Crafts are one of the best activities that seniors can partake in. When it comes to arts and crafts, there are so many possibilities out there of what seniors can create that you’re sure to find something to suit each individual, regardless of what skill level they are able to complete.
There are many benefits that come with seniors engaging in craft activities.
- First and foremost, they’ll be developing and stimulating the creative side of their brains. This umbrella term includes certain skills such as problem-solving and using their imaginations, two areas of the mind which can be typically unused as we age.
- Furthermore, there are certain physical aspects that are stimulated and enhanced. Crafting can help to improve hand-eye coordination abilities, a range of cognitive abilities (depending on the activity) and helps to improve and develop concentration skills.
- Finally, there are many mental states and conditions that activities such as arts and crafts can help encourage. If you’re in a nursing home, setting up a group or individual crafting activity can give seniors a sense of purpose and can help building up confidence, especially if the crafts have a specific purpose, such as decorating for holiday seasons or events.
All the benefits listed above come together to help seniors improve their overall sense of well-being, happiness, and self-esteem, all of which are essential during this time in their lives. With a greater sense of self, you can proactively help to fight the signs and symptoms of related health conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, all of which creates a happier and more fulfilling life.
We gathered craft ideas suitable for seniors, based on what crafts you can actually engage in due to certain considerations like dexterity and physical capabilities. In addition to the ideas below, there are countless online blogs catering towards seniors and many of them offer inspiration.
Below, we’ve broken down your typical year into seasons, allowing you to easily find a craft activity that’s suitable for a specific time of the year and ultimately an individual’s specific abilities, giving you everything you need to engage in some fun-filled activities that will keep seniors smiling all year round!
Starting off the year, we have the spring season. Spring is all about new life and rebirth, especially after a cold winter. There are many arts and craft activities that can fall under this category, helping you to effortlessly celebrate what is commonly known as one of the most beautiful times of the year.
The most common craft during the Easter period is decorating eggs. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using plain eggs or decorating the packaging of chocolate eggs, this is a fun-filled activity that will keep seniors busy and creatively engaged for hours.
These eggs can then be used throughout a nursing home or assisted living facility to decorate it, giving out to other members of the home, or even family members and loved ones as gifts. The variety here is limitless, and seniors can work together or individually, depending on what they want to do.
Homemade Easter/Valentine’s Day Cards
For this activity, just like the eggs, these cards can be used to give to other residents of a nursing home or can be handed over/sent to loved ones wishing them a happy Easter. This activity is easy to set up since you’ll only need paper or cards and then whatever extras you want for the decorations.
You can use pens and pencils, paint, or you can search online or at your local craft store for Easter-themed craft materials to really help your senior’s get creative.
Easter/Valentine’s Day Decorations
Before the big day, an enjoyable group activity is to get your seniors together, or to work alone, to create decorations to liven up their house or nursing home. You can create paper chains with Valentine-themed designs, such as Cupids and love hearts, for their admirers or partners.
For Easter-themed decorations, you can create colorful eggs, Easter bunnies, or even invest in some affordable wicker baskets that can be filled with eggs, wire bunnies, cards and other knick-knacks that come together to create some beautiful displays.
When summer rolls around, this normally means that the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it’s time to go outside and make the most of what is most people’s favorite time of the year. Nature is a strong theme during this season, which opens up a whole new range of crafting opportunities.
Creative Fruit Crafts
Summer is all about the goodness that nature provides, so why not treat yourself to an easy activity where you can buy some fruit and decorate it to have around your house or nursing home. Fortunately, fruit comes in all different shapes and sizes to suit what you’re looking for.
Try thinking about apples, melons, bananas, and oranges to mix up the sizes and colors you’re using. By using everyday crafting materials, such as papers, pens, pipe cleaners, tape, and glue, you can get creative by transforming these fruits into animals, funny creatures or anything else you can imagine!
If you’ve got access to a garden, there is a wide range of crafting ideas you can use to spruce this outdoor paradise up in a way that seniors are going to love and can appreciate all year round, and for many years to come.
You can use sticks and other natural materials or stick with using craft materials to create certain things like tree decorations, wind chimes, branch wraps or even sewing or crocheting covers for the trees or plants in this natural space.
This activity is a firm favorite among seniors, and it’s even better if you have children or grandchildren coming to visit since this is an activity they can both enjoy. Simply find some medium to large-sized rocks and stones in the garden, grab some paints and crafting materials, such as googly eyes or pipe cleaners, and don’t hold back when it comes to creativity.
This activity can be enjoyed in the garden itself, or perhaps even on a colder, wetter day. They can then be placed outside when the sun comes back out, allowing them to be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
Once summer has been and gone, this is the time of year where the clouds start forming, and the rain starts coming down. This means seniors are going to be spending more time indoors, so why not use some of these arts and crafts to help pass the time, keep seniors engaged and mentally active and, most importantly, enjoying themselves!
Fall Festive Cards
Much like in the spring, there are many seasonal periods during the Fall season that seniors can celebrate by creating, designing and sending cards to one another and their loved ones. Two of the biggest festive periods are Thanksgiving and Halloween, both of which have their own unique style and a ton of opportunities for seniors to get creative.
Creating festive cards is a popular choice of crafting activity, since it can be enjoyed by anybody. Those who are more capable can be as detailed as they like, whereas those who are less capable or have limited dexterity can simply do as much, or as little, as they want/can.
For those who are more physically capable, why not invest in some affordable fabric materials so the seniors can create their own Halloween costumes. This is a fun-filled activity that can be added to and enjoyed for several days, perhaps even weeks, before the event itself.
On the one hand, you can have the seniors design the costumes themselves for themselves, perhaps even hosting a fashion show competition to show off what everyone has made. On the other hand, you could involve the children or grandchildren of the seniors, or even get in contact with a local school, giving the seniors the opportunity to feel fulfilled by creating costumes for them.
Winter is, of course, one of the coldest and wettest seasons of the year which makes it a great time to practice all those arts and crafts ideas that you’ve been putting off throughout the year. What’s more, this is also one of the most festive seasons, meaning there’s a wide range of ideas and opportunities to get creative and hands-on.
A winter crafts list wouldn’t be complete without covering Christmas ideas. Here, the opportunities are practically infinite. Whether you’re making your own handmade Christmas/New Year greetings card, making decorations for the house or nursing home or even Christmas tree decorations, you’re sure to never run out of ideas.
You can practically create anything for Christmas. Even just using plain wrapping paper means that seniors will be able to design, draw and color in their own personal gift wrap. You can make ornament holders, paper chains, and even snow globes if you’re able to!
Winter Sewing Creations
Sewing and crocheting have remained a popular senior activity for several decades and for a good reason. It’s fun, it’s fulfilling, and it can be incredibly creative, regardless of an individual’s skill level. If you’re looking for the perfect winter craft activity, this is it.
All you need is the equipment and materials to get started, and with a little practice you’ll be able to create anything from cushions to clothing, such as socks, gloves, phone cases and scarves. Since it’s winter, why not make the activity winter-themed by finding online patterns for penguins, snowmen and other winter-related characters.
Since there are so many crafting opportunities out there, it’s important to remember that many of the activities are interchangeable for each season. This means you’ll never have to worry about running out of ideas and there’s more than enough to keep everybody busy at all times.
Soap is easy to make and it’s a great crafting activity to enjoy with seniors. They’ll be able to experiment with different scents and ingredients, so they can create a personalized soap that’s special to them.
There are countless soap recipes online that can be customized to suit the ability of each individual. Once you’ve enjoyed many hours of making the soap, it can then continue to be enjoyed by the residents or given to loved ones as a gift.
While Easter and Valentine’s day cards can be created in the spring, there are many other opportunities throughout the year for card making. The most obvious would be making birthday cards for the staff, friends and loved ones of a senior resident.
Postcards can be made highly complex, or they can be made simple; it really depends on the cognitive ability of the individual. There are many other occasions to this as well, including anniversaries, July the 4th, Veteran’s Day, Lent and all relevant religious holidays.
Flower wreaths are a great way to test and maintain a senior’s hand-eye coordination. They can be enjoyed any time of the year. In winter, you can design a holly wreath for the door of your house or nursing home. In summer, you can change the flower to something like a Forsythia for a nice colorful wreath on the door.