There’s nothing quite as special as the relationship between grandparent and grandchild. When older and younger generations spend time together, it can lead to incredible outcomes for everyone involved. It’s been shown that interacting with young children benefits older adults’ self-esteem, memory, and communication. And for children, interacting with an older loved one can help them build confidence and further develop their social and emotional skills.
The best way to bridge the gap between these two generations is by spending plenty of quality time together. But when grandchildren come to visit, it can sometimes be difficult to find something fun to do. The next time you’re together, try one of these generation-bridging activities:
Share a story
Introducing your grandchild to the importance of reading is one of the best things you can do. You can read aloud to them or have them practice reading to you. If your grandchild is old enough, you could even start a book club, where you read the same book at the same time and discuss the themes and characters afterward. At Bethany, we have several libraries located on our campus where visitors and residents can borrow books to share.
Document family history
Making a family tree is an activity that will help your grandchild understand their family history and heritage. Together, you can design your family tree using an online template or make it from scratch using paper. Another way to document family history is by creating a scrapbook. Looking through photographs, letters, and other special tokens is sure to spark meaningful conversations about the past. If your grandchild is tech-savvy, consider making a “digital scrapbook” together. This involves documenting family stories and significant events through videos and voice recordings.
Rainy days are perfect for playing games or working on a puzzle. Teach your grandchild how to play the classic board games that you played as a kid, or ask them to show you the latest video game or computer game. Cards are another fun way to pass the time. Try your hand at a kid-friendly game such as Go Fish, Rummy, or Crazy Eights. In most senior living communities, games, cards, and puzzles are readily available for residents and visitors to enjoy together.
Plant a garden
Gardening is another fun and rewarding activity for grandparents and grandchildren to do together. One easy method of planting seeds is by using an empty egg carton. Poke holes in the bottom of each egg cup and add some potting soil and seeds. Lightly water the seeds each day and keep them in a sunny location. In just a few days, the seeds should sprout into small seedlings. Then, you can transfer them to a permanent location, whether its a larger pot or an outdoor garden. Some easy to grow plants include cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, and green beans.
Bridge the technology gap
Taking advantage of technology such as email, video chatting, social media, and texting can help develop and strengthen the bond between grandparents and grandchildren, especially if they are separated by distance. The next time they come to visit, ask your tech-savvy grandchild to give you a quick lesson. Even if you already know how to use a smartphone and tablet, your grandchild might have some new apps or tools to show you.
Perhaps the best part of being a grandparent is spending quality time with your grandchildren, whether you play games, create a special project, or learn something new together. What are your favorite activities to do with your grandchildren?