Recipes for Collective Care

Image: courtesy CTRL+SHFT Collective, 2020

“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”

- Winnie the Pooh

What is Collective Care?

How do we show care for each other and for our communities? How can we teach others about care? Care is an integral value core to the CTRL+SHFT Collective community. In this activity, you’ll create your own recipe sharing what care means for you.

First, choose your art-making materials.

You can use things you have on hand; here are some ideas for different materials:

  • A pencil, a few sheets of paper, and an index card. You can also get colorful with crayons, colored pencils or pens, or markers.
  • Collaging supplies: scissors, glue or tape, magazines, newspapers, old photos, some plain paper or cardstock.
  • Decorating supplies, like stickers, yarn, string, or paint.
  • Envelopes and stamps, if you want to mail your recipes.
  • A smartphone or camera to take photographs, make videos, record audio, write and send messages, and even create collages!

Next, let’s learn about care.

Find at least one other person to chat with. You can talk about your ideas, but you can also draw, sing, act out, or write.

Choose one (or more) of the questions below to discuss:

  • Think about the word “care.” What are some other words that care makes you think of?
  • Think of a time someone cared for you. What did you need? How did they care for you? How did it feel to receive care? How do you think they felt?
  • Think of a time you cared for someone. How did you know they needed care? How did it feel to give care? How do you think they felt?
  • Think of some places, things, and animals that are important to you. How do we care for them? Why do we care for them?
  • Close your eyes and imagine being cared for by someone important to you. What does it feel like? Sound like? Smell like? Taste like?

Now it’s time to represent your ingredients and assemble them into a recipe.

Using your conversation as inspiration, what are the objects, actions, feelings, people, animals, smells, or places that you will use to make your care recipe? You can have as many ingredients as you want, but try for at least three.

Using your art materials, you can write, draw, or otherwise represent your ingredients. Here are some example ideas:

  • Draw a comic of yourself hugging your friend, family member, or pet.
  • Make a doodle or painting of how it feels to receive a surprise gift from someone you love.
  • Create a collage of objects found in your coziest corner of your room.
  • Take a photo of something special someone you love gave to you.
  • Make a playlist of songs / sounds that remind you of your friend.
  • Find a snack that makes you feel better when you’ve got the blues.

Assemble your recipe using your ingredients. Your recipe can be a list, a drawing, a collage, or a photo series.

Image courtesy of CTRL+SHFT Collective

Your recipe is all done! Just one more step – share your recipe!

One of the best parts about recipes is sharing them with others. Will you tape your recipe to your window for your neighbors? Play your recipe for a loved one or friend in need? Enact one or more of your care ingredients?

We would love to see your recipes and try them out. When you’re finished, post a photo of your recipe to Instagram using the hashtag #RecipesForCare. If you would like your recipe shared with others, please email it to us at, ctrlshftcollective@gmail.com. or send a copy to CTRL+SHFT Collective, 1430 34th St, Oakland, CA 94608. We hope to gather recipes to create and send out (electronically) a shared cookbook of care to all who participate.