Just about any subject can be used in a reminiscence programme. For example: make do and mend, holidays, leisure time, the best of the 50’s, wedding memories, attic treasures, war time memories, your local town, school memories, families and household tips. You will need to be governed by the age of your seniors. If no one is old enough to remember the war then there is little point reminiscing on it!


Try the local library, museums, charity shops, ebay. There are lots of free downloads available on the internet just search for free reminiscence resources others are available to purchase. Here are some examples: 

If you are using your own book for reminiscence purpose you could take it apart to circulate around the group so all can be engaged in looking at something.  Guests could bring their own objects and photos in to share.

 Example topics

Childhood Pastimes

Objects to look at and try: Whip and top, yo-yo, hopscotch (use masking tape on the floor to create a grid and have a polish tin or stone), jacks, 2 balls, cat’s cradle, cigarette card collection, peg dolls, marbles, ask what used for cricket stumps or football goals, has anyone got a leather football compare with today’s footballs, conkers on strings, paper aeroplane challenge, skipping rope and rhymes, pop gun, hula hoop.

Sweet Shop Memories

Purchase old fashioned sweets such as pear drops, liquorice sticks, for tasters. Market stalls often sell these or a retro sweet shop. Show old adverts like this quality street one:
Download the nestle pack from above.

Leisure Time

Ask in advance if anyone has any memorabilia. For example: old programmes, post cards, samples of embroidery, photographs, records, old knitting patterns, pegged rugs, cross stitch, magazines, old Blue Peter annuals, stamp collections and cigarette cards.

Print out the leisure time prompts to circulate to stimulate memories and to chat about:

Timeline Reminiscence Challenge

The challenge is to match 10 inventions in each category to the correct year. It can be done in small groups by circulating the categories, in small groups with all doing the same category at the same time or as a large group taking each category in turn.

Print off the sheets below. Laminate if you want to use again. Cut up and store the 10 cards in an envelope marked with the category, e.g. “On the move”.

You will need a timeline for each category. This can be drawn on a sheet of A3 paper. Coloured sugar paper is nice and bright. The answer sheet provides the dates. Write these dates on the paper with enough room for a card below it.