‘Ask Jan’ – Woodwork Activities

“Dear Jan,

What activities do you suggest for residents that are keen on woodwork?

Thanks, Tianie”


Dear Tianie,

Thank you for writing in to me.

Just because people are in a care setting, it doesn’t mean that they can’t continue to pursue hobbies that they used to enjoy.

As always, careful risk assessing is important here, especially when using tools. All activities carry a degree of risk, but most can be adapted in a positive way.

For activities that involve woodwork, you may wish to get the maintenance team involved in helping out with the session or a skilled volunteer with a particular interest or skill related to woodworking.

When planning the session, consider all of your residents and all of their abilities; some residents may get great satisfaction from sorting out different sized screws into jars or passing materials to other residents in the ‘team’, whereas other residents may have the skills required to build a gate! Participation can also begin before the session itself by involving residents in the planning stage; a resident can advise you on the best materials required, or accompany you on a trip to your local hardware store.

Build up a folder of project ideas. This could include repairing broken chairs, sanding down coffee tables, or building bird tables, hedgehog houses or bug hotels. Flower planters made from wood offcuts is another relatively simple idea. Some residents may even have walking sticks that would benefit from a sanding and revarnishing!

In the past, many of the male residents I’ve worked with have enjoyed making a wooden noughts and crosses kit. This involves them cutting and sanding down sections of a fence post to form the pieces, then varnishing them.

Best of luck,


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