via seniorly: Senior activities don’t require seniors only. Fun with grandchildren and younger friends can be a great way to keep active, informed and engaged. Here are some suggestions for intergenerational activities to be shared between seniors and the young.

There is something about the way children light up a room that is magical. And nothing illustrates that energy better than witnessing a child interacting with an older adult. It often brings out the best in both of them. In fact, studies show that with intergenerational activities, seniors experience better self-esteem, increased communication and decision making skills. It can even help improve memory!

Children reap the benefits as well. They’ve shown improved test scores and academic achievement while being mentored by a senior friend or loved one. For some children, seniors fill the shoes of the grandparents they may not have. Many believe seniors can give children the kind of unconditional love and attention they need. They can accept a child without judgment. That is an emotional bond that is invaluable and so important for both groups in today’s world.

An Aging Generation
According to the U.S. Administration of Aging, by the year 2030, one in five Americans will be aged 65 or older.

While some worry about what that will mean for our nation in terms of health care and retirement costs, many sociologists and psychologists say there is an upside as well. “Having emotional enriching interactions between young people and the elderly can be especially positive for both, providing rich interactions and mutual learning from each other.

Connections Are Important
In a recent study from Kansas State University on children’s perceptions of older adults, findings indicated that without interaction with older adults, children may develop stereotypes and misconceptions about the older generation. In general, American children felt negative about older adults and aging.

The study also found, however, that with intergenerational programs, those perceptions changed over time.

Exposing children to seniors throughout their life, whether a relative or not, can do wonders for young and old alike. If you don’t have an older relative to spend time with, consider regular visits to a senior community near you. Your child will make important connections that will impact them throughout their life.

Activities to Enjoy Together
The best way to bridge the gap is to spend time together. Here are some simple ways children and older adults can enjoy each other’s company:

1. Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts can bring out the kid in all of us. There is no better way to enjoy an indoor activity together than creating something you’ll both love. And it will provide a keepsake to remind you of your special day. For some great ideas on craft projects for kids and senior’s to do together, check out these boards on Pinterest.

2. Nature Walks
Enjoy some fresh air together! Go to a park or just walk around the neighborhood. Kids love looking at birds, trees and asking questions about their surroundings. The fresh air and exercise will be good for both of you too. You could even plan a scavenger hunt or just collect some leaves and bring them home to do a craft together.

3. Baking and Cooking
Who doesn’t enjoy the smell of fresh baked cookies? And children love being in the kitchen. Why not show them the secret to making those cookies extra delicious? It’s a great way to teach them measurements and math and even the littlest ones love to give the batter a stir. You’ll be making not only cookies, but also great memories together.

4. Puzzles and Games
Nothing is better for memory and cognitive development for the young and old than working on a puzzle or playing a board game. Introduce them to the classic board or card games you played as a kid. Or let them bring one of their own and teach you how to play.

5. Reading Together
There is nothing greater for a child’s education than learning the love of reading at a young age. Whether you read the newest children’s books together or the classics, you’ll be introducing them to the importance of reading and a whole world of adventure to share together. If they’re old enough, have them read to you.

6. Gardening
Do you have a green thumb? Gardening together is not only a great outdoor activity to share, but you’ll also be teaching the next generation about where our food comes from and the importance of ecosystems. Kids love digging in the dirt and using the watering can. They may even learn to love vegetables fresh out of the garden, which is an added bonus.

7. Tablet or Smartphone Play
Even if you’re a wiz with your smartphone or tablet, kids have a lot they can teach you about the latest applications. Why not play together and have them show you a few things as you go? Children get so much satisfaction and self-confidence teaching others a new skill. And learning new things is a great way to keep your mind sharp at any age.

8. Lunch Date
Who doesn’t like to have lunch out? Take them to a favorite restaurant and treat them to an ice cream sundae for dessert. If you live in a senior community, invite them over for a special lunch together. Most communities offer a wide variety of food on the menu and ice cream is often a staple.

via NEW KIDS-CENTER: If you want to have fun with your kids and want to spend quality time with your family, then the following family activities are ideal for you. Not only are these family activities a great source of enjoyment for all involved,butit gives you a chance to get to know your kids better and to interact with them more openly. Such activities can help in forming a strong bond between family members. It does not matter where in the world you liveengaging in family activities can give you a great deal of satisfaction.

Eight Recommended Family Activities

1. Record a Family Video

Ask theelder members of the family to share their life experiences with the kids and record them on a video camera while they are sharing their stories. These videos are going to become a source of knowledge for the children and willeducate them about life and can be regarded as their heritage as well. They can motivate the kids and give them a sense of pride. You can also ask the family members to conduct interviews of each other and record those on tape. These sound bites can serve as a precious time capsule for your family.

2. Work Together in the Garden

Get the whole family to work in the garden. Plant some seeds into a patch of soil and ask all the family members to join in and help you in taking care of the small plants. Assign the tasks for the kids and parents, so all of them will get to participate in nurturing theseedlings as they grow up. This activity will help children in learning the important lesson about loving nature and would, as well as giving them immense pleasure and joy when they watch the seeds turn into beautiful flowers and plants.

3. Cook Meals Together

Have the children join you in the kitchen and cook a meal with you. It will be a fun exercise for the kids and they are sure to enjoy it a lot. Eating meals that you have cooked together always helps in fostering a strong bond among family members and also gives you a chance to communicate freely with your kids. This is why psychologists recommend families eating their meals together.

4. Watch Movies Together

Watching movies together with theentire family is also an activity that can strengthen ties among family members. You can watch movies picked either by you or your children. The idea is to enjoy a movie with the kids and to discuss the important lessons that the movie teaches. Remember to have some popcorn ready when watching the movie and make sure that the movies are family-oriented and can give some sort of a message to the kids. Movies, likeToy Story 2, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, How to Train Your Dragon, Hugo, A Bug’s Life and Spy Kids, are some of the movies that you can watch with your kids.

5. Reading and Painting

Reading a favorite book together is also a great way of uniting family. Pick out a story that is loved by all the family members and ask one of members to read it aloud. You can take turns to read the story as well. You can also ask the children to paint and makeself portraits. Give the children paints and colors and let them loose. You can always join them while they are making it and help them in creating the perfect portrait. After they have finished, hang the portraits on walls, telling everyone how artistic your kids are.

6. Go Camping

Going on a camping trip with kids can prove to be a great exercise which brings all of you together and strengthen the bond between you and your kids. Remember to brush up on your story telling skills before going on a camping trip so that you can keep your children entertained. With so many apps available to you on your phone, you can also educate your child about the natural wildlife while on your camping trip.

7. Take Exercise and Do Sport Together

Exercising and doing a sport together is a great way of spending quality time with your kids. Not only will it help you in keeping your family fit and healthy, but it will also provide a fun activity that you can all participate in. It can offer you the chance to teach some important life lessons to your kids as well. You can play any kind of team sport that the entire family is interested in, such as going for a bike ride if you and your kids are into biking.

8. Play Some Games

  • Board Games

Board games like Checkers, Scrabble and Monopoly can be ideal family games that you can play with your kids. They can help you in keeping your children entertained and improve their strategy skill, word building and money skills, etc.

  • Q&A

Invent interesting questions about your family’s likes and dislikes and write them down on card paper. Write the answers of these questions on the backside of these cards and begin the game. The person who answers the all questions correctly wins.

  • Kick the Can

This is a fun game in which more than four people can participate at once. One child has to kick a can and count till a hundred while the other hide. Then the kicker has to search for them after setting the can straight. The gameends when all the hiding people are captured by the kicker.

  • Scavenger Hunt

Going on a scavenger hunt is also a great game that you can play with your kids. The items of the scavenger hunt can be anything and the reward can be a dollar or any memorable items.

via The YMCA of Austin: Summer is not over yet! Your flip flops may have seen better days, but you can still take steps to keep the fun going as we celebrate Family Fun Month in August. Now’s the time to squeeze in a few more family memories before the new school year starts. Here are a few ideas to get you going—and don’t worry: none of them require a drop of sunscreen!

  1. Make a blanket fort. This is a classic, and you can make the fort as big or small as you like. Start in the morning and designate the spot as the day’s reading nook. Pile on the pillows and turn it into a nap corner.
  2. Create a summer memories time capsule. Collect photos, write down stories and toss in a few souvenirs to preserve the good times for enjoyment later. Mason jars and shoe boxes make great capsule containers.
  3. Bake cookies together. Whip up a batch of sugar cookies and let each family member personalize their treats with icing and sprinkles. Even simple shapes like circles and squares can be decorated to become monograms or emojis.
  4. Mix your own soap bubbles. This recipe makes a great hard-to-pop batch: 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons dish soap and 1 tablespoon glycerin. Experiment with different bubble wands made from drinking straws, pipe cleaners or the top half of a water bottle.
  5. Hold a family game night. Enjoy the classics or try something new. Don’t forget to think outside the box and include games like charades, hide-and-seek and balloon volleyball.
  6. Set up a build-your-own meal. Each family member can have fun designing their own plates. Some ideas include funny-face pancakes with pieces of fruit and whipped cream, pizzas with veggie and pepperoni shapes and frozen yogurt sundaes with all the trimmings.
  7. Turn an everyday dinner into a fancy affair. Pull out the cloth napkins and candlesticks. Toast each other before you dine. Even pizza looks better by candlelight!
  8. Have a water fight. Once the sun goes down, take the gang outdoors for fun with super soakers and water balloons (or use sponges for a more environmentally-friendly option). Set up a slip-and-slide, if you’re feeling extra peppy.
  9. Go star-gazing. Try to find constellations. Take a drive outside the city for best viewing. The annual Perseid Meteor Shower peaks on August 12. Even with the moon three-quarters full, you can still expect to see about 40 to 50 meteors per hour at the peak.
  10. Keep the fun going. Give each family member strips of paper to write down things they like to do. Put the strips in a jar and as the year goes on, pull out a strip and make it happen!