The Creative Care Homes guide has been developed as a practical tool to support you in making the visual arts part of the daily life of your care home. It is presented as an A-Z of artistic subjects and ideas, each supported by a series of creative activities for everyone to enjoy. The activities have been well tested and are designed to encourage meaningful creative involvement from everyone taking part.


Each activity in the guide carries a selection of quick reference symbols. Use these symbols to help identify a different type of activity from the last one you tried or to find more of the activities your participants enjoy most.


The activities in this booklet are suitable for either individuals or groups. However, if you are planning to deliver them as group sessions it is important to enlist someone as your Activity Leader. The Activity Leader will be responsible for preparing the session in advance and acting as a facilitator throughout.


Some planning for each session will be helpful. Read through your chosen subject to familiarise yourself with the ideas and read through the stages of the activity. Think about who may need special assistance and prepare for this. For example, you may need to support participants during a session with more fiddly elements (such as using scissors). Alternatively, you could pre-cut shapes for them in advance. If your chosen subject has a digital requirement, make sure iPads or laptops have been fully charged. Connect a laptop to a large TV for everyone to see together if possible. This can be most effective for group discussions about specific artworks (see N) or virtual tours (see V). With virtual tours it can be easier for the activity leader to navigate the tour, stopping and discussing the art with the group as you go. Before your session, you may want to locate the online version of the activity where you will find further links to the artworks and artists.


Make refreshments part of each session. This is also a good time to reflect on your finished artwork and discuss everyone’s experience. It can be helpful for the Activity Leader to keep a journal of when each activity was last undertaken and the most/least successful parts for next time. Clean your brushes, wipe down your tables and return your materials into storage. Keep the finished artworks on prominent display as much as possible or store them carefully until you are ready to exhibit (see X).


Each activity includes a list of the materials required, helping you to prepare your work area in advance. You will also find a full directory of materials in the Handy Art Supplies List. The most important thing is to choose high-quality materials wherever possible – they are so much easier for participants to use and will produce a much more enjoyable experience. 


The following art sessions are designed to be as inclusive as possible and are rewarding and fun for everyone involved. This is certainly not restricted to residents, and active participants should include carers and staff. Invite volunteers and family members to your sessions. Not only will their help and encouragement be valuable but we know they will have great fun making art of their own. You will almost certainly have residents with an existing high level of artistic knowledge and skill and others who are only just starting on this journey. Either way, we all have a lot to contribute.