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Game Ideas: Drawing with my grandma

Sketching with my grandma. We try to engage her with this step by step sketch activity. This is her artwork.

In today’s blog post, I share about a recent activity at home — Drawing with my grandma. I guided my grandma through a Step by Step Drawing activity.

What I’ve learnt is to be less focused on the outcome but more about the process of the activity. In a more cliche phrase, happiness is the journey, and not the destination.

My family is constantly trying to find ways to engage my grandma because we feel that keeping her busy and engaging her is key to her mental health. There’s a common saying  – “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. This is why we are always on the look out for different activities to help work different parts of her brain.

My grandma currently spends most of her time at home colouring. Colouring is a great activity. It’s something that keeps her engaged, and helps her exercise hand and eye coordination. It is great also because its something that she enjoys doing.

Beyond colouring, me and my mum have been looking for different activities to engage her and exercise different parts of the brain. One day, when she was colouring, I noticed a simple Step by Step sketch exercise in her colouring book and so, I tried out the activity with her.

Step by Step Sketch Activity in my grandma's colouring book
Step by Step Drawing Activity in my grandma’s colouring book

While working on this activity, I realised that it’s quite a challenge, it requires seniors to:

1. Understand what is the objective/outcome (e.g. Drawing a cupcake)

2. Identify the differences between each drawing

3. Make a good gauge of where each drawing step starts and ends

4. Understand the textures involved in the drawing (Is it a straight or curved line? Must I draw a jagged ege? etc)

I feel that it was a great activity to practise hand eye coordination and all of these things.  If the seniors that you care for can’t draw, maybe, you can ask them to point out the differences between each drawing as an activity.

Because of this, I created a downloadable PDF of Step by Step Drawing exercises for seniors. You can guide your seniors to draw the flower, orange, mushroom, leaf and seashell. These are everyday items that we would have come into contact with.

Hopefully, these can trigger some positive memories.

I tried the activity that I created with my grandma. And, here are some pictures of the session:

My grandma tracing an object to draw a circle
My grandma tracing an object to draw a circle
My grandma following the Step by Step Sketch guide to draw the petals of a flower.
My grandma following the Step by Step Drawing guide to draw the flower.
My grandma's completed artwork using the Step by Step Sketch guide for seniors
This is her completed artwork

Lessons from drawing with my grandma

Depending on the individual’s ability, you may have to hand hold them quite abit or even help them out by guiding them to draw at the specific locations.

Be mentally prepared that your senior’s completed artwork may look very different from the original sketch (haha). It’s totally okay if they draw the lines wrongly or the proportions are all over the place. I believe the process is definitely much more valuable than the outcome.

Even if this activity doesnt work for you, you can always try something else. It’s important to note that just by attempting to try it out, you have engaged your seniors in some way or another.

So… Dont give up!

Some people have told me that seniors enjoy doing things that is in some ways connected to their past. I read of a caregiver whose mum, living with dementia, paints really beautiful rocks.  Her mother was an artist when she was younger.

I hope this inspires you to try different things with the seniors that you care for. If you know of any activities that works for your seniors, do let me know, so I can try them out with my grandma too.

If you would like to engage your senior(s) with this activity, do consider getting this downloadable PDF and using it as a simple guide.

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