Create a modern-looking painting of fireworks using bendable straws and acrylics.



  1. Tape 7 straws together directly underneath the bendable necks.
  2. Bend open the straw tops. (See the second image in Gallery)
  3. Select 2 or 3 paint colors that work well together and squeeze a dime-sized amount of each onto a lid or plate.
  4. Dip the straw bundle into the “palette” until all the straw tops are covered in paint.
  5. Place the straws onto a piece of paper and use your finger to gently flatten them so they all touch the paper.
  6. Lift the straws off the paper and rotate them slightly before pressing them down again. Repeat several times.
  7. Wash off the straws and try a different color combination.

Display Idea:

Hang a group of finished paintings together. Arrange them so they look like an indoor fireworks show.

Group Size Time of Day Duration Acuity Level
1 on 1
Small (2 - 4)
Medium (5 - 8)
30 minutes Long-term Care
Memory Care
Facilitator Gender
Programming Coed
Wellness Domains

Social, Physical, Emotional



  • 7 straws with bendable tops
  • Scotch tape
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint palette (plastic lid or plate)
  • (Optional) Acrylic paints with added sparkles or neon paints
Supporting Research




Good For

Anxiety, Dementia, Depression, Hearing Loss, Isolation



For a group activity, use a room large enough to accommodate social distancing. Make sure everyone has their own materials. For a one-on-one program, bring materials to the room. Dispose of straws after use.


Advanced Dementia

Have the facilitator prepare the straws. Employ task segmentation. Provide cueing and use the hand-over-hand method as needed.

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