From astronomy to tech, here’s how older family members can stay young-at-heart.
Grandparents have lots of wisdom to share. They can be role models, historians and keepers of tradition. Through tradition, and by building a close bond with grandparents, keiki are able to recognize that their family is special. Having a close relationship with grandparents also helps children feel loved and supported so that they are able to look to multiple family members for help when navigating challenges.
In Hawai‘i, since we often have multigenerational homes and a strong culture of ‘ohana, grandma and grandpa sometimes help to raise the kids, shuttling them to hula practice or babysitting when parents take Neighbor Island trips.
In turn, taking care of keiki can be a source of joy; it plays a crucial role in keeping our kūpuna active and engaged. Whether grandparents live under the same roof or further away, staying connected with grandkids through fun activities and communication can help to improve kūpunas’ physical capabilities, and give them the opportunity to learn something new.
Activities that foster a special bond between grandparents and grandchildren don’t have to be extravagant or cost a ton of money. In Hawai‘i, we are surrounded by cultural places and outdoor areas that can be wonderful backdrops for special memories. Parents can encourage bonding between their children and grandparents by establishing dedicated times for interaction and helping to organize activities for everyone to try.
Here are seven activities that everyone will enjoy, no matter the generation.
- Admire the constellations. The “star party” at Dillingham Airfield offers a free chance to look through telescopes and learn about space. Follow up star gazing with a trip to the Bishop Museum’s planetarium.
- Focus on food. Bake a family recipe, hold a shave ice taste test, or have a picnic. Plant a garden and use the harvest to cook a healthy meal together.
- Attend a sports game. Make signs or T-shirts together, then cheer in the stands for a beloved UH sports team.
- Have fun indoors. Get a joke book, read together, or take turns acting out parts of stories. Complete a jigsaw puzzle that can double as a keepsake.
- Get artsy. Take an art class together. Draw a family tree and talk about the branches.
- Adventure outdoors. Have a picnic in Kapiʻolani Park. Go to the Valley of the Temples to feed the koi and hit the gong. Ho‘omaluhia and Foster Botanical Garden offer easy paved walking paths for all to enjoy.
- Utilize technology to stay connected. Skype or FaceTime is a great tool to stay connected when you can’t be physically present. Teach grandma or grandpa how to make an iMovie!
Allison Lipscomb is the assistant program director for the voluntary case management program-child welfare services at Parents And Children Together, a Hawai‘i nonprofit providing social services and early childhood education to nurture the relationships that matter most for children and families. For more information, visit parentsandchildrentogether.org.