Fun Fall Activities to Do with Your Grandkids that Boost Healthy Aging
With the arrival of September, it’s not hard to let the mind wander to visions of fall – cozy fires, pumpkin spice, the jittery excitement of the holidays right around the corner.
If you’re already making your autumn plans, don’t miss these clever ideas for activities to do with your grandkids that will benefit your health, too.
Attend Their Fall Fundraiser
Whether you’re donating your time as a volunteer at the fall carnival, or simply taking the grandkids around the fall festival to play games and visit rides, supporting their school will benefit your body and spirit.
Giving back has been shown to help alleviate stress and promote positive moods. In addition, the naturally aerobic exercise you’ll get while chasing the kids as they run around to all the different games and activity booths will do your muscles and joints good as well.
Be careful about fall fundraiser foods though – oftentimes carnivals and festivals are rich with fatty, salty and sugary snacks. They seem like a tasty idea but are an all-around bad choice for your health. Not to mention that they can negatively impact existing conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
When it comes to snacking at the carnival, avoid the funnel cakes and caramel apples, and opt for bringing your own healthy snacks like blueberries, whole grain tortilla chips, dried fruit and nuts, or granola bars.
Autumn offers some of the most fun and creative craft inspiration. Maybe it’s due to the fall staples of pumpkins, colored leaves and cornucopias, or simply the fun and vibrant Halloween symbols of jack-o-lanterns, cute monsters, bats, cats and ghosts.
Crafting requires precise hand-eye coordination practice as well as the use of the fine motor skills. It might not even seem like exercise, but crafting activities can play an important role in helping you maintain dexterity well into old age, as well as prevent cognitive decline.
Exercising our fine motor skills has been shown to help reinforce critical communication pathways in the brain. Fun craft ideas that involve your grandkids may include:
- Helping to sew or construct your grandchild’s Halloween costume
- Making wine cork pumpkin decorations
- Constructing a garland strung with leaves cut out of different patterned fabrics
- Painting acorns with fun colors for displaying in a clear bowl
- Carving or painting pumpkins together
Go On a Hike
Soak up the beautiful colors of fall as the leaves start to change, and go to an inspired hike with your grandkids. Hiking is one of the best low-impact activities in which older adults should take part.
It is great to strengthen muscles and bones as well as work out the heart and exercise balance and coordination skills. When hiking with your family this fall, don’t forget to:
It’s easier to remove a sweater when you warm up than to get caught outside in a cold snap without something warm to put on.
The cooler weather of fall might make you seem less overheated and sweaty, but staying hydrated while you hike is a must. Take a reusable water bottle or canteen with you.
Protect Yourself from the Sun!
Be smart about sun protection. Even under a lush tree canopy during the fall, the sun’s UV rays will find you. Wear a hat and sunblock where appropriate.
Take a Map!
Chances are, your hike up into the mountains may be out of cell service area. Take a paper map and closely follow trail markers to avoid getting lost.
Wear Good Shoes!
Hiking involves traversing uneven terrain strewn with natural trip hazards like tree roots, rocks and slippery leaves. Wear a proper fitting pair of hiking boots to help stabilize and reinforce your balance and movement.
Hiking with grandkids is always a memorable treat, but nothing beats a photo of the lot of you beaming at the top of a summit. Ask a fellow hiker to snap a shot with your smartphone or bring your own camera along. A framed photo from your outdoor excursion could make a great holiday gift down the line too!
Sign Up for a Charity Walk
Do something good for your health and for your community by signing up for a charity walkathon or other athletic event with your grandkids this fall.
In addition to getting exercise, you can help raise money for a cause you care about. Check out athletic charity events near you with a helpful search tool at Active.com.
Don’t forget – September is National Hunger Action Month and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregiver’s month, amongst others.
What are other fall activities you like to do with your grandkids? What do you most look forward to in fall? Please join the conversation!