What are the best activities for adults with mental disabilities?

What are the best activities for adults with mental disabilities?


Even in this modern age, people with intellectual disabilities may still struggle to take part in society and various community activities meaningfully. Part of this may have to do with the stigma still associated with these conditions and the lack of understanding of disabilities in society. 

The good news is that today in Australia, there are plenty of activities for adults with mental disabilities, which are designed to improve their quality of life and help them engage in a range of enriching experiences.

If you or someone you’re supporting is looking for community and individual activities that are adapted to the needs of people with mental disabilities, this post will give you an idea of some of the best pastimes you can try!

Music therapy

Music is universally beloved for a reason—it’s been observed that adults with mental disabilities react well to musical activities. 

Given the variety of music programmes available today, these activities generally include:

  • Writing lyrics to songs and composing music 
  • Playing instruments
  • Listening to music 
  • Moving or dancing to music
  • Discussing music in community forums
  • Music-based therapy for various cognitive challenges

Studies have shown that listening to music even has tangible health benefits like lowering blood pressure and improving sleep cycles.

Arts and crafts

Certain individuals who manage mental disabilities may find it difficult to express themselves. For some, arts and crafts are a great way to express their feelings and ideas in ways they may struggle to otherwise. 

Art activities can also be very relaxing; for most, it’s an engaging and engrossing pastime that can keep individuals busy for hours at a time, channelling their creativity and emotions in a constructive way.

Popular arts and craft activities include:

  • Beading 
  • Origami
  • Woodwork
  • Seashell craft
  • Model building
  • Jewellery making
  • Clay sculpting

Crafts can even be done as a group project with peers and loved ones, making it a potentially effective way to build relationships and develop social skills in a fun and safe environment. 


When done right, cooking isn’t just fun but it’s also a very important activity for adults with mental disabilities. 

After all, cooking can teach just about anyone important traits like independence and patience while also giving them a sense of accomplishment. It can also help you learn important skills like setting a table, cleaning up after cooking, and measuring ingredients.

If this is an activity you’re considering for yourself or for someone you’re caring for, consider starting with simple recipes that are easy to execute and clean up. Once you have a knack for it, progress onto more complex, interesting dishes!

Hiking or nature walks

For people managing certain disabilities, taking a walk through the woods or a botanical garden may have significant therapeutic effects and is also a great and easy way to get exercise while spending time in nature. 

If solo activities aren’t possible, going out on group hikes with friends and family can be an extremely fun pastime and is a very popular activity for adults with mental disabilities, here in Australia

With a campfire and some smores, it’s a wonderful way to leave the rest of the world behind and make great memories with loved ones!

Group workouts

Having a few weekly workouts with peers can be a way to get exercise and stay healthy while engaging with various communities today. 

In fact, light jogging, swimming, aerobics or even Tai chi are great forms of exercise for people managing certain disabilities. 

By working out with other people, it’s also easier to stay accountable to a set routine, achieve fitness goals, and engage with people who understand what each other is going through. 

Find enriching activities for adults with mental disabilities to boost their quality of life

Managing a mental disability, regardless of its nature, should not prevent anyone from enjoying their life to the fullest. Today, the good news is that there are a plethora of great, inclusive activities for people with certain needs and it doesn't just end at the list we’ve put together!

If you or someone you’re supporting is looking for safe and enjoyable community pastimes or are looking for one-on-one support, our peer support networks or social programmes may be a great start.

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