I’ve recently become interested in finding sources for intergenerational family fun in the Twin Cities. My husband and I moved here in our early 20s. At the time, it was no big deal to be far away from our families. We had each other and we had a good friend base. As our family has grown and we have lost the pre-parenting freedom we used to have, sometimes we feel the trade-off much more acutely. Overall, not having free babysitting is a small price to pay for the life we have built.
The problem is more that my kids don’t see their grandparents often. They miss out on the benefits of having cross-generational relationships. According to the Legacy Project, children benefit emotionally and socially from relationships with grandparents in multiple ways. They have a better perspective of their own history. They gain life skills and confidence and are less likely to adopt self-destructive behaviors (such as drugs) while doing better in school. Grandparents can also provide moderate spoiling and undivided attention that parents can’t always and may not want to do. They can be a confidant and help develop new interests in their grandchild. Plus, they just give kids a chance to interact with people who are outside their usual social circles. There are also benefits for the older adults and parents.
How can you provide these benefits when your own parents are hundreds of miles away? Intergenerational play times. Here are a few that I’ve found around town. If you know of others, drop us a line and we’ll keep adding to this list.
Intergenerational Family Fun With Other Grands
Intergenerational Playtime at The Glenn of Hopkins • 2nd Mondays • 10am – 11am • Monthly themes often include arts and crafts, singing, and story time. Snacks and supplies are provided so an RSVP is appreciated. Join their Facebook group (link above) to get monthly reminders • FREE.
Intergenerational Story Time at the Minnesota Veterans Home • Third Tuesdays during summer of 2018 • 10:30am – 11am • This is a relatively new program but has been warmly received so there are plans to continue. Stories are read by Minnesota Veterans and songs are lead by staff. You can learn more and RSVP by calling Casey 612-548-5754 • FREE.
Stories with Grand Readers at Scott County Libraries • Various Dates and Times • Volunteer “Grands” read stories at these all-ages, drop-in events • FREE.
I have not come across a lot of books that explore visiting older adults. Sunshine Home by Eve Bunting is one. Although I found it to be one of those books that adults like to read more than kids like to have read to them; it is still someplace to start a conversation before or after your visit.
Book images in this article are Amazon affiliate link and Family Fun Twin Cities receives compensation on purchases made through this link. Check your local library, too.
Intergenerational Family Fun With Your Own Grands
Silverwood Park – Family Clay Events • Various Dates and Times • Although they’ve changed the name of this to include any adult/child pair, it began as a program for grandchildren/grandparents and is still a great way to spend time with the grands • $18/pair. (Find the next event on Three Rivers event listings – Keyword “Clay”).
Grandparent and Grandkids Overnight Camp @ Baker Near-Wilderness • Various Dates and Times • Grandparents can cabin camp with up to 3 grandchildren per adult at these events • $275/cabin. (Find the next event on Three Rivers event listings – Keyword “Grandparent”).
Grandparent Membership to Your Favorite Museum or Other Venue • If you live close enough to spend lots of time with the grandparents, many memberships can be purchased by that include their grandchildren or by parents that extend to grandparents.
Hanging out With Grandma and Grandpa at Home • Of course, you don’t have to go anywhere to have fun together. My favorite grandma memory is when she would make bread and give me my own piece of dough. Author Sharon Lovejoy has written the book, Camp Granny, to offer ideas for fun together.
Intergenerational Family Fun For Far Away Grands
My grandmother recently died a month short of her 104th birthday. I did get to spend some wonderful summers with her growing up, but I’ve discovered so much more about her life in the last couple of years. She was an amazing woman. I hope that my children will get the chance to learn how amazing my and my husbands parents are, too. For those grandparents who don’t have the luxury of living close to their grandchildren, I think a journal would be a wonderful gift. If you are not sure where to start, there are resources like the one below from Amazon that offer guided questions to get you started.
What are some other ways to introduce our children to our parents and grandparents generations? We would love to hear what you do.