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Getting More from Bingo

Getting More from Bingo

If you read our Beyond Bingo and Back article, you’d know that we’re not a fan of large groups of “bingo”. For people with dementia, or other disabilities it can be challenging to be successful in the normal fast paced bin go program which is typically held in an environment with many distractions. We created several “small group” bingo games with 3 x 3 bingo cards and different themes and have received very positive feedback to these bingo variations:

  • one recreation director told us they have a very popular bingo program using these “small group” games once a week in the three dining areas prior to the mid-day meal
  • another told us they play “hallway bingo” with a few neighbouring residents set up in the doorway of their room so they can enjoy bingo together while still physically distancing
  • a community-based organization included our “small group” bingo sets in their caregiver kits and they tell us that the individuals still living at home have enjoyed playing bingo when family members visit, especially their great-grandchildren.

That started me thinking more about our bingo games and the many ways the components can be used other than as a bingo game. Here are some ideas:

  • Each bingo set includes 54 small, rectangular “bingo markers” in six different colors, ideal for sorting activities. Here are a few ideas:
    • Sort the markers by color and count them to confirm there are nine of each
    • Count the markers without sorting them
    • Make nine separate piles with six markers in each (one of each color)
  • Turn the bingo games into matching activities by finding the “calling cards” that match what’s shown on a bingo card. For example:


    • Choose a bingo card and then find the answer cards that matches
    • For more challenge, if the person is familiar with the “expressions”, they can match the Expressions flash cards to the answers shown on the bingo card
    • For less challenge, simply sort the flash cards and answer cards by color


    • Choose a bingo card and match the picture cards to it
    • Put the cards in alphabetic order by the animal name printed on the cards


    • Choose a bingo card and match the picture cards to it
    • Put the cards in alphabetic order by the instrument name printed on the cards
    • For less challenge sort the calling cards by the color of the label


    • Choose a bingo card and match the number cards to it
    • Put the number cards in sequential order
    • Sort the number cards into odd and even numbers
    • Sort the number cards into those divisible by 3, 4 or 5
    • Select two cards and then find the card that is the sum of the two cards
These are just a few suggestions of how a little thought and creativity can add some variety and fun to your activities.


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