Art Activities for the Elderly

Artwork can take the form of just about anything. Art is considered the creative ability for a person to express themselves. The elderly community has been known to produce some very impressive pieces of artwork. Elderly people have the extra time to enjoy the task of creating something with their hands. Help them find the artistic outlet that works for them.

Paint and Other Mediums

Painting can be used as a creative expression. You can paint on canvas, on paper, on walls or on buildings. You also have your choice of brushes, sponges or other materials that can be used to spread the paint.

Find a volunteer in the community who is willing to come in and teach an art class to elderly people. Provide the canvas boards, brushes, oil or acrylic paints, water and rags. They will be very appreciative of the experience. They may learn brush techniques, painting techniques and a bit of art history.

Another art activity idea is to have the entire elderly community come together to paint a mural. You can dedicate an entire room to the project. The artists can vote on a scene, such as a city scape or garden, or they can simply be assigned a section of a wall to paint whatever they wish. Don't forget to have them sign their names.

Painting stained-glass windows might be another idea elderly people would find enjoyable. You can purchase glass etchings in most craft stores. Just be sure to pick up the proper paint and brushes while you are there. The artists can hang up their creations in their room windows, or you can put them outside in a garden.


Ceramics is a form of artwork that often gets overlooked. Elderly people might love to get the chance to try their hands at a potter's wheel. They can design their own ceramic creation and get lots of enjoyment from it.

You could also allow them to pick out a piece of premade pottery, then paint it and fire it in a kiln. This allows you to skip the use of the potter's wheel or having to buy clay. If you are looking for some tips and techniques on creating your own ceramics, has some wonderful ideas. It gives you a variety of good tips, such as antiquing your pottery, resist inlay technique, quick decorating tips and ceramic basics.


Needlepoint work can be viewed as a art form. Elderly people can sit for hours and work with needlepoint. It is simple and low impact and the work can be framed and hung for all to enjoy. Cross-stitching is done to a piece of fabric, creating a design or picture.

You can purchase templates at craft stores, or you can paint a picture on the canvas, then use a cross-stitch technique to go over the top of the painting.