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Active Children

Children and Adults Active Together

​​​​​​​​​​There are many ways for adults to be active with children. It benefits their health and is a good way to spend time together that’s meaningful.

Here are some examples:

  • a father and son playing catch
  • older adults and children working together in a community garden
  • teens volunteering at an older adult’s social event
  • children and adults doing tae kwon do lessons together with groups based on skill level instead of age
  • older adults walking children to school in a walking school bus
  • cross country skiing or hiking together as a family

What are the benefits of children and older adults being active together?

When people of different ages are active together, they share experiences, learn from each other, and help one another. Fun activities that are done together can help strengthen bonds between parents, grandparents, and children in many ways.

  • Different generations can learn new things from each other. Children can learn from the experiences of adults, and adults can find out what children like to do and what they’re interested in.
  • It may lower the chance of stereotypes and myths. Everyone has different abilities, interests, experiences, and attitudes, which they can share and learn about from each other.
  • Sometimes people feel more comfortable with others the same age. Socializing together through activity can encourage people of all ages to find more things in common.
  • Everyone wants to feel important. Activities that involve cooperating and sharing knowledge can help people feel that their knowledge is valued, they have something to contribute to other generations and their community, and that they’re helping others. Here are some examples:
    • an older adult guides a school nature walk and answers questions about plants and birds
    • students volunteer at a lodge to help with a morning exercise class

When children and adults are active together:

  • retired people can socialize, stay connected to their community, be mentors, share their experiences, and reminisce
  • children can learn more about their culture, heritage, and history
  • everyone gets health benefits from being active

How can different generations be active together?

  • Invite people of different ages to join in activities. Invite your parent or grandparent to a yoga or tai chi class. Plant and harvest your garden with your whole family.
  • Play active video games like virtual bowling or tennis with your children or grandchildren.
  • Check with a school, church, retirement residence, community centre, or parks and recreation association in your area about programs for people of different ages. If there aren’t any, ask if some could be planned.
  • Watch for chances to volunteer in your community.

If you’re planning an activity for people of different ages:

  • find out what activities each age group likes to do and pick ones that everyone will enjoy—adapt activities so everyone can take do them safely, no matter what their ability is
  • find a place that works well for everyone like churches, community centres, libraries, and recreation centres
  • think about the time of the activity—will it be better during the day or in the evening?
  • think about how people will get to the activity
  • make sure the people planning and leading the activities are trained so it’s fun and safe for everyone
  • keep group sizes small so people get to know each other and work together

Current as of: January 25, 2016

Author: Chronic Disease Prevention, Alberta Health Services