Finding a hobby (a new one?) just right for you can give you a lifetime of enjoyment, far into your retirement years. The main thing to consider is what do you really like? Not what your family tree or best friend thinks you should like – It is for you!

Do you think you’re not very good at anything? If that sounds like you, here are questions to ask yourself about what you’ve really wanted to do.

If you’re still working, now is the time to develop a hobby and to plan for future senior activities.

It’s also a great idea to have several different hobbies, because things change as we age. That sure happened to Dad. And he didn’t have much to fall back on.

Working with our hands at any age is particularly valuable. It promotes brain and physical coordination. P.S. – If you’re looking particularly for easy craft ideas be sure to visit our specialized page.

Dad’s Issue – When my father became very elderly and moved in with me, I became his full-time caregiver. His main hobbies had been golf and reading. But because of his vision and hearing loss, he had to give those up and there wasn’t much he could do. Or, that is, was willing to do.

It taught me the importance of cultivating a variety of hobbies and interests including working with one’s hands, because you just never know.

First Ask Yourself:

To get started with finding a hobby, first take some notes and let yourself brainstorm. And keep in mind that some may be good extra income ideas and actually provide ways to do a little work after retirement if you’re interested in that.

  • Make a list of the top 5 hobbies or activities you like to do now.
  • Now make a list of the top 5 new activities you would like to learn. This is brainstorming — don’t limit yourself, financially or otherwise.

Idea List – for Finding a Hobby

Finding a hobby can be a really fun exercise and will give you ideas on how you can expand the list.

  • photography – including nature, weddings, babies, children
  • home renovation
  • do-it-yourself activities such as a tile backsplash, creative cement work, etc.
  • interior decorating
  • woodworking
  • build and decorate a dollhouse – perhaps elaborate
  • furniture making
  • painting on furniture
  • furniture restoration
  • scrapbooking
  • going to or participating in flea markets
  • metal detecting – you can find amazing treasures!
  • making trash to treasure projects
  • starting a collection – perhaps heirloom quality
  • studying antiques and antiquing
  • join a theater group and be in a play
  • or work with costumes and props
  • learn a new sport – biking, tennis, golf, swimming
  • take up chess; join a group
  • painting – on canvas; or paint on glass or wood
  • murals
  • candle making
  • hand-painted ceramic sinks
  • hand-painted ceramic tiles
  • pottery and ceramics
  • mosaics (including tables, chairs, trays)
  • making crafts – there are many crafts for seniors to explore
  • scale modeling (see link at the bottom of this page)
  • small appliance or mechanical repair
  • rug making (easy rug hooking, braided rugs, etc.)
  • learning or enhancing computer skills
  • making a web site regarding your hobby or interest (you can make money too – really)
  • needlework such as cross-stitching or embroidery
  • knitting or crocheting
  • quilting – start small like a pillow or wallhanging
  • be a volunteer or professional clown
  • making puppets and puppeteering
  • clock and watch repair
  • crossword puzzles
  • jewelry making
  • stained glass
  • specialized cooking
  • cake decorating
  • gardening – perhaps a specialty such as roses or exotic plants
  • flower pressing
  • sewing
  • upholstery
  • decorative pillows
  • journalism – articles for newspapers, magazines, organizations
  • creative writing – perhaps memoirs or a novel
  • write and/or illustrate a children’s book
  • record your memoirs (and help others) and transfer to a CD
  • making videos and movies
  • dancing – salsa, tap, ballroom, jazz, square dancing, contemporary; don’t limit yourself
  • singing
  • playing musical instruments – (our guest writer talks about a super easy way of playing chimes, without having to read music or practice. Perfect for kids and families too).
  • floral arrangement
  • bird watching
  • fishing
  • card games
  • crafts – there are tons of easy craft ideas and crafts for seniors
  • make or study wines
  • beer making
  • getting a pet
  • public speaking
  • wedding officient
  • learn another language – and take a trip!
  • sailing and boating

When finding a hobby, remember, there may be a craft store, home improvement store, community resources or a senior center that can teach many of these activities. And don’t forget the library – most of them have or can get videos and books on a favorite topic. Or do you have a friend or family member who can teach you? Groups are always fun.

Do you have limitations?
If you have physical or other challenges and are unable to do your activity of choice now, finding a hobby can be modified. (For instance, did you know there are special easy-to-grip garden tools, and even wheelchair accessible elevated gardens for the elderly, window gardens, and more).

See our page about elderly activities to get ideas for those with limitations that we experience as we age. Also consider reading books, watching movies or TV programs, attending seminars or conferences on the subject, or helping others.

Find out what other related senior activity ideas and groups are available. There are also many special crafts for elderly to consider – ask a local senior center or even a church group.

After finding a hobby (or two) dedicate a room or area in your home to your special activities. Make a list of the supplies you will need, and find out how to get discounts.

A special note:
If you are a writer, visit your library or bookstore and look at the current “Writer’s Market.” This is an excellent yearly publication that tells what book and magazine publishers are looking for in that year. There are hundreds of listings. As you may guess, topics for baby boomers and elders are popular at this time.

You can also very easily self-publish a book by using Amazon’s system for Kindle books. With a for-print book check www.createspace.com — it’s very inexpensive because it’s print on demand. If you want to try electronic publishing, Amazon will also help your put your book into Kindle reader format.

If you are an artist, there is a similar book called “The Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market.” It lists hundreds of publishing and licensing companies to submit your artwork to, and what they are looking for. Even tips to go through the process. You can also pursue finding a licensing agent to represent your work to manufacturers, like I have.

And don’t forget to give back, if you can – teach someone what you know. Pass it on to family members, youth, and the elderly.

Do you like crafts?
Finding a hobby with crafts couldn’t be easier. We also do have lots of crafts in many places on our web site, but why hunt all over? Our crafts  are all consolidated and organized, along with dozens of NEW never-seen-before projects in our e-book! You get over 120 projects, with plenty of tips on different ways to make them! PLUS a FREE book of pattern templates! Click here for a sneak peak.

And check out this great hobby web site! An online guidebook to all forms of modeling from ships to planes and from trains to race cars. It’s your ultimate guide to the best in scale modeling.

to Retirment Ideas

gourd Santa craft

Santa crafts are perfect winter senior activities during the holidays. And we have several easy projects! Some are also edible holiday treats. The craft materials are easy too. Many of these could be used as elves too!

Whatever craft supplies you don’t have around. you can get most either from a local craft store or even a thrift shop. We also suggest other alternatives you could use.

A few of the ideas here are very easy crafts for the elderly to put together too (some may need extra help). Besides these Santa crafts here, we have lots of other Christmas projects on our page about simple Christmas crafts.

Santa Crafts Selections:

Pear or Apple Santa

apple or pear Santa craft

This cute Santa can be made with either a red pear or a large red apple. I liked the shape of the pear so used it in this sample. I included him in a centerpiece.

These Santa crafts are very simple and are all edible. Well almost – except for the googly eyes! But you can get candy “eyeballs” at most craft stores.

Materials:
Red pear or large red apple
Small Santa hat (craft store or thrift store)
…OR make a hat from a red felt cone shape – see template below
Frosting in a can, or squirt tube frosting
Small spatula or craft stick to apply frosting; or toothpick
Googly eyes, or candy eyeballs (craft store)
Candy for nose
Edible black marker (baking aisle)
Small jar lid for the small Santa stand (I used red)
1 chocolate wafer candy, or peppermint patty, for shoes
2 small candies to decorate shoes
Doily
Candle holder for a base, or a jar, etc.
Large bow with ribbon
Small ornaments or other decorations for the base

I like to use squirt frosting in a tube as “glue.” Or if use frosting in a can, you can apply the frosting/glue to your pieces with a small spatula, a toothpick or even a craft stick.

With the squirt frosting, I attached the googly eyes and the candy nose to the fruit. Then I drew on a smiling mouth with the edible black marker, which you can get in the baking section of the grocery store. I applied several coats so it shows up.

Then I took a very small spatula and applied the frosting from the can to form the beard and sideburns. A half circle of frosting was also applied around the mouth to form the mustache. Now put the Santa aside

Next I made the stand. I just put an old CD on top of a candle holder as a base. You could use a jar or even plastic glass instead. On top of that I laid down a doily. On top of the doily I put the red jar lid to hold the Santa so it doesn’t roll around.

Then I set the Santa onto its red lid and base. Next the feet were put in place. This was simply a flat chocolate candy cut in half. Each half forms a shoe. And each shoe has a small green candy attached to it with squirt frosting.

Lastly, decorating the base. I arranged a large red ribbon with bow around the bottom of the stand, and added a few small ornaments.

These Santa crafts look really cute in the middle of a large candy bowl, a dessert plate, or snack plate too.
P.S. – We also have lots more cute apple ideas on our apple craft page.

Santa Hat Template

Use this easy template pattern to make a cone hat from red paper or felt. Cut at the dotted line, and use the upper shape to form the cone, gluing the edges. Then just decorate it with cotton. Or fake fur if you have it. I white pom-pom is ideal for the top.

santa hat patten

Santa Decoupage Ornament


Santa Gourd

Get ornaments inexpensively from dollar or thrift stores, garage sales, or have people bring in old ones. Ones with a hanger on top work best.  (The one used here did not have a hanger).

Materials:
Ornament (best if it has a hanger on top)
Santa wrapping paper, or magazine image
Decoupage medium, or glue/water mixture
Scissors
Brush
Water container
Damp rag (optional)
Cord or ribbon
Small bottle caps or egg carton, for drying

Cut out many squares from the Santa wrapping paper, or magazine images – enough to cover the entire ball. Use paper that is thin; not, for instance, a greeting card picture). The main Santa image will go in front.

Brush a coating of decoupage medium or glue mix (4 parts glue to 1 part water) onto an area of the ornament. Then brush some on the back of the image piece.

Position the image onto the ball and press gently with your fingers to get out bubbles and most wrinkles. Sometimes wrinkles can make an interesting texture. Press it gently again with a damp rag if needed, but don’t rub. Do this with all the pieces until the ornament is covered. Paint a very light coat of medium over the whole ornament.

Dry for a couple hours. I like to rest them on a small spice bottle type cap, as a stand. An egg carton may work too, depending on your size. Or if able, hang them to dry. When dry, give it another final coat of medium; then dry again.

Finally, tie on (or glue on with a glue gun) the ribbon or cord.

This whimsical Santa could also pass as an elf. Its head is made from a small white gourd, but it could also be made from a Styrofoam ball, or even an ornament. A wine glass was used for the “body.” Or a basic drinking glass works, including plastic.

Using a glass jar is a fun idea too, because you can put treats in it, decorate it like this Santa, and then give it away as a gift. Or use it as a centerpiece, a game prize, or raffle item.

Materials:
Small white gourd, Styrofoam ball, etc.
A glass or jar for body
Markers to make face
Santa hat (craft store), or make one from felt or colored paper
1 red pom-pom for nose
2 green pom-poms for on the shoes
3 to 4 cotton balls for beard
Decorative holiday paper napkin
Black construction paper or felt for shoes
Glue gun, or craft glue
Scissors
Candies to put in glass or jar (optional)

These Santa crafts (or elves) are very easy to assemble. First I cut 2 shoe-like ovals out of black paper, and glued them together at the heels. Then I glued a small green pom-pom onto each shoe.  I placed my wine glass (or glass or jar) on top of the shoes. Depending on what kind of stand you’re using, you could also use a dab of glue to attach the shoes to the stand.

At this point you can put the candies into your glass or jar, if you’re using them. Next I draped a decorative holiday paper napkin over the glass. The type of napkins you use can really change the look of your Santa crafts.

Now the head. I took three cotton balls and stretched them out a bit, then glued them around the chin of my small white gourd. After that I drew on a cute face with red and black markers, leaving room in the middle for the nose. Then glued on the red pom-pom nose.

Lastly, I put on a hat (for my Santa crafts I get hats from the craft store), and secured it in the back with a corsage pin. Now it’s finished!

If you like working with gourds, be sure to see more on our page all about gourd craft ideas.

Wooden Spoon Santa

wooden spoon Santa craft

These simple Santa crafts could also be elves. I show two versions – the second has a felt Santa hat from the craft store added on for fun. (But you can see that he can easily be made without one).

The materials are easy – paint and a pointed wooden spoon. After the varnish is thoroughly set and dry, it is food safe according to FDA government standards (Code of Federal Regulations Title 21)  and can be used for serving. Or use him as a decoration: a planter stick, in a centerpiece, or as a gift. A Mr. and Mrs. pair of these Santa crafts would make a great serving gift. And you can make them as any ethnicity that you like!

Materials:
Wooden spoon with point (point not necessary if you’re using a hat)
Acrylic paints: red, green, white, skin color (pink, tan, brown, etc.)
Black fine tip marker for eyes and mouth
Water based polyurethane craft varnish (VOC of 50 g/L or less)
Water container and rag
Paint brushes: pointed tip and flat tip
…Optional for just a decorative Santa:
Red pom-pom for the nose
White pom-pom for top of hat
Googly eyes
Cotton balls or roll cotton for hair and beard
Ribbon and small buttons
Glue gun or craft glue (like Tacky Glue)

With a pencil, generally block out the various areas you will be painting: face, hair, beard, hat, hat rim, the bottom, etc. Then just begin painting in the areas. You may need to do 2 coats, drying thoroughly in between. When the face color was dry, I drew in basic eyes and smiling mouth with the black marker.

Varnish – If you’re just making a decorative Santa and not using it for serving, you don’t necessarily need to apply varnish.

Otherwise, when your spoon is all painted and completely dry, the varnish can be applied. If you are going to use these Santa crafts for serving, I suggest at least 2 or 3 coats (I used 3) to make it durable. Be sure to follow the product directions, and allow the appropriate amount of drying time between coats.

Before using for food, the varnish must be allowed to set for one or two weeks until any solvents are gone and the varnish is polymerized. (If you can smell the finish, it is not completely cured yet). Then gently wash the surface before using. Again, be sure to follow product directions!

Santa Marshmallow

For festive yet easy Santa crafts, decorate marshmallows! This one could also be an elf.  And he’s all edible (except for the hat of course). The face is made with edible marker.

He stands in a very easy-to-paint small clay pot. Or put several of these Santa crafts in a small, narrow vase, ready to serve.

Materials:
Jumbo marshmallow (jumbo size is easier)
Long kabob skewer
Mini Santa hat from craft store
…or made from felt or paper
Edible dessert markers for face
Squirt or tub frosting
Toothpicks or craft stick to apply frosting
Red or green ribbon
Stand: clay pot to paint, or narrow vase
Acrylics, if painting: red and white
Brush, water container, rag

If you’re painting a pot, do it first and set it aside to dry.

Paint any decorations on it that you like (I just made white dots), or add holiday stickers.

I like to keep the faces for my Santa crafts basic. I drew easy eyes and smiley mouth on the jumbo marshmallow with the edible markers.

Then I applied the frosting hair and beard all around the bottom and sides of the head like a U-shape.

It’s easiest to use a toothpick or craft stick for applying. Also add a little mustache if desired.

Tie a ribbon onto the skewer. Slide the marshmallow head onto the skewer.

If you’re going to add a hat on top, slide the marshmallow down so that about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of stick is above the top of the head. This will hold the hat on.

Place the Santa crafts in your stand(s), and you’re done.

Ribboned Santa

ribboned Santa craft

Having several of these Santa crafts of different heights together in a display or centerpiece is very attractive. The secret is in the ribbon.

Materials:
Cardboard tube (toilet tissue, paper towel, oatmeal box, etc.)
Styro ball for head
3 to 4 balls of cotton
Googly eyes
Red pom-pom for nose
Wide, wired holiday ribbon
Several flat thumb tacks and straight pins
Glue gun or Tacky Glue
Acrylic paint: black and red
Small paint brush, water container
Small Santa hat, or red felt to make one
2 pinecones for feet
Real or artificial evergreen

First I made the head. Glue on the googly eyes and nose. Then paint on the eyebrows and cheeks. I chose not to make a mouth. Instead, I glued on a lot of cotton. I pulled several cotton balls and stretched them out before gluing on the beard and hair.

Santa crafts can either have a hat from a craft store, or make your own with a small cone out of red felt or paper. Instead of gluing on the hat, I kept it on with a couple of straight pins, front and back.

Next I took a toilet tissue sized cardboard tube and wrapped it with a length of my wide holiday ribbon, which had the wired edges. I used thumb tacks on the back to keep it in place.

Now it’s time to attach the head to the tube body. I made a line of glue around the top rim of the cardboard tube covered in ribbon, setting the head onto the tube. Let the glue dry well. Also attach the pinecone feet with glue, if you are using them.

You can also make these Santa crafts in a taller size using a paper towel tube. Or a make a wider, larger Santa using an oatmeal box. It’s fun and eye-catching to have a variety of different ribbons to wrap them in. I got my ribbon cheaply at a thrift store. Put your Santas on display in a grouping with evergreens or other decorations around them.

Wrapping Paper Santa

These whimsical Santa crafts are made similar to the example above, but do have a few differences. This time I did use a tall paper towel tube; an oatmeal box would also look great.

Materials:
Paper towel tube

Fake spider webbing, cotton balls, or roll cotton
Small piece of white paper
Black and red fine markers
Red pom-pom for the nose
Piece of colorful holiday wrapping paper
Glue gun or Tacky Glue
Larger sized Santa hat, or red felt to make one.
Decorations for base of Santa (i.e. bells, little ornaments, evergreen, tinsel, red beads, etc.)

First cut a length of wrapping paper to size to wrap around the paper towel tube, then glued it on.

Next make the face. Cut a large oval shape from the white paper (or use tan or brown for different ethnicity) and draw on easy cartoon type eyes and a smiling mouth.

Glue the face onto the wrapped tube about 2 to 3 inches down from the top, leaving room to add the hat later. Attach the pom-pom nose too. 

Santa crafts could have several possibilities for the beard. I used some fake spider webbing from Halloween – I wanted a wispy look. But you could also use cotton, stretching it out. Glue on the beard and hair around the sides of the face. Then just put the hat on top of the head.

Then I made an arrangement around the base of the Santa, standing him in a small glass dish and adding colorful bells all around. You can use whatever you have.

Pinecone Santa

Learn to make a cute Santa or elf similar to the one here. Depending on the shape of your pinecone, you can get a variety of looks. Make several and do a grouping.

This one also uses basic craft items, a cardboard tube, and colorful paper such as wrapping paper. Complete with a long, trailing beard. And bells on his toes. See the details at Easy Pinecone Crafts.

Chocolate Strawberry Santa

These cute little Santa crafts or elves are both treat and decoration all in one. They’re simply strawberries dipped in melted white chocolate, with coconut added on the beard, a few candies, and be also added googly eyes for fun.

But you can make him all edible by using candies for eyes instead. Learn all the details on our page about how to make chocolate covered strawberries.

Our Craft Books!

“Easy Crafts and Gifts”
…With more Santa crafts, ornament and other holiday ideas! Why hunt all over our web site. Get them consolidated in this e-book, PLUS dozens of new projects too!

More than 120 projects. Plus, it’s bundled with a FREE booklet of template patterns.
Two books for one!

Also see:

Holiday Treats for Seniors – Besides Santas, see trees, snowmen, gift and cookie ideas.
Winter Senior Activities – By the Month
— Lots more to do than just for the holidays! Complete with calendar dates and special monthly commemorations. For all winter months.
Winter Holiday Activities for Seniors
– Lots of things to do throughout the winter holidays, no matter what your traditions.
Perfect Party Theme Ideas – Try something new for your holiday parties. See lots of possibilities on this page.

to Easy Craft Ideas

Our ideas for painting clay pots for flowers, plants and gardens, and more… on this page.

Clay pots (or even plastic pots) are a popular craft item. Use these for yourself or to give with flower gifts, for a house plant, even an outdoor garden. Giving them along with a packet of flower seeds or a plant is always a hit too.

Tips on Painting Clay Pots

You can make the designs on them from basic to advanced. So these make excellent crafts for the elderly, resulting in a pleasing and satisfying item that can be kept, used as a decoration such as a centerpiece, or given as a gift or give-away. And if your group cannot use breakable clay pots, you can do the same painting process on nice plastic ones.

The easiest way to create your designs is to use a stencil template, such as a star, bird, duck, leaf, polka-dot circle, or heart, for instance. But we’re showing a sample here that can be painted free-hand very simply.

General Materials

  • 3-D paint in squirt bottle, formerly known as “puffy paint” (used to make the spiral flower centers and squiggles). Colors I used: white and blue
  • Acrylic paint, your choice of colors (I used Liquitex brand tube paint). Colors I used: white, medium blue, yellow, medium green
  • Clay pot with tray (any size)
  • Water based craft varnish
  • Small square of sponge, about 1 inch x 1 inch or so
  • Paint brushes, — one with a wider round end; and one pointed
  • Plastic palette knife, if you are going to be mixing colors to make a new color
  • Plastic picnic plate to use as a palette
  • Rag
  • Water container
  • Paper towels

Painting A Base Coat

I first applied a base coat of paint over the whole pot and tray. However, some people prefer to keep the natural terra cotta color of the pot. (In this case, you’d skip the instructions for the base coat).

When painting clay pots, I think the easiest way to cover a surface quickly with a base coat is to sponge paint it on, as shown in the sample on the right, done in white.

Clay Pot Projects

Yellow and Blue Pot

For the flowered pot, I wanted my base coat to be light yellow, so I had to mix the paint to make a new shade. But you certainly can use the paint colors straight out of the tube or jar, if you want to.

On my plastic paper plate palette, I first squirted a blob of white paint about the size of a half dollar. Then about an inch away I squirted a dab of yellow, about the size of a dime.

 I wanted to mix the yellow in with the white to get pale yellow. Pick up a small amount of yellow on the palette knife, and mix it into the white… a little at a time, until you get the shade you want.

Using a palette knife is much like using a knife to frost a cake. When you get you shade, you’re ready to slightly dip in your moistened sponge square and start dabbing the paint onto the pot and tray, until it is all covered.

Let it dry. When painting clay pots, it’s important to let each layer dry thoroughly. Then I also wanted a darker border around the top edges of both the pot and the tray. So I simply painted that on with a brush. Let it dry.

The Flowers

On my design, I have one small (on the upper edge) and two large flowers going down the side of the pot. Plus one on the tray. To make them, I first put a small dot of paint to mark where I wanted the center of each flower to be, so I got the spacing right.

Then I mixed my light blue paint (in the same manner as above) using white with a few dabs of medium blue mixed in. But again, you can use colors straight, instead of mixing colors with painting clay pots.

Dip the larger (slightly wet) brush into the paint and make a petal, starting at the far edge of the petal and drawing it in toward the flower center.

My flowers have about 8 petals. Then, using the side edge of the brush, dip it in green paint and make a few leaves at each flower. Let it all dry.

The Squiggles

Using the squirt bottle of 3-D paint, just squiggle on some wiggly lines going down on each side of the flowers. Then take the white paint and create a spiral for the middles.

On the tray, I made a simple scallop design. However, if it seems difficult to do, you can always just make a haphazard line of dots going all the way around.

The dots could also be squirted on with 3-D paint. Your design doesn’t have to be all perfect. Painting clay pots is supposed to look fresh and fun!

And voila – you have a lovely, colorful pot that you can use for artificial flowers or a real plant. Or fill it with packets of seeds and give it away as a gift, for someone to grow their own flowers. Or fill it with candy or treats when you give it away.

Finishing Coat

When everything is dry, apply a couple coats of water based craft varnish, drying between applications.

If you are painting clay pots right onto the original terra cotta surface without first making a colored base coat, then you only need to apply the varnish just over your designs.

Painting clay pots has many uses! There are more samples below as well. You can use your painted pots for such things as a bookend (even make a pair).

Bluebird Pot

Another good theme for painting clay pots is birds. The colorful pot shown can be done in whatever colors you like. The process is the same as other projects on this page. We have a template and more instructions on how to make this on our bird crafts page. (and other bird templates, if you prefer).

The branches are just jaggedy dark lines (marker or paint). Make them as simple as you’d like. I started the branches at the top left of the pot, then made them  go down diagonally. Just a few easy leaves and/or berries will do too.

Fiesta Pot

Fiesta painted clay pot

This bright and cheery pot is made very similarly as the yellow and blue project above, so I won’t go into all the details here.

The paint colors  were bright yellow, blue, orange, hot pink, red, and green. A sponge-painted background was applied over the pot before making the flowers.

You’ll see these flowers are very simple daisies. The center daisy has two layers, the back layer having been painted on first, and the top layer when dried. Along with some basic line stems, leaves, dots, squiggles,  and scallops on the tray, this make for an easy design.

You can also do this in any color scheme you’d like. As this is very sunny, it’s a perfect craft for summer. Or for making a fiesta project. See how we use it in a centerpiece on our Make Fun and Affordable Centerpieces page.

Painted Pot Stands

I made a couple of strawberry “flowers” on short skewer sticks, with a bit of squirt frosting and sprinkles on top to give away (as shown in sample).

You can see that the pot is upside down in its dish (painted to match), so that the strawberries (or another decorative item like flowers) can stand up in the hole.

You can even give it away with a couple books. I’ve even turned mine upside down and used the hole for a slender taper candle holder. Depending on the size of your pot and its hole, you may have to carve out the bottom of the candle a bit though, to make it fit.

You can also use a little “sticky wax” that makes candles adhere to a surface. The sticky wax can be formed into a cup shape to better fit into the hole of the pot.

Holiday Pots

Painting clay pots is a perfect activity for just about any holiday or occasion. For example, a patriotic theme for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Veteran’s Day, or any patriotic occasion.

The patriotic pot to the right was made very simply with star stencils and a little 3-D paint for the squiggles. (See more patriotic themed crafts on our Fun 4thof July Crafts page).

Just switch out colors and designs for any holiday or season… greens and red for Christmas with a wreath or tree design; or blue and white with snowflakes. You get the idea.

Fall and Halloween are excellent seasons for painting clay pots, especially since terra cotta is a natural orange color — one of the favorites for fall.

You really needn’t even paint a colored base coat first. Just paint your design directly onto the pot, as done with the fall sample above.

The Cattail Pot

First, a simple round circle in a gold acrylic paint becomes the harvest moon. When dry, paint in dark brown over that basic cattails: lines and slender ovals for the tops, and a few curved leaves. The tray just has a simple rim of square dots, the width of the paint brush, applied in a loose and whimsical way.

See more fall crafts for the elderly (and for any age!) at the link.

The Halloween pot above is just as easy. Again, paint a loose circle in gold acrylic for the harvest moon. Over that, just a couple bats in black. The rims on the top of the pot and on the base, have easy stripe and line designs that are loosely and un-exactly applied with the width of the brush. Then just fill it with foliage, or a thick pillar candle.

See more fun and easy Halloween crafts at the link. We also have a bat pattern on that page.

And how about this…
We found this spectacular garden sculpture made all out of a variety of clay pots. There were lengths of rope run through the centers of the pots, sometimes with knots along the way, to string many of them together.

Do you think you could tackle something like this? Maybe a group effort – even a smaller one. Very cool!

Clay Pot Characters

Clay pots now come in all sizes, including mini sizes just for crafts. You can use your imagination to assemble the various kinds into creatures, characters and dolls of all types.

The black mouse to the right is perched upon a wrapped piece of cheese. It’s made from a mini clay pot and Styrofoam ball that I first painted black, It’s tail is made from a shoelace (the plastic end easily pokes into the styro with a little glue too). The ears are of felt, and added to the face are googly eyes and candy (or bead) nose.

Also check out our book -  Easy Crafts and Gifts and find out about lots more easy yet quality craft ideas (including lots more about painting clay pots, and crafts with clay pots). Plus a booklet of FREE templates to use for your projects. Two books for one!


to Easy Craft Ideas

Home

Picture frame crafts can be simple or very fancy, and perfect to give as gifts. Plus, frame your own art or photo. These crafts make great senior activities too. And simple to modify for those who need extra help, as with the beaded frame.

The best type of frame to use is one with a flat, somewhat wide frame area, so you have a good surface on which to glue your decorations. This can be worked around, however, depending on what you are gluing on. Besides using what I have at home, I pick up inexpensive frames at thrift stores, dollar stores, flea markets, etc.

Picture Frame Crafts – Ideas

Themes — First, choose the theme for your picture frame crafts. Are you giving it away? Does the recipient have a favorite hobby, like gardening, sailing, a sport like golf? You can use a variety of golf tees, and even a golf ball, depending on the size of the frame.

How about fishing? Try tackle, lures (remove the hooks), bobbers. And there’s the sewing theme. Or a frame for an artist — use old tubes of paint, brushes, etc., plus paint blobs like a palette. The sky is the limit.

Cookie Cutter Frames

Or perhaps you’re decorating a frame for a holiday or festivity, like Valentine’s Day. You can find all sorts of decorations, doilies, heart shaped buttons, even candy. See the instructions for a fun frame made from a heart-shaped cookie cutter: Heart Picture Frame Crafts.

These heart frames could also be painted white and used for a wedding or anniversary. Or used another shaped cookie cutter for Christmas, Halloween, or a birthday. A more general shaped cookie cutter, such as a flower, can be used for any occasion.

Candy Picture Frame Crafts

How about candy? Yes, you can glue hard candies on to a frame (not chocolates!).

You can get variety bags of candy inexpensively at most dollar stores. Or have your group all bring candy from home and share.

After gluing candies in place, you must apply several coats of water-based varnish, drying the frame several hours between coats. Obviously, candy picture frame crafts are not edible — but are cute!

The Beaded Frame

This beaded frame, pictured on the top of the page, is a cinch to make. You may want a color scheme. Try an all-white theme (perfect for weddings or anniversaries). Or pink and white for Valentine’s Day.

You may want to have a variety of bead sizes, but not necessary. Do you have an old bracelet or necklace? If not, you can get them cheap at a garage sale or thrift store. If you’re doing this with a group, have everyone bring something in, and share! You may want to glue on a pattern or just random groups of beads.

You will need:

Glue gun
Old newspaper to spread under project
Picture frame, any size, but 5×7 is very good to start with
Variety of beads — think of color and size
Plastic container(s) for beads, by color and/or size
Acrylic paint – optional, if you need to paint the frame first

Cover your work surface with old newspapers. Make sure the frame is clean and in good repair. Paint it first with acrylic paint, if necessary, and dry thoroughly, at least one hour or according to directions.

You can even paint the frame in a color that contrasts with your beads. If you’re making a frame for a special occasion such as an anniversary or wedding, you can paint the frame gold, silver, or white, and use the same color of beads – metallic gold, silver, or pearls.

It’s easiest to have your beads ready in a plastic container. Then just use the glue gun to adhere them, one by one. It actually goes fast! Let the glue dry thoroughly before putting anything in the frame. That’s it!

Patriotic Frame

Patriotic themes and colors are always popular, whether with national or local colors and symbols. Learn how to make this fun, free-hand painted frame at our Crafts For The Elderly page.

We also show how to make a matching ornament. These also make really nice 4th of July crafts. Use the ornament idea for any holiday — not just Christmas!

Rope Frame

The image for your picture frame crafts made with rope depends on the kind of rope you use. The one shown here uses nylon and is sort of nautical. But you could also use hemp rope or fiber rope of the type used on a farm or in camping. Then choose your picture.

You will need:

Use a regular picture frame or get creative…
…Cut heavy cardboad or foam for backing into a shape
A length of rope, as long as you need, with a little overlap
Glue gun or contact glue
Spray glue (if needed)
Clear contact paper, or laminating machine (optional)

The easy way — You can certainly just glue the rope around the edges of a frame you already have.

Creative shapes — But this one has a creative shape that no regular backing or glass would fit. So a backing was cut in the shape from heavy cardboard.

Choose a print, magazine picture, photo, etc., and cut it to the shape of your backing. If you’re using a regular frame, just insert the picture behind the glass.

Otherwise, with a creative shape you won’t have glass. So you can laminate the image, or cover it with a piece of clear contact paper, for protection. After covering it attach the image to your backing with spray glue, smoothing it out. Dry.

Then glue the rope round the frame; or around the picture/backing, using plenty of strong glue. Dry. And you’re done!

Sea Shell Frame

The project to the right is a sea shell frame craft submitted by one of our readers in our craft share forum. If you used a wider frame, you could fit even more small shells on it.

Any type of water picture would look great in it, including something beachy or with palm trees. See what she did at her sea shell frame page.    

Our Craft Book!

Get some more fun ideas
for picture frame crafts and lots more. We have a couple of great idea books for you to see. So check out Easy Crafts and Gifts You Can Make, with over 120 projects, plus FREE templates you can use for a variety of projects.

to Easy Craft Ideas

gourd craft face

Our easy craft ideas for seniors are perfect for all abilities.
Welcome to “Crafts Central

Get a variety of ideas with affordable craft supplies. This page points you to crafts for parties, seasonal and holiday crafts, fun food crafts, crafts for gifts, and more.

Our Easy Craft Ideas…

We have fall, winter, spring and summer crafts for seniors and elderly listed here; something for all seasons. And on the various pages we also give tips on how to change out details for other occasions and holidays!

(For a special selection of easier crafts for the elderly, see our page on Crafts For The Elderly.)

And now a special page on Crafts for Men – with link to popular projects.

Templates and Patterns:

Collage and Craft Templates — If you’d like ideas for attractive page layouts, take a look at our templates for collages, scrapbooking (very popular with elderly), and good design. Learn how to break up a page into pleasing and balanced areas. Twelve free templates to print out and use.
Flower Templates and Designs — Flower templates and designs come in really handy if drawing is not your strength, or if you just need some new ideas for your arts and crafts projects.
Leaf Template and Pattern Ideas — Our free leaf template and pattern ideas are great for arts, crafts, collages, painting, etc. Check it out if you want a new idea or easy pattern without drawing it yourself!
Free Animal Template Ideas — We have several fun animals here that can be used for many seasons and in many ways (which we explain on the page).

Party Crafts:

Fiesta Party Ideas — Seniors love parties! See our fiesta party ideas and easy recipes, including for some delicious Sangrias. Fun projects for party decorations and centerpieces too.
Gone Fishing Party and Activities
— Check out our food ideas and fish party activities and easy craft ideas to make for a fun theme-based party – all about fishing! Lots of senior activity ideas. Bad weather? Take it indoors and have a Gone-Fishing party any time of year!
Perfect Party Theme Ideas — Get lots more party ideas at our “party central” page.

Apple Crafts:

Including lots of summer and fall crafts for seniors…

Really Easy Apple Craft Ideas — Try these really easy craft ideas (for all ages). Apples are not only abundant in fall, they are available all year long, so these ideas are perfect any time.
Whimsical Granny Apple Doll
— The apple doll is a traditional folk apple craft dating back over a hundred years. Many of the elderly I know used to make them. And we have some really fun ideas.
Aromatic Apple Wreaths — These aromatic apple wreaths are wonderful to make just because of the aroma – some smell like baking apple pie, with many of the same ingredients and spices! Great nostalgia. Make them the from-scratch, home-made way. Or take the short cut.

General Crafts:

Lavender Pillow — If you like projects with aromas, learn how to make an soothing lavender pillow craft using real lavender and flax seed. You can either warm in the microwave or chill in the freezer!
Fancy Soap Decoupage Crafts — Soap decoupage crafts make lovely gifts to give away, or something special to keep for yourself. And they’re easy –  just a few inexpensive supplies.
Picture Frame Crafts — Picture frame crafts can be simple or very fancy, and perfect to give as gifts. Plus, frame your own art or photo. see our ideas.
Bird Planter Feather Craft — This fancy feather craft is an amusing tropical bird that is actually a decorative planter stick. Change the feather color for any holiday or occasion. Great for gifts and give-aways at senior functions too.
Bird Crafts for Seniors — Birds are a popular theme for crafts, and we have lots, plus many FREE templates!

How To Paint Glass — Easy even if you don’t think you’re an artist. These really are easy craft ideas. Get great results, either simple or fancy. Free-hand or use stencils. Try wine glasses, vases, jars, anything! Or for holidays, like in winter or Christmas. Perfect for gifts.
Easy Make A Gift Basket Ideas — It’s easy to make a gift basket, and a very satisfying project for old or young. Our easy, imaginative ideas will make it simple. Many possibilities, whether making money or helping others. Use these easy craft ideas and activities for your event, party or gift. An excellent way for elderly to give and help others.
Painting Clay Pots — Painting terra cotta clay pots is easy, colorful, very versatile. And you can do the same project with plastic pots.

Angel Crafts

Perfect not only for holiday and winter crafts for seniors, but also for Easter crafts and special occasions.

Fun and Fabulous Craft Angels — Angels are a popular topic! This is our main angel craft page with projects and links to others, for big variety.
Feather Angel Craft
— Our fluffy feather angel craft is easy for anyone to make, and they’re great to do for elderly activities. These very easy craft ideas have many possibilities – tree ornaments, mobiles, or hanging from lights, attach to gifts with ribbons, and more
Elegant Glass Angel Craft — This glass angel craft is elegant and easy to do. You can make it from everyday items you may already have. Or use plastic items instead of glass. Excellent for centerpieces at home or at an event. Or as a candle holder or a gift.
Angel Cornhusk Doll — The cornhusk doll is a traditional craft from Native Americans dating back hundreds of years. Our angel has a little bit of a different twist on the tradition. 

Mouse Crafts

Mouse Bookmark Craft — Our mouse bookmark craft is cute and created with large beads. It peeps out of the top of the book when it’s closed, and is very easy to make. Find out how here.
Mini Mouse Crafts – Amusing and Easy — Mouse crafts and mice themes are always popular. We show several different mouse crafts on this page. And ours alsoinclude food crafts: crafts with candy and chocolate.
Hershey Kiss Mouse Chocolate Crafts
— Mouse chocolate crafts made with Hershey Kisses are simple, and can be made in minutes. Besides ornaments, we have other ideas for gifts and even a centerpiece.
Whimsical Wood Mouse Crafts — These wood mouse crafts made with a honey stick are fun for both men and women to do. And you can actually use the honey stick later too, if you make them a certain way.

Crafts with Food:

Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries — We show different easy ways! Plus fun colors and decorating for holidays and seasons.
Easy Dipping Chocolate
— Dipping chocolates are more fun and yummy easy craft ideas – that you can eat! Very easy for elderly to do. Decorating ideas too.
Creative and Simple Fruit Salad Characters — Simple fruit salads with unique, whimsical characters – like making a craft with food. (Plus great fruit salad dressing)!
Strawberry Bouquets — Both a craft and a food project. They have a choice of topping and are fabulous bouquet gifts you can make.
Halloween Treats for Seniors — Creative, crafty projects and characters – to eat!

Holiday Crafts

(Also see the Angel Crafts, listed above).
Senior crafts for winter, spring, summer, fall…

Festive Valentines Crafts — These easy craft ideas are unique ways to give valentines, gifts, or to use as a centerpiece, place setting, or give-aways.
Lollipop Valentine Centerpiece — This fun lollipop valentine centerpiece is really two crafts in one. You can paint its clay pot too!
Apple Valentine Centerpiece — A couple of truly unique apple valentine centerpieces that include hand-painted apples that may look fancy, but are easy craft ideas.
Angel Valentine & Candy Holder — This cute angel valentine craft has so many possibilities. Use it to hold candy, give a valentine or gift, or as a centerpiece.
Cork Leprechaun Craft — This little leprechaun craft is made of corks! (And perhaps the leprechauns are from Cork County itself). I used two different types of corks.
4th of July and Patriotic — Our patriotic and 4th of July crafts are now all on one easy page. Use these for Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, or any patriotic event. 

Easy Halloween Crafts –  And easy to change out the colors and themes for other seasons and holidays. Lots of ideas!
Creative Halloween Treats for Seniors – Make whimsical food crafts to eat!
Fall Crafts For The Elderly — Lots of unique things to do in the fall, both elegant and whimsical, and all of them are easy. Use items from nature and things that you already have around your home.
Easy Pinecone Crafts — Pinecones come in many shapes and sizes, and we have lots of projects for them. Perfect for fall, even Halloween.
Gourd Craft Ideas – Gifts, Ghouls & Grannies –  You can almost always get some kind of gourd at the grocery store, especially fall. These funny characters are so easy, and decorated with odds and ends.
Painting Pumpkins and Gourds — Painting pumpkins and small (smooth) gourds is a great alternative to carving, and they’re quite colorful! Wonderful for centerpieces and all sorts of decorations.
Make Fun and Affordable Centerpieces — Nice variety of really easy centerpieces  for different seasons and festivities.
Simple Christmas Crafts For Seniors — Our Christmas craft central!
Snowman Crafts — From golf balls to ornaments, get a fun variety!
Christmas Elf and Santa Crafts — Very easy crafts ideas with ways to make them into whatever you’d like.

Our Craft Books!

200 Template Drawings
We have loads of templates for other easy craft ideas — our handy e-book full of nature patterns and templates.

Over 200 line drawings of all kinds of subjects, perfect for your projects. From simple to detailed.
Get a Sneak Peek of the pictures at the link above!

Easy Crafts and Gifts
Besides many of the easy craft ideas from our web site (nice and organized and in one place), in this e-book you’ll get dozens of absolutely new projects!

Over 120 projects. Plus, a FREE booklet of over 30 templates. So you get Two books for one!
Click the link above for a Sneak Peek.

About Craft Supplies…

It’s a good idea to have a craft supply box (or boxes!) on hand. And ways to get inexpensive or free arts and crafts supplies. Just have family, friends, your group, or staff bring in items that may have around home. Or get them cheap at garage sales, thrift stores and dollar stores.

We’re into recycled crafts, using lots of things that you don’t need to buy new. We often give suggestions for other materials to use too. For a good list of supplies to have on hand or ask for, see Recycled Crafts and Supplies.

Also see:
Share Your Craft Forum
— Ideas from our readers, and share your own!


Home Page

Making nice things, like a lavender pillow, that can be used, or given as gifts are favorite senior activities. And this also makes a great craft for the elderly who may have some limitations too, with a little extra help.

A pillow filled with lavender is a popular aromatherapy project, and really easy to make. Plus, working with the lavender smells wonderful!

This project does take a little sewing, so some elderly may need a little help. But along with fabric glue, you can sew by hand if you’d like. (Using fabric glue, too, ensures that the seams will be tight so the flax seeds do not seep out).

Use small pillows for drawers as a sachet, or put them over your eyes for soothing relaxation, or lay one next to your pillow at night or when napping. Larger pillows are great for warming hands and your lap, or holding against your chest. For those who have issues pertaining to sleep, relaxation or warmth, a lavender pillow is very comforting.You can also chill them, to use when you need to cool off.

These are one of our favorite easy craft ideas, and also great gifts. Decorate it with artificial flowers, and/or sew or tie a little ribbon around it, then slip into a gift bag.

(If you are going to use these warmed up, I recommend testing artificial flowers and ribbon in a microwave first, to make sure they won’t get ruined. You want something sturdy enough, not too delicate, and nothing with metal, such as wiring).

If you are looking for elderly activities for older seniors, these are fun to make for those who have finger dexterity.

You Will Need:

  • A piece of strong fabric (cotton print, light terry cloth, and flannel are favorites). Cut it twice the size that you want your pouch to be.
  • Flax seed in bulk (health food store) – to fill the size of your pillow.
  • Lavender oil (more aromatic) – buy at health food stores. A bottle can cost $8 to $12 but goes a long ways. NOTE: Make sure you are not allergic.
  • Dried lavender — buy it in a bag at a craft store or sometimes farmer’s market. (Use both the lavender oil and dried lavender for maximum aroma in your lavender pillow).

To Make the Lavender Pillow:

  • Turn the fabric inside out.
  • Sew tightly around all sides, leaving one side open, to make a pouch. Or you can use both fabric glue, plus stitching to make it extra tight. (This is the best way).
  • Turn the pouch right side out.

Mix together in a bowl:

  • Flax seeds, dried lavender.
  • Sprinkle several drops of lavender oil in various places. Mix everything together well.
  • Pour the flax seed mixture into the pouch so it is only about three-fourths full. This allows the pouch to be flexible during use.
  • Then sew up the open end of the pillow (or ideally, use fabric glue plus stitching).

You can heat the pillows in the microwave. Test the time frame for your pillow size, by setting the timer for 30-second, then 15-second intervals, until you arrive at the amount of minutes you need. The pillow should be warm but not hot — very cozy on a chilly day.

They can also be put in the freezer for cooling off! Also see more activities for those who may have limitations, on our page for Elderly Activities.

Also check out:
Easy Crafts and Gifts You Can Make, and find out about lots more easy yet quality craft ideas for many seasons, reasons, ages and ability levels; plus free templates you can use for a variety of projects.

to Senior Activity Ideas

photo collage craft of ireland


Get lots of layout designs, collage and craft templates!

You’ll find these templates useful for many of your arts and crafts.

They’re handy for projects of all kinds, including scrapbooking, greeting cards and flyers.

And all of our templates here are all free!

A great craft or art project — whether scrap booking, greeting cards, collages, paintings, etc. — begins with a strong layout design. Sometimes it’s just hard to know where and how to put things in to create a good design. Here are some free templates you can use for all kinds of arts and easy craft ideas. There are three sizes to choose from. They can be reduced to smaller sizes as well, to fit onto other formats such as small art canvases or boards.

These collage and craft templates can be used for many ideas.
The segments within each template are guidelines in which to place photos, mosaic materials, beads, paint, items form nature, or a mix!

And don’t forget to do something creative with the borders. They don’t have to be just boring lines. How about painting them, using fabric puffy paint, adhesive faux “lead,” create a look of vines, use real reeds, shoelaces, ribbon, yarn, etc.

And think outside of the box! These craft templates are laid out in straight lines and boxes…but can you picture them in curves instead? A more graceful flow? Just turn each straight line into the curve of your choice.

If you’re looking for senior activity ideas, these will work great. If you lead a group for elderly activities, try a project on a small canvas, a white canvas board, or piece of masonite — that can then be framed and used as a gift.

Our Craft Templates…

Nature Templates

We have free craft templates and patterns for flowers and leaves. You can use them for all sorts of crafts for the elderly and seniors. Just click on the links here to view them, and print out for your use:

Flower Templates and Designs — Flower templates and designs come in really handy if drawing is not your strength, or if you just need some new ideas for your arts and crafts projects.
Leaf Template and Pattern Ideas — Our free leaf template and pattern ideas are great for arts, crafts, collages, painting, etc. Check it out if you want a new idea or easy pattern without drawing it yourself!
Free Animal Template Ideas — Find several new animals (that can be also be used along with the Flower and Leaf templates) in projects for many seasons. We explain how.

Collage Templates

To view and download the larger templates,
just Click on each image below.
The larger templates you will download are these sizes:
First Row — Large are 8.5 x 11
Second Row — Large are 11 x 8.5
Third Row — Large are 12 x 12
Fourth Row — Large are 12 x 12

“200 Template Drawings” Book

Be sure to see loads of other craft templates and ideas in our handy little e-book called “200 Template Drawings – For Arts and Activities,” with 239 pages of nature patterns and templates. It’s 200+ pre-drawn pictures of all kinds of subjects to give you a hand with the art part of any project. They range from silhouettes, to simple, to fancy. You can use them as is, mix and match them for endless possibilities, simplify them if you’d like, or add your own details. Perfect for either individuals or groups. So if you don’t like to draw, can’t draw, are in a hurry, or want lots of drawing ideas, be sure to click the link to see some Sneak Peeks of the pictures!

“Easy Crafts and Gifts” Book,
with FREE mini Bonus Template book

We have lots of crafts in many places around our web site, for many ability levels. But why hunt all over? Our crafts (and other activity ideas too) are all consolidated and organized, along with dozens of new never-seen-before projects for both men and women, in our e-book! You get over 120 projects, with plenty of tips on different ways to make them! Plus, it’s bundled with a FREE mini booklet of about 30 templates.

Two books for one:
1) “Easy Crafts and Gifts – For Little Money & Lots of Fun,”
— plus —
2) “Bonus Templates & Patterns.”
Click here to get more information!

Also see these other fun pages:

Senior Activity Ideas — A nice variety of senior activity ideas for those with more mobility or a higher ability level. Some great to do alone, and some in groups.
Elderly Activities — More ideas for those who are less active or who may have restrictions. But these activities can be modified to interest anyone, as well!


to Easy Craft Ideas

Our web site uses a lot of recycled crafts for our projects. By that we mean using a lot of materials that you may already have around or can get inexpensively. See our how-to projects and what you will need!

It’s a good idea to have a craft supply box (or boxes!) Have family, friends, your group, or staff if you’re an activities director, bring in items that may have around home. Or get them cheap at garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores and dollar stores. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll see how fast you can accumulate supplies. And as you get them, they’ll most likely trigger off all kinds of ideas on what to use them for!

Recycled Crafts Supplies

Here are some useful things to keep handy for recycled crafts. Or jump to the links to our easy craft ideas and recycled crafts, by clicking the link below.
Recycled Crafts Projects

Basic Supplies for Recycled Crafts:

  • Craft glue
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors, including those that cut decorative edges
  • Box of plastic wrap (including colored)
  • ModPodge, water-based varnish
  • Acrylic paints and brushes
  • Spray paint
  • 3D “puffy” paint
  • Fabric and glass paint
  • Fine tipped or “Sharpie” markers in many colors

Used or Cheap Supplies for Recycled Crafts

  • Variety of colored paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Old magazines
  • Old greeting cards
  • Leftover paper party cups, plates, napkins
  • Remnants of wrapping paper and wallpaper
  • Aluminum foil and colored foils
  • Ribbon and bows
  • Old jewelry and beads
  • Leftover colorful stickers (kids usually have them around)
  • Colored paper shred (or make your own with a paper shredder)
  • Yarn, string, twine, raffia, thread (including “invisible” fish line types)
  • Cord, shoe strings, leather strips and cord
  • All kinds of Styrofoam, large &small (including wreath shapes)
  • Variety of glass bottles and jars, with caps
  • Broken china dishes (for mosaics)
  • Variety of plain colored mugs and wine glasses
  • Old vases – all sizes and shapes
  • Old picture frames (small are best)
  • Old baskets – all sizes and shapes
  • Terra cotta clay plant pots and trays (all sizes)
  • Variety of plastic bottles and jars
  • Fabric and felt pieces
  • Paper doilies of all sizes, shapes, colors
  • Lots of lace – both fabrics and ribbons
  • Small bowl, plates, platters (to use as bases in displays)
  • Pompoms, large and small
  • Googly eyes, large and small
  • Variety of candy – especially for holidays
  • Toothpicks, long wooden skewers, short brochette skewers
  • Muffin paper cups
  • Artificial flowers, vines, leaves, evergreen garlands, etc.
  • Pine cones, reeds, items from nature
  • Corks, spools from thread
  • Clear plastic bulbs and Easter eggs that can open
  • Plain colored Christmas tree balls
  • Variety of small hardware pieces: nuts, bolts, pipe joints, screws, etc.
  • Old bobbers, fishing lures and tackle
  • Old golf balls and tees
  • Any smaller items from hobbies

These are just some basic items that come in handy to make recycled crafts. Some projects involve other specific supplies, so we always provide a list of what you will need for each project. As you can see, if you’re really into making crafts, it’s good to have a box around to store supplies in for your easy craft ideas.

Recycled Crafts Projects

Take a look at the recycled crafts projects that we have on our web site, and the way we incorporated the recycled and used items. (And we’re always adding more!)

Really Easy Apple Craft Ideas — Try these really easy apple craft ideas (for all ages). Apples are not only abundant in fall, they are available all year long, so these ideas are perfect any time.
Whimsical Granny Apple Doll — The apple doll is a traditional folk apple craft dating back over a hundred years. And we have some really fun ideas. And easy to make, using things from home; plus imagination!
Picture Frame Crafts — Use up your old picture frames, beads, odds and ends. Picture frame crafts can be simple or very fancy, and perfect to give as gifts. Customize them according to the recipient’s hobby (or yours)! Then frame your own art or photo.
Fun and Fabulous Craft Angels — We’ve got lots of craft angels for you to make! All kinds, from glass centerpieces, to bells, to foil, to wood, to old-fashioned cornhusk dolls! These are all easy craft ideas, and many are excellent for elderly activities.
Gourd Craft Ideas — Gourd craft ideas are fun all year round and make great fall craft projects. These whimsical characters are really easy and fast to make. Great for all ages, both elderly and kids!
How To Paint Glass — Do you have any old glass vases around (plastic works too). Or mugs or wine glasses? Even an old framed window? Learn the steps to make easy and finished looking pieces. You can also use our templates if you need design ideas.
Mini Mouse Crafts – Amusing and Easy — Mouse crafts and mice themes are always popular. And ours even include crafts with candy, as well as fun chocolate crafts. Perfect for simple senior activity ideas, or elderly activities for those who may have some limitations.
Lavender Pillow — If you like projects with aromas, learn how to make an easy lavender pillow craft using real lavender and flax seed. They are great senior activity ideas too. Warm in the microwave or chill in the freezer!
Valentines Crafts — These festive valentines crafts are unique ways to give valentines, or use as a centerpiece, place setting, or a give-away. Lots of possibilities! You can use many items from home, thrift stores or flea markets.
Gone Fishing Party and Activities — Check out our food ideas and fish party activities and crafts to make for a fun theme-based party – all about fishing! Includes fun senior activity ideas crafts. Bad weather? Take it indoors and have a Gone-Fishing party any time of year!
Fiesta Party Ideas — See our fiesta party ideas and easy recipes, including for some delicious Sangrias. Fun projects for party decorations and centerpieces too.
Painting Clay Pots — Painting terra cotta clay pots is a very versatile project, and the colorful pots have so many different uses. (Planting, being just one of them). You may have a few old ones around to recycle. They make a great pick-me-up, cheerful activity any time of year. You can also do the same process on plastic pots, should you not be able to use the breakable kind. See our instructions and ideas.


Our Craft Book

Easy Crafts and Gifts
Why hunt all over our web site for our craft ideas?

We’ve consolidated and organized lots of them, along with dozens of new never-seen-before projects, in our e-book! You get over 120 projects. Plus, bundled with a FREE booklet of templates. Two books for one!

to Easy Craft Ideas

We’ve had readers ask us for more elderly activities that can be done with kids, including when visiting a family member — whether at their homes, assisted living, or a nursing home. Kids of all ages tend to get bored and restless fast; and since the purpose of a visit is to visit, it’s a good idea to have them unplug from cell phones and mobile devices. At least for much of the visit.

Children sometimes feel nervous or even afraid to visit older people, especially if they don’t know them well. They might even think it will be boring. But there needn’t be any concerns.

The Busy Bag

When my kids were young, I always had them pack a “busy bag” when we visited grandparents. They were quilted cloth bags that were just larger than a student’s 3-ring binder, and had a handle and an outer pocket. In fact, they were made by one of their grandmothers. 

Inside we always included some things that could also be done with the grandparent…
A children’s book they could read to the grandparent (or be read to), an activities or coloring book (or both), crayons, a pad of plain drawing paper, pencil, eraser, a small game (we had travel-sized board games), perhaps a small puzzle, a snack, sometimes materials for a craft, perhaps homework, etc. Depending on who we were visiting, we might also bring a larger board game.
 
It’s always a good idea to have in mind a nice supply of more elderly activities to do too. And this will, of course, depend on the person you’re visiting with, how long the visit, and the age of the children.

We’re going to pull ideas together here from all over our web site that you can do with kids (teens too), and some can even be continued over more than one visit. Others may involve specific materials and items, so these will need to be planned – but you’re sure to have fun!

You may already know if your elderly loved one or friend has a hobby or is interested in learning something new (see our page on finding a hobby). Many of these will be suitable to do with children… and you may be surprised at what even younger kids can do. Some are open to more elderly activities with different experiences, at any age.

Here are the categories this page contains:
Crafts
Fun With Food
General Activities
Games

Crafts

We have quite a few crafts around our web site for more elderly activities to do with kids, so will pull a few together here. Younger kids may need help on some, but can participate. But anyone over age 12 will be able to do most of the other crafts as well. Keep in mind, that depending on the elderly person you’re doing activities with, he/she may also need some assistance.

You can take a look at our main easy craft ideas page (a.k.a. “craft central”) and get links to lots of specific categories; i.e., for holidays and seasons. And see how you might modify them for your needs. But we’re including a few direct links here to fun crafts to get you started.

Fleece Blankets — Children really enjoy doing this no-sew activity. They’re so easy and are especially fun to do with someone. The process is relaxing and simple, so lots of visiting can take place too. See just what to do on our page about making fleece blankets.

Scrapbooking – Or even looking through photo albums are more elderly activities that help memory too. Activities with photos are very appealing to seniors. Just as appealing is the conversation that goes along with them; the sharing of family history and stories with youngsters. Plus, it’s a very important way for them to keep their memories sharp.

Picture Frame Crafts– More elderly activities to go along with the photo theme might includecreating a unique picture frame craft to put a special photo in. We haveseveral ideas, all of them easy, on our page all about making picture frame crafts.You’ll see many can be decorated for various holidays and occasions (thinkValentine’s Day, patriotic days, St. Patrick’s Day, winter holidays, etc.).

Decorate A Birdhouse– You can get small wooden birdhouses at craft stores and easily paint themwith acrylics, add some beads, buttons, artificial foliage, wooden craftshapes, etc., and make something quite spectacular. I’ve even found them for $1each at the dollar store, and also at thrift stores.

Use them as a decorativeitem indoors, or out. Apply a couple coats of water-based polyurethane varnish,and it will be very sturdy. However, I suggest you put it in a covered area ifyou use it outdoors. More elderly activities with birdhouses include covering them ingraham crackers, cookies and candy, gingerbreadhouse style; or all candy. Use frosting (including squirt tube frosting) as “glue.”

Crazy Creature Gourds – Kids just love coming up with wild and crazy creatures using those wonderfully lumpy, bumpy gourds. (And so do seniors – we’ve even done this with dementia patients).

You can find them in the fall, of course, but sometimes at other times of the year too. Some type of squash or gourd can be found almost year around in grocery stores. See more elderly activities with gourds at gourd craft ideas.

Feather Angels – Anyone can make these fluffy floating angels. (We also show them in a mobile). Think of ways you can use and give them, on our feather angel craft page.

Mouse Bookmark – Both kids and seniors enjoy mouse crafts, and one of our most popular is an easy mouse bookmark craft. We show basic beads, but you can certainly get creative (or very fancy) and use any kind of bead you can think of, including sparkly and vintage, as from old jewelry. (There will also be a link on that page that will lead you to more elderly activities using an amusing mouse theme).

Rug Hooking – I’ve mentioned before on another page that my kids’ great-grandfather  (when he was in his 90s) spent the cold winter months hooking rugs with an easy kit. The photo on the right is one of them. Now each of my grown children have a memoir. But had we not lived too far away, they also would have loved to have helped great-grandad, as an activity together. Rug hooking is a really easy process both for kids and older people, and along with a little music and memorable conversation, it makes a great activity for everyone.

Make An Easy Centerpiece – If you want lots more elderly activities that can be done all year long, simple centerpieces are perfect. You can do them together for just about any occasion. Maybe you’re having or attending an event or party. Or perhaps you’d like to make a special item for a raffle, silent auction, or give-away. Get some ideas for making very affordable centerpieces. And again, many can be changed out to fit different purposes and seasons.

Seasons and Holidays – Can you think of how to turn this easy Ghostmallow into another character or food decoration for different holidays, like for winter or Valentine’s Day? Many of our crafts are all about using imagination and seeing how you can change them out.

We have more elderly activities for specific times of the year. You can find the different categories on our main page about easy craft ideas — such as Valentine’s Day, leprechauns, craft angels for many times of the year, 4th of July and other patriotic holidays, Halloween, Fall, Christmas, and other winter holidays. Just pick what interests you!

Fun With Food

We have lots more elderly activities with fun food themes – treats are just about everyone’s favorites. Especially with chocolate! Here are a few of our popular pages.

Creative S’mores – Kids and adults alike love making s’mores. But we go way beyond basics and have many creative concoctions – some invented by my son. You can also find marshmallows in various flavors and colors. Or add a dash of food coloring (as for Halloween) and see what happen. If you’re not able to make your s’more around a fire, no problem. Most of ours were created in the microwave! So learn how to make smores the gourmet way….

Chocolate Strawberries – These are also extremely simple, and extremely delicious. There are many more elderly activities to do when decorating these. And elegant enough for a party or giving for gifts (my kids always make me a batch for Mother’s Day). See different ways to decorate them and make them into characters, all on our page on how to make chocolate covered strawberries.

Chocolate Covered Worms – Can you guess what these are? We made them as kids and of course convinced our friends they were the real thing. (Worthy of being on a TV reality show). See how to make this – and more elderly activities for eating – on our page all about food activities.

Hershey’s Kiss Mouse – Did you even make these when you were young? My kids learned from an older relative and started making them for me at Christmas to hang on our tree. They’re so easy! And with all the colors of Hershey Kiss wrappings these days, you can make them any time of the year. (They’re cute for Valentine’s Day too). See our Hershey Mouse Chocolate Crafts page.

Dipping Chocolate Magic Wands – (And other things). We have more elderly activities with chocolate… and dipping chocolate lends itself to great variety. Whether using jumbo pretzels, apricots, nuts, cookies (for starters), there’s something for everyone. Plus we’ve got some really cute ways to decorate them and use them for holidays. Visit Creative, Easy Dipping Chocolate.

Homemade Ice Cream, The Easy Way – Making homemade ice cream is one of Dad’s favorite activities. He’s been doing it with us since we were children, back when ice cream makers were waaaay more manual and time-intensive. And you can get recipes for fabulous flavors. We personally prefer using honey or maple syrup as sweeteners, instead of sugar… it’s more natural. See our ideas at How To Make Ice Cream – The Easy Way.

Making Marzipan – Are you familiar with marzipan? It’s like playing with clay! A tradition from Europe, marzipan is often used at holiday time, and you can frequently see it in candy stores in the shape of fruit. But kids love making marzipan into little animals, people, and creatures. Characters and props for gingerbread houses are usually made of marzipan too. It’s a great activity to do with seniors. See just how on our marzipan recipe page. And speaking of gingerbread houses – that opens up an array of many more elderly activities to do together.

Microwave Cake In A Mug – This little cake for one always astounds me. Every time I make it I wonder if it’s really going to work. And yes, it really does! It’s almost like magic. Kids and seniors alike will find it delightful. If you’ve never made one of these, you’ve got to give it a try! This idea was actually submitted to our Share forum by one of our readers. Go to Microwave Cake.  

Fruit Salad Characters – Both kids and adults like things with a little humor and fun, such as whimsical fruit salad characters. These are perfect to make for parties and special occasions, and can even be used as part of a centerpiece. From mice to bunnies, to birds, even a string cheese octopus, you’re sure to find many more elderly activities and have a good time together with our simple fruit salad concoctions.

General Activities

Helping Others – You may be involved in an event to help others, whether veterans, someone who is ill, the needy during holidays, or even another elderly person. Or perhaps you’re working on a fund raiser, craft fair, silent auction, etc. Children and elderly can definitely assist in these efforts too, and often on projects they do together. Why not make a gift basket together, for instance.

Handiwork – Whether boy or girl, handiwork can be a very satisfying project, and can goes along with making a difference. These favorites are more elderly activities that you can do with kids involving handiwork — and anyone can learn the basics. Try woodworking or leather tooling; along with these, knitting, quilting, crocheting, and embroidery projects are ideal for gift baskets, and these are easily taught to children too. Our grandmother taught us embroidery, knitting and crocheting when young (my brother too for awhile), and we donated some of our items to raffles and church rummage sales. And we felt very proud of ourselves that we had accomplished something that would be appreciated by others.

Sharing Electronic Fun – Many older folks now have some knowledge of computers and electronics, but certainly not to the extent that kids do. Yet they’d like to be shown all the latest cool things that, to many of them, may seem a bit unbelievable – all the latest phone/mobile device bells and whistles, for instance. And how they can interface with a TV to see it all on a big screen. (So there are many more elderly activities that can be centered around demonstrating what’s new in the electronic world). Kids are also the perfect ones to teach basic computer skills to their grandparents. This can include playing easy computer games.

Grandparent-Themed Children’s Books – We have some more elderly activities that involve reading. Many seniors (like my Dad) have vision problems and may find it difficult to read. At any rate, reading aloud is a favorite pastime for most families. Kids can show (or practice) their reading skills and read to someone, or have the elderly read to them. On our page about senior reading activities, I mention several great books with grandparent themes.

Older kids might like to bring along something they’re currently interested in to read, and then discuss with the older family member(s). This also helps the elderly stay up to date with family interests, and the world.

Sharing Music – More elderly activities can showcase the child’s hobbies and interests. Depending on where you’re visiting, a child may be able to bring a musical instrument and play a few pieces for elderly family members who may not otherwise be able to participate. Or, if you have a mobile device such as a tablet, make a short video while at home of the child playing, to show when visiting. Likewise, if the elderly person plays an instrument, such as the piano, the child can make a video of him/her playing, and then show it to them right afterwards.

The elderly, also might like to talk about music when they were young, and can help the younger generation develop music appreciation from other decades. Some may still have their old records (and even something to play it on). Children can also play one of their favorite tunes and tell why they like it. And yes, older folks may not fully understand, but some interesting conversation can happen.

Share A ScienceProject – Whether it’s a topic of familiarity or something brand new, mostelderly enjoy seeing what kids are doing with science. If the project cannot betransported when visiting, certainly photos or even a video can be taken and thenshown. Or various pieces or samples may be brought along.

Science projects areespecially interesting if they involve sharing something new or cutting edge.Many older people find what is being invented, what is new or unusual to beintriguing, but for various reasons may find it difficult to keep up to datethemselves. Whether very young or in college, almost any kid can have somethingto discuss and even show.

Looking at things from nature under a small microscope ormagnifying glass is also a fascinating activity.

Share A Collection– Collections provide many more elderly activities that kids can learn fromtoo. Some seniors have already been collecting for years. Or used to becollectors but now are unable to continue. Kids can participate in thecollecting activity, or at least encourage the elderly to share what they’velearned, why they are or have been collecting, etc.

Or if a child is interestedin a particular collection him or herself, why not begin something new, alongwith an elderly family member or friend helping. Rocks, stamps, music, andcoins are well known; but also vintage items, shells, marbles, glassware,buttons, beads, even bugs for some, are other ideas. (Of course, you need aplace to put your collection).

We had a rock collection with our grandparents when young.And then because my grandfather was interested in bird calls and bird watching,we started collecting feathers too! He knew what type of feather belonged toevery bird around, and what part of their body it came from! Whenever we wenton outings with him, each trip also had that added dimension of searching forbirds and feathers.

Make A Model –Both boys and girls enjoy making models, and it can also bring back nice memoriesfor seniors, from their days as parents or children. This is also a good timefor kids to learn about how it was back in the day. Hobby and crafts storeshave many to choose from, such as dinosaurs and animals of various kinds, cars,boats, ships, airplanes, even dolls. Making a gingerbread house may also beconsidered a model of sorts! There’s sure to be something suitable that anyonecan enjoy. And many models are projects that can be worked on over severalvisits.

Coloring – Older peoplelike to color too! In fact, there are more complex coloring pages or booksdesigned just for adults (or teens), and they’d be fine for older kids as well. Wefound many themes in books stores and art supply stores. There were also kindsprinted on fabric, including a velvet texture, for which you use markers orcolored pencils.

My daughter loved one about old-fashioned costumes and alsomandala designs. But seniors are also usually happy to color with children intheir own coloring books. (I think there’s just something about all the colors inthose beautiful boxes with 64 crayons). There are lots of free coloring pages that canbe printed from online.

Outdoors – There are many more elderly activities to do outside — metal detecting; flying (and making) kites, planting tall and very fun sunflowers — which you can later roast and eat. See our page on top outdoor elderly activities.

Recording Memoirs – When Dad came to live with me, my son immediately launched him in a project of recording memoirs of his life into a digital recorder. He could do it at his own pace, stopping whenever he wanted. The grandkids would sit with him and ask him questions they were curious about, and this led to quite amazing discussions with their grandfather.

It was excellent for Dad’s memory too. This project occupied him for many interesting weeks. When done, the kids transferred the information to the computer, made a master file, and then put it on CDs to give to everyone in the family. It is truly a treasure.

Writing Memoirs – Instead of recording, some families or friends prefer the written word. Your elderly loved one may begin by recording or being interviewed, but then someone is designated to type it out. This can be short or longer. We have a cousin who did this quite a few years ago with several older family members in the process of gleaning information for ancestry purposes. It soon developed into other fascinating discussions about the “olden days” – including back in the late 1800s! One older relative had been a child at that time and had some amazing memories. Our cousin simply typed it up on regular paper for us.

But you may be familiar with online companies such as Shutterfly, where you can make and “publish” your own book. Photos can also be put in, including old black and whites. Once made, you can order several copies to give out. I know people who have made charming memoirs this way.

Windowsill Garden – Dad was never much of a gardener – until he got to the point when he was looking for something to do inside. So the grandkids helped him create a windowsill garden to enjoy. It actually became an entire corner. Because he’d come from Arizona, they included a variety of blooming cactus. But also planted seeds to watch grow into flowers, even a little cherry tomato plant, and strawberries (which you can get in kits). And then a few pots of herbs, which we used. Although Dad’s vision was very poor by then, he could see well enough to enjoy this.

Grow An Amaryllis – During the winter holiday season you can get an amaryllis kit at many stores. They are truly amazing to watch, as they can grow an inch a day. This is perfect to do with children, who are eager and curious. The growing process lasts for several weeks, until it bursts forth into gigantic, tall blooms. Anything to do with gardening will provide many more elderly activities to do with kids.

Special Parties – Even without a particular occasion or holiday in mind, you can have a fun themed party just for the heck of it. Planning and having parties include many possibilities for more elderly activities. Kids might like to help with decorations and planning, even cooking and making treats. We have quite a few on our page all about Perfect Party Theme Ideas.

Games

Playing games offers hours of many more elderly activities, but they will depend on the age of the kids and also the attention span, memory, and ability of seniors involved. Many older people are no longer able (or interested in) longer games; or those that are more complex, such as Monopoly and Clue. And games like Bingo and crossword puzzles may already be one of their regular activities.

You can have a mix of traditional games that older people are familiar and comfortable with, along with newer games that would be more easy to learn. The following are just a few suggestions of popular games.
Scrabble
Jenga
Yahtzee
Sorry!
Chinese Checkers
Chess
Checkers
Dominoes
Cribbage
Charades
Pictionary
Chutes and Ladders
Apples To Apples
Candyland
Adlibs (kids love anything corny)
Hangman
Tic Tac Toe
I Spy
Wii Games – golf and bowling are especially popular with seniors
Card Games – Rummy, Royal Rummy (a.k.a. Rummy Royal), Old Maid, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Poker (for pennies)
Puzzles – not really a game, but great to have one set up somewhere
Outdoor Games – again, we have some favorites at outdoor elderly activities

These are just a few ideas to get started.

We used to have Family Night every Friday night when I was growing up, and our grandparents always came. Family Night always involved a board game that the kids could choose. Once we learned Royal Rummy, we were hooked and played it every week for years. (I got really good at the poker aspect of it). We learned when we were about 9 years old.

Family Night also included popcorn and home-made malted milks. Both were made from scratch the old-fashioned way, taught to us by Dad (when you had to put oil in the bottom of a pressure cooker, heat the oil, dump in the popcorn, and be sure to shake the living daylights out of it so it wouldn’t burn). If you’re interested in Dad’s chocolate milkshake recipe, just follow the link. Even when in our early teens, we still loved Family Night with our grandparents.

Our Kindle Books  – for on the go

If you want an easy reference for more elderly activities to keep on your Kindle or tablet, we have several that are also great to do with kids, so you can quickly access ideas on the go…

Check out our Kindle books for:

If you have more elderly activities you’d like to share, please do visit
Share Your Elderly Activities Forum – and our readers about it!

to Elderly Activities

Food activities and easy recipes are very popular for all ability levels!

And we have a really nice selection of activities with food and easy recipes ideal for the elderly.

They range from chocolate, to whimsical salads, to candy, to special cookies, to gourds, to apples. Ideal for parties, get-togethers, gifts, even centerpieces. And great to do with kids! Our food activities are also easy to modify for those who need extra help.

Special Seasonal Treats…
For specialty seasonal treats (including lots of whimsy), check out:
Halloween Treats for Seniors, and (Winter) Holiday Treats for Seniors !

Try These Food Activities

Chocolate Covered “Worms” – I used to love these as a child, and would tease my friends with them (who of course thought they were really worms).

Warm up a container of dipping chocolate in the microwave according to instructions. Heat it in 15 second spurts and stir, to prevent burning. Then put in a larger mixing bowl for more room. Stir in about 2 cups of chow mein noodles. Mix until coated.

Cover a platter with wax paper. Adding a little coconut is also a good variation. Spoon lumps of the mixture onto the platter. Refrigerate for at least a half an hour, until firm. This no-bake recipe is very easy. Take the out of the fridge about 15 minutes before eating, or they may be hard to bite.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel People — We have a great page on dipping chocolate, including pretzels. (You can also easily dip and decorate any fruit especially apricots, smaller looped pretzels, nuts, pound cake pieces, and cookies).

See how we turn them into Pretzel People using inexpensive candies and other items.  Make them easy or fancy. Use milk chocolate, dark, even white.

These food activities are perfect for party snacks, prizes, desserts, or adding to gifts. For gifts, put a little tag around the neck (make home-made gift tags as a project) that says “From ____” and write in the person’s name.

Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries — This is one of our most food activities and can be adjusted for many abilities. We’ve created a special page just to find out exactly how to make them.

And really fun ways to decorate the strawberries after they’ve been dipped! Create them for yourselves, a get-together, or to give away as special gifts. They’re always a favorite. Also a really good project to do with kids. See our page to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries.

Chocolate Swirls — Swirls offer a couple of food activities. It’s easy to make these fanciful creations as a “craft” to use as stand-alone candy treats. Or to go along with other food projects as well, such as special occasion concoctions that you might make.

As with dipping chocolate for strawberries, you simply microwave the chocolate chip bits, whether standard brown chocolate, white, or colored by adding food coloring to white. Shown here is white with a drop of red coloring.

You’ll need — White (or brown) chocolate chip morsels, food coloring color of your choice, a plate with wax paper, a spoon and a toothpick, or piece of kabob skewer (which a prefer because it’s a bit chunkier and works well).

Melting — Put about a half cup of white chips into a microwavable bowl. Heat for 20 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Heat again 15 seconds, then stir. Then 6 to 10 seconds, as needed. You want to leave a few lumps in the mix and let them melt on their own so as to not overdo it.

Stir until all are melted. Add a drop of food coloring, and mix again. If the mixture is too thick or stiff, add a drop of room-temp water and re-heat for about 5 seconds.

Drizzling — With a spoon, start drizzling onto the wax paper streams of chocolate while it’s still melted and warm. You can help nudge it off the spoon with your stick. Some lines can be thin, because as you can see from the first photo, they stay in tact nicely. Use the stick to move the chocolate around in free-form designs. Drip on more swirls as desired. They can be as simple or fancy.

When you get the look you want, put it in the fridge for at least 10 to 15 minutes. When set and ready to serve, gently slide it off the wax paper with a metal spatula. Use alone or on a dessert (cake and cupcakes are great too) or even a salad. Make different colors for different holiday food activities! See how I used it for a Valentine’s Day apple bowl dessert, below.


Easy Chocolate Cup
— In this picture, besides using a chocolate swirl (in brown chocolate) as described above, there is also a chocolate cup.

You can buy them online or at some grocery stores as well. But for a price.

Or make them yourself! It’s as simple as painting melted chocolate into a baking cup. Yes, with a paint brush. Almost anyone can do it.

These make excellent food activities, and they can be used along with lots of other projects, and for lots of holidays and events. See just what to do on our fresh strawberry desserts page.

Haystacks — Most haystacks call for regular brown chocolate, and you have to toast the coconut. But I don’t. Mine are totally no-bake. And in different colors. Just add a drop of food coloring to melted white chocolate. Use pink for Valentine’s Day, green for St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas, orange for Halloween, etc. I also did one in red, white and blue for the 4th of July, with a mini flag sticking out of the top. See how at summer senior activities.

Hershey Kisses Mice — Mouse crafts made with Hershey Kisses are really popular. Besides making cute ornaments, we have other ideas for gifts and even a centerpiece if you want to get fancy. These mouse food activities involve working with small parts, so extra help may needed for some. Get details at Hershey Kiss Mouse Chocolate Crafts.

Mouse Crafts With Food — We have a whole page just on making different kinds of mouse crafts, and some are food activities too, like the donut hole mouse.

This guy has ears made of gum drop slices, candy eyes and nose, and  the tail can be made from a variety of foods, like a slice of licorice rope. You may get your own ideas too. It sits in a mini party cup, or in a candy paper (the kind you get with chocolates).

Ladybug Salad — (And other whimsical characters at Creative and Simple Fruit Salad Characters). Check out this special food activities page with several projects for a fun simple fruit salad, complete with decorating tips, garnishments, and even a fabulous Carrot Slaw to use on the side, and fruit salad dressing too. These amusing cartoon salads are also very healthy. We have several whimsical fruit salads and how to make them.

These are lots of fun for just a special treat, or to get ready for parties and luncheons. Even to do with kids — they love them and get lots of laughs!


Creative Halloween Treats

Get ghosts, ghouls, pumpkin, magic wands, raven ideas and more. (Some new witch treats coming soon too!)

All of these fun treats are easy to make and will add a little pizzazz to a party, table setting, or give-aways. Excellent to do with kids too. Go to Creative Halloween Treats for Seniors.

(And many of the food activities you see on this main page can be adjusted for Halloween as well).

Gourd Craft Ideas – One of our easiest food activities to make – with those funny lumpy, bumpy gourds (squash). One of my all-time favorite projects. And when you’re done displaying them, you could cook and eat them! We show how to make several whimsical creatures from inexpensive craft materials and items, and many you may have around.

Imagine what else you can do. Although gourds and squash are great for fall, you can find them any time of the year and make characters for almost any holiday, season, or party. Great give-aways too! See Gourd Craft Ideas – Gifts, Ghouls & Grannies.

Gourmet S’mores — Making a good ‘ole Smores (s’mores), the kind we had around the campfire, can bring back some great memories. But go beyond the norm and go gourmet. Did you know marshmallows and chocolate chips (baking chips) come in highly unusual flavors? Some quite spectacular. My son got me started with this. Fancy S’mores make excellent food activities, and a bonfire or grill isn’t necessary. Make them indoors or out. We’ve got lots of ideas, including microwaving at How To Make Smores – The Gourmet Way.

Candy Wreaths— Wreaths are fun and edible food activities – if you make them with frosting “glue”! You will need assorted candies from a dollar store, or from the bulk section of the grocery store; styrofoam rings of the desired size (or cut a ring from heavy cardboard); and frosting in a tub. Or for non-edible wreaths, a glue gun or strong craft glue. And other decorative items for the wreath. Spray paint the ring, if you’d like. We do have two versions here – edible or non-edible.

…Edible – Try using sugar-free candies; many kinds are now available. Use frosting, like “glue,” to attach candies in a variety of colors and sizes to the wreath shape. I get frosting in a tube or tub. Candies can suit your party or holiday (Valentine, Halloween, Christmas, etc).

Edible wreaths are temporary, to be used for a centerpiece, for instance. When the candies and frosting glue have set, put an object in the center hole to complete the centerpiece, such as a holiday decoration, statue, vase of flowers, greens, or a candle.

…Non-edible – These candies will be mounted on the wreath shape with a glue gun or other strong craft glue (use plenty – it dries clear). You can pile or overlap the candies in interesting patterns. Dry the glue well. Decorations such as bows or holiday items can be added. When finished, give it a couple coatings of spray varnish to help preserve it and add shine. These wreaths will be strong enough to hang on a wall, or also use in a centerpiece.

Edible Flowers — Have you ever made something with edible flowers? Yes, many flower petals can indeed be eaten and offer a delicate taste and fragrance to foods. They can be found at specialty food stores and upscale grocery stores, as well as online. In this sample, they’ve been placed on top of cupcakes. See our page on edible flower recipes to learn more. These are spectacular for special occasions and parties.

Apple Wreaths — Apple wreaths are an old-fashioned tradition. Check out our easy-to-make spicy aroma apple wreaths. If you bake and dry the apples yourself, these food activities smell heavenly. Add other items to decorate them, like pine cones, ginger chunks, cranberries, candy, ribbon, even even small ornaments.

The wreaths can be used alone or with a centerpiece or candle. These are great ideas for many seasons, and we explain both the easy version and the more traditional way of making them. See our page on Really Easy Apple Craft Ideas.

Painted Apples — On the same apple crafts page (the link above), we also show how to paint on apples. These can range from very simple, like the daisies shown here, to much more fancy. Change the design for other holidays – holly sprigs or snowflakes in the winter.

Painted apples are excellent food activities. They can be made either as non-edible decorative items (painted with white opaque marker), or edible (painted with white frosting in a tube). For those who may have difficulty drawing, even loose free-form flowers or squiggles and stars are fun. Plus, add a little blue (i.e. candies) and you have something patriotic. So just follow the link above to find out more.

Party FoodDo you need more party ideas (and party food activities to go with them)? Then see our page all about party theme ideas. We’ve got topics ranging from pickle tasting, to a great luau, to all-out details on how to do a gone-fishing party suitable for any age, or a full-fledged fiesta, including for the elderly. Even if you think you’ve tried just about every party there is, there just may be something new for you here.

Strawberry Bouquet — We use strawberries in a lot of our food activities. These strawberry desserts have a choice of toppings and are fabulous bouquet gifts you can make.

Do it the easy way or make chocolate covered strawberries.

Put them in a vase full of candy, nuts or other snacks; and tie a pretty ribbon around it. Or make a parfait bouquet (which you eat right away).

See our page for explanations at Bouquet Strawberry Desserts. These are elegant for parties, Mother’s Day, birthdays, gifts any time of year. We have many different ideas!


Also see:

Our Craft Book!

Easy Crafts and Gifts — Why hunt all over our site? Get lots of NEW ideas, and some of our other favorites from here.

Over 120 activities, plus a FREE booklet of templates and patterns you can use for a variety of projects. So you get Two for One! Get a sneak peek.

Kindle Book!

Want more party ideas, activities, decorating, crafts and special recipes (many exclusively from my Dad’s own recipe box)? Then don’t miss this thorough Kindle book – at a bargain price. Especially if you don’t just have the time to go hunting down party possibilities and all that goes with them. The book includes lots of new ideas, and also some from our web site, brought together in one easy place (and with lots more detail). See it at Kindle:

Senior Activity Ideas — For seniors who have a higher ability level; many can be modified for those who need extra help.

Senior Activities – By the Month (and the 4 Seasons)!


to Elderly Activities