One way of making the Fourth of July more festive in a nursing home is to involve the residents in some patriotic crafts. Keep in mind the restrictions that many of the residents may have, such as poor eyesight, reduced coordination and shaky hands. Crafts should be fun, not frustrating, so gear your projects to the abilities of the residents.
A red, white and blue sunglasses/eyeglasses holder is a useful craft that is fun and easy to make. Begin by having the residents cut a piece of elastic string--however long they want their sunglasses/eyeglasses holder to be. Next, instruct them to create a small loop in one end of the string and secure it with a knot. This loop will fit around one of the two hinges of the glasses. They can secure the knot by dabbing it slightly with glue. Next, give them red, white and blue pony beads (pony beads have larger holes) and let them string the beads in whatever pattern they wish. When they are done, have them make another loop on the free end of the string, secure it with a knot and add another dab of glue. The residents can now slip the loops onto their glasses and wear them around their necks.
Safety Pin Flag
For this project you will need six size-4 safety pins and one coil-less 2 1/4-inch safety pin for each resident. You will also need red, white and blue pony beads, as well as "U," "S," "A" and heart letter beads. Have the residents place a white, red and another white pony bead on each safety pin. Then have them place three blue pony beads on three safety pins, close them, and place a red, white and another red bead on the other three safety pins and close them. Next, have them open the coil-less safety pin and place the other safety pins on (through the coil) and the letter beads in this order:
Safety pin with blue beads Heart bead Safety pin with blue beads "U" bead Safety pin with blue beads "S" bead Safety pin with no blue beads "A" bead Safety pin with no blue beads Heart bead Safety pin with no blue beads
Then have them close the coil-less safety pin and they are done. They can use this pin to attach to their clothes or bags, or simply hang it in their rooms.
Fill several bowls with water and fabric dye in red and blue. The amount of dye you add to the water will depend on the brand, so follow the instructions on the box. Have the residents choose a white fabric item they own to tie dye--they can use a top, a pair of socks or a canvas bag. Give them a handful of rubber bands and tell them to tie them on the fabric any way they wish, then dip sections of their item in blue and red die. Hang the items up to dry, leaving the rubber bands on. Once the items are dry, the residents can remove the rubber bands and admire their one-of-a-kind tie-dyed creation.
This is a project that everyone in the nursing home can get involved in, despite any imitations they may have. Provide a red, white or blue fabric square to each resident and have them decorate it anyway they choose. Some may decide to paint their square, which others may do some embroidery or sew in some sequences. If any of the residents knit, they can kit their own square in red, white or blue and leave it as is or decorate it after. Once all the squares are complete, have a staff member with experience in sewing stitch all the squares together to form a quilt and hang it in a common area for all staff and residents to see.