Fun Activities to do with the Seniors in Your Family
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Spending time with grandparents is a blast. Kids love getting the opportunity to see their grandparents, and grandparents love the opportunity to connect with their grandchildren.
It’s great for parents as well – grandparents can help take some of the parenting burden off of them, and allow them to enjoy themselves, no matter what activities are planned for the day.
But sometimes, it can be hard to find something that the whole family can do together. Kids, parents, and grandparents usually all have different fitness levels, interests, and abilities, so finding one activity out of hundreds that doesn’t leave someone bored is hard.
But it’s not impossible! To help you find family-friendly, fun activities that the entire family can enjoy together, we’ve crafted a list of 5 of the most fun activities that your entire family is guaranteed to enjoy.
1. Play Games Or Do Puzzles
Kids love games. If you have really small children, they’ll love games like Candyland that don’t take too much concentration, and if they’re older, they may be interested in games that take more understanding and concentration, like RISK or Monopoly. Board games are a great way to spend time together, and entertain the whole family.
It’s not just board games, though. Card games are also a blast, and kids of all ages can handle more basic games like Go Fish.
2. Enjoy The Great Outdoors
How you do this can vary, depending on the physical health of your family members. If one of your parents is confined to a wheelchair, you may want to set up a picnic in the park, perhaps at a dedicated shelter. This gives your kids the opportunity to run around and wear themselves out, and spend time with their grandparents once they’re sick of chasing each other around the park.
If your parents are still in good health, a day-hike can be fun. Kids love getting outside, and they love eating all of the snacks and packed lunches that you bring along on a day-hike. Getting outdoors and seeing the sights of your community is a fantastic way to spend time together.
3. Go Swimming
Swimming is a fantastic activity for older adults. Unlike running, or even walking, swimming puts no stress on the joints whatsoever. Since the water absorbs weight, it’s easy for older adults who have joint issues to enjoy the water, and swimming is a fantastic way for grandparents to connect with their grandkids.
Plan a day at the beach, or at a local lake. If you don’t have any large bodies of water around, even planning a day at the local YMCA or another indoor swimming pool can still be a total blast. Your kids will entertain themselves and get to play with their grandparents, and be tired enough that they’ll fall asleep before you even get home.
4. Find A Child-Friendly Museum To Explore
This activity is probably not for all kids – some seem to have a built-in aversion to museums, and will complain if they even step foot in one.
However, many cities have child-friendly museums built with kids (and adults) in mind, with exhibits that are fun, interactive, and built for young and curious minds. Check out this list of the top 25 children friendly museums in the US – if there’s one close to you, it’ll be worth the trip.
5. Make Something Together
Kids love working with their hands and crafting something. It can be as simple as a drawing, a sculpture, or more complicated, like building model rockets or aircraft models. Whether you’re working with your own materials, or from a kit, kids love the chance to get their hands dirty and build fun, special things with their grandparents.
For a simple craft project that’s sure to get kids laughing and having a good time, consider an old classic – the vinegar and baking soda volcano! Build a volcano out of papier mache with a large interior crater, fill it up with baking soda, dump in the vinegar, and watch it go BOOM! (Just take it outside first).
For a more comprehensive list of crafting activities that kids and adults will love, take a look at this list by Listotic.
Spend Time Together – And Enjoy Every Moment
Picking one of these fun activities is a great way to get your kids engaged, active, and into the idea of spending some quality time with their grandparents. And since these activities are fun for the whole family, you can be sure that nobody in your family will be bored.
So get out there, have some fun, and make some memories. In the future, your kids will thank you for it. And in the present, your parents will love you for it.
Many families still embrace quality time with their senior relatives yet living in such a fast paced society this can sometimes be a challenge. These fun activities to do with the seniors in your family will expose them to fun technology while still offering an old school approach that holds traditional merit for everyone involved.
Physical activity has been shown to stimulate brain cell production in seniors. It was once thought that after a certain age the brain was incapable of forming new neurological pathways.
However, researchers at the University of Illinois Beckman Institute studied the effects of physical activity on the brains of older adults and found that,
“The association between physical activity and white-matter structural integrity was region-specific, the researchers reported. Older adults who engaged more often in light physical activity had greater structural integrity in the white-matter tracts of the temporal lobes, which lie behind the ears and play a key role in memory, language, and the processing of visual and auditory information.” (Illinois News Bureau)
Two great activities the whole family can enjoy are golf and tennis. These may sound like too much exertion for specific seniors but if done slowly it can be a great, gentle workout.
For golf, there’s no need to embark on a full course game. Instead, visit a driving range and swing away.
For tennis, find an open court and set up a gentle volley. No tennis court, no problem. Hitting tennis balls against a wall is just as fun.
Don’t forget table tennis (ping pong). This really challenges eye hand coordination and can be done indoors on a rainy day.
Start out slow, but getting a senior involved in certain video games may not only be a fun activity but a real life saver as well. According to a study of 60-85 year olds by researchers at the University of California, and published in the journal Nature, it was reported that,
“These findings highlight the robust plasticity of the prefrontal cognitive control system in the aging brain, and provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of how a custom-designed video game can be used to assess cognitive abilities across the lifespan, evaluate underlying neural mechanisms, and serve as a powerful tool for cognitive enhancement.”
Some good choices are:
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) offers many more video game suggestions that, in addition to these, brings hours of fun activities to do with seniors in your family.
Hit the Skins
Drumming is one of the most primitive forms of musical expression. It is also a fun way to reduce stress and stimulate the mind. This is a great activity to share with a senior as it has shown great progress in connecting on a non-verbal level and bringing a sense of intense satisfaction to all involved.
A study by the Meadville Medical Center's Mind-Body Wellness Center in Meadville, PA it was reported that,
“The following study showed that group drumming therapy lowers cortisol (an adrenal hormone produced in response to stress) and increases DHEA, which enhances immunity, memory, and neural functioning. It is also known to hamper osteoporosis, and combat atherosclerosis, hyperglycemia, and cancer. It is currently being researched as a treatment for depression, arthritis, asthma, lupus, and frailty in the elderly.”
Search and Converse
Searching for information on the internet may seem like a no brainer but doing it with a senior loved one can actually be a fun, stimulating activity. Seniors are like walking history books and sitting down for a conversation about what it was like way back when easily brightens their day. Add in some internet searching of the subject at hand and you can add pictures and text to their story.
A study by UCLA scientists found that "a simple, everyday task like searching the Web appears to enhance brain circuitry in older adults, demonstrating that our brains are sensitive and can continue to learn as we grow older,"
Setting up a scavenger hunt with your senior loved one can make for a day of fun everyone will remember. Create two or three groups that follow lists of random items they will search for either inside, outside or both. Time and location parameters are essential. Make sure everyone remains safe and within the law.
These 5 activities to do with seniors in your family go beyond the norm. They offer a way to connect on a whole other level that will hopefully spawn even more exciting ideas.
Article by Felicity Dryer