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Classes and Recreational Activities

Senior centers offer a wide array of affordable classes and activities for seniors. Most centers publish a schedule of current classes with course descriptions and fees. Call your local senior center or Maryland Access Point office to find out what classes are offered at the centers in your area.

Educational Classes

Some centers partner with local community colleges to offer continuing education classes at senior centers on topics ranging from ceramics to foreign languages:

  • Computer Classes: email and the internet, desktop publishing, Windows and word processing
  • Music and Drama Classes: choral singing, instruments, music appreciation, opera appreciation and theater
  • Language Classes: English, French, German, Hebrew, Sign Language and Spanish
  • General Classes and/or Discussion Groups: book groups, creative writing, culture, Bible study, current events and genealogy
  • Art Classes: ceramics, drawing, painting, stained glass, woodworking, quilting, pottery, sewing, crafts and needlework
  • Driver Safety Classes: AARP Driver Safety Program, a classroom driver improvement course designed for motorists age 50 and older

Image of a woman painting pottery.Classes may be offered on an ongoing basis, or by semester. When the classes are held for a semester, they are usually scheduled for six to fifteen weeks. The frequency of class meetings varies, but generally they are held at least once a week.

The length of each class may be as brief as one-half hour or as long as three hours. Classes are usually limited to senior citizens and the minimum age requirement varies by location. The cost of classes varies widely.

Instructors

Image of two men building out of clay.In addition to the offerings from the community colleges, many centers have educational classes led by volunteers or by instructors who are paid by the center. Paid or volunteer instructors teach classes in senior centers. Fees are very reasonable. Volunteer-led classes may be free. Leading classes is just one of many volunteer opportunities in senior centers.

Registration

Community college classes at senior centers are generally offered on a semester basis with advance registration required. Participants may not be required to register in advance for classes that are free or for those that are offered on an ongoing basis. Classes may have a minimum or maximum enrollment so it is important to register early.

Image of a man and a woman posing for a picture.In some senior centers, the first week or two of registration is reserved for members only. Late registration may be accepted for a limited time, as long as the class is not full. Before you visit the center to register for a class, call and ask what method of payment is accepted. Some senior centers may accept checks only while other centers accept cash and credit cards. Depending on the senior center, registration may be done online, by mail, by phone or in person.

Social and Recreational Activities

Senior centers are a great place to meet new friends, take up a new sport, join a club or just relax. Most social or recreational activities are free unless there is a paid instructor leading the activity. Social activities include movies, dances, parties, billiards, bingo, sing-alongs and trivia contests. Classes or activities without fees usually do not require advance registration and seniors may often just “drop in” on the activities.

Activities

  • Instruction in Cards and Other Games: bingo, bridge, chess, mah jongg, pinochle, shuffleboard and puzzles
  • Dance Instruction: ballroom, line, salsa, square, tap and clogging
  • Exercise and Fitness Instruction: aerobics, chair exercise, circuit training, strength training, tai chi, Stepping On, walking and yoga
  • Sports Instruction: badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, fishing, golf, pickleball, softball, tennis and volleyball
  • Other Classes and Clubs: reading group, weight loss group, scrap booking, poetry writing and appreciation, and chorus

Special Events

Image of seniors playing basketball.All senior centers in Maryland offer an extensive variety of special events. These are usually one-time events that are planned by committees of center members with staff support.

Parties and dances are often planned around holidays. A fee may be charged for these events and tickets may be sold in advance.

Entertainment or food is often part of these events and they are frequently open to community members. Themed parties may include Mardi Gras, Super Bowl, luaus, country western dances, tropical parties and many others.