different ways to play bingo

S&S Blog

Our friends over at have provided us with some great ideas for your Fall or Winter BINGO activities! We’d love for you to share your feedback in the comments!

Bingo is fun, but over time it can become monotonous and a bit stale, even for those calling the game. Consider adding more energy to your next bingo game with a few new twists.

If you’d like to print and save these ideas, here is a printable version.

1. Play different styles of bingo games. Instead of playing the traditional bingo game in which participants must be the first to fill five squares in a row, make up different board-covering rules. For example, award prizes to the first person who covers a postage stamp on the board (the top-right four squares), the first person who covers the corners (the four corner squares of the bingo card), or the first person who covers the whole board (the black-out game). View our blog on How to Shake Up Your Bingo Games in 3 Steps for a printable download with 15 bingo pattern ideas!

2. Use food for the games. For instance, if you are hosting a fun Christmas themed Bingo game, use red and green M&M’s or Hershey’s Kisses as the bingo markers. You will probably want to use holiday themed prizes as well.

3. Alter your bingo cards. It’s so easy to change the mood or style of a bingo game by changing the five letters at the top of the bingo board. Throughout autumn, consider playing A-C-O-R-N instead of B-I-N-G-O. You can make the simple change by taping construction paper squares featuring the new letters at the top of the bingo boards. Just make sure to tell the bingo caller about the change! In addition, if you are going to play A-C-O-R-N, consider using acorn caps as the bingo markers. Another autumn bingo idea includes hosting an apple cider bingo game with the letters C-I-D-E-R at the top of the bingo boards – but don’t forget to serve the apple cider!

4. Organize a themed party around the bingo game. For example, at a nursing home, get your residents out of their rooms by hosting a fun Strawberry Daiquiri Bingo, complete with delicious strawberry daiquiris. If, however, you are planning the game for little ones, schedule a Kool-Aid Bingo featuring the Kool-Aid drink along with Kool-Aid cookies, and, yes, even Kool-Aid cupcakes.

5. Shake things up by using pictures. Try out a fun new game of Picture Bingo, where participants must find the pictures on the cards that match up with the descriptions that are being read. It’s also colorful and can help improve residents’ cognitive skills while they are having fun!

6. Double the Prizes! Make one of your bingo games even more competitive among the participants by doubling your usual prize for just that one game. So, if you give out one candy bar as a prize, give out two. If you give out one Frank Sinatra CD as a prize, then yes, give out two!

7. Human bingo. This is a fun game that is a great icebreaker for both adults and kids. To play, just create your own bingo cards filling each square with a different characteristic. For instance, one of the boxes may say “Favorite color: yellow” or “Has ridden in a helicopter.” The object of the game is for each participant to mingle with others to find someone who has that characteristic and then to write their name in the square. The first person who completes five squares in a row wins!

About Not Just Bingo:

Not Just Bingo is an online resource of fun, senior activity ideas for activity professionals of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They have been providing fun activity ideas online since 2009, and continue to assist activity professionals across the country by creating meaningful and engaging activity ideas for their residents that go “beyond bingo.” Not Just Bingo feels privileged to help activity directors better the living experiences of their residents while demonstrating that a senior’s quality of life can actually improve when they move to a nursing facility!

Want even more ideas each month? Sign up for the Notjustbingo Membership to receive specialized activity ideas to keep your residents and staff engaged, active, and having fun!

S&S Blog Our friends over at have provided us with some great ideas for your Fall or Winter BINGO activities! We’d love for you to share your feedback in the comments! Bingo

How to Make Bingo Fun
in Your Facility

Over time, residents (and staff) can get tired of playing the same games, day after day. To ease the monotony, consider spicing up your bingo games to create more interest for you and your residents. Here’s how:

  1. Add a Double Bingo. Consider giving out two prizes to the winner at a special monthly bingo game.
  2. Organize bingo games with current holidays. Create bingo cards on your computer that relate to the season. For instance, during the summer, create B-E-A-C-H cards instead of the regular B-I-N-G-O cards.
  3. Play swap bingo. If your residents are agreeable, during the middle of a game have residents swap places in which they swap seats with another player and take on that new bingo card as their own. In contrast, in between games, ask residents to swap bingo cards.
  4. Vary the ways to win. Instead of only winning by having five chips in a row, consider playing four corners (each of the four corners must be covered), X-pattern or L-pattern (making the letter on the board), or cover-all (covering the whole board).
  5. Take residents to a bingo game outside of your facility. Search for opportunities in your community to take residents to places that host bingo games in hopes of bringing in more customers, like a local Wal-Mart or restaurant.
  6. Use play money to use at a Bingo Auction. Instead of having to buy prizes and give them out at each bingo game, create play money to pass out to residents when they win. At the end of the month, host a fun bingo auction in which residents use their play money to bid on prizes. See our article The #1 Way to Get Residents to Stop Complainting About Your Bingo Prizes.
  7. Add music. Create bingo cards that have titles of songs instead of numbers. When a song is played, have residents locate the title on their card and cover it with a bingo chip.
  8. Add trivia. Create cards that contain trivia information instead of numbers. For example, make bingo cards that just have different state names inside each box. During the game, give clues about each state and have residents cover their answers with a bingo chip.
  9. Add pictures. Download famous faces into your bingo cards that your residents will recognize. During the game, give trivia about the people and see if the residents can guess who you are talking about before covering their picture with a bingo chip.
  10. Add food and drinks. Plan a fun bingo game while serving a particular food or drink. For example, once per month, host a fun non-alcoholic beverage bingo, like Piña Colada Punch Bingo or Virgin Daiquiri Bingo.

Need help creating activities?

If you need help coming up with new activities each and every month
for your residents, then check out our FREE email tips series,
“The 3 Best Ways to Create Fun, Fresh Activities for Your Senior Residents.”

Find Easy-to-Follow Ideas to Increase Participation in Your Facility’s Bingo Games. ]]>