The holiday season is a special time of year for many families. It’s a chance to gather with family and friends, and embrace traditions. It’s also a time when most kids are off of school and looking at you to keep them entertained.
The challenge for caregivers in the sandwich generation – who have young children at home while they are also looking after an elderly parent – is to find simple activities that the entire family will find enjoyable.
Planning intergenerational activities is a nice way for children and senior family members to spend time together and build relationships. Once getting your child and elderly parent set up with their holiday activity you can either join in the fun, or take some time to accomplish your own tasks.
Fun Holiday Activities for Families:
Games and Puzzles:
Try out different games and puzzles to see which ones are most enjoyable and appropriate for your family. Don’t select anything overly complicated until you see what level is appropriate for both your child and the elderly person in your care. Games are a good activity to work on memory skills and to keep minds active.
- Card games
- Word searches
- Crossword puzzles
- I spy puzzles
- Simple board games
- Jigsaw puzzles
Arts and crafts provide children and seniors with a creative outlet. They can each work on their own creation, or work together on a joint project. This is a great opportunity to get creative.
- Holiday crafts
Quiet Time Activities:
Some people simply enjoy having someone spend time with them while enjoying a quiet activity. These quiet time activities can be a great opportunity to learn more about the person you are spending time with. For example, the elderly person in your care may be reminded of stories from their past while looking through old photos. These stories can be great to share with the child they are spending time with. Quiet time activities may include:
- Looking through family photos
- Reading books
- Enjoying music – listening, singing, or playing instruments
- Watching movies
- Colouring or Painting
Light Exercise and Movement:
Look for intergenerational activities that introduce a bit of movement and light exercise into the day. You’ll want to ensure any activity is appropriate for the fitness levels of both senior and youth participants. Light activities may include:
- Active video games
Benefits of Intergenerational Activities:
The benefits of intergenerational holiday activities include:
- Social: Seniors often feel isolated as they get older. By enjoying time with their grandchildren they can feel a sense of belonging.
- Educational: Opportunities to share and learn from another generation.
- Respect: Gained mutual understanding of where each other is coming from.
- Fun: Spending time on an activity is more fulfilling than sitting around being bored!
Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to try to think of intergenerational activities to keep the kids and your elderly parents entertained all day.
The best advice is to keep holiday activities for seniors and kids simple, and aligned with skill levels and personal interests.
Spending time enjoying a hobby or working on a holiday project can be enjoyable and beneficial for the entire family.
What are some of your favourite family activities?