Though on opposite ends of life’s journey, there is so much to be gained from interactions between younger and older generations – on both ends! Younger generations can benefit from the wisdom seniors have gained from the years life experiences they’ve collected over time. On the other end of the spectrum, older adults can gain fresh insights and new perspectives from young minds.
With kids out of school for the summer, there are now more opportunities than ever for seniors to connect with young relatives, students or volunteer youth groups. Here are some activity ideas to help facilitate these mutually enriching interactions:
Complete service projects…
Across generations, giving back is not only an incredible way to make a difference in the community and in the world at large, but is also an effective way to gain a sense of fulfillment and purpose. No matter the interest, there are plenty of issues that could use the support of those who have the time and effort to give to them. Both seniors and younger generations are uniquely suited for this type of work, due to the fact that seniors have more leisure time to lend in retirement and students often have service project requirements for school. Seniors and younger generations can bond over common causes that light a fire within them, and work together contributing toward those causes!
Practice a new craft…
Pictured: A young student from the Barrington Chinese Immersion Council’s summer program working on origami during one of these regular intergenerational visits. (Barrington, IL)
There’s something so satisfying about hands-on activities- so much so, that craft projects appeal to a wide range of people. Seniors and younger generations can work together on various creative projects they’re inspired to create, whether it’s an old hobby or a brand new skill. Seniors may have their own beloved hobbies they can teach to kids, like knitting or scrapbooking, while younger generations can share some of the many crafts they’ve likely learned how to do in class. The best part about this activity is that it provides the perfect opportunity for older adults and younger generations to connect over teaching or learning new skills or figuring out these projects together.
Show off talents…
Whether it’s a grandchild, a young student, or another young person, seniors can enjoy watching kids show off their talents during visits, recitals or other performances. The positive feedback and encouragement from a respected elder can do wonders to boost a young person’s confidence, and can keep them motivated to refine their skills and keep pursuing their talents. Similarly, older adults may have some favorite hobbies or skills that they’ve mastered over the years, which could be great to share – and even inspire – younger generations. For older and younger adults or children, sharing talents in this way is a fun and fulfilling way to spend time.
Get started enjoying any of these activity ideas with a young person this summer!
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