National Backyard Games Week
May 23 through 30 is National Backyard Games Week. This is an ideal opportunity for you to bring your multigenerational care efforts outside for some physical and mental activity that is fun, memorable, and perfect for bringing the generations together.
The options for backyard games are virtually limitless. All you need to do is get creative and think of activities that are tailored to your parent’s needs, limitations, and abilities, and then get them going. Try getting your children and your parent involved in coming up with these games. They will not only have fun with the planning, but the actual act of coming up with games, creating equipment, and setting them up is a fantastic source of mental stimulation for your aging loved one.
Let these ideas get you thinking about fun and beneficial games and activities for your National Backyard Games Week Celebration:
- Obstacle courses. Obstacle courses are all about combining the efforts of the mind and body to work toward a goal. This is ideal for an elderly parent who you want to keep sharp and active, and children who you want to grow up strong and healthy. Of course, if your aging loved one is dealing with mobility, balance, or cognitive issues, you are not going to be creating a large and complex course throughout the yard for them to run. Fortunately even simple obstacles and processes trigger the critical thinking, cognitive processing, and memory centers of the brain for sharper, more effective cognition. Try tasks like following a line made with tape like it is a balance beam, walking around a tree, or picking up items from certain places throughout the yard. Rather than having the children and your parent compete against each other, have them compete against themselves. Have them go through the course once and time them and then have them do it again and see if they can beat that time.
- Water fun. Getting outside to play games is fun, but it can also be hot. Cool off by making water a part of your activities. Fill up water balloons and use them for a game of catch to see how long your family members can toss the balloon to each other without it popping. You can also fill a baby pool with water balloons and put your feet in it for a cooling sensation without getting soaked. For your children, water balloons can also put a cooling, exciting spin on baseball. Just replace the ball with a water balloon to add a splash to every play. Be sure to pick up the balloon remnants to protect pets and wildlife.
- Badminton. Badminton is a simple, straightforward game that is ideal for virtually all ages. Set up a net in your parent’s backyard and create multigenerational teams for a few games. This activity gets your heartrate up, encourages muscle and joint conditioning through standing, shifting weight, quick movements, and hitting the ball, and also boosts concentration and critical thinking. Consider using a brightly colored birdie rather than a white one as this will be easier for a senior with low vision to see, particularly in the bright summer sunlight.