Intergenerational activities and programming are nothing new. Yet, finding creative ways to boost engagement among different age groups can be challenging.
Age-related stereotypes or biases are often the culprits for the social division and misunderstandings among young and older generations. But, in reality, we all have something to learn and teach those around us—regardless of age or background.
Intergenerational activities allow us to bridge the gap between generations through activities that enable diverse age groups to connect, discover common interests, and share individual talents and experiences.
These activities help us grow into better people and, in turn, build stronger communities where we live, work, and raise families.
What Are Intergenerational Activities?
Cooking, gardening, or playing an instrument are just a few examples of intergenerational activities. All of which bring families, neighbors, and community members together under one roof to build meaningful relationships while learning new skills.
DID YOU KNOW…92% of Americans believe intergenerational activities can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness across all age groups? Additionally, these activities may help reduce ageism and other types of age discrimination.
Intergenerational Activities for Seniors
With age comes wisdom, which is why seniors play a critical role in intergenerational activities.
Younger generations need opportunities to meet with older adults to help them develop social cues, problem-solving skills, confidence, self-worth, and accountability. At the same time, seniors need purpose, social interactions, and opportunities to bestow their vast knowledge and experiences—thus improving their quality of life.
Of course, intergenerational activities do more than inspire collaboration between groups who represent opposite sides of the age pole (i.e., young children and seniors). This programming can also benefit teenagers, college students, and adults. In fact, 8 out of 10 adults admit to wanting to spend time with individuals outside their age groups.
An older adult teaching a young child to play piano, plant vegetables, or sew a torn piece of clothing is just an example of how these activities teach life-long skills that will aid them in adulthood. Simultaneously, a college student showing a senior how to use smart technologies to play virtual games, connect with loved ones online, or get the most use of their smartphones helps aging adults keep up with technological changes and stay safe online.
Other Examples of Intergenerational Activities
If you’re looking to incorporate a few activities inside your home and community, consider these examples:
Meal Plan & Prep
Invite the family over to plan a lunch or dinner. Have everyone decide on the main course and sides. Then assign each member a specific task to help prepare the meal.
Cooking is a great way to improve cognitive skills at any age. It’s also a creative way to teach math and measurements—and learn a few family cooking secrets along the way.
Puzzles and Board Games
Card games, bingo, or 3-D puzzles are great for the mind and even better at bringing people together for a day of fun problem-solving and social interaction. You can plan a neighborhood bingo tournament or game night at a local venue like a cafe, church, or community center.
You might even decide to plan a carpooling calendar to ensure everyone has a ride.
Getting people from your area together for a walk is another great way to connect. It also encourages a little exercise.
Choose an easy walking trail or plan out a route that’s safe to travel and free of tripping hazards.
Be sure to encourage neighbors to bring their pets and make this a weekly event. You can also plan to have hot cocoa waiting for everyone after each walk as a special treat and another opportunity to hang out and connect.
Nothing beats a hot bowl of chili among friends, loved ones, and neighbors, especially with the evenings growing cooler. You can choose to host this event “tailgating” style. Have everyone meet at a designated parking lot with foldable tables and chairs. Or, you can also host this event at your home or outdoor garage area.
Encourage everyone to bring a Crockpot of chili to pass. Before you know it, people will be sharing recipes, trying one another’s dishes, and having fun.
Check Back for More Activities
As we head into the New Year, we’ll plan to post a few other ideas to help readers start incorporating these activities into their communities.
Be sure to check our blog regularly!