My “Twist” on that Old Twister Mat in the Closet

0001-16664753If you know me well, then you know that I LOVE games. I am a very competitive person and I am a game fanatic! I constantly am looking through old games that are missing pieces or that I have lost interest in and creating new ways to use my old treasures. Today I am sharing my considerations on the classic game Twister. I have only used this in assisted living and Alzheimer units, but I imagine it would be a blast anywhere with any population. There is definitely a big “twist” as this game is not like Twister at all! It is a Name That Tune game utilizing that old Twister mat that is just not as appealing as it was when you were 10. I used to love playing Twister as a child and I am happy to see my old mat getting some new love! Here is the scoop along with 40 songs that are easy for older adults to identify, sing along with and enjoy!

Description: A Musical Name That Tune game which gets your participants moving, thinking, singing and smiling!

Goal Areas Addressed:  increase/maintain gross motor movement and coordination, cognitive stimulation through memory recall, increase respiration through singing, increase socialization, improve mood

 What You Need: A Twister® game mat and spinner board, Egg Shakers or Bean Bags, Dry Erase Board, Marker, a visual displaying the categories which correspond to the 4 colors on the Twister® mat.


Set Up: Place the visual board where participants can see the color categories. Place the Twister® mat on the floor in the middle of the group.  Distribute one egg shaker to all participants (one can be used if there are not enough available for all participants).

 Scoring: If your group is as competitive as mine, you may wish to play as a scoring game. I use the following scoring system where clients can throw an egg or spin the spinner. If the team identifies the song title correctly, grant them the points and keep score on the dry erase board.

Spinner= 1 point

Bean Bag on Outer Circles on Mat= 2 points

Bean Bag on Inner Circles on Mat= 3 points

 Now What?

Divide group into at least two teams. Distribute an egg shaker (or bean bag) to each participant. Each person receives a turn to toss their egg shaker onto the twister mat in the middle of the floor. Play a small section of a song which matches the color their egg landed on. You may have to allow a few minutes for discussion within the group members. Once the song is identified, perform the entire song encouraging participants to sing along. You can also give the other team a chance to “steal” the points if the current team cannot identify the song.

Other Considerations

There are times where a participant has a difficult time throwing the egg shaker, or they may be too far away from the mat on the floor. I always have the spinner along as well just for this reason! In order to keep everyone feeling involved, I offer a chance to “spin” instead of throwing the egg. Spinning is only worth one point BUT the participant is guaranteed to succeed in picking a song category.

There also are times where the participant’s egg lands on the white part of the game mat. This is also a moment where I give them the option to “throw again” or “spin”.

We must remember to always include EVERY participant and MAXIMIZE the SUCCESS of each participant! That is why it is so important to consider all of the angles when designing a game for clients.

I hope some of you found this idea useful. I love using it and all of my clients do too! If you have any questions feel free to ask!

FOLK-RED                                                             POPULAR- BLUE

1.  Crawdad Song                                                1. Sentimental Journey

2. Home on the range                                        2. Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree

3. Clementine                                                      3.  By the Light of the Silvery Moon

4. Shenandoah                                                     4. Tea for Two

5. Oh Susannah                                                   5. Chattanooga Choo Choo

6. This Land is Your Land                                 6. Bye Bye Blackbird

7. My Wild Irish Rose                                         7. Que Sera Sera

8. Red River Valley                                             8. Meet Me In St. Louis

9. Yellow Rose of Texas                                     9. Don’t Get around Much anymore

10. I’ve Been Working on the Railroad            10. Doe a Deer


COUNTRY                                                               HYMNS

1. I walk the Line                                                 1. Amazing Grace

2. Deep in the Heart of Texas                            2. The Old Rugged Cross

3. Springtime in the Rockies                               3. In the Garden

4. Don’t Fence Me In                                           4. How Great Thou Art

5. Ring of Fire                                                       5. Just a Closer Walk With Thee

6. I Fall to Pieces                                                  6. I Love to Tell the Story

7. A White Sport Coat                                          7. Abide With Me

8. Tennessee Waltz                                              8. What a Friend We Have in Jesus

9. Hey Good Looking                                           9. Swing Low Sweet Chariot

10. Walking After Midnight                                10. When the Saints Go Marching In









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9 Responses to My “Twist” on that Old Twister Mat in the Closet

  1. Lynnae Novak Mt-bc says:

    I loved, loved this intervention! The residents that were highest functioning came Alice, and were very engaged. The patients with moderate dementia were calling out banes of tunes or identifying the lyrics, and late stage/low functioning residents were watching me or following the throws of other residents. I work with some very low functioning residents that could not throw or spin. I either had them count to three to tell me when to throw, or held their hand, moved arm in swinging motion, counted to three and then threw it for them. I also added color to my visual aid board and asked residents to identify what genre went with the color each egg landed on. I will most certainly use this again! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kelsey says:

    Love this! I will be trying this! We sing a lot of those songs during karaoke. I think I might create additional categories to mix it up. I think a “show tunes” would be great. It could have Singing in the Rain, songs from Annie, etc. We have a woman who was on Broadway who would love that! A seasonal/holiday one would be good too- with Jingle Bells, Noel, etc.

  3. Shelley says:

    I bought a twister game and brought it to our staff meeting. We talked about new ways to use it. 7 different ideas came from it, including 4 categories of sensory, 4 for trivia. I developed the music component similar, but love the color coded egg egg shakers are pink and purple. We also had an exercise for the 4 colors.
    Thank you for sharing

  4. CW says:

    Can you suggest what to do if the same song is landed on several times during a game? Toss again? Skip their turn?

    • Leslie says:

      Usually when I play this game, I have each color as a category without a specific song tied to any circle in the row on the twister mat. This way if they land on red 10 times, I just choose a different song that fits that category (i.e. Folk Music) so even if they land on the same colored circle 10 times it doesn’t matter, I just keep singing different songs from the genre color the bean bag or spinner lands on. Hope that helps!

We would love to hear what you have to say!