When it is bitterly cold, I dream of warm places including the beach and the jungle. I can honestly say I love my regular visits to the beach but I have never been to the jungle. And, the jungle is so different from the high plains of Kansas. Maybe this jungle love is what inspired me to share a jungle beat in our current intergenerational group.
Here are a few tips for your intergenerational groups using examples from spreading the jungle love between preschoolers and older adults.
Have lots of items for the preschoolers to pass out and collect. It is a “safe” way for preschoolers to begin to interact with the older adults. We use shakers, scarves, and rhythm sticks. Create songs to sing while the children pass out and collect the items. It proves structure and encouragement.
Novelty for both generations in important. You don’t see frog rasps all over town. Both generations found this to be an interesting instrument. Introducing stretchy bands for a group movement activity added a new twist.
Structure for interaction but allow for it to happen on the terms of the preschoolers. Giving each child and each elder one rhythm stick so they have to play with others is an example. Some children will easily play with an older adult. Others might only play with a peer. As we have more older adults than preschoolers, they too will turn to play with a peer or personally invite a child to play with them.
Lots of silly songs make for fun! We included:
- Matilda the Gorilla – Get everyone oohing and aahing. Vocalizing can be fun and silly.
- Go Bananas (even adding an orange to squeeze – translate: hold hands or hug) The older adults do the motions while seated but they set a great example forming and peeling the fruit.
- Grumph Went the Little Green Frog – The children love this one. Lots of giggles from all while we all sing this and the children act it out.
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