The kids are coming for a visit. How do you keep your grandchildren entertained? This is on the mind of many older adults, especially as we approach the holiday season. No need to worry. As your local resource for everything senior living-related, The Carrington at Lincolnwood stands ready with easy and fun activities that will make you the coolest grandparent around!
Fun for Any Age
Since there will undoubtedly be a variety of ages at your family gathering—adults and children—choosing an intergenerational approach to your activities is best. Something that everyone can join in on.
Remember, retirement is your time to do the things you love with the people you love—whether you still live in your family home, have right-sized to something smaller or have moved to a fabulous senior living community like The Carrington.
In the Kitchen
Family, fun and FOOD go together! And a little planning as a group is always good, especially if proximity and location are factors. Enlist the help of your grandchildren and get started:
- In advance, have the children help you plan the menus by email or text messaging. (And, don’t forget their favorite snacks, treats and family recipes.)
- Create a recipe book of the menus and recipes you pull together. Photos, too? Of course! This is a great way to pass down recipes and establish new favorites.
- Put their creative talents to good use by making place cards or even designing a centerpiece for the table.
- Get into the kitchen—when your group arrives—for even more fun cooking together. (If you live at The Carrington, a full, state-of-the-art culinary stage is set for you and your grandchildren!)
Ready, set, decorate! Consider the season and have your grandchildren make something that adds to the spirit of your gathering. Maybe they can create something to decorate your front door, porch, patio or holiday tree. Teach the children one of your favorite craft hobbies—knitting, painting, sewing or woodworking. If you live at The Carrington, take them to one of the community’s many arts and crafts classes available to all residents.
Haul out the scrapbooks and old family photos! The grandchildren will get a kick out of seeing Mom and Dad all dressed up for celebrations and holidays. You may even have old family movies. The grandchildren may also have videos of their past activities and events or Facebook feeds they want to share with you.
During this “blast from the past,” it’s also fun to share with the grandchildren the music you enjoyed in your youth. Have a family sing-along. Rent a karaoke machine and introduce the children to all the oldies but goodies. You can also access songs and lyrics on the internet or your electronic devices, making it easy for all to follow along. And, if you live in a community like The Carrington, you may want to settle in to one of its numerous comfortable common areas for an evening of fun.
As a follow-up to all this reminiscing, reinforce the family legacy by helping your grandchildren map out your family tree the next day.
Share some screen time! Younger people are rarely without their cell phones. And often, they’re playing electronic games. Have them teach you a couple you can enjoy long after they’ve gone home. And, while you’re at it, have them introduce you to the emoji (or Memoji) apps on your cell phone. Together, you can then create an emoji for each of your family members. Great fun!
And with all the good times you’re having, don’t forget to ask your grandchildren make a video diary of their time with you. (The younger grandchildren may want to draw and write a memory book of their time with you.)
Walk-it-off! As you push back from the dining room table after a plentiful holiday meal, nothing feels better than a good walk around the neighborhood. Many neighborhoods and communities like The Carrington have walking trails that are perfect for a little after-dinner stretch and exercise. Why not make a game of it for the grandchildren with an old-fashioned scavenger hunt? (You know the theme: leaves, pinecones, nuts, rocks, feathers, even things you’ve “planted” for them in advance.)
If the weather in your area cooperates, a mid-day picnic in the park or on the lakeshore is a good way to let the grandchildren get a little fresh air. Ready for some competition? Invest in a very reasonable Frisbee golf set—perfect for the driveway, backyard, playground, park or beach—and let the grandkids toss discs and land them in the basket.
And There’s More . . .
In closing, don’t neglect the two most common ways older adults connect and engage with their grandchildren: board games and reading a favorite book. When it comes to games, be open to ideas and learning to play new games—each generation can teach the other! And you can easily invite friends to join. (Especially at The Carrington where many board games are available, along with cozy places to play and new friends to join in.)
Reading together is a fantastic way to grab a little quiet time with your grandchild to connect and engage. Choose a book at the start of your visit and read a chapter here and there over the next few days. If your grandchild is a teenager, choose a book you both read before the visit, then have a little mini-book club session to discuss the book’s highlights when they arrive.
We’d love to show you The Carrington and all our activities for seniors. You might even meet a few residents who’ll share with you their plans for entertaining grandchildren during the upcoming holiday season. Contact us!