What better way to spark some Christmas spirit in your elderly residents than to enjoy group crafting activities at your nursing home, care home, assisted living facility, or retirement community?
Sure, crafting is messy, and it may seem like a lot of work. But there are some essential benefits older adults receive from this familiar holiday tradition.
A few examples are improved moods, fine motor exercise, and social interaction with their peers and neighbors.
We have curated a list of various simple but fun nursing home Christmas crafts and holiday activities that work well in group settings and activity rooms.
These crafts for older adults will bring holiday cheer for residents and staff alike.
Our list ranges from making Christmas ornaments for decorating the facility tree to creative ideas for decorations older people will proudly display.
Hot Cocoa Christmas Decoration
These unique crafty ornaments are an excellent choice for a group to work on each step together.
Shape empty toilet paper rolls (or make tubes from construction paper) into cups by cutting and tucking in one end. Then, paint or decorate it any way you’d like and personalize your mug by writing your name on it.
After they dry, fill your ornament with brown tissue paper as cocoa and small cotton balls or pom-poms as marshmallows. Display these inspired holiday decorations on the tree or in the lobby.
(Via Mod Podge Rocks)
Christmas Bow Wreath
Have a bunch of those self-stick bows laying around? If not, they are cheap to buy, making this striking Christmas bow wreath craft one of the least expensive and easiest options.
To make this wreath craft, you just need bags full of cheap bows (the more, the better), a wreath form, and a hot glue gun.
Starting on the outside edge, begin gluing your bows around the circle. Then, keep repeating rows, working your way to the inside until you’ve covered it completely.
Glue them in a pattern or make it completely random – it’s up to you!
This project can be completed in 30 minutes or less.
(Via Design Improvised)
Gratitude Holiday Ornaments and Tree
‘Tis the season to be jolly and grateful! Residents can express their gratitude through this quick and interactive craft.
Make holiday-themed cutouts from colored craft paper and have them write something on it for which they are thankful.
Use string to make a hanger and hang all the resident’s ornaments on a Christmas tree or bulletin board where everyone can see them.
DIY Christmas Wreath
This easy and fun craft uses pool noodles, often on clearance this time of year, to make a homemade Christmas wreath.
Simply form the noodle into a circle, tape the ends together to hold it in place, and cover the joint with a ribbon.
Glue greenery, gift bows, cinnamon sticks, dried cranberries, holly leaves, glitter, and colorful decorations until it looks the way you want.
You’ll find many inexpensive decoration options at most hobby or dollar stores. Who would have thought that Christmas wreath made from a pool noodle could look so festive!
(Via MidWestern Moms)
Wooden Penguin Ornaments
This fun group craft creates homemade ornaments to decorate a tree or senior care facility for the holidays using wood slice ornaments from your local crafting center as a base.
Clean and dry the ornaments, then paint them a solid color – blue is a great choice. Then trace or free-hand paint a penguin figure on them. Paint in the black and white areas and add a friendly face and scarf.
Have each resident try to paint themselves as a penguin, then have a guessing game about who each penguin is supposed to be!
(Via Projects With Kids)
Clothespin Christmas Characters
Turn wooden clothespins into a jolly Santa Claus, charming elves, gingerbread men, reindeer, and penguins in this simple and fun activity idea for people of all ages.
First, paint the clothespin a base color to match your character, like brown for reindeer and gingerbread men, red or green for elves, or black for penguins.
Once the base coat is dry, paint on the details like faces and clothing. Make accessories from felt or crafting paper. Clip them onto a string of Christmas lights for a nice Christmas decoration.
(Via Craft Project Ideas)
Mini Christmas Presents
It’s not the size of the gift, right?
Gather as many small boxes as possible, like toothpaste boxes, kitchen and food boxes, or other consumables.
Wrap them in Christmas paper, the same as a traditional gift, and add some ribbon. Hang them on a tree or a piece of garland.
A nice added touch is to have everyone write a message of hope or a wish and place it in the box before wrapping it.
Waterless Snow Globes
These waterless snow globes turn an upside-down glass jar into a festive holiday display. Take the lid of a large mouth jar and place it upside down in front of you.
Glue brush cleaner trees, holiday figurines, mini presents, tiny houses, etc., to create a holiday scene. Let them dry.
Place artificial snow or small foam balls in the jar. Place the lid back on the jar and carefully flip it upside down, letting the snow fall on your winter scene.
(Via Crafts By Amanda)
Mason Jar Snowman Lights
The craft is great fun resulting in adorable little snowmen lanterns with warm glowing lights. You’ll need mason jars, socks, buttons, googly eyes, paint, and LED lights to make your snowman lights.
Paint the jar white and allow it to dry. Personalize the jar by painting the face and using googly eyes, buttons, markers, etc. Put a small LED candle inside and tighten the lid.
Then slide the sock over the top to make the hat. Finally, sit back and enjoy the Christmas cheer!
(Via Crafty Morning)
Cupcake Liner Christmas Tree Ornaments
Instead of baking, use a stack of green cupcake liners to create lovely, handmade ornaments. Flatten several cupcake liners and turn them upside down.
Fold the top corners toward the center, forming a triangle shape, holding them in place with glue. Glue it onto a craft stick, creating the bottom of your tree.
Repeat for the middle section. For the top section, fold the corners until the top is shaped into a point. Then, glue it to the stick. Decorate your tree with paper ornaments, sequins, pipe cleaners, or small pom-poms.
(Via Easy Peasy and Fun)
Painted Christmas Pebbles
These fun holiday crafts could also be used as year-long decorations outdoors or in the community. Gather up some large flat pebbles and decorate them with paint.
Add Christmas greetings or messages or hope and prayer and apply a sealant to them since they may be outdoors.
Display them in the garden or at various places in the community during the Christmas season.
(Via Messy Little Monster)
Homemade Christmas Cards
Make heartfelt or funny greeting cards to give to loved ones or send to churches, beloved family members, or lonely people in the community who need some holiday spirit.
There are many cute ways to make homemade Christmas cards, from simple folded construction paper to computer-designed printed cards.
But the handmade touch always yields more festive results. Use glitter, stickers, sequins, markers, puffy paint pens, or other writing utensils that you have with you. Even people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment will enjoy this activity.
Video Guide: Fun Holiday Crafts for Nursing Home Residents
Infographic: Christmas Crafts for Seniors in Nursing Homes
We hope this list of perfect crafts for seniors in nursing homes (or other senior care facilities) brings you and your residents lots of joy this holiday season.
If so, please share this post on your favorite social media. Please share your own winter craft ideas in the comments below!