In older age, it’s critical to stay busy and connect with friends and family on a regular basis. If you are looking for easy ways to support the older adults in your life, consider pairing them up with your children for routine bonding time. You don’t have to come up with activity ideas for seniors on your own. Here are eight fun activities your children can do with older adults.
The Benefits of Intergenerational Bonding
Organizing fun activities between older adults and children has benefits for both groups. Research has shown that intergenerational bonding is good for children’s self-esteem and confidence. For older adults, they report feeling more optimistic about life and experience better physical and mental health outcomes. If you have the opportunity to nurture the connection between your children and the older adults in your life, try one of these activities to get things started.
1. Cooking and Baking
Cooking and baking are effective and enjoyable activities for older people to do with children. Young people like to get their hands dirty, and older adults feel a sense of fulfillment when they pass down knowledge and experience in the kitchen. Plus, the result is something everyone can share. However you approach it, you can’t go wrong with this activity.
Use these tips to get the most out of your kitchen sessions:
- Make a family cookbook together
- Adapt your baking to the holiday or season
- Alternate the person in charge of picking a recipe
- Allow for at least four hours to complete this activity
Getting your loved ones in the kitchen with your children can be incredibly rewarding. Make sure you plan ahead so that you know what ingredients and utensils to have on hand.
During spring and summer, you can encourage the older adults in your life to spend some time outdoors by asking them to teach your children how to garden. This is an especially effective activity for children on summer break because it gives you time to run errands or do chores without resulting to using screen time to occupy your kids. The fresh air and physical nature of gardening are also extremely beneficial for older adults.
If your loved one lives in a senior community or care home, you can adapt this activity to suit the situation. The children and older adults can make a windowbox and plant herbs or work in a local community garden together.
3. Playing Board Games
Playing board games is one of the best activities for older adults to do with children. For this activity, choose an age-appropriate game for your children, or switch to a puzzle instead. Invite your loved ones to teach your children how to play the classic games you grew up with or bring in a completely new game that no one has played before. If you’re low on resources or space, you can even bring along a deck of cards.
Board games are a great alternative to outdoor activities when the weather isn’t suitable for spending time outside. Different games require different amounts of time to complete, so choose a quick one if you’re short on time.
3. Reading Together
Reading is an activity that children and adults can enjoy throughout their lives. Books and stories connect people, establish unique bonds, and encourage critical thinking. This activity is remarkably versatile because people of all ages and abilities can participate. It can also take up as much or as little time as necessary. You can even visit a library as a group to make this activity more fun.
4. Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts can be a lot of fun for adults and children. There are many activity options, from painting pictures to creating beaded jewelry. Many older adults also enjoy sewing and knitting. They may also have fun teaching you and your children how to do these activities.
Again, these are the types of activities that you can modify depending on the age of your children and the ability level and energy of the older adults. It’s also important to manage the stress of preparation and cleanup. Consider taking that responsibility away from your loved ones so they can focus on connecting with your children and having fun.
5. Going on a Nature Walk
Walking is one of the best things for older adults to do because it is a form of gentle exercise. Staying fit in older age can be challenging, but it’s vital for both physical and mental health. Sending your kids and loved ones on a nature walk is an easy way to encourage them to bond while getting those steps in.
If you find it difficult to motivate your loved ones or children to get out into nature, consider framing the activity as a scavenger hunt. Make a list of items they need to find on their walk or pictures they need to take together. You can even make it into a light-hearted competition between two or three groups to get more people involved.
6. Seeing a Movie
On low-energy days, it’s okay to do something as simple as sitting down to watch a movie together. Whether you go to the cinema or gather together at home, enjoying a movie is an excellent way for children and older adults to bond.
If you watch films regularly, make sure everyone gets a chance to share a favorite. Older adults should have the opportunity to watch the classics if that’s what they enjoy, and children should also get to experience watching a new movie with their grandparents.
Why Doing Activities With Older Adults Is Important
Whether they’ve recently retired or moved out of their homes, older adults often don’t have as many opportunities to interact as they once did. Yet, they need social interaction to maintain a sense of purpose and avoid feelings of loneliness and depression. You can use these activity ideas for seniors to help your family build and maintain strong bonds.
Elder Care Alliance places great value on connection and encourages intergenerational activities that enrich the lives of all involved. Social seniors tend to be happy seniors. Elder Care Alliance communities also provide many opportunities for social interaction, so senior adults never have to feel isolated or lonely.