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Visiting grandparents at their senior living retirement community is a great way to enjoy extra free time on the weekends. Here are 5 life-enriching activities to help make visits with grandparents and grandchildren a fun and enjoyable experience.

Help with Homework

Homework probably isn’t among the first words to pop into your head when you think of fun. Yet when kids receive help with their homework from their grandparents, it turns a mundane, everyday task into an opportunity to foster positive interactions between generations. This activity helps grandparents maintain a sense of purpose through sharing and teaching their knowledge with their grandchildren, who are able get their homework done at the same time. Another benefit is that it allows grandparents to demonstrate their mastery of a subject, which is an important part of healthy aging.

Scrapbooking

Gather small keepsakes and make copies of family pictures so that you can build a multi-generational family scrapbook. Scrapbooking provides family members an opportunity to share what’s important about their lives, and put that in the context of a family history. The narratives and stories that emerge help promote dialogue and contribute to a shared sense of history. The scrapbooks themselves are works of art and can become precious mementos.

Board Games and Cards

Games are a go-to pastime for families visiting senior communities because they facilitate playfulness and levity. Playing games keep kids entertained while giving grandparents an opportunity to feel competent and capable. The joy that’s shared among family members who play together helps to cement intergenerational bonds and creates long lasting memories.

Cook a Meal Together

Not all seniors will have a kitchen in their unit, but even when residents aren’t able to cook in their apartments, they almost always have favorite go-to recipes that don't require a stove or oven. Grandparents can share a favorite family recipe while working together with younger relatives in an experience that both bonds generations and results in a shared meal.

Multi-Generational Show-and-Tell

Show-and-tell isn’t just for school. Grandparents and their grandchildren can develop strongly meaningful connections by sharing objects that are important to them, and telling the stories behind those objects. Show-and-tell transforms storytelling into a multi-sensory experience -- stories aren’t just heard, they are seen and felt.

Bonding with our grandparents and grandchildren is a healthy and productive activity, and can help provide much needed social interaction that is crucial to healthy senior living. These tips can help guide you and your senior loved one to enjoying even more the time you spend together.