Intergenerational Play Is It Any Good?

We take a look at intergenerational play, explaining what it is, the benefits it can offer and ways to help make it a success for everyone involved, from 0 to 99!

 Intergenerational Play Is It Any Good?

Have you heard of intergenerational play before? While it isn’t a new concept, it has certainly been given a lot of attention during the past few years. Intergenerational play occurs between the younger and older generations; think grandparents and grandkids for example, though it doesn’t have to be between family members.

Most likely it has grown in popularity because over time, our family lives have changed. We are often not living close to grandparents, aunts and uncles. Mum and Dad spend more time at work than at home and single-parent households are more common. These have all played a role in changing the way our kids grow up and communicate with each other. It’s also seen negative changes in our older population, with loneliness and depression setting in.

Intergenerational play sets out to change things by providing opportunities for children to play and engage with older adults. We think this is great and we’d like to take the time to explain the benefits it offers and some ideas to get you and your children involved too.

Benefits of Intergenerational Play (h2)

There are benefits to both generations for this type of play. Children are more likely to display an increase in creativity and problem-solving skills. Adults find that they have improved mental and physical health. Both learn to see things from another’s point of view, as well as building relationships outside of their inner circle of acquaintances.

Getting Involved in Intergenerational Play

The best type of play for kids is non-directed, though this isn’t the only option. Older adults are often less mobile, so are unable to participate in active movements. Directed play is useful here, with the adults making suggestions as what to play from the provided equipment. Board games, drawing paper and crayons, dolls, model building and musical toys would all work well here. They’re also easily transportable, letting you take them with you to the local retirement home or playgroup.

Why not contact your local rest home and ask if you could take your kids to visit? Or you could organise to take your local playgroup members? There are some playgroups which hold regular sessions, be it at the retirement home or their usual venue and these are often the highlight of the week for everyone who attends.

We’d love to learn if this is something you are doing or would consider doing in your neighbourhood? Let us know in the comments below.


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