The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time, especially for seniors. While staying home is the best way for seniors to protect themselves from the virus, it also means that many seniors are socially isolated from the people and activities that bring them joy.
When times get tough, crafting is a great idea. Experts agree that being creative can be therapeutic, stimulate the right side of your brain, and sharpen hand-eye coordination. And if that isn’t enough of an incentive to pick up a paint brush, how about the fun factor? Having new creative outlets can spark joy, and you don’t need to be a Picasso to reap the benefits.
If you enjoy crafting—or think you might—here are some easy craft ideas that are superb for seniors. There are so many art activities to choose from, afterwards you might even want to join a senior crafting group of your own!
Discover the Write Stuff
The written word is a great way to express yourself. Whether it’s just a few sentences or the next multi-volume novel you’re looking to pen, here are a few suggestions on how to harness your inner Hemingway:
-Write in a journal regularly. Putting your thoughts on paper can relieve stress, help you self-reflect, boost your memory and inspire creativity.
-Try calligraphy or hand lettering. Try it now and take your letters to friends and family to the next level.
-Experiment with poetry. You can stick with, ‘Roses are red,’ or let your mind wander into lush forests and babbling brooks – whatever you choose, poetry is a great way to express love and affection, and to inspire others.
-Start an online blog. If typing is more your speed, and you want to give your friends and family some entertainment, start your own blog. Not only will this help hone your writing skills, but it’ll allow you to connect with new people.
-Start your memoirs. You’ve got a lifetime of stories to tell, and what better way to preserve them and captivate others?
Explore Your Inner Artist
It’s time to dive into a world of color and creativity. Painting, stitching, or cutting and pasting, there are so many ways to get hands-on and express yourself through art. Here are some craft ideas that are sure to inspire:
-Paint a birdhouse. Yes, you can be an avian architect and create dream homes for our flying friends.
-Try a paint-by-numbers project. If free handing it isn’t your cup of tea, follow the numbers and churn out your next masterpiece.
-Take up needlework, knitting, or crocheting. There are countless patterns, projects, and kits that are available for all skill levels – stitching is known to improve not only hand-eye coordination, but can also reduce stress and elevate happiness.
-Create a photo album by hand or even online. Don’t know what to do with all those loose photos? Corral them into albums, making it easy and enjoyable to take a visual walk down memory lane.
-Make a collage or experiment with decoupage. Scissors, glue, and an old magazine is all you’ll need to get started here – images that reflect your thoughts and emotions can be put together to create something beautiful.
-Try origami. A fold here, and a tuck there will have you a master in the ancient art in no time. Paper cranes, anyone?
Be Creative at Home
Now that you have freedom from the kitchen (we hope our nutritious meal delivery has given you all this time and energy to hone your other artistic skills), there are other parts of your home that would benefit from your creative touch:
-Redecorate your living room or bedroom. It doesn’t have to be a massive overhaul, but a simple reorganizing of furniture, or a fresh coat of paint, can make everything feel new once again.
-Clean out your closets. Marie Kondo was onto something when she wrote about purging yourself of things that don’t bring you joy. Now is the perfect time to get rid of what you don’t need – or rediscover things you do need that have been hiding away.
-Recover your books. Tired of looking at dusty book jackets? Using beautiful paper, recover your books and organize them on your shelves for a new, color-coordinated look.
-Do you have a green thumb? Maintain your garden, plant some flowers, or start a fresh herb garden, even indoors.
Sometimes, having too many great ideas can be overwhelming. How do you narrow down your options and get the supplies you need to get going?
-Speak to your friends and family for ideas. Share tips and advice, swap supplies or start a crafting group, either virtually or in-person with a small group of likeminded crafters.
-Go online. There are so many apps and websites you can use for inspiration. Pinterest puts the world of crafting at your fingertips. There’s also Etsy, where you can even sell your art or start a small business if you find your niche. Hobby Lobby and Michael’s have websites with coupons, ideas, and pages of crafting supplies from which you can choose.
-Shows like Bob Ross, the iconic TV artist who made art accessible to everyone, has a whole new audience online. Watch his shows on your computer and brush up on your technique, especially if you enjoy landscape painting.
No matter your interest or ability, crafting is a great way for seniors to stay physically and mentally healthy during a pandemic and beyond. Share your creations with us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Craft Your Way Through Quarantine."