Running out of ideas of what to do lately? These days of COVID-19 have intensified isolation and given rise to boredom for many. Given that seniors are more vulnerable than most to the virus, they need to stay at home, often without much companionship. Staying safely tucked in one’s home requires thinking of new ways to stay engaged and entertained. Enter the world of crafts. People of all ages are engaged in creating some really spectacular gifts, keepsakes, and wacky, fun, and even delicious creations.
Benefits of Crafts
Good news, people who craft tend to be happier. There are studies that show that people who have a creative outlet tend to not be as stressed or depressed as those who don’t. There is something wonderful about finding something that you can engage in so fully that you lose track of time and enter what is known as the “flow state.” Crafting can also make you happier. Creating something whether it be through drawing, sewing, photography, cooking, or music is beneficial in many important ways. Finding an activity that is fully engaging can develop more satisfaction and lasting happiness with life.
The benefits that come from crafting include:
- Reduced stress
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Improved motor skills
- Sharpened cognitive function
A group of researchers conducted a study titled, The Influence of Art Making on Anxiety: A Pilot Study, showed that spending some time each day being creative can substantially reduce a person’s anxiety. Creating something allows one to focus on something positive and enjoyable, and can create a meditative-like state.
Taking up a creative practice is an easy and enjoyable way to enhance a day. Let’s look at some of the crafty options out there for you.
16 Crafts Worth Trying with Senior Loved Ones
The choices available for crafting are extensive and only limited by one’s imagination. To find a craft that will be engaging, begin by thinking about what sorts of creative projects you enjoyed doing earlier in your life. Think about crafts that you have admired. What are your friends doing? Is there something you would enjoy doing with your grandchildren? The point here is to pick something and give it a try. You can always pick another craft. Here are several ideas to pique your curiosity.
- Knitting & Crocheting. Want to make something that no one else has? Learn to knit or crochet. There are countless tutorials online, as well as kits you can purchase to get you started. Better yet, spend time with a friend who knits or crochets. If you can’t do it in person, have an online video hour with each other while you knit away.
- Sewing. More and more people are doing their own sewing. Dust off that sewing machine in the closet and create something easy and useful for yourself or a loved one. Whether it’s making a simple apron, hemming a tablecloth, or making a dress. Sewing once learned, is a craft one can easily pick up again.
- Quilting. Whether with a sewing machine or by hand, pulling together a mosaic of fabric to make either a small or large quilt is a satisfying and interesting way to get lost in a project. Get inspired from your family quilts, friend’s work or from the amazing work from the women of Gee’s Bend.
- Painting. Get one or two paint brushes, some watercolors, or acrylics and paint. Playing with color is one of the greatest ways to pass time. To begin, set up a simple still life.
- Sketching. “An artist is a pencil and sketchpad attached to a person,” said an art teacher who inspired his students to sketch anywhere and everywhere. It is fun, requires little equipment, and can develop hand eye coordination like nothing else. This might be the easiest ‘craft’ to get those creative juices flowing.
- Collage. Take some of your favorite photographs, and create a collage that evokes beautiful memories. Include other elements if you wish, with photos from other sources, or from drawings.
- Digital Collage. Another option for collage is to create a digital collage. For those of you who do not shy away from technology, there are some great digital collage programs to explore online. Check them out, and you can even incorporate photos from your own photograph collection.
- Coloring Books. Remember when you were a kid with a coloring book and a box of crayons? Well, even coloring books have grown up. There are many beautiful coloring books for adults. Some are simple and some are more involved and challenging.
- Origami. The art of folding paper into beautiful flowers, animals, and objects is another good craft idea to try out. There are books and kits that come with sheets of colored paper and online videos that provide step-by-step instructions. Learning to take a sheet of paper and turning it into something beautiful in a few minutes is a satisfying way to spend some time.
- Beading. Another craft to do either alone or with others is beading. Beading usually involves stringing beads together to make jewelry or other decorative items, and runs the gamut from simple to elaborate projects. It is a wonderful craft where you can create lasting and meaningful gifts for your loved ones.
- Baking. Since we all are spending more time at home, if you haven’t done it yet, try baking something tasty for yourself, with a senior loved one, or for a neighbor who can use a little extra attention right about now.
- Birdhouses. Make a birdhouse for decoration or for your fine feathered friends in your yard. You can find kits online that involve putting it together and decorating it. Another option is if you have some scraps and the know-how, to build one from scratch.
- Wind Chimes. Making wind chimes is not only a fun project but it can be a great challenge in finding the perfect pieces that make pleasing sounds, and putting them together in an inspired way that only you could do. There are also kits available online.
- Pressed Flowers. Spring and summer flowers abound. Gather some flowers that you love and arrange them creatively between two sheets of acid free or wax paper. Weigh them down with a heavy object like a large book. Once they have flattened completely, you can laminate them and make bookmarks, decorate a card for a friend, or frame them.
- Jewelry Charms. When using polymer clay, you can make some interesting jewelry. Some options that work well with polymer clay are charms for a necklace, earrings, and beads. Getting some jewelry hardware like wire, clasps, bindings can help bring your ideas to life.
- Felting. If you want to make something adorable for yourself or perhaps a grandchild, felting may be for you. Felting is the process of poking away at wool to create a felt like material that becomes something magical. It takes a little practice but it is worth the time and effort. Getting a kit is the best way to start.
Explore these options that can keep you company during these challenging days. Try something and stretch your imagination. You will feel better, and expand your creative abilities. Learning, developing, exploring, and expanding our talents is something to be done at any age. It goes without saying, that it is way more interesting if the created result is something that brings you or another joy. Stay safe and create!