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There are so many small craft projects, with assistance that the elderly, handicapped and disabled can do! My most important suggestion is not to involve them in a lengthy project, but one they can accomplish in a short time frame.
Here are a few ideas, but use your imagination as there are a lot of brilliant members on Thrifty Fun!
I guarantee these projects will be a hit and very rewarding, both ways! Their motor skills and abilities may be impaired but, with your help, the possibilities are limitless! Please add your own creative ideas to this! Thank you!
By Missy MM from OH
I like these ideas and I intend trying them with the special Needs group I help at. A couple of weeks ago we had a "pottery painting evening". I cast models using rubber moulds and plaster of paris. We had dogs, cats, owls, (soccer) footballers, (British) policemen, lions, rabbits and crinoline ladies. It was an eye-opener seeing what colours the members chose for their models, bright purple and pink cats, orange dogs, a two colour crinoline lady! But they were thrilled, they had done it themselves and they each had a souvenir to take home wrapped in kitchen towel!
Make hoops of color hung on fish line in groups by the craft room, in the windows like stained glass windows, or in the hallway to the day room.
Approximate Time: two sessions about 30 minutes each or as long as it takes.
I left the hoop at the nursing home when it was to be sold and my job eliminated. Best job I ever had. This is just a suggestion. I never thought to make photos of our projects because I loved my job and had no idea the job would end.
By Barbara from Ewing, NJ
Sorry about the loss of job, sounds like you were in your element.
I really had to read this through to get some idea of what you were describing, (not easy writing tutorials for sure), but once I did understand, I can see where this would have been a great group project.
These might also be very nice done as fabric art, using extra fabrics, textures etc. (using a good fabric glue) to hang on a wall vs using paints or dyes to hang in a window.
I'm sure the completed hoop-art piece was beautiful.
Wishing you well in your continued career...sounds like you should stay in the physio or occupational therapy business.
This is a guide about crafts for visually impaired nursing home patients. Visual impairment can affect the type of crafts a person can do enjoyably and successfully.
Looking for craft ideas to engage retirement home residents. Here are a few suggestions to engage them in conversation whilst doing crafts.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I work at a nursing home as an activities director. I need ideas for new and exciting things I can do with them. Please keep in mind, that not many of them can do anything. Many only have the use of one hand.
I would also like to beg you to get involved in your local home. Many of them don't get visitors and could use friends. If you call ahead, most places will have someone able and ready to go for an ice cream or even church on Sundays. You can help simply by grabbing your pet and/or a book (I like the Chicken Soup books) and just go read to them, or hold a hand, you won't be sorry.
April from Buffalo, NY
Make a mood chart. This is good for those who cannot communicate well. Can be made from felt or something that can have velcro attached to make it stick and removeable.
Make faces happy, sad, confused etc and head the chart I AM FEELING. The resident can help make the chart and this is a form of communication. So may times each day a resident is asked 'how are you feeling' Now they can tell you.
I volunteer at a local nursing home and do crafts several times a month.
Ideas that have worked well:
Rubber stamping -- I ink the stamps and place them on the paper where the resident wants it. The resident pushes down on the stamp to make the imprint. Most residents have the strength to push down on the stamp. We have made pictures and greeting cards from the stamps.
Stickers -- we have made pictures and cards using stickers. The helper removes the sticker from the sticker sheet and the resident places it where she wants.
Last week we made foam door hangers for the residents' rooms. The kits had self-adhesive letters and stamps. I brought my digital camera and printer to the nursing home and took pictures of the residents which they added to the foam hanger. I bought the kits from the Oriental Trading Company craft catalogue -- about $5 for a set of 12.
I am looking for an Easter craft for girl scouts to do for nursing home residents. Any help would be appreciated.
My Venture Crew went to the local nursing home last year when I really felt a tug on my heart to hold an Easter service in addition to our usual Christmas service there. Our first year we got the pastel colored Construction paper (cutting it into an egg shape pattern we found online) and used the foam stickers and regular stickers in addition to crayons, markers, and glitter glue pens and gave each person their own Egg to decorate. The majority of the patients loved it. I think it went well.
I am the activities director at a memorial home and last year a group of cub scouts made our residents sun catcher crosses. Just use clear contact paper and colorful tissue. Cut the crosses out of white paper and stick to the contact paper and then fill in the space with the tissue paper. Our residents loved them.
I am looking for some easy and cheap crafty ideas for Father's day for disabled, elderly residents at an independent living facility.
By katskits from Bowling Green, KY
Make a checker board and checkers. Instead of using a pizza box for the checker board as per the instructions, you could have them use whatever you can think of like cardboard or foam core.
Another suggestion is those little 6-packs of plants, some potting soil, spoons to dip the soil, some cheap little plastic pots. Have them transplant a plant into a pot. Tell them to water as soon as they get them home. They can keep their plants in a window. If this isn't 'crafty' enough, they could paint designs on the rim of the pot, but not the pot itself so they will be able to carry it home without having to touch the paint.
Is this for the seniors to make? Or as gifts to give them? If it is for gifts for them, I would suggest getting some fabric and making small "pouches" for eyeglasses, remotes, etc. I made one for my grandfather from some denim. 3 feet long by 1 foot wide. Put right sides together. Fold over about 1/3, so you have a pouch with one longer side. Sew up the two sides of the pouch. Flip right side out. Tuck the long end under the sofa cushion? Under the mattress? Under their bottom on their wheel chair? Wherever, holds those things that are always getting put down and misplaced. He kept his glasses, remotes, and cordless phone in his...you can make hems, decorate, etc..or leave them really simple. If not hemming, use pinking shears to cut the edges and use non-raveling material.
I am starting my summer clinicals shortly with elders from a local retirement home. I will have a mix of men and women with varying degrees of ability. Anyone have any ideas for "therapy inspired" craft projects? I need something different. The elderly at the retirement home get to see groups like us every semester. I want to really engage them cognitively, socially, and physically (fine motor mostly). But here is the kicker - it MUST be fun! I don't want to bore them with "oh, this again".
By KisanOTA from Appleton, WI
You could have them make "fascinators". They are the pretty little "hats" that are so popular now. Check them out on line...a lot of the British royal family started wearing them and now a lot of people make them and wear them. They are just a piece of netting with hand made flowers or bows (or use your imagination) glued or sewn on to them.
For the ladies: glue or sew a small hair clip to the back, so they can wear it in their hair. For the men, glue or sew a safety pin on the back, so they can wear it as a "boutinere". (Sorry about the spelling!!) Then they can make fancy finger sandwiches and dainties and cold lemonade and have a garden party (which can be indoors or out). Have them make simple decorations: table centerpieces, paper flowers, etc. and play some soft background music.
This could be a "progressive craft" that would take a few sessions to put everything together, with the garden party as a fun goal to look forward to.
I am looking for some simple craft ideas for colorful Bedford bendable ribbon. I bought it at a garage sale so have no patterns or ideas.
I have 1/8, 1/4, 3/4, and 1 inch wide metallic bendable ribbon in red, white, pink, blue, and green. I want to use it for a craft project for my resident's in a nursing home. I need simple and easy ideas for a fun project. Can anyone help me?
By Karen K.
Hi. I bought a magazine from a garage sale with an idea using the bendable ribbon, but I'm having trouble finding the ribbon. One of the easy ideas is to take 18 inches of 1/4" red and 18 inches of 1/4" silver (or white) and wrap them diagonally around a pencil. Bend them into a candy cane shape, then use 9 inches of 1/4" green to make a bow and attach it.
Another idea is to make a wreath using a 24 inch piece of the 3/4" green ribbon. Wrap it around a pencil to make a spiral, then grab each end and turn one clockwise while turning the other counter-clockwise to make a larger spiral. Make a small cut 1/2way through each end, then interlock them to form a circle. Make a bow using the red ribbon and attach it to the wreath.
Both ideas look really easy and really cute to use as an ornament or just a decoration. Hope this helps and is easy to understand :)
Can anyone help me with clay pot crafts or any other easy craft ideas for a nursing home residents' craft day.
By MargieT from Australia
Paint the pots black and look up the Chinese version of love, patience, kindness, peace etc and let them etch the word into the clay pot with the English version as well. I have tons of ideas but at the moment I am busy. I'll be back or contact you directly with some ideas.
You could try getting some small branches, styrofoam & eggs with ribbon or string hangers. Hang eggs on it. Or paint it & plant some herbs or flowers in it in a sunny window. Go on FaveCrafts.com, they have tons of crafts for everything! Literally! Hope this helps. Happy Easter! Karen :D
I need a January craft to make decorations for the inside doors at a nursing home.
Since we get most of our snow in January I do a snowman theme. This year I did a board saying Let it snow with tiny punched snowflakes from glittery looking bags I got at the dollar tree and snowman figures. The background is red and it makes the snowflakes stand out. I think it looks great. My craft projects will be snowmen. Hope this helps some.
I work volunteer hours working an assisted living home trying to earn my silver award for Girl Scouts. We do crafts every other week or so and we do a craft usually for each holiday. We have done a Halloween craft but now I need ideas for a Thanksgiving craft that the residents could hang on their door. These crafts need to be not very complicated and not use expensive supplies. These people's hands are shaky and have trouble with gluing many parts together. They love to paint (they use the foam brushes for sponge painting) so painting is okay.
Kim from CA
my grandsons class made the cutest wreath. they took a thin white paper plate and cut out the inside circle which left a round circle about 3-4 wide to use as the wreaths base for building.Then they cut out the same shape of a maple leaf using construction paper in fall colors like red, orange, yellow green, and glued those on in a clockwise circle slightly over lapping each leaf on the one before it until the wreath was full one layer around. Then a ribbon piece tied into a bow was attached (the wide 2 inch wire tulle ribbon0 it was attached to the top with glue. simple yet so pretty. It can hang anywhere because the inside circle was open. Hang on there doors, bedpost, in the window. Even add a picture of the person on the wreath.
Supplies used were:
1 white thin cheap paper plate
various colors of paper construction paper
elmers glue or glue stick
wire tulle ribbon
you could even cut out the leafs prior to the day of fun for them.
Try felt and double sided carpet tape, with felt you can make turkeys or wreaths, or my kids made a christmas tree out of felt added grommets to put lights thru and made orniments of felt with glitter and cequins and sticky velcro for the back, that was about 17 years ago and it's still holding up for the grandsons to decorate.
I would like ideas (and pictures) of easy crafts using recycled items that nursing home residents would enjoy making.
By Sandi from Brookville, IN
I run craft classes at my local nursing home. Last week we did a class on Van Gogh, talked about his life and his 12 sunflowers painting. I painted a yellow vase on butchers paper then with green sticky tape made the stems and they glued their painted sunflowers onto them.
Recently we did a Mary Poppins activity with coloured pencils and talked about the book.
In the past we've made bubble wrap bunting with cardboard, paint and bubble wrap.
There is one on this site for making a witch for Halloween out of a empty milk jug. Cute, also you can make a skeleton out of it too. Empty cans can be made into a tin man. Sorry no pictures, but have seen them.
I am trying to find online craft ideas, with directions, for elderly people in a nursing home. I have found a few things on creatingtogetherjournal.com, but it only gave me two sample ideas because it is a craft magazine. I volunteer and don't have the money to buy a craft book. If anyone has suggestions, as to where online to find ideas, please respond. Thanks.
Two of my favorite sites are: www.craftbits.com and www.favecrafts.com
Another good site in addition to the ones Patty Lynn posted is:
I also use the sewing pages at about.com for free patterns.
The neat thing about all of the sites, the ones Patty Lynn posted, and the one I posted, is that you can sign up for free e-newsletters to your inbox-some are weekly and others are daily. I get several from the about.com site, and the favcraft one too-lots of great ideas!
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
I volunteer at a local nursing home and do crafts with the residents a couple times a month. The residents enjoy the following crafts:
Rubber stamping: Myself or a helper ink the stamp for the individual and place it on the paper. The resident pushes it down to make the stamped image. Most of the residents are able to push on the stamps. We have used the stamps for pictures, and then colored them in using craft chalks and eyeshadow applicators), to make greeting cards.
They also enjoy making cards and pictures using stickers. The helper removes the sticker from the sticker sheet and the resident places it on the craft.
Last week we made foam door signs with the resident's pictures on them (I ordered these from the Oriental Trading Company craft catalog - about $5 for a set of 12). The craft kit included self-adhesive letters and shapes. I took my digital camera and printer to the nursing home and we put the photos on the door signs. The residents really liked them.
They also enjoy making jewelry using pony beads or large wooden beads.
My helpers are my son and his friends. The kids enjoy the crafts as much as the residents do, plus the residents enjoy seeing the kids.
By KimberlyJ from Redford, Michigan
In time you get back more than you give. Blessing will come to you for what you're doing for the residents, and it's giving me ideas. Thank you. (08/05/2009)
I work in the activities department of a busy nursing home. It is a challenge finding craft ideas that are enjoyable to MEN. Any ideas? Bear in mind that these dear gentlemen have physical and/or mental limitations, so crafts must be fairly simple and safe to do under appropriate staff supervision.
Thank you in advance.
Deborah from Pomeroy, PA
Leather craft, making belts, wallets or even bookmarks. Macrame, painting is always good. I know it sounds weird but you could try scrapbooking, easy stuff, of things they like. Maybe first level model cars, I used them with my 6 year old. Clay or poly clay. Small container gardening. Check out www.crafster.org for lots of different ideas (01/13/2007)
How about puzzles with large 25 or 50 pieces and the glue to make it to hang; or acrylic paint by number, if there is such a thing (like oil painting). How about punch rugs? Ice cream stick things: (01/18/2007)
I am a Activity Director and the men in the home of which I work loves to paint those wooden cars and trucks you can buy at Wal Mart. They can do this forever and it's good for social skills. they talk about the cars and what they need to look like.I also have a Men's Club where they can play checkers and cards and have coffee and as they say "grunt together", they love it! Good Luck and have fun (09/15/2008)
Give your local museum a call. They have boxes of "stuff" that you can collect and keep for a week. To date, we have had "wartime" glamour and glitz,in the kitchen (utensils, etc. from 1940's). It costs nothing and is really fun to browse through all the old things. They should also have books of old photographs from around your area .
Sponsor a donkey. Our "Molly" comes to see our residents about every 3 months all for a 10 pound donation.
Play Your Cards Right: Our ladies love this game and enjoy shouting out LOWER! HIGHER! Of course, you don't get anything for a pair (not in this game) .
Indoor bowls, you can make these from empty milk cartons with a bit of rice in the bottom.
Hope some of this is useful to you!
By Christine - UK
Card fronts from used cards (Christmas, birthday, anniversary, etc.) can be cut off and remade into new cards using craft paper, construction paper, card stock, etc. (06/16/2008)
Here are a few ideas for nursing home activities:
Hope this helps. Harriet (06/18/2008)
I go to the nursing home my mother manages quite frequently. We have a craft room where we have coffee and crafts. One craft they do is paint old light bulbs and seashells white. On the bulbs you can make a snowman face and hat and scarf. On the seashells you can paint a Santa Claus face on the middle to have a beard surrounding it.
You could also sew patches of material to make pillows. We have one lady who isn't interested in crafts but likes to join in. We have a big ball of multi-colored yarn and un-roll it and let her roll it back together. It is easy to do and like therapy. (06/18/2008)
Here is one idea: Using a clean soup can, make sure there is no sharp edge on inside, coat the outside with Elmer's glue or whatever work best for you. Take yarn, start at either end and wrap around can till covered. Can be used for pencil, pen holder. Different size cans can be used for assorted things, use your imagination. (06/18/2008)
Just a few ideas I have done in the past for folks:
Quilted lap robes, quilt for their bed, velcroed fabric carriers that hang on their walkers or wheelchairs to put stuff in. A fabric deal that is weighted and goes over the arm of the chair to hold TV remote. Quilted picture frames. A dog bone shaped neck pillow
Actually, I have taken my projects to show them what I have been working on and just visited them. If you have a pet or child take them along. Company is what they want the most to break up the day. If they are able have them do something to help you in your projects.
I make bags for missions at church and I have them insert the drawstrings. Also, make baby blankets for missions and they love to tie them. I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. God bless. (12/27/2004)
Would it be possible to make a terrarium look alike of the lake. Maybe using real and artificial plants. Maybe even use ground and small stones from her home. How about having her make a scrapbook? Or maybe makeup her own recipe cookbook to give out to her friends. (12/30/2004)
By Mr. Thrifty
Take a selection of cloth for her to choose from, making sure it's ok, then make her (or help her make for herself) switch plate covers - to give her room a more homey feeling than the institutionalized plain plasic ones. Such small things could be made personable to make a HUGE difference to what someone feels of where they have to be. Thats one of the first things I always did when I moved into a new place was switch plate covers. That's strange I guess, but it was a small and very affordable change I could make quickly. (12/30/2004)
This isn't necessarily a craft idea but a worker at a nursing home suggested that the thing nursing home patients need most is socks, sweatsuits(you might decorate one) tissues (make a tissue holder) and handkerchiefs. (04/06/2005)
I have found working in the activity's dept. in a nursing home that a variety of things are enjoyable, however the one craft they ask for regularly is book making. we take 3 sheets of construction paper, cut them down the middle with holes along one side to "bind"the book with yarn, and just cut their fav. pics. from a magizine. (12/30/2005)
How about taking some pictures of the lake area where she lived and putting them into a scrap book for her? Or creating a folder for her to put her cards, photos, other mail into? I am an Activities Director in a nursing home, and my residents love things that are personal, decorative, yet have a real purpose. (05/13/2007)
I know it's been a long time since you posted, but I just found this site. How about taking pictures of her former home, and then printing them out on computer fabric. You could make a lap quilt using the fabric picture squares and additional fabrics, then maybe line it with a fleece type fabric for the coziness factor. Also, you could make a plain lapquilt and embroider a cross or scripture on it. (11/27/2007)
Crepe paper flowers are a great activity for nursing homes. Patterns range from the simple to the complex. Materials are inexpensive and not hard to find. The flowers are pretty when finished. And they bring back great memories. (05/13/2008)