When grandchildren visit their grandparents in an assisted living community, the trip can range from a much-anticipated adventure to a dreaded event – for all parties involved. The quality of the experience largely depends on the activities planned.
Your child may be overwhelmed meeting so many new, older faces, while your parent is surely looking forward to introducing their pride-and-joy to all their friends. Use these tips to ensure all generations will remember the visit for the right reasons.
Intergenerational Family Activities to Enjoy Together
1. Enjoy a meal together
If your older loved one is insistent on “making the rounds,” suggest a meal together in the dining room. Let your parent invite some of their friends to join you so they can meet your little one in a more comfortable setting.
2. Plan a few arts and crafts
As with any other playdate, planning engaging activities keeps the kids from getting bored and restless. Visit the dollar store or a craft store before the visit and pick up activities you can all do together.
- Paint a pre-built wooden car or birdhouse
- Paint “stained glass” ornaments to hang on windows
- Do a latch hook project together
- Lay down newspapers and play with Play-doh or kinetic sand
3. Create a scrapbook
Prior to your visit, print out 20 or 30 photos of the family at different times, doing various activities together. These can range from posed holiday photos to vacation snapshots.
Purchase stickers, stamp pads and ink, double-sided tape, and pretty paper, and build a scrapbook together. Some tools that might make it more fun (but aren’t necessary) include:
- Scissors with fancy edges
- Hole punches in different shapes
- Washi tape (decorative tape)
- Glitter glue pens
- Colored markers
4. Play favorite games
Pack a few of your child’s board games – ideally, ones you and your own parent used to play! Or bring a deck of cards and let your parent teach your children classic games like “War” and “Go Fish.”
5. Bake cookies
Children love baking, while your parent may look forward to the chance to share time-tested family recipes. You don’t need to bring the cookies home and prolong your child’s sugar high – the other residents are sure to love them!
6. Take a nature walk
When your child needs to get the “wiggles” out, it’s time to take a walk. Pre-planning can make even a simple walk across the community’s grounds into a memorable adventure. Purchase a bird watching book or use your smartphone to identify birds you spot on the grounds.
Toddlers and younger children tend to rush ahead during a walk, but you can slow the pace by explaining that you’ll be looking at the trees, grasses, flowers, and shrubs to try and identify them as you walk. Then use a book or Google to do just that.
Finally, sweeten the deal by telling little ones they just might spot an animal like a chipmunk or a bunny if they walk quietly.
7. Be Spontaneous
Planning every minute of your trip can help avoid meltdowns by keeping little ones active and engaged. But don’t be afraid to go with the flow. Ask your parent what they’d like to do or let your child pick the next game to play.
And if everyone decides to have a sing-along, a tickle-fest, or simply share their own favorite childhood stories, go with it. These are the moments each generation will remember for the rest of their lives.
Our highly regarded Lifestyle360 programs combine physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. If you just can’t come up with any ideas for the two generations to enjoy together, we encourage you to call our Life Enrichment Director. They will be happy to offer you some suggestions and advice!