Adapting Leisure During COVID-19

This year has been hard on everyone. Sadly, our participants are probably suffering more than most. Depending on the population, options for leisure can be severely limited. Adapting leisure during these challenging times is essential to the health and well-being of participants. 

This worksheet and adapting leisure activity is a great way to get your participants thinking about the benefits of leisure and how to make changes based on current safety measures.

COVID-19 Changed Everything 

As we rang in the New Year–and decade–practically nobody anticipated the monumental changes we’re facing now. It seems like a science fiction novel.

But, as we all know, it’s reality.

Quarantines, social distancing, and limiting interactions is important for reducing the spread of COVID-19. How is it impacting your participants lives?

Many participants are dealing with:

  • Fear
  • Stress
  • Uncertainty
  • Social Isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Regression
  • Limited leisure choices
  • Less physical activity
  • More screen time
  • Disrupted routines
  • And the list goes on…

2020 is the year of adapting. We have no other choice. Things aren’t going to magically snap back to what they once were…at least not for a while. 

Adapting leisure so it still meets the needs of your participants is more important than ever. Sure, it’s probably not easy–especially for those set in their ways. Creative thinking and focusing on the best ways of adapting leisure can help.

Here’s an activity idea to start the conversation and get ideas flowing for adapting leisure. You may want to try my Leisure Benefits activity first. It’s a great way to get your participants in the mindset of how activity participation provides real and unique benefits. 

Leisure Education and COVID-19. Here’s my first activity idea in a series.

I Will Adapt

A group or one-on-one activity to explore leisure benefits and find new, appropriate ways to enjoy these benefits.

What you’ll need: Copy of handout (provided below), pencils, dry erase board (if working with a small group).

Duration: 10-40 minutes depending on group size

Best for: 1 to 8 participants

Goals addressed:

  • Identifying leisure benefits
  • Determining leisure needs
  • Identifying current leisure struggles and barriers
  • Exploring new activities
  • Creating an action plan for trying new activities

Leading the Activity

  1. Have the group come up with a simple activity–basketball, painting, or board games– and list what benefits someone could get from it. Write these benefits on a dry erase board.
  2. Have each person in the group say their favorite activity and provide some benefits they get from it.
  3. Begin a short discussion on how COVID-19 and other circumstances has affected their leisure time.
  4. Talk about how alternative activities may provide some of the similar benefits of a participant’s favorite activity. 
  5. Have the group complete the provided worksheet individually.
  6. Discuss the participants’ findings after they finish the worksheet.
  7. Write examples of action plans on the dry erase board.
  8. Have each participant share one step they can start doing today. 

Discussion Questions

  • What is the biggest impact COVID-19 had on your leisure time?
  • What leisure benefits do you feel aren’t being met right now?
  • How can adapting leisure help with your overall health and well-being?


  • Adapt a version of the worksheet based on your participants needs and abilities.
  • Spend extra time discussing how leisure activities provide important benefits.
  • Provide additional assistance or examples for those struggling to create an action plan.

I hope this activity is helpful to you and your participants. If you have any ideas on how to make this activity better, feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Do you need more activity ideas like this? I have a new book out, Therapy Games for Teens, that addresses important issues like communication, self-esteem, trauma, anxiety, and depression. These are simple activities that can start profound discussions. It doesn’t require an expensive curriculum. And all the activities can be implemented with supplies you already have in your office or closet.

Discover an inexpensive way to add 150 new activity ideas into your therapy toolbox

logo image of the real recreation therapist blogBefore You Go, Take a Moment to Leave a Comment

We are a community. Every idea and opinion is valuable. You have a unique voice and perspective…so SHARE it!

How are your participants adapting leisure to get the benefits they need?

What are some successes you had as an RT during this CRAZY year?

Why not stick with the community? You can like the TRRT Facebook Page or join the private TRRT Facebook Group

If you use Pinterest, check out my Recreation Therapy board with pins from featured articles and other resources.

I hope this activity helps. If you want to share an activity idea that’s helping your participants through COVID-19, please contact me.  We can work together to get a post up. As a token of my appreciation, I’ll send you a FREE copy of my new book.

I wish you the best. Know the work you’re doing is important and making an impact.

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