One great benefit of retirement is having more free time. Many seniors use their new-found free time to rediscover pastimes from their younger days, and even find new hobbies to inspire and entertain themselves.


Arts and crafts for seniors can be therapeutic and relaxing, not to mention a great social activity to do with friends or family members! Taking up a new hobby can also bridge generations. A shared passion for painting or photography can be a great way to get your parents involved in their grandchildren’s lives.


Looking for some arts and craft ideas to help get started?

Here are six tips to bring out the creative in you!


  • Paint a picture.  Get a few friends together, turn on some music and have a painting party – no talent required! Acrylic paints (on a canvas) are bright, dry quickly, and are easy to use. Watercolors or chalk are other fun options. Get outside and paint a landscape, or copy a favorite photo. Hang up your work, or put it on the refrigerator for all to admire!


  • Create a sculpture. Polymer clay is easy to work with, and you can use it to create vases, beads, bowls, or almost anything else you can think of. Working with clay also helps improve your manual dexterity.


  • Take a photo. Photography is a great way to capture the events you are involved in, family gatherings and trips you have time to take now! Take photos of your garden, your grandchildren, and the scenery around you. And you don’t need a fancy camera – these days, even a simple point-and-shoot can take great photos. Consider taking a photography class to improve your skills even more.


  • Make a mosaic. Many seniors enjoy creating colorful mosaics. You can mosaic almost any surface, such as a tabletop, garden pots, stepping-stones, or picture frames. Mosaics can be realistic pictures or fun abstracts.


  • Ceramics. Try your hand at a ceramics painting studio. If you like adding an artistic touch to mugs and bowls, consider taking a pottery class to learn how to create pieces from clay and to fire them. You can even learn to throw your own pottery on a wheel!


  • Make a scrapbook.  You’ve probably collected hundreds of photos over your lifetime. Give them new life by displaying them! You can go all-out with an embellished scrapbook, or simply organize and label your photos in albums. Either way, you’ll be creating a priceless gift for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Arts and crafts can be a great way to express your creativity, as well as keeping your mental and physical dexterity up. Projects can enrich your time alone or give group get-togethers a new twist. Most cities have senior art shows that are hosted by local galleries or college campuses, which showcase local senior artists’ work. Do a quick search online to see if your neighborhood has any upcoming senior art shows, and then go creative!


Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Complete Care Strategies