Kite graphic
grandpa and kids outside with kite

Section Four Activities headingACTIVITIES: HINTS
Games that can be played when you are sitting are especially important to be able to incorporate the elderly into the activity.
We use a plastic bowl and some bean bags to see how many we can toss into the bowl.

Box Work: Box work provides the opportunity to talk about recycling and allows the children to work in a 3 dimensional mode. It’s fun to see how you can create something out of a series of boxes.

Musical Instruments: Children love to make music. Using a variety of instruments - tambourines, shakers, maraccas, xylophones, triangles, scrapers and drums will make the session lots of fun.

Reading: Children love to share a book with an enthusiastic audience.  The lift the flap type of books and the point and say books are lots of fun for this age group. They love to let you know how much they know about the world.

Due to time constraints pre-paring all the items to be used in a craft session, cutting up the bits of paper and textiles to be used.

The program that you develop will need to take into consideration the functional level of the participants. Both the elderly and the children will have limitations on what they can do.

This section is designed to introduce you to the types of activities you can arrange and the resources you need to engage children with the elderly.
Activities for Children 0-2 Years

Babies love to look at pictures in board books. They like to touch and feel soft books with different textures and sounds in them.
Noise Makers
Shakers are easy to make out of recycled drink bottles, some shiny stick on paper and some ribbon. Fill the shaker with bright bits and pieces and make sure the cap is secured tightly. The children love to shake it and hear the noises they can make. When the whole room gets shaking it can get quite noisy but the smiles and giggles are worth it. Ask the elders if they would like to hold the baby with a rattle. Some elders may not like the noise and be happier to watch from a distance. Have a conversation with the elders about the sorts of toys their children had. What were the favourites? Did they make any toys?
Bubbles, bubbles everywhere. Children love bubbles! In fact, I think everyone loves bubbles. The children watch in awe as these slippery round circles dance through the air. Some reach out in wonderment to touch the bubbles and POP! they disappear. Then they try again. If you use a little bubble jar the elders can often hold onto it and blow the bubbles themselves. In this way, the elders encourage the children to play with them.
Musical Instruments
All children like to make noise and hit things. Bright toy musical instruments like xylophones are great for children. Traditional musical instruments like bongo drums, tambourines, maraccas and shakers may be more familiar to the elders. Encourage the elders to show the children how to use the instruments. The elders will often get as much enjoyment out of using the instruments as the babies do.
These are cheap and easy to make out of recycled drink bottles that are painted brightly. Large easy to grip balls are best for little people . Children of various ages love balls first, as they sit on the floor to roll the ball and later as they stand.

> MORE INFO: More activities can be found in the Resource Guide


Activities for Children 2-3 Years
Blocks are always lots of fun. Make sure the blocks are safe for the children to play with. Children of different ages use blocks in different ways according to their fine and gross motor skills and their imagination. Try to engage a child in a conversation with one of her or his elderly friends about what she or he is doing with the blocks.
These need to be age appropriate and easy to handle, and not have too many pieces. The children like to work with someone to complete jigsaws. Pictures of familiar subjecst allow the pair to talk about what they are doing.
Shape Sorter
The children are learning about shapes and sizes and like to show off their knowledge to their elderly friends. Noah shows Betty how to put the shapes into the shape sorter. The elders have a lot of patience for little children. They watch and encourage as the children try each of the holes until they find the right one. This is a great quiet activity and allows the pair to chat as they work.
Nursery Rhyme Activities
The children know lots of nursery rhymes and love to sing them. Put together a few props for them to use when they are singing. When the children sing nursery rhymes, the elders sometimes join in. Talk to the elders about the types of nursery rhymes they sang when they were little and what they sang to their children.

> MORE INFO: More activities can be found in the Resource Guide


Activities for Children 3-5 Years
Playing Games
There are many games that children start to enjoy at this age - card games such as Snap and Memory, action games such as Simon Says, board games such as Snakes and Ladders, and strategy games such as Connect Four.
Art experiences

Children love to experiment with different art media. Here the children are doing blow painting. Drops of paint are put on the paper and the children blow the paint drops around using a straw. Take care to instruct the children to blow through the straw and not suck. We started the session off with some blowing practice on our hands to make sure we could feel the air coming out. Sometimes the elders like to try the art techniques as well. Sometimes they find new things to do with the techniques whilst they talk with the children.

Balloons are a great inexpensive way of having lots of fun. They are light and easy to grab. They are bright and colourful. Best of all they are a little unpredictable. You can throw them around without risk of hurting people or knocking things over. It’s fun to share a game of catch with your friends.
iPads are fairly new for the elders and children. You can download for free numerous applications that will stimulate the minds and eyes of the elderly and the children. Children learn how to use the apps very quickly and then they show the elders how it is done.

> MORE INFO: More activities can be found in the Resource Guide


Be prepared when entering  a room of elders already seated and waiting that the children may find this a little intimidating. When the children are in a stroller it is often useful to turn the stroller round and enter backwards, so that you can get the children out of the stroller without all eyes on them. The children will often need a little time to warm up  to a new environment.  Make sure there are lots of cuddles and security provided.
An exciting toy is often a good way to distract the child from the new environment and get them feeling comfortable.
© 2012. Based on a formative evaluation of an Intergenerational Care Program conducted by St Michael's Collegiate and OneCare Limited
in conjunction with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation