Montessori-Based Activities for Persons with Dementia, Volume 1


Edited by Cameron J. Camp, Ph.D.

ISBN 978-1-878812-67-4
76 pages
9 x 11 tabbed spiral-bound papercover
© 1999

Improve your care by improving the functioning of your clients or residents with Alzheimer’s disease. Discover how the principles of Montessori education can help people with dementia maintain or improve skills needed in their daily lives. With these 41 step-by-step activities you can enhance the skills used to perform basic tasks, such as

  • self-feeding
  • preparing simple meals
  • dressing
  • participating in recreational activities
  • and more!

The secret to the success of these activities is that they are

  • open-ended so individuals gain a sense of accomplishment at any level of participation
  • intellectually stimulating and meaningful
  • adaptable—with suggestions for increasing or lowering the level of difficulty as needed
  • springboards to many new variations of activities

Without a doubt, Montessori-Based Activities for Persons with Dementia was designed with the busy activity director in mind. From brightly colored tabs to spiral binding to clear outlines and attention-grabbing callouts within these outlines, this manual is ready to use right out of the package.

Too many activity programs consist of “busy work” and lack of variety in activities. Make a change for the better and put the Montessori method to work for you today!

Distributed for Myers Research Institute and Menorah Park Center for the Aging, Beachwood, Ohio.


Sensory Discrimination

  • Activity 1: Loud and Soft
  • Activity 2: Color Discrimination
  • Activity 3: Weight Discrimination
  • Activity 4: Temperature Discrimination
  • Activity 5: The Smelling Jars

Scooping Exercises

  • Group I: Hand Scooping Activities
  • Group II: Scooping Activities Using Tools
    • Activity 1: Golf Ball Scoop
    • Activity 2: Marble Scooping
    • Activity 3: Spoon Scooping of Grains
    • Activity 4: Pasta Scooping
    • Activity 5: Sifting Rice

Pouring Activities

  • Activity 1: Corn Pouring with Funnel
  • Activity 2: Liquid Pouring

Squeezing Activities

  • Activity 1: Clay Color Mixing
  • Activity 2: Using Tongs
  • Activity 3: Pom-pom Squeeze
  • Activity 4: Clothes Pin Exercise
  • Activity 5: Garlic Press Squeeze
  • Activity 6: Hole Punching

Fine Motor Activities

  • Activity 1: String Beads
  • Activity 2: Lacing
  • Activity 3: Rock Painting
  • Activity 4: Sand Tray Letters
  • Activity 5: Tearing Paper
  • Activity 6: Cutting with Scissors

Care of the Environment

  • Activity 1: Arranging Flowers
  • Activity 2: Watering Plants
  • Activity 3: Place Setting
  • Activity 4: Polishing Metal
  • Activity 5: Mirror Polishing

Care of the Person

  • Activity 1: Folding Clothes
  • Activity 2: Hanging Clothes

Matching Activities

  • Group I: Form Matching
    • Activity 1: Shape Sort
    • Activity 2: Face Sort
  • Group II: Object Matching
    • Activity 1: Toolbox Sort
    • Activity 2: Cufflink Sort
  • Group III: Category Matching with Pictures
    • Activity 1: Environmental Sorts (Plants/Animals)

Seriation Activities

  • Activity 1: Measuring Spoons
  • Activity 2: Arranging Tubes in a Series
  • Group Activity: Memory Blackout Bingo Game

Cameron J. Camp, Ph.D., is a senior research scientist and director of the Myers Research Institute, a division of Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood, Ohio. He also is an adjunct professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland), The University of Akron, and Cleveland State University.

Dr. Camp is a recognized expert in the field of gerontology who conducts workshops across the country and internationally on designing cognitive and behavioral interventions for dementia. His current research involved: development of a screening instrument for restorative nursing programs in skilled nursing facilities; interventions to enable therapists to apply memory improvement techniques during the course of therapy with people with dementia; use of Montessori-based activities as rehabilitative interventions for people with dementia; and the development of interventions to enable older adults with HIV to more effectively adhere to medication regimens and to keep clinic appointments.


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