Crafts are a great way to keep both the mind and the hands busy. But as we age, crafting can become more difficult, particularly activities that can strain our eyes with tiny details or put pressure on our bodies, whether through heavy lifting or repetitive movements.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 20 fun and easy craft activities for seniors to enjoy. With so many options to choose from, and with many being able to be adapted to suit all kinds of ability levels, there’s sure to be something here to keep you, or your senior family members, entertained!

What are the advantages of crafting?

Here’s just a few reasons why arts and crafts can be so beneficial for seniors.

Brain training

Whether following instructions, solving problems and puzzles, or using our imaginations to be more creative, taking part in arts and crafts is great for the brain. They’re a cognitive activity, which means they keep the mind stimulated and engaged.

Plus, you get all the positive energy from finishing a project and sharing the beautiful end result with others!

For seniors who suffer from ailments such as dementia, arts and crafts can be hugely beneficial. They help maintain routine and a sense of self and purpose. Crafting together offers opportunities to reduce stress, reconnect with people, and make some new memories. It might even jog a few older ones, making for an even more meaningful experience. If you’d like more suggestions specifically tailored to memory, check out our 7 Benefits of Reminiscing For Seniors & 11 Activities To Do!

Sense of purpose

As people retire from the workforce and watch their children begin their own lives, it’s only natural that they sometimes feel like they lack purpose or a sense of self. Arts and crafts are a great way to recapture some of that, by giving them a project to complete. Something long-term, that requires commitment over a period of time, is great for this – think quilting, decorating furniture, or even committing to a charity crafting project. The combination of a routine and a goal can do wonders, and that’s even before we consider the social benefits!

Giving back

Turning arts and crafts into a gift or a form of volunteering can be incredibly beneficial to seniors’ mental health, as it really helps improve the sense of purpose we mentioned earlier. Look into local charities and see if they need anything specific or seek out already established charity crafting projects. Animal charities, for example, might need blankets, and unique designs with a bit of a story behind them might help their animals get adopted faster. Neo-natal units might like hats for newborns. For seniors that may have volunteered their time in the past, but aren’t quite so independent anymore, it’s a lovely way to continue giving back and to retain that sense of usefulness that all too often diminishes over time.

Improving and maintaining physical health

You don’t need to be building furniture or creating giant sculptures to feel the physical benefit of crafting – there’s plenty of good that smaller arts and crafts can do too! For example, smaller projects involving skills like sewing or crocheting can help with dexterity.

Arts and crafts might also be able to help with physical rehabilitation too, after injury or surgery. Work with your physio to find a craft that mimics the movements they want you to make, and you’ll be able to heal your mind and body all at once!

Building relationships

While arts and crafts can be a solo activity, it’s truly best enjoyed with company! Losing connections as we age is a worry for a lot of people, and arts and crafts offers an opportunity to remedy that.

Whether you’re planning to reconnect with family and old pals, or if you’ve moved into a new living situation and want a chance to make some new friends, arts and crafts is a fantastic way to do so. They’re great icebreakers, can involve as little or as much conversation as you want, and can be modified to suit any age group – including the grandkids!

Reducing stress

Crafting really is a great stress reliever. Getting older comes with new stress triggers, and it’s important to find outlets for them whenever we can. Enjoying arts and crafts offers an opportunity to take a break, have a chat, and indulge in a hobby – whether new or an old favourite.

Methodical projects, such as paint-by-numbers, can act as a wind-down of sorts, slowing an over-worked brain with something gentle and easy to follow. Simply setting aside the time to do something not related to work or family life has its benefits too, allowing some time to yourself.

20 Fun & Easy Craft Activities For Seniors

1. Handmade greeting cards

If you’re looking for crafts for specific holidays, handmade greeting cards are a great place to start. Not only is it an activity that can be done many times over the year, but it invites everyone to come together and really get into the spirit of the holiday. This is a great activity for involving the kids in too, especially around family focused celebrations like Christmas.

You can use any sort of art and craft styles to do this – pre-designed print-outs to colour in, collages, rubber stamps, painting; the list goes on, and there’s something for every budget and skill/ability level.

The wonderful thing about handmade greeting cards is that the fun doesn’t stop when they’re finished – you’ve still got to find someone to send it to!

2. Decorate birdhouses

Looking for a project that has a great long-term impact? Why not decorate some birdhouses?

Not only is this a lovely way to pass an afternoon, once they’re finished, they can be used to house some local birds, and bring a bit of life to any outdoor spaces.

3. Pressed flowers

Craft Activities Seniors - Pressing Flowers

The art of pressing flowers is a lovely traditional craft that produces beautiful results.

Take family or friends for a walk around the local area and spend some time looking for flowers together. For the easiest pressed flowers, look for naturally flat blooms like pansies, daisies, and violets.

Once you’ve collected them, place them between the pages of a heavy book. You may want to line the pages of the book with newspaper to protect them. Once the flowers are in place, leave them for a couple of weeks to dry out completely – when you return, you’ll have some beautiful pressed flowers to use for other crafts or to mount and display as artworks in their own right!

If you’d like to make this a single day project, you can dry the flowers out quickly using an iron or a microwave. A quick Google search will reveal the methods!

4. Painting plant pots

Grab a selection of plant pots, some acrylic paint, and get to work jazzing up some plant pots. Any design will do – just make sure to either use outdoor-friendly paint or varnish the pots after you’re done.

5. Scrapbooking

Craft Activities Seniors - Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a great craft for seniors. It can be used as both a creative outlet and a journalling activity. All you need to get started is a blank journal, some old magazines, and some glue! You can set a theme for the page, or just go with the flow.

To make this project friendly to seniors with dexterity issues, cut up the magazines and images ahead of time.

6. Collages

Looking for a larger-scale version of scrapbooking? Collages can be any size and use a huge variety of mediums. These are great for group projects too, because everyone can grab a section and just go to town.

7. Terrariums

Terrariums are basically tiny greenhouses, and they’re a wonderful way to bring a bit of the outdoors indoors. To create your own, you’ll need the following:

  • Some glass jars – for seniors, larger jars might work better, as smaller vessels will be quite fiddly to work with
    Small stones/pebbles for drainage
  • Potting soil
  • Activated charcoal
  • Some small tools to help place items – chopsticks and pencils work great!
  • Decorations, such as small garden ornaments or bark and wood – try sticking to a theme, such as a fairy grotto or a desert landscape.
  • And plants, of course! Look for slow-growing plants, like cacti or succulents, that are easy to take care of.

Kew Gardens has a fantastic guide on how to create your own terrarium right here.

8. Decorate picture frames

Spend an afternoon sprucing up some picture frames and you’ll not only have fun, you’ll have some unique frames to display your favourite photos or to give as gifts. Grab your frames from local op shops or big box stores to keep it cost-effective.

You’ve also now got an excuse to go through some old photos and bring back some memories!

9. Painted rocks

Another fun one to involve the grandkids in – grab some outdoor-friendly acrylic paint, some flat stones, and start painting.

Like with the pressed flowers, you can even make an activity of collecting the stones too. Head outside for some fresh air and exercise and see what rocks you can find.

10. Fleece tie blankets

We often think of knitting and sewing as “senior” activities, but as we age, they can get harder to do. Luckily, there’s plenty of no-sew projects out there that can scratch that specific creative itch, and fleece tie blankets are one of them!

There’s plenty of tutorials online, but the concept is pretty simple. All you’ll need is two pieces of fringe, some scissors or a rotary tool for cutting, and some measuring tools. Place the fleece piece on top of one another and make a series of even cuts around the edges. Once done, simply tie these cut strips together, and voila! A simple fleece tie blanket!

You can gather a variety of colours and prints to really make some unique designs. Remember that some seniors might struggle with the cutting part, so consider setting that up in advance, and just letting them match up their two fleeces.

11. DIY Paint & Sip

Craft Activities Seniors - Painting

Paint & Sip nights are hugely popular with adults all over the country, with their blend of creative activity, social time, and, of course, wine! They can, however, be quite pricey and not always particularly senior-friendly.

But if you’re looking for an arts and crafts night that really feels like an event, putting together your own can be quite easy! Canvases can be picked up relatively cheaply from clearance and big box stores, and add some paint and wine and you’re good to go!

Consider setting a theme or making stencils of a set design to really get that Paint & Sip experience, or simply let everyone’s imagination run wild. You could also combine the experience with a paint-by-numbers or colouring book set-up.

If you do have the budget, you could look into bringing a professional Paint & Sip host into your arts sessions. All you’ll have to do is sit back, grab a paintbrush, and enjoy your wine!

12. Paper flowers

A quick Google search will reveal plenty of senior-friendly paper flower projects, ranging from lifelike to cute and quirky. Use them as decoration in the spring and summer or build up a bouquet for an everlasting arrangement.

13. Homemade soaps and bath salts

Looking for a craft that you can take home and enjoy? Why not try making some bath products, like soaps, bath bombs, or bath salts? Check online or in big box stores for pre-organised kits, containing everything you need, along with simple instructions to follow, or find some tutorials and put your own together.

The processes are quite simple, and everyone can experiment with scents and colours as they like. Popular scents include lavender, eucalyptus, citrus, and rose, but you can encourage your crafters to do a little research into the scents too, and what their effects can be. Do they want something to help them get up and go in the morning? Or something more relaxing in the evening? There’s a lot of fun to be had here!

Homemade soaps and the like also work great as gifts – this makes projects like this really good for seniors who might find they have less disposable cash as they get older. It’s an opportunity to create something unique, beautiful, and thoughtful for a loved one, as well as reduce a little bit of financial stress around a birthday or holiday.

14. Woven paper baskets

Weaving together a paper basket is a great little craft, whether it’s for an Easter egg hunt, to use for gifts, or for decorative storage. There’s plenty of templates online to help do this, and it’s also a great way to recycle old newspapers or books.

This is a particularly good one to involve the grandkids in, as they can help with some of the fiddlier aspects of weaving the basket together. And just imagine how much fun they’ll have carrying around their very own custom basket while they search for Easter Eggs!

15. Colouring books

Colouring books aren’t just for kids! These days, there’s no shortage of grown-up versions to work through – though they’re more along the lines of mandalas and flowers rather than cartoon characters. For smaller budgets, there’s also plenty of print-at-home options.

16. Quilting

Quilting might sound like a daunting project, but it can be relatively simple and incredibly social! It will likely require a sewing machine, though you can sew by hand.

While you could craft a quilt solo, it’s much more fun to invite everyone to create their own quilting square – it can be any design they like, they just need to remember to include a seam allowance around the sides to allow all the pieces to be sewn together. You can even include a specific square dedicated to the project itself, listing the place and the year the quilt was created.

Memory quilts are a particularly lovely concept, using things like old shirts, baby blankets, uniforms, or even wedding dresses to create the squares. Not only will you be left with a lasting memento, but it might also be of benefit to seniors with memory and cognitive issues, by acting as a gentle memory prompt.

17. Decoupage

Decoupage feels a little like the big sister of scrapbooking and collages. Created by gluing cut up images to an object, you can also add details such as gold leaf and paint effects for an even more decorative feel. Once completed, a coat of varnish or other protectant is added to make sure the design lasts.

Usually, decoupage uses cutouts specifically for the project, rather than just what can be found in old magazines or printed online – these often come pre-cut, which makes them great for seniors who might struggle with cutting up smaller images. Pick a theme, such as florals or vintage ephemera, and simply run with it.

Decoupage can be applied to just about anything, so teaming up on a larger project – such as a piece of small furniture – is a fantastic way to be both social and creative.

18. Knitting projects

Craft Activities Seniors - Knitting

Knitting, like crocheting and quilting, is a great project for seniors. It can be easily modified to suit any ability, and it may already be that some of the seniors you know already have the skills. This provides a great opportunity for them to share their knowledge and teach others, leaving them with a sense of purpose and an easy way to start a conversation.

Depending on your goals, you could set up some small one-day projects or launch into something larger. Even just organising time to knit, with no fixed agenda and letting everyone work on whatever pattern they choose, can be beneficial. It encourages people to regularly set aside moments for themselves, to commit to working on a skill, and to keep building social connections.

19. Crochet projects

Crochet is a form of needlework that uses hooks and loops to build fabric. For seniors, it’s advised to stick to small and simple crochet projects – think scarves and shawls rather than jumpers or sweaters. Look for large crochet hooks and thick yarns and be sure to encourage rest breaks. Set up the project in a well-lit area and consider using magnifiers to minimise eye strain.

Crafts such as these are also pretty portable – you can take them just about anywhere! Consider organising craft days out in the sunshine or at the beach, for an extra good mood boost.

20. Suncatchers

There’s nothing like light beaming through a brightly coloured suncatcher, and, happily, there are quite a few senior-friendly ways to create your own!

One simple method is to use transparency film. Draw out your design with black markers, and then colour in the spaces between with a highlighter for a stained glass effect. You could also trace over a specific design.

For a more 3D suncatcher, switch out the markers and highlighters for a 1:1 mix of paint and white glue. Follow the design as above, but remember that you’ll need to allow time for the outline glue to dry before getting stuck into the colours.

A third method involves using vase gems – those small round glass stones you often see in craft and dollar stores. Grab some old container lids and arrange the gems in whatever pattern you like and use a clear glue to seal them in place. Let them dry for several days and then peel them out of the lid. Add a thread and you’ve got a wonderful suncatcher!

And there’s much more besides!

These are just a few suggestions for art and craft activities for seniors – there’s plenty more to be found out there!

The key takeaways are to ensure that they’re suited to everyone’s budget and abilities. It’s fine to try something new, but it’s important to keep in mind that certain tasks are harder for some than for others, and if the craft becomes too frustrating, all those positive mental and physical benefits go out the window.

If you’d like some more suggestions for activities but are looking for something a little less crafty, our Best Memory Games For Seniors might be up your alley!