Nanny and Poppy, Grammy and Grampy, Nonna and Nonno…whatever you call them, if you’re blessed enough to have some amazing grandparents then you’ve probably got some great childhood memories. 

Grandparents are such a significant part of our upbringing. Meaningful connections with a treasured Oma and Opa were made over milk and cookies. They teach us how to bake bread, how to put together a big puzzle, maybe even how to drive the ride-on mower. If we are lucky, they sneak us toys or treats we know we’d never be allowed to have at home.  Sleepovers, bedtime stories, and trips to the park are always special with a Mémé or Papa.

More than ever, parks that are accessible and inclusive are at the forefront of new playground design. With that comes a perfect opportunity to also include grandparents in our designs. It’s estimated that approximately 15% of preschool children with employed parents receive childcare from a relative, in many cases a grandparent.  Add in skipped-generation families, grandparents raising grandchildren, and the number is probably much higher.  Practical steps to making a playground accessible for all ages and abilities makes it safer for Baba and Gigi, too. There are plenty of overall benefit to the mind, body, and soul when playing outdoors with our loved ones.  

Playgrounds that offer unobstructed views for watching kids play from any park bench can be a mental health break while Babushka or Dedushka takes a breather. Exercise equipment or walking tracks around the playground can help Yah-yah and Pappoús maintain a healthy lifestyle, too. A few laps around the playground can remind us all what it’s like to be a child again. While it also reminds us of our stiff backs and sore joints, outdoor play can be as much fun for the grandparents as for the child.  

It’s the daily activities of taking a child to the park that can add delight to our lives with ease. There’s little planning or cost involved with taking your grandchild to a park. Sharing a swing with your grandparent is joy for all. Parks and playgrounds are a great way to stay connected to our communities in a world where we are often isolated by busy work schedules and hectic lives.  Whether working or retired, this is a great opportunity to make new connections and friendships for the whole family. Intergenerational play can bring back a sense of purpose.

Whether it’s your Nmi’ and Nemijgami’, or your Savta and Saba who takes you to the playground, there will be memories made, lots of laughs and fun for all!

Grandparent facts from Stats Canada (2017):

  • There are at least 7.5 million grandparents in Canada
  • The average age of a new grandparent is 51 for women, and 54 for men
  • 5% of grandparents live in the same household as their grandchildren

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Dynamo Playgrounds

661 County Rd 9
Plantagenet, ON
K0B 1L0 Canada

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