A Million Hands | Dementia activities to do with your section

A Million Hands Dementia Blog

This week, we're looking at activities from the A Million Hands dementia resource pack which you and your section can have a go at! Haven't downloaded a resource pack, or chosen an issue yet? You can do so here.

Getting dressed

This fun activity will use clothing to demonstrate how dementia might affect someone's ability to do everyday tasks.

Suitable for:

  • Beavers
  • Cubs
  • Scouts
  • Explorers 
  • Network

You will need:

  • Items of clothing (include layers like t-shirts and jumpers)
  • Paper and pens
  • Stopwatches

What to do:

1. Split the section into teams.

2. Choose one person in the team to be the Time Keeper and one person to get dressed (the ‘Dresser’).

3. Tell each team they are trying to do the activity as fast as they can. Ask the rest of the team to line up and at the whistle (start the clock) they have to fetch each item of clothing as quick as they can, one by one. The Dresser has to put on the item of clothing by themselves (no assistance!) before anyone else can leave to collect the next piece. Continue until all the clothing is on and note the finishing times of each team.

4. Ask how everyone feels – write it down on the A3 paper (e.g. happy, sense of achievement, completed the task).

5. Ask the Dresser to take the items off and put them back, but this time place them in the wrong order (e.g. jumper before undergarments). Choose a new Time Keeper and Dresser.

6. Repeat the activity, this time making sure the Dressers put the items on in the order that they arrive. Again the Dresser is not allowed any help putting the clothes on.  Take note of any comments the Dressers make, e.g. “it’s too hard”, “it’s impossible”.

7. Note the times and what the Dressers are wearing – how do they feel (a bit embarrassed/silly?)  Did it take longer because of the confusion?

8. Repeat the activity one last time, again having the items in the wrong order but this time the Dressers can wait for different items first, so that they get dressed in the right order (the runners can leave once the item has arrived with the dresser). The young people who aren’t running can help the Dresser get dressed.

9. Note the time – it takes a bit longer, but what is the outcome? How does the person feel (sense of achievement, doesn’t feel silly, feels proud)?


Seeing things differently

This fun activity will explore how communication can be difficult for people living with dementia.

Suitable for:

  • Beavers
  • Cubs
  • Scouts
  • Explorers
  • Network

You will need:

  • Pens
  • Paper
  • A series of shapes drawn on the paper

What to do:

1. Ask the young people to line up chairs back-to-back down the middle of the room and ask them to sit on the chairs.

2. Name one side the A’s and one side the B’s.3

3. Explain that B will be given a picture. B needs to explain to A what to do with their pen on their page (i.e. how to draw the same picture) but can only give instructions e.g. “halfway down the page draw a line”. They cannot say what the picture is of, name any shapes or say it is ‘like’ another object. For example, if using the picture included, they cannot use: boat, cloud, triangle, semi-circle, etc.  The As cannot ask any questions. Neither A or B can turn around at any point for any reason.4

4. Give the young people 3-5 minutes to draw their picture. After a minute or two, walk around and whistle, sing, put music on or make as much disruption as you can! Stop the activity when you think everyone has had a fair opportunity to complete their drawing.

5. Once time is up, ask the pairs to show each other their pictures. 


  • As – what was difficult about this? What did you do when you didn’t know what B meant? How did it feel?
  • Bs – how did you find it? Did you assume that A knew what you were drawing? How easy was it to explain the picture? Were you precise enough?
  • All – how do you think this might relate to people with dementia? What situation do you think that people with dementia may experience that could feel similar?
    • If someone is trying to give them instructions, they might not be precise enough.
    • If someone is telling them a story, there may be a distraction that makes it harder for them to hear.
    • If they can’t see the person they are speaking to, they may not understand the tone of the story (because they can’t see their facial expressions) or even know they are being spoken to!
  • What could we do to help?Examples could be:
    • move the chairs to face each other
    • say what the picture is
    • use hand gestures and facial expressions
  • Would this make it easier?

If you haven't downloaded a resource pack or picked an issue for A Million Hands, you can do so here. Make sure you let us know how you're getting on!

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