You don’t need a lot of fancy supplies or even a group setting to encourage creativity among your residents.  Create your own arts & craft to-go packs using ziplock bags for residents to enjoy in their rooms!
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Your residents can enjoy expressing themselves creatively with these arts and crafts kits, perfect for both group activities and individual leisure.

Create your own arts & craft to-go packs using ziplock bags for residents to enjoy in their rooms!

Safety First

Safety is always a top priority, but it is especially important when you are dropping off items for residents to use in their rooms or apartments. It’s a good time to make safe decisions like:

  • Follow your community’s policy on disinfection
  • Make sure anything you put into a ziplock bag is either one-time use or washable
  • If you are going to reuse any items, the items need to be easy to disinfect (markers, laminated instruction sheets, etc.)
  • Never give items to residents who are not able to use them safely without supervision
  • Use non-toxic materials

10 Tips for Optimal Results

Keeping individual art and craft kits available for residents is a great way to encourage creativity, reduce feelings of loneliness, and work on fine motor skills. You can make it easier on your staff, as well as more effective for residents, by following these tips:

  1. Make multiple kits of the same craft (for example, make ten beaded necklace bags at a time).
  2. Have a new craft kit available each week to make things more interesting and exciting (Check out our featured craft kit of the week!).
  3. Laminate instruction sheets if you want to be able to reuse them; otherwise, just print out instruction sheets that the resident can discard.
  4. Include a photo of a completed project as an example.
  5. Distribute kits to interested residents during an Art Cart time where you roll a cart of projects down the hall. You can even have a completed project on the cart so residents can see if they would like to do it.
  6. Inform overnight and evening staff about the kits' location in case residents want one when your activity staff is unavailable.
  7. Keep track of which residents grab a kit by charting their participation so that you can check in with them over the next few days to see if they have any questions.
  8. Choose craft kits that result in a finished project that residents can display and enjoy in their room.
  9. Capture photos of completed projects to share with family members.
  10. Create an Art Gallery wall somewhere in the community where residents can admire the work when they are out for a stroll.

17 DIY Art & Craft Kits

You can break down any of your arts and crafts projects into single servings. In fact, now is a great time to sift through your activity closet to see if you have some materials you could transform into a fun individual project for residents. You can also use a few of our ideas:

  • Stained Glass Kit: window markers, photos of stained glass windows, painter’s tape
  • Beaded Necklace Kit: string, beads
  • Photo Frame Kit: acrylic photo frames, paint pens
  • Spring Wreath Kit: kits like this are already separated individually, or you can pass out foam wreaths, cutouts, glue sticks, and a ribbon
  • Flower Pot Kit: small terracotta pots, paint pens, glue sticks, foam cut outs
  • Tissue Paper Flower Kit: tissue paper, pipe cleaner, scissors
  • Bird Feeder Kit: pre-assembled bird feeder, paint pens or paint
  • Tissue Paper Kites (or any shape) Kits: black construction paper pre-cut, contact paper (pre-cut), tissue paper squares
  • Suncatcher Kits: mason jar lid, string, parchment paper, colored pencils or markers
  • Stationery Kits: blank cards and envelopes, stamps and ink pads
  • Coloring Kits: adult coloring books, colored pencils
  • Sketching and Doodling Kits: sketch pad paper, charcoals or pastels, inspiration photos
  • Photo Ribbon Kits: long piece of ribbon to hang over the door, tacky glue, favorite family photos
  • Yarn Kits: crochet hooks or knitting needles, yarn, pattern
  • Knotted Garland Kit: yarn, rectangle fabric pieces
  • Collage Kits: construction paper, glue stick, magazine pages (have a little fun by making the kits scavenger collage themed)
  • Fabric Carrot (or any vegetable or fruit!) Kits: pre-cut fabric, filler, glue 

You just may be surprised and how many residents take a craft kit and complete it. Uncertain times bring out the inner artist in all of us! 

What art and craft kits are working for you and your residents right now? Let’s share with one another so that we can all get some new ideas. 

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Haley Burress

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Comments   Post a Comment

Harriet 14th Mar 2023 Activities Director
This is such a great idea, especially for spring with Easter and Mother's Day approaching us.
Talita 19th Mar 2023
Thanks so much for your feedback Harriet!
Hazel 14th Jun 2020 Enrolled Nurse
I have started using these ideas at work and the residents love them,,, they keep my busy printing and finding new things for them to do .. such a great idea and well worth joining.. thank you so much for all these wonderful ideas
Susan 15th Jun 2020 Activity Director
Glad this article was helpful to you
Keep up the good work
Talita 15th Jun 2020
Thanks so much for your feedback Hazel, this is wonderul to hear!
Haley 14th Apr 2020 Recreation Therapist And Writer
Haley has submitted a new article: 17 Easy Arts And Craft Kits
Susan 14th Apr 2020 Activity Director
Wow what a great idea Valerie
Thank you for sharing
Valerie 14th Apr 2020 Activities Aide
I had already been doing quite a bit of woodcraft with our residents, as I purchase standard wood, dowel, etc to make "kits" for our nursing home residents. I do most of the prep and often some of the fine detail finishing, as not all have use of both hands or are shakey.
Just before this virus started, we discussed building a Victorian dollhouse and making the furnishings for it so we can decorate it differently throughout the year. We had a gentleman offer to build a cart for it that has wheels to make it moveable and shelves to hold shoebox-sized storage bins for the various accessories. Last night I printed out the posters to allow residents to vote on colour schemes for the rooms and furnishings. This is generating a lot of interest.
Many of the furnishing projects will be "kits" that individuals can work on, while some of the decorating will be done in programs of 5 residents.
The residents and staff I have consulted with so far are extremely excited to have the project ready to play with. BTW, we made sure the cart would be wheelchair accessible, the chairs can fit under the portion of the table the house will sit on with the storage down one side.
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