The Role of Senior Centers in Promoting Intergenerational Play

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Intergenerational play occurs when senior citizens and youth connect with one another through fun, interactive activities. These mutually beneficial activities can be structured as games with rules or a planned play program. They also can occur through free play— putting two generations in a room together with crafts, books, and toys, and allowing them to choose activities. Both formal and informal play offers mutual benefits for both populations, including learning opportunities and fun. This brief discusses the benefits of intergenerational play for senior citizens and youth and highlights model programs being employed across the United States. It also presents opportunities for integrating intergenerational play into programs and activities offered in senior centers. In conclusion, this brief provides guidance to senior center staff and boards on best practices for implementing a successful intergenerational play program.
Intergenerational play, Intergenerational studies, Senior citizens, Aging, Senior centers