Help! Need Craft Ideas for My Grandfather

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Ok friends. I am looking for craft ideas for my grandfather. Now that he has agreed he can’t work his 10 hours a week at my dad’s work, I am trying to think of things he could do. I took him a couple weeks ago to an adult care day program in our community to see if he would like possibly going a day or two a week and he is trying it out tomorrow! It’s actually an awesome program. I told him it was a Senior Center not an adult day care. He would have never agreed to go if he thought it was day care! More on that next week. If he likes the program and joins regularly, I will share fun moments of his day here on the blog!

Craft Ideas for my grandfather


In the meantime, he can’t work in his workshop (in our backyard) this winter as it’s too cold and icy. He isn’t that steady on his feet anymore so he really shouldn’t be down there at all unsupervised. I am trying to think of something he could make in the house that doesn’t require cutting wood and making a mess! He loves making gifts for people so I was thinking about making homemade soaps and we could actually share those with all of you? He will probably roll his eyes at me but the man needs something to do in the house! -ha. So before I present the idea of making soaps to him, I wanted to gather a bunch of ideas. Any suggestions? It needs to be something that I can work into my blog too so that I can still work during the day but help him too. Does that make sense? Leave me a comment below or shoot me an email with your ideas! UPDATE: my grandfather joined a adult day care camp! Be sure to read the post to see what it’s all about!

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.


  1. I am not sure how savvy your grandfather is with the computer, but you can take nice pictures (flowers, nature) and have him turn them into objects like greeting cards, plates, cups and other things using Shutterfly or even Costco. Computer skills needed to use Shutterfly are minimal, but it is very therapeutic and creates VERY beautiful momentous. Even family albums. Just an idea, best of luck.

    I am sure Shutterfly would be happy to sponsor your grandpa as well.

    1. Hi! I wish he had some computer skills but he has zero :(. He loves to watch my son though on his laptop and ipad. It’s such an amazing thing to him that so much information is in a “thing” as he calls it! ha. I love that idea of creating objects , he would actually really like that! Thank you!!

  2. We had my mom with dementia work on photos, she just needed to slide them in the pockets. She loved it and it got all the pictures in albums, they weren’t in any order but it didn’t matter because then my sister’s and I were able to organize them quicker. It took her a long time but she looked forward to it.

    1. What a great idea! That’s actually a great idea for my gram! haha. I swear she needs something to do too. My grandfather would definitely enjoy looking through old pictures that’s for sure! Thank you 🙂

  3. My grandfather took up rug hooking after his heart transplant. He loved it and created some really nice gifts!

    1. Rug hooking! That is awesome!!! I never thought of that one. He might like that b/c it’s something my gram would actually like and use too 😉 ha.

  4. The day care is a great idea. Try to get him to go more than once. The first time they are always so nervous and don’t really know anyone so they don’t know what to say or do. If he can still read you can ask him to read something for you so you can report to us about the subject. I will call some friends that work in that area and get back to you.

    1. ah good idea Gail! He is signed up for Wednesday and Friday this week and is actually looking forward to it. We spent an hour or so last week visiting and having a tour and all he does is talk to people so he will do fine in that department! haha. He has the GIFT TO GAB to anyone who will listen. The good thing was he was in great shape compared to a lot of the others so I think that made him feel good. Ya know? Thanks so much!

  5. As a former teacher, I recommend looking in children’s how to books. Children’s cookbooks are great because the directions are simple, as well as science project books that he could do with your son. If he likes to make things for others, children’s craft books are the ticket. My father went to the local elementary school every week and listened to boys read. These are usually boys who have no male figure in their lives and really enjoyed the one-on-one time with my dad.

    1. Oh wow that is fabulous Pam about your dad! I never thought about the kids version of cooking or crafting. He definitely likes to make things and give them as gifts. They have always revolved around wood so getting him to try something different should be interesting.

  6. My husband’s father crocheted. He really enjoyed it. He was a rancher in Texas. What a juxtaposition.

    1. I knew there had to be craft ideas I wasn’t thinking of! That is a good idea although not sure I could teach him that. ha.

  7. Have him make boys:men’s busy boards to donate to day cares or senior centers. He would be able to paint them and use some simple tools to put them together. I bet he has lots of extra do-dads around that workshop that he could put to good use.

  8. Barbara Whitaker says:

    My mother (she had Alzheimers) participated in a pottery class, where the pottery was already formed, they were only painting it. She did well and loved it. She then went to a day care, and felt she was in charge of helping others. So maybe an assistant to the director (unofficial) handing out cups, picking up from meals, etc. I am so sorry for your family as this is a tragic disease and when/if it hits me (I am 61) I really don’t want to be a burden to my. children.

    I left her a check list everyday with items for her to accomplish (like a toddler/young child list); brush teeth, eat breakfast, make bed, get dressed. And she put a check mark by each item. Had it organized by a picture of a clock…

    Best of luck and my prayers are with you and your family…especially your Grandmother!

  9. Kathy over in North Attleboro says:

    A plain old knit pattern is a good one. Cross word puzzles are supposed to be good for the brain…I’m thinking he could handle the kids’ versions. What about paint by number? Michael’s has those jumbo ones on velvet! As for soap making…I would not attempt the lye recipes with him. But maybe melt and pour would be good. I wish I lived near you. I would bring him into my craft room room and make cards with him! Would he like an electric bread maker and he could be in charge of making bread every few days? ( I have an extra one if you need one) Print the instructions and he can just dump it all in and press start. You’d need to supervise, but I think he would have a sense of satisfaction come dinner time and there’s a loaf of fresh hot bread! My heart goes out to him and I just love your wanting to help him.

  10. Hi Jessica – the idea of sorting old photos is great since that will bring back good memories for him-also watch family videos.
    You can buy easy jigsaw puzzles that he could work on with your Grams – buy ones with large pieces so they can see them & handle easily
    Also you can buy some unfinished bird houses & have him paint them

  11. Not sure if your Grandfather has any fine motor issues? If not, what about making signs for around the home with a wood burning tool kit? You wood have to supply the wood, a lot of the home improvement stores or lumber yards have scraps readily available. Or maybe something like working with leather making wallets? Working with making mosaic patterned, tile projects might be another option but definitely messier. (I am thinking of the wood slabs with designs, made from broken ceramic tiles, on them you often see them hanging above stoves.) Michaels has kits for making things with tiles.

  12. Cheryl Brouwers says:

    I immediately thought of ‘knitting’ hats on one of those round hoops. Perhaps you saw the story around Christmas time about the man who was making hats from his hospital bed for different organizations. No knitting experience needed. I also work for a non profit in W. Michigan that has a community center for older adults (it isn’t a ‘day care center’). It has everything from exercise classes, gardening, playing pool, art classes and on. Hopefully this ‘adult day care center’ has some challenging activities for him. I also think painting (get an art easel, some canvases and paints). See if he has any hidden talents.

  13. My parents like putting together puzzles. Would that be something he could do?

  14. Have you done anything about establishing a family tree with spontaneous little stories about the ones your grandparents know about ? Whether it was just having someone paying attention to what they had to say or the memories that it helped them recall we found that questions about ancestors led to some great adventures for my parents. Mom even got pretty good with her dial up computer. *rural home and no cable etc. available at the time so I can only imagine how much easier it would be for someone with easier access.
    We ended up going all the way to the Revolutionary War and beyond. Father even found out from some other friends he got involved that he and the friend had a direct line to Queen Elizabeth and the friend even traveled to Europe to see a castle that they could claim. No hey did not. can you imagine the back taxes they would have to pay plus restoration. They had so much fun. My father even got to see the relocated remains of one of the original 8 and 9 yo boys who fought in the Rev War. Their remains were found on family property when the govt. was “using” the property. Even that was a happy accident while he was doing some research and using ofc. copy machines. I guess one would need to be interested in their ancestors to keep going through the doors that were presented to them but it has given my children some terrific information and great conversations for multiple generations. Sorry it took so much space.

  15. Got to a lumber store, such as Home Depot, and pick up a couple of sheets of pegboard and ask them to cut if for you into squares whatever size you want. You can buy pre-cut decorative tin sheets, too. Also get some frames or like quarter round for him to cut with a little hand saw and make frames. He can paint and assemble pegboard jewelry hangers, craft and sewing hangers, etc. There are all sorts of organizational ideas to make easily.

  16. My first thought was leather work/tooling! It requires tools similar to wood working so he’s probably enjoy it!

  17. Sherry Schnarr says:

    I’m not sure what your grandfather is capable of doing but recently I was looking on Pintrest and there are some great “crafts” that can be done with paint stir sticks. Things like making wooden crates, basket type things, even lamp shades. Some are made using a staple gun and I’m sure a hot glue gun could be used IF that was safer overall. These just seem like things a man may enjoy. (And they really turn out looking neat!)
    I tried copy and pasting a couple pictures but was unsucessful so here are a couple links from pintrest pins.
    My MIL just moved in with us due to dementia and possibly Alzheimer’s. I was told of your blog and it has been a real encouragement to me. Thank you for sharing with such a positive outlook on it!

  18. A few ideas you might be able to utilize…

    ~trains… you do need some space but can start with a big piece of plywood set up and then start imagining the space, collecting, and filling it up to make a scenic trip for the train to travel (can purchase or make items yourself)
    ~if he likes intricate things maybe creating faux stained glass
    ~birdhouses… building or purchasing and then staining/painting… adding times to make shingles for the roof… some of the birdhouses you see must take ages to make… so beautiful and all the attention to detail
    ~does he like pets… maybe an aquarium… again you can plan it out and then add fish over time
    ~making bread… there are so many simple recipes for bread makers
    ~paper airplanes… we received a book for one of our children with dozens of examples

  19. Well I’m happy he likes the day camp and what an ingenious idea at that. I was trying to think of things a woodworker would like to make and present as gifts and 2 things came to mind. One is small decorative and functional bird houses. They are a big hit in California and being a bird lover, I do have several in my yard. The second is making wooden Christmas ornaments out of wood. He would probably have to be supervised until he cuts them in bulk but then the project could move indoors for finishing. Both would require wood cutting skills, bingo he has that, someone to watch him cut the wood when needed and he has that as well. Everything else could be completed indoors and he could have so much fun with it. Popular ones in Cali are bird house that are replicas of your own home. Actually anyone’s home because they are do darn cute. Good luck and Blessings to you and your family.

  20. With the gift of gab that he has what about recording stories onto the computer – you set it up so all he has to do is read. These can be him reading books or if he is up to it for the day asking him a question and having him answer in a story. We did this with my grandpa and I still listen to the stories as it brings back great memories for me and he had a great time doing it with lots of start overs allowed.

  21. So sorry that your family is going through this. I believe that you are on the right track by trying to keep him busy. My Dad was very repetitive in his dementia, and these two things kept him busy and happy. One was cutting out coupons. I gave him all the coupons from the Sunday paper, etc, plus children’s scissors, and he would cut and stack them. Another thing he loved was sorting coins and putting them into the wrappers/ tubes from the bank. I went to the bank, gave them $75.00 and asked for all denominations of coins plus the wrappers. He would work at the table for hours. When he was finished, I told him I would get him more. I took them into another room, emptied the wrappers, placed the coins in another bowl and the process started over again. How many he got into the wrappers was not the point….the point was that he felt productive.

  22. Laura Stickell says:

    Depending upon how old your kids are, have them interview him and record it. When my son was 9, he had to do a project for school and chose to interview his grandfather who was 90 at the time (now 95), and we learned some interesting things. Like he oversaw a “battle” that we would have never known about up near where they film “Deadliest Catch”. It’s a totally interesting story and some other neat things came out, too.

    1. Great idea! My son loves hearing his “old time” stories. I always end up learning something new too.

  23. Things we do: Fold towels and wash clothes, cut/clip coupons, watercolor paper to fold into a card, fold the church bulletin, or school programs, water the outdoor plants, dust the interior of the car/truck, arrange flowers, walk with a dog or child round the cul-du-sac, simple puzzles, adult coloring book, send a card to relative, (we have a box and the individual selects a card) I write the address, and the individual uses a return address sticker add stamp to envelope, sort screws and nails for storage, sort sewing notions such as buttons, zippers, bias tape and ribbon, fold used plastic shopping bags for storage to us again, help with meals, by setting the table, folding napkins, washing fruit/veggies, mate socks from the laundry

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