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.


August 16, 2008 Flag
3 found this helpful

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

February 21, 20090 found this helpful
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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.

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July 25, 20090 found this helpful
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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.

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January 27, 20100 found this helpful
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February 9, 2010 Flag
9 found this helpful

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

June 27, 20120 found this helpful
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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!

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March 6, 2005 Flag
2 found this helpful

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

February 12, 20080 found this helpful
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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.

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March 12, 20081 found this helpful
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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.

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May 1, 20120 found this helpful
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March 2, 2011 Flag
1 found this helpful

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.



  1. Show a finished hoop to your group or the individual. Hang one in the window of the day room or art room before you start.

  2. Stretch synthetic or silk in the hoop. Let the resident(s) help you. Trim edges to one inch and again later when done.

  3. Give your group sponges and water bowls. Let them handle the sponges.

  4. Talk about what colors they like and suggest a theme (sky, rivers, forest, mountains, etc.)

  5. Use little cups of diluted colors for project, but use only one at a time near the artist.

  6. Guide success. In my picture, a river ran across the hoop. We used several blues. We had juice while the river dried and then we decided what to add. We added sky and clouds (more blue and some white on top). (new sponge) We added trees along the river.

  7. The next day we talked about the painting and everyone wanted fish and birds. I had brought in pictures of ponds from a computer and cards (copied) for another project. We got them and the group of ladies now involved in this (8) decided what to add and where to put them.

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

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April 23, 20130 found this helpful
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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.

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June 20, 2016 Flag
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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.

Elderly woman stringing beads

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May 14, 2009 Flag
1 found this helpful

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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Anonymous Flag
May 14, 20090 found this helpful
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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.

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May 25, 20090 found this helpful
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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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June 2, 2012 Flag
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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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June 4, 20120 found this helpful
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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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Anonymous Flag
May 23, 20160 found this helpful

My aunt told me of a craft they made and use it for their physical motor skills. A small open box abt 6x6 or so. Put some clip clothes pins inside and they can clip them around the box edge for their hand exercise.

CJ at Luverne,MN

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December 30, 2014 Flag
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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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January 1, 20150 found this helpful
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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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November 2, 2007 Flag
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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

November 2, 20070 found this helpful
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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.

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November 6, 20070 found this helpful

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.

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January 19, 20090 found this helpful
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