This summer, children and older adults can be seen reading together in a variety of places in and around Silver Bay – places such as the Silver Bay Public Library, North Shore Area Partners, Carefree Living, and Black Beach. A federal grant through AmeriCorps provides funding for this program.
On Wednesday, July 26th, the story time group met at Carefree Living. Children were invited to pick out a picture book and join with a Carefree resident in reading together. Volunteers from North Shore Area Partners and the Silver Bay Library assisted children finding a reading friend. Many older adults value time spent with children.
Why are intergenerational activities important? According to Generations United, the benefits of intergenerational programming for elementary-aged children include enhanced reading and writing; improved task orientation, short-term memory, problem solving, and accountability; increased patience, sensitivity, compassion, empathy, and respect; reduced anxiety, sadness, and stress; improved mood management; and a healthier lifestyle.
Older adults are benefited by intergenerational programming as well. Generations United states that intergenerational programming decreases social isolation; improves the quality and purpose of and in life; improves self-worth, self-esteem, and empowerment; and improves cognitive and physical health.
After the children were done reading, they eagerly gathered around tables to eat a snack of popcorn and fresh blueberries. Meal sharing, even something as simple as a basic snack, is another vital link in our being connected to one another, thus promoting good mental health.
Children then made “magic mud” – cornstarch, water, and food dye mixed together into a mystifying substance which is curiously both a solid and a liquid (formally known as a non-Newtonian fluid). Volunteers and older adults enjoyed helping the children measure the cornstarch and water.
More intergenerational reading activities are scheduled for this summer. These events are geared for ages 5 and up, and older adults. Learn more at North Shore Area Partners or the Silver Bay Public Library.
Summer isn’t the only time you’ll see combined generations reading together. Throughout the winter, the intergenerational reading continues. Every other Thursday at 8:30 a.m., the third graders from William Kelley School venture to North Shore Area Partners to read with older adults.
Even if you can’t make it to one of the organized reading opportunities, you can find people of all generations to connect with at North Shore Area Partners, Carefree Living, the Minnesota Veterans’ Home, or your local religious congregation.