There are only a few things that make an aging loved one happier than spending time with relatives – especially grandchildren. In fact, a recent study shows that there could be a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s associated with grandparents who spend time with their grandkids regularly. That’s not even to mention the mental health benefits – spending time with grandkids helps keep older relatives young, and helps them live happier, more satisfied lives.
So let’s take a look at some great cheap (or free) activities that you, your kids, and their grandparents or other aging loved ones can do together.
1. Play Board Games
Board games are an absolutely fantastic way to spend time with aging loved ones – and if you’ve already got some good ones, it’s free. If not, board games like CLUE and The Game of Life will only run you about twenty bucks – and are great ways to entertain and engage both your aging loved ones and your young kids.
Playing board games has the added benefit of being a great way to start conversations with your aging loved ones, allowing your kids to hear stories about their life and get to know them better. Overall, a win-win-win!
2. Get Out In Nature
Staying active is important for people of all ages – but especially seniors. As little as 30 minutes of exercise a day is associated with drastically increased health outcomes, and taking a walk in the park – or a hike, if your relatives and kids are up for it – is a wonderful way to experience the healing benefits of nature.
This is also a great way to calm your kids down if they’re bursting with energy – a couple hikes, footraces, and leaf-fights later, and they’ll have simmered down quite a bit.
3. Cook A Meal – And Enjoy It Together
Cooking is low-stress, low-impact, and can be done in the comfort of your loved one’s own home. Having your kids collaborate with a grandparent to create some great, delicious food is a super-fun way to help them learn about cooking, and to spend time with their grandparents.
And if you keep a close eye on them, they might just cook up something good – without you having to help at all! Unless you want to, of course.
4. Go To A Local Public Museum
Public museums are often free – and the ones that aren’t usually have deep discounts both for seniors and children. Finding a great art museum or historical exhibit in your area can be a great way to get an elderly relative out of the house, and to have them engage with your children as they work their way through interesting exhibits and talk about what they’ve seen.
This activity is best done with slightly older children – ones who can appreciate museums and won’t go around yelling or tearing through the exhibits. However, another alternative would be museums that are specifically meant for children, which can offer more age-appropriate exhibits that are perfect for engaging with young minds.
5. Connect With Distant Relatives Via Skype Or Other Video Messaging Services
While it can be a challenge to connect with distant relatives, modern technology has made it easier than ever before. And if you don’t know how to work the darn iPad or laptop, chances are you’ve got a kid who can help.
Skype and other video messaging applications are great ways for older relatives to connect with those who can’t be there – whether due to distance or cost. And with your kids there, your elderly relative will have a great time talking to whoever is on the other end, whether it’s an old friend or a distant relative who can’t visit.
But there’s so much more!!
These are just a few of the best activities for kids to do with their grandparents – there are plenty of other resources out there with great ideas to get elderly relatives active, keep you and your kids entertained, and make amazing memories!
So try out a couple of the activities above, and watch as your kids bond with your aging relatively in ways you never would have expected.