Covid-19: Easy Crafts for Lockdown Care Home Residents
The Christmas decorations are taken down, packed up and stored. It’s bleak outside, and with Covid-19 still raging amongst the community we all need to find ways to keep ourselves cheerful and make this period of waiting productive in some ways.
What better way to fill the time is there than to be creative and make something beautiful? Almost everyone enjoys some form of productive pastime and there is something for everyone, no matter what their ability, be it simple painting or colouring to something more challenging, such as woodwork or needlework.
Our guide is designed to help busy care staff or for those living with older relatives to link individuals’ ability with suitable craft ideas that they can enjoy, and which will help keep them relaxed during these difficult times. The suggestions are for activities that can be done as a group or individually depending on whether people are having to shield or not.
Suitable for all abilities, you will need a bag of smooth large pebbles (available from any local diy store or garden centre), these are nice and tactile to hold and if doing as a group activity, can encourage discussion about beach holidays, skimming stones across the waves or throwing stones as a child. Use acrylic paints to decorate the pebbles, this could be a bee, ladybird, funny face, patterns or even write a simple message like ‘Be Kind’ or ‘Every Moment is a Fresh Beginning’. For more short quotes click here.
Finished pebbles can be placed randomly in a garden or planter for people to discover, on a windowsill or given as a gift. No time to gather materials? See our Pebble Painting Kit which has everything you need.
Someone who is sight-impaired may find it enjoyable to stick string or chunky yarn onto the outside to make a tactile feel. Can be painted when dry. Use chunky paint brushes or finger paints and vibrant, contrasting colours to make it easier to differentiate between them.
Woven Place Mats
Weaving is a lovely rhythmic action and is something that people of all abilities can enjoy with the minimum of materials needed. You will need card cut into a square or oblong approximately 20cm x 14cm. Cut 1cm slots at approximately 1cm intervals at top and bottom edge. Wind string or yarn from top to bottom (making sure to secure the ends) to make the warp threads. Use different coloured yarn or ribbons to weave across in and out to create a unique place mat. When finished, just cut the warp threads (string) and secure with a knot. Why not thread a bead to each before knotting to make a tactile effect? Ready made weaving kits are also available to save preparation time and can be reused over again too.
Gather an assortment of leaves, branches, buttons and shapes, along with plain paper and some watery paint. You will also need an old toothbrush or stiff paintbrush (an old brush with the tips cut short is ideal). Arrange shapes on the paper and dip the brush into the paint and flick paint all over the shape and around the edges. Lift the shape(s) and you should have the plain outline. You can experiment with different colours, string and masking tape. Anyone who has weak hands or grip may find it easier to use an Ultra Fine Mist Sprayer instead.
Everyone enjoys working with clay, so this is the perfect tactile activity for all abilities. You will need modelling clay, yarn or string, an assortment of beads or buttons, acrylic paint. Take small pieces of modelling clay and press into penny-sized circles (can be rolled out and pressed out with a small bottle-top lid). Press with a thumb (you want random edges) and make a small hole in opposite edges (for stringing). Leave to dry and paint (or can leave as white and decorate with permanent marker pens). Cut lengths of yarn or string and tie to disc. Attach an assortment to a sturdy piece of wood or wooden spoon and hang from a nearby tree. (Hint: add some sequins to catch the light). Any budding carpenters could saw some lengths of softwood and drill holes for the threads, just make sure they are sanded well first. Busy care staff could also use buttons with large holes that would work equally well.
The above ideas are inexpensive ideas to get everyone busy and give a sense of purpose. There are many hidden benefits of crafting such as beating boredom, helping with depression and keeping hands supple in addition to things like helping hand/eye coordination and improving cognitive ability in older people.
People who live with a dementia may spend much longer concentrating on making something with their hands than watching the television, as crafts can often bring about memories and using embedded skills like sewing or painting from their past. A rhythmic action such as knitting or colouring can have a soothing effect on anyone who suffers with anxiety.
For more ideas and craft materials, see our Creativity, Arts and Crafts section for a wide range of activity solutions and kits that are suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
Busy care home staff can save time and effort by using our Arts to Share easy ordering system - we keep you stocked with a variety of art and craft materials with a free storage stand - you only pay for what you use. Click here for more details.