Crafts aren’t what they used to be! There are plenty of unique craft kits and classes, from punch needle art to wheel-throwing pottery, that allow you to learn something new and keep your brain engaged— which is essential for seniors! Whether you're looking for ideas for a craft day with your friends or family or simply want new ways to pass the time at home, we have some great ideas!
Crafts are Great for All Ages
When we say crafts, we don’t just mean the kits you may have picked up at the store to entertain the kids for a few hours. Crafting includes many different forms of art and skill sets, so there’s something out there for everyone, no matter their age!
For seniors, crafting is a great way to learn a new skill and keep your brain sharp. They’re also perfect for spending time with loved ones, whether it’s a knitting bee with some friends or fingerpainting with the grandkids.
Crafts are also a wonderful way to express yourself. Expressing yourself through art is excellent for your mental and emotional health. Creating something beautiful can cheer you up or help you process emotions like sadness or grief.
5 Modern Crafts for Seniors to Try
1. Create a Photo Collage
A collage with pictures of your family, friends, and favorite places can be a great keepsake to hang on your wall. While making the collage, you get to look through all your photos and reminisce about the times spent with loved ones and your favorite places. Consider adding some captions to your photos, like what you were celebrating in the photo or your favorite memory from a trip you took.
2. Explore Fiber Crafts
Fiber crafts include commonly-known skills like crochet, knitting, and embroidery, but the fiber art world has exploded recently, and there are many other types to try, like:
- Punch needle art
- Macrame (yep — it’s making a comeback!)
- Spinning wool
- Lace making
Fiber arts can be good for seniors to explore, because there are many options for all skill levels. Punch needle art and macrame use larger tools and threads than knitting or embroidery, making them better for seniors struggling with wrist mobility.
3. Craft with Recycled Materials
You can create crafts with items around the house, such as old magazines, newspapers, and cardboard boxes. Crafting with recycled materials allows you to create whatever you want with supplies you already have. This can be a great one to do with the grandkids to challenge both of your creative problem-solving skills. If you're feeling creative, try making some of these ideas:
Make a collage with magazine cutouts of things that represent you or a loved one — a photo of their favorite pet or grandchild, a drawing they made when they were young, or an article about their favorite hobby or sport. This craft is great for displaying on the wall in your home!
Turn tin cans into wind chimes by punching holes along both sides of each can (you may need to use an awl for this step). Then thread twine through each hole before tying knots at both ends so it won't slip out. Hang them outside where the wind will blow through them, creating beautiful music!
Calligraphy is the art of beautiful handwriting. Using a calligraphy pen, you can practice writing in different styles and learn about the history of this ancient craft. This craft has also seen a boom online recently, meaning there are plenty of tutorials and styles of writing to try!
Many cultures have practiced calligraphy for centuries. Try writing with a fountain pen and learn about Western calligraphy styles, or explore Eastern calligraphy to learn about other languages and writing systems. Remember, you can teach an old dog new tricks, and you’re never too old to start learning something new!
5. Wheel Throwing Pottery
Pottery may be a perfect choice if you're looking for a fun and creative activity that will get your mind off the stresses of everyday life. Whether it's making bowls, plates, vases, or sculptures — there's something about creating something from nothing that can bring great enjoyment.
Pottery is also a great way to get exercise while having fun! Throwing clay on a wheel requires some strength to keep up with its momentum. This type of workout engages several muscles simultaneously: arms, shoulders, and back muscles are used when throwing. Legs help keep balance while sitting on the stool, and core abdominal muscles are engaged to keep balance while sitting down — even fingers have their part in forming your beautiful pottery piece!
Don’t let the idea of needing strength stop you from trying pottery. There are many guided classes where an instructor can assist if you want to try out the hobby and get a feel for it.
The second benefit of pottery comes from relieving stress through movement. Giving your brain and body something to do, especially if it’s a little bit messy, can reduce stress. Different sensory experiences, like the texture and temperature of the clay, or the humming of the wheel, can also help relieve stress.
Keeping the mind active as we age is critical to staying sharp! Crafting is one of the many ways seniors can try something new, spend time with others, and flex their creativity. At Vista Springs, we offer plenty of different seasonal and themed crafts for our community members to get together and create something beautiful. There’s nothing quite like making art with your own two hands!