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Bring the outdoors in this winter

Get inspired with fun and games you can do indoors year-round

Julia Collins
January 24, 2020

Do you have a plan for staying physically and mentally engaged during the long, cold winter months? Or does this time of year connote loneliness and isolation? Cedar Crest, an active community for vibrant retirement living in Pequannock Township, N.J., offers inspiration for avoiding isolation with its many games and interest groups available indoors. 

Aside from visiting the on-campus fitness and aquatics center, residents can participate in fun, leisurely games like cornhole, table tennis, Wii Sports bowling, and drumming, among many others. 

Table tennis

Jerry Yellin and his 12-member crew of table tennis players are very happy to be inside playing when the weather doesn't permit them to go outside. "We get mild exercise. Our doctors say it's good for eye and arm control. We enjoy it," he says.

Physical fitness aside, they make true friends. "We will treat you like long lost brothers, show you the simple game we play, and will be very happy to accommodate you!" Jerry says.


Snow and ice can't deter this group. The popular lawn game, cornhole, has migrated indoors at Cedar Crest, where 16 to 18 neighbors play twice weekly year-round. 

Players take turns tossing 16-ounce bags of corn kernels at a board raised six inches on one end with a hole in the far end. The boards are spaced 30 feet apart (5 feet apart to accommodate disabled players). Each player gets four throws. A bag in the hole scores three points, while one on the board scores one point. Play continues until a team or player reaches or exceeds the score of 21 by means of cancellation scoring.

"We have a lot of fun and laughs," says Al Lowitt, who coordinates the group. They play round-robin style with two games going simultaneously, four players to a game, two to each team. "It's an outlet other than sitting and reading or watching TV. The crew is so fun; we feed off one another, and we kid a lot. Sometimes, we're laughing so hard, we can't throw the sack."

Al says the friendships formed through the game have been priceless, while it also serves as great exercise, even for those with disabilities. "Some people only have [physical] therapy for exercise. This is a great addition—arm and leg movements, back, thighs, virtually every muscle in the body," Al says. 

"Our mouths get a lot of exercise from ragging on each other so much," he adds with a laugh.

He says everyone is welcome, and they don't play to compete. "We all just have a great time," he says.

Water volleyball

Another activity that brings the outdoors in is water volleyball. Every Saturday morning, neighbors show up in their swimsuits to bat around a soft beach volleyball in the warm indoor swimming pool. 

"We get exercise, friendship, and a lot of humor," says Sally Novak, who also teaches Aquacize classes at Cedar Crest. 

She says six to ten people arrive on Saturday mornings to play, and they've even competed against the staff. 

"We have no rules; just come in a bathing suit and laugh," Sally says.

Cedar Crest has more than 180 resident-run clubs and interest groups aside from the ones explored here. Schedule a personal tour to gain a firsthand look at all of the activities and amenities offered. Call 1-800-682-0312 to speak with a sales counselor.