Multigenerational family bonding has many merits. The youngest benefit from the wisdom of their elders, while the oldest feel valued — a common unmet need of many seniors. Family bonding activities help keep loved ones emotionally close even if they don’t all live under the same roof.

I grew up sharing a neighborhood with most of my extended family, so I know firsthand what it was like to be with my grandparents and cousins daily. We never had to schedule bonding activities because they were just part of our weekly routine. Having that chance to bond with my grandparents from an early age is a big part of what built a long-lasting connection with them decades later.

My son can’t relate to my childhood stories because as people moved away, he was left only occasionally seeing his extended family. I want to do my best to help him feel closer to my mom and grandparents whenever I can. If you share my sentiments, I recommend these eight activities to help your young one forge stronger connections with their relatives across generations.

1. Board Games

Playing a board game is an excellent activity for bonding with grandparents because it typically requires minimal physical effort. Your older folks can sit and participate actively for hours without feeling exhausted.

Which games should you play? You can’t go wrong with these classics:

  • Boggle
  • Catan
  • Clue
  • Guess Who?
  • Monopoly
  • Pictionary
  • Risk
  • Scrabble
  • Sequence
  • Sorry!

Some games may be too complex for some of your loved ones. Choose something age-appropriate for your little one and easy to follow for your parents and grandparents.

2. Cooking or Baking

Making food in the kitchen is beneficial for children. It’s a terrific way to teach them math and science and help them be part of something everyone will enjoy.

This is a wonderful opportunity for older folks who love to cook or bake to share their gastronomic passion with your child and create lasting memories together.

A word of caution — be wary of using raw ingredients, such as unpasteurized eggs and unheated flour. They can be a source of illness because of salmonella, E. coli and other pathogens. Avoid tasting uncooked dough or batter, as tempting as it may seem. Better yet, use rolled oats to make eggless, flourless, edible cookie dough.

3. Dining

Sharing a meal is one of the most underrated family bonding activities. Eating together encourages conversation, allowing loved ones to learn more about each other and catch up on one another’s lives. Observing lets your child see their relatives’ personalities and hear fun anecdotes. Talking about their day in front of people who listen intently can boost your kid’s self-esteem.

4. Cleaning

Rarely do children associate chores with fun, but cleaning the house as a team can give your kid a sense of belonging. Witnessing everyone fulfill a role and work cohesively to achieve a common goal can be empowering. It can motivate them to do their part and feel proud of their contributions. Plan another fun activity post-cleanup to inspire cooperation in your young one.

5. Meeting

Holding a town hall meeting where everyone is present can strengthen bonds among relatives across various generations. It’s a forum where loved ones can share their challenges and hear solutions and encouragement from others. It’s an apt time to remind each other of upcoming plans — such as an aunt’s estimated pregnancy due date, a cousin’s football game and grandparents’ renewal of vows.

Family meetings foster familiarity with each other, humanizing relatives who may live far away. Attending them allows your child to remember loved ones by names, faces and events.

6. Gardening

Tending plants is a healthier activity for bonding with grandparents than using learning apps for extended periods. Working in the garden lets children get their hands dirty and instills responsibility.

Gardening with your kid allows your older family members to teach practical skills, including mulching, composting and seed saving, and impart environmental literacy. Teaching your children how foods grow and exposing them to various crops can encourage them to consume more fruits and vegetables.

7. Candle Making

My grandma loved to create, and by far her favorite things to make are all sorts of candles. Exploring the world of crafts by making candles from scratch is an engaging activity for bonding with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Finalizing colors, scents and designs creates a lively discussion. Shopping for supplies can also be exciting, even when done online.

The actual candle-making process can spark creativity in your young one. Pouring, mixing, molding and waiting for the candles to harden teaches patience. The outcome makes a precious memento memorializing this fun family activity. For safety reasons, use soy wax instead of paraffin wax. Making soy wax candles is more eco-friendly and safer for human health. Plus, they melt more slowly when lit, drip minimally and render cleanup a breeze.

8. Volunteering

Helping the community as a family is a fantastic way to bond with loved ones and build your child’s character. Consider delivering meals to those in need, picking healthy items to donate to a food bank, decorating flyers for a bake sale and setting up tables at a soup kitchen. These are light but impactful ways to expose your little one to societal issues, positively shape their worldview, provide them a sense of purpose and empower them to make a difference with the people they care about most.

Try These Family Bonding Activities

Helping your kid build close, strong relationships with beloved relatives takes a ton of work when they don’t see each other often — but it’s worth the trouble. Older loved ones don’t stay with us forever, so give your child a chance to meet and remember them fondly while they’re still around.

Keep up with everything DAD
Join our email list to get the latest blog posts straight to your inbox
Invalid email address
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.

About Jack Shaw

Jack Shaw is the senior lifestyle writer at Modded with special interest in navigating the ins and outs of interpersonal relationships and emotional health. You'll likely find him playing with his dog or exploring nature with his family in his free time. Feel free to reach out to him via LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply