance reach and playability in games like Boing. It can make the game more meaningful for sports enthusiasts, except this time, the balls don’t go missing! 

Introduce the Real Thing

Use the games to find out what interests the residents and gather props to aid their play. If someone reveals their favourite flower in the flowers game, you could try bringing some real flowers in and pass them around to players. In a game of football, why not bring a ball to have a gentle seated kick-about. To set the mood, bring some balloons to decorate when playing Balloon Pop. All of these things can help create an immersive experience with the residents.

A Lightweight Magnifying Glass

Use this simple prop to aid the reach of players. It’s a great tool to use in games like Word Search. It can even add the benefit of enlarging letters for more visually impaired players. 

Real Coins and Bank-Notes 

This can be a great addition for the Piggy Bank game. It can inspire all sorts of conversation, matching the coins in the game to those in real life. You could try to perform some fun and basic sums with the combination of real coins and projected coins. The options are almost limitless. Plus, ‘Money, Money, Money’ by ABBA is a must-have for the music playlist. 

Adding Comfort Props

A soft toy to be used as a prop

Comfy Chairs and Blankets

Make the seating areas as comfortable as possible. Offer a blanket for someone’s lap, or a cushion behind their back. You could elevate their position to make engagement much easier for the player. Adapt the arrangements for the needs to each player and be responsive to their preferences. 

Refreshments

 Introduce free access to hydrating snacks while people are relaxed and playing with the magic table 360. This is especially important for those extra-long play sessions. You could even have some fun with it and theme the refreshments around the activities. Fruit could make a great addition to the Garden game. Jelly could inspire a retro birthday party theme for Balloon Pop. You could even add some orange slices for football half-time! 

Soft Toys and Therapy Dolls

 With a little encouragement, all can join the fun of playing with the magic table 360. Players can line up the cats to watch a fish-pond. They could use their therapy dolls to help touch the flowers. Most importantly, enter your resident’s worlds and let them lead the sessions in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

If you enjoyed our prop ideas, you can find more playing tips here.

Not a member of the Happiness Programme?

The Happiness Programme is a first-of-its-kind initiative to help change the lives of people living with dementia. We use interactive light technology to provide meaningful activities for residents and patients in care homes and care settings.  If you want to learn more you can find our magic table 360 handbook here. Alternatively, you could check out our games page. To join the Happiness Programme, and discover the wonders of the Magic Table 360, contact us here .

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