A few months ago my husband, two-year-old son and I had the privilege of having my mom come stay with us for a couple months to help out while I was having some health problems. Her support was immeasurable. However, in the midst of it I found that, despite serving as a deputy executive director of an organization that promotes intergenerational connections, I was lousy at coming up with activities that worked well for us all to do together. Eventually we found a rhythm and it became clear that sometimes the best activities are the old standards with a little forethought and preparation. As today marks the official beginning of summer, here are a few simple, low-cost, reliable ideas for spending summer days together with Grandma, Grandpa and your toddler(s).
Park , Picnic & Play: Pack a picnic and head to the park. But don’t let sandwiches, apples and some juice boxes suffice. That picnic should include some simple items to help all ages get engaged in play together. Bring some bubble liquid and wands or invite everyone to make their own! Not a bubbly bunch? Pack a ball or kite or bring a few basic creative materials to have everyone join together to make things that fly.
Water Wonders: A toddler water table, swimming pool, or slip-and-slide are always a hit, but you don’t have to have fancy equipment to enjoy water play together. Grab a plastic water pitcher, some mixing bowls, a few mixing spoons, measuring cups and a bucket of ice cubes. Together you will prepare a refreshing multigenerational feast of “ice soup.” Grandpa is the ice dispenser, Grandma helps measure the ingredients, the little ones pour and mix to perfection and it’s ready for the whole family to enjoy.
Intergenerational Ice Cream: Few treats are sure to bring more smiles to the faces of young and old than ice cream. Try making it together and you will add learning and team work to those smiles. If you have an ice cream maker, you may have a long tradition of this family fun. But you don’t have to have an expensive machine to make ingenious ice cream treats. See these easy instructions for making ice cream in a bag.
For more ideas for summer and year round intergenerational activities visit these great resources:
- Written by Jaia Peterson Lent