Craft Ideas for Nursing Home Patients

Finding crafts that nursing home patients will enjoy making can be a daunting task. This is a guide about craft ideas for nursing home patients.

Elderly Woman doing needle work
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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

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Read simple poetry to them leaving off the last word, only works if it rhymes. They can usually figure it out. Go on line and find a site aout Wise Old Sayings, like easy come easy ... go) they finish the saying. Go to thrift store and buy inexpensive games like Blurt, Password and donate them to the activity staff. Look up trivia on the internet for the residents, but make it fairly easy.

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I work as an activities assistant in a nursing home. Some of my patients have Alzheimer's/dementia. I have trouble finding craft/activities for them. Coloring gets very boring and I know they want to do more. I am also on a tight budget. With the warm weather coming I would like to start a garden club, but they are in wheelchairs. I am at a lost for ideas.

By Joyce from Pittsburgh, PA

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I work at an AL facility but we also have quite a few in wheel chairs but you might be able to find some one like we did that will donate time and the materials to make crates. They will lift the pots off the ground, so the can get to them more easily it would lift the plants up enough that they would be able to reach without bending over in the chair.

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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

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Hi Margie. I also work at a nursing home running crafts activities. I've started to blog about it to share ideas. Last month we made a Halloween haunted house with cardboard, cellophane and water paints.

This month we're making Fascinators - fancy head bands for the Melbourne cup. Bought a pack of headbands from the reject shop for $3 and the rest were things I had at home.

Next month (Dec) were painting cardboard cut out christmas trees and decorating with stickers.

Hope this helps!

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I need a January craft to make decorations for the inside doors at a nursing home.

By Kim

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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I'm looking for creative ideas for my activity calendar for next month. I have bingo, wine & fruit, birthday party, movie & popcorn. I have some crafts, I need more ideas for the males at my facility. Please help

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I am looking for crafts for nursing home patients who are nearly blind. They will appreciate being able to still do crafts. Thank you for your suggestions!

By JudyEss

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They have knitting looms where you just have to weave the yarn in and out of large spools. They could feel the spools instead of seeing them.

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I would like ideas (and pictures) of easy crafts using recycled items that nursing home residents would enjoy making.

By Sandi from Brookville, IN

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Hi There,

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. ... 3/04/22/mary-poppins-craft-activity/

In the past we've made bubble wrap bunting with cardboard, paint and bubble wrap. ... 3/20/bubble-wrap-easter-egg-bunting/

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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

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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 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.

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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.

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Looking for craft ideas to engage retirement home residents. Here are a few suggestions to engage them in conversation whilst doing crafts.

Van Gogh Flowers

Van Gogh Sunflowers

Sketch out 12 sunflowers and a vase. Give each person a flower or two to paint in. Discuss the life of Van Gogh and show residents how to paint flowers in Van Gogh style using small brush strokes and dots.

Love Locks

This is a good Valentine's activity. Draw a few locks on cardboard and discuss the Love Locks bridge in Paris with residents. They then paint or colour in the locks and write the names of people or things they love on each lock. Then glue them to the bridge.

    Love Locks Craft
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    I am looking for an Easter craft for girl scouts to do for nursing home residents. Any help would be appreciated.

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    Wish I had seen this sooner. I am an Activities Director and for Easter I made all of them these darling bunny cups from styrofoam cups. They were easy to make and were just so cute. I will leave a pic so maybe next yr you'll have a good gift for them. I also made home made eggs to go in them and wrapped them so they'd stay fresh.

    Be sure not to put in plastic grass. Mine was paper. They tend to eat everything.

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    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

    Nursing Home Crafts

    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)

    By tennesue

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    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

    Nursing Home Crafts

    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 for lots of different ideas (01/13/2007)

    By Designersheets

    Nursing Home Crafts

    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)

    By eyelovecats

    Nursing Home Crafts

    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)

    By Gail

    Nursing Home Crafts

    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

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    I have a mother-in-law that is in a nursing home and they need some physical craft ideas for the elderly to do. They don't want to leave the building, as they feel its safe inside. So, please if I could get some ideas to give to the young director who doesn't know what to do it would be great. She didn't ask for my help, but I want it for my Mother. Thank you

    Marilyn from Belen, NM

    Craft Ideas for Someone That Lives in a Nursing Home

    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)

    By Maryeileen

    Craft Ideas for Someone That Lives in a Nursing Home

    Here are a few ideas for nursing home activities:

    • Fleece lap blankets. Cut edged of two fleece pieces about 4" deep and 1! wide around edges. Tie together with overhand knot.
    • Popsicle sticks from craft store: make square box with lid (bead for handle) or hexagonal baskets.
    • Body scrubs: nylon net strips cut about 3" wide. Sew down center in a basting stitch with heavy duty thread and pull to form ball.
    • Sing songs that require physical actions such as hokey pokey or did you ever see a lassie. The older people enjoy singing old songs. Can be done without music or use tape or CD if no pianist is available.
    • Large beads make into a bracelet or necklace.
    • Tossing beanbags or small soft balls into a basket and keeping track of points.
    • Catch with a soft ball
    • Kicking a large soft ball from one to another sitting in circle.

    Hope this helps. Harriet (06/18/2008)

    By Har'iet

    Craft Ideas for Someone That Lives in a Nursing Home

    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)

    By Lydia

    Craft Ideas for Someone That Lives in a Nursing Home

    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)

    By Linda

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    Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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    Crafts AdviceApril 20, 2012
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