Crafts for Seniors: 52 Fun and Simple Ideas That Inspire
By Crystal Lee
| Last updated
Looking for an inventive and enjoyable way to spend your free time? Check out our extensive list of crafts for seniors. It encompasses a wide range of craft activities, from painting and knitting to woodworking and scrapbooking. Whatever your interests or skill level, there are dozens of ways to have fun while keeping your hands occupied and your creativity flourishing.
Did you know that crafting offers numerous benefits for older people? Being engaged in hands-on creative activities can improve motor skills, strengthen social connections, reduce stress, and alleviate anxiety. It can also be good for the brain. One study found that seniors who participated in crafts like pottery and knitting had a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.1 In another study, seniors who learned how to quilt or do digital photography showed improved memory function.2 So making crafts may be a great way to keep your brain stimulated and enhance your cognitive abilities.
Plus, many seniors who have physical limitations can still experience the joys of crafting by adapting the activities or using special equipment. For example, older adults who like to knit can use larger needles and heavier gauge yarn. Those who enjoy woodworking but have difficulty standing or using power tools can sit at a table and assemble projects from kits. And older crafters with vision challenges can use magnifying stands for assistance.
We've rounded up more than 50 of the best craft ideas for seniors and grouped them into straightforward categories to help you quickly find what you’re interested in:
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General Craft Ideas
Are you ready to get crafting? Whether you're looking for projects that use paper, glass, wood, flowers, or beads, you're sure to be inspired by this list. Check out these simple craft ideas for older adults:
Sewing, Knitting, and Crocheting Crafts
Needlecrafts like knitting and crocheting are some of the most popular activities among older adults. That's partly because they require minimal equipment and can often be done from the comfort of an armchair. You can enjoy these types of activities well into your golden years. In fact, British charity Knit for Peace surveyed more than 1,000 knitters and found that more than two-thirds of them were over the age of 60, and many were in their 80s and 90s.3
Here are a few ideas for fun needlecraft projects:
Painting and Coloring Crafts
Many seniors enjoy expressing themselves with markers and paintbrushes. Focusing on patterns and colors calms the mind and allows the brain to take a break from daily worries. In fact, some research suggests that coloring can have the same soothing effect on the body as meditation.4 With that in mind, check out these examples of painting and coloring projects for seniors:
Incorporating photos into crafts is the ultimate way to personalize a project. Many seniors enjoy taking pictures, and some have boxes of photos gathering dust in a closet somewhere that could be put to good use. If you have digital photos on a memory card, smartphone, or computer, you can print them out yourself or have them printed fairly inexpensively at places like Costco or Walmart.
Photo crafts make extremely good gifts because they are so personal. Consider these ideas:
Crafting is one of the best ways to show your holiday spirit and add a festive touch to your surroundings. Try your hand at one of these Christmas crafts for seniors:
Other Holiday Crafts
From Halloween and Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day and Easter, special occasions deserve special craft ideas. Have a look at these examples:
Easy Crafts to Do With Grandchildren
Making crafts is an excellent way to bring the generations together. Here are some simple projects that you can create with young ones:
Any age is a good age for crafting. With inexpensive supplies and a little imagination, you can de-stress, have fun, and be proud of what you create. So go ahead and get started!
- 1 Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, "Engaging in Cognitive Activities, Aging and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study," website last visited on May 31, 2018.
- 2 Psychological Science, "The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project," website last visited on May 31, 2018.
- 3 Knit for Peace, The Health Benefits of Knitting, website last visited on January 23, 2020.
- 4 Medical Daily, "The Therapeutic Science of Adult Coloring Books: How This Childhood Pastime Helps Adults Relieve Stress," website last visited on May 31, 2018.