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Actively maintaining a brain-healthy lifestyle is easier to do with support from your loved ones—especially if it means spending more time with your grandchildren. Here are some recommended activities and creative projects that celebrate your role as a grandparent.


1. Reconnect with a language you love

How long has it been since you spoke your mother tongue? Has your Spanish gotten rusty since that course you took a few years ago? Brush up your language skills by teaching your grandchildren the language of their ancestors, or by singing nursery rhymes in the language you want to practise. These activities will do more than just pique your grandkids’ curiosity: learning and practising a new language is believed to have a protective effect against cognitive decline!


2. Paint

Whether you’re working on a floral still life or creating a jungle-themed mural in your grandchild’s bedroom, painting is a relaxing creative activity that exercises your concentration and fine motor skills. Just imagine the delight on your grandchild’s face when you unveil the fabulous new artwork on their walls!


3. Try a new sport or physical activity

If you’ve always wanted to try an activity like yoga or cross-country skiing, consider signing up for a beginner’s class with your grandchild. Remember not to take yourself too seriously—it’s one of the keys to having fun! You’ll get to spend quality time with your family and incorporate more movement into your routine at the same time.


4. Write children’s stories

Writing involves concentration, reflection, imagination, and memory—all of which activates multiple regions of the brain. When you’re just starting out, young readers are an ideal audience. You can write about everything from your own childhood to the adventures of a fictional character: no matter the subject, your grandkids are sure to be enthralled! For an extra challenge, try adding hand-drawn illustrations to your story.


5. Make toys

Children love to play, and grandparents love making their grandchildren happy! Creative projects like crafting toys or building a dollhouse are terrific exercise for the brain. Start by exploring ideas online, and then take stock of what materials you have on hand (e.g., foam blocks, wood, fabric scraps, cardboard tubes). Envisioning something on a bigger scale? Other great options include building an adventure circuit, a wooden playset, or a skating rink in the backyard!


If you don’t have young grandchildren, you can offer to help out around your neighbourhood or at a daycare or community centre. Community involvement fosters meaningful social interactions, which are also beneficial for the brain!