Learning Between Generations

When a day care center opened in a Seattle senior center, the connection that happened between the very young and the very old was powerful, with both groups learning and helping each other. Here are some ideas on how to enhance intergenerational learning in your family.

  • Make “Hand Turkeys” From Every Generation. Trace each family member’s hand on a piece of construction paper. Cut out the shape, decorate as a turkey and label with each person’s name. This is a fun activity that can teach children about differences (big vs. small) and similarities (like the shape of everyone’s hands).
  • Do a Skill Swap. Ask children to teach you to do something, then teach them something yourself. It can be anything from hopping on one foot to using a tablet computer; the point is that each of you learns something from the other.
  • Get a Dance Lesson. Little ones love to dance, and older generations have lots to teach—and learn—on the subject. Sharing knowledge of favorite dance moves and the music that goes along with them is fun exercise for everyone, and strengthens mutual understanding and respect for differences.
  • Talk About Traditions. Share an established holiday tradition—or create a new one—with young children. Have the child draw a picture to illustrate a story from the older person’s childhood holiday memories.

What are your ideas for intergenerational learning? What worked well in your family and what didn’t? We would love to know! Click here to submit your thoughts.

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