Tools & Resources

At Bridges Together, we believe that creating an effective intergenerational initiative is both an art and a science. Once you have pinpointed a need and a desire for intergenerational engagement in your community (whether that be your school, community, or even your own family!), let BT’s 25+ years of experience guide you with practical and concrete tips!

In this section, you will find a variety of tools and resources, ranging from easy-to-implement, hands-on activities to in-depth research about why intergenerational engagement is important.

Please note that some of these Tools and Resources are available only for Members. If you are interested in learning more about Membership, please click here

Support Planning Tools

 

Here are some our of our free planning tools that support many of our How-To-Guides. There are others that are often included in our subscription-only How-To-Guides. Subscribe today to receive our monthly, themed subscription to either Bridging Families or Bridging Groups.

 

21 Days To a New Habit

Human Bingo

Ice Breakers

Leadership Team

Lifespan Mobile

Logistics Planning Sheet

Multiple Intelligences

Pre-lesson for Young People

Publicizing Your Program

Quilt template

Social Circles

Whole Person

How-To-Guides

Congratulations! You have taken the next step in strengthening relationships between “the bookend generations”. We can help you! Whether you are bringing intergenerational groups of people together or seeking new ways to unite with your grandchildren or mentees, you will find fresh ideas and practical tips in each H2G. 

Calling All “Leaders” – Teachers, Aging & Longevity Activity & Program Coordinators, Librarians, Community Organizers: Do you bring groups of older and young people together? Could you use ideas to fuel your intergenerational programming each month? Would your team like a plan that is easy to follow? OR Are you interested in launching a program but don’t know where to begin?

The Bridges Together H2Gs are for you. We’ve done the thinking for you! These guides make creating a strong program easier and cost-effective for your organization

Each Bridging Groups Intergenerationally H2G includes:

  • An unique theme around which all else is built
  • Building Blocks of information to elevate your work
  • Whom to invite to your Leadership Team
  • Ice Breakers AND questions to start meaningful conversations
  • Activities for youth from preschool to college and older adults of all abilities
  • Ideas for healthy snacks and evaluation techniques

Calling all grandparents and mentors:
Are you looking for ways to connect more with the youth in your life? This H2G is for you!

Each Bridging Families H2G includes:

  • An unique theme around which all else is built
  • Building Blocks of information to help you “understand kids “today
  • Questions to start meaningful conversations
  • Activities for you to do with the children in your life – regardless of whether they are in preschool or college
  • Ideas for healthy snacks

Start your subscription today and begin receiving these helpful H2Gs.

Click here to see a list of our previous How-To-Guides


Click here to see some of the FREE How-To-Guides that other organizations have sponsored.

Springboards

Springboards are guides geared towards mentors, grandparents, grandfriends and families to help nurture relationship with the youth in their lives. They are filled with ideas for meaningful conversations and activities.

To receive our monthly Springboards, JOIN our membership now!


 

Members Only: Springboards

These monthly guides and springboards will give you access to timely content to plan your lesson/activity/conversation. The theme is based on nationally recognized observances that will take place 1-2 months after the guide has been released. Each guide comes with a monthly webinar that will allow you to review the guide with a Bridges Together trainer to further prepare your planning.

April Theme: OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM: HELPING OTHERS WHILE HAVING FUN!

Springboard on Outside The Classroom: Helping Others While Having Fun! (live link for members once logged in)

 

 

 

March Theme: Engage At Every Age

In preparation for Old Americans Month in May.

Springboard on Engage at Every Age (live link for members once logged in)

Webinar Recording “Discussing the Springboard on Engage at Every Age” (live link for members once logged in)

February Theme: POETRY

In preparation for Poetry Month in April.

Springboard on Poetry (live link for members once logged in)

Poetry Supplement (live link for members once logged in)

Webinar Recording “Discussing the Springboard on the Power of Poetry” (live link for members once logged in)

 

January Theme: EMPOWERMENT

In preparation for Women’s History Month in March.

How-To Guide on Empowerment (live link for members once logged in)

Support Planning Tools for Members

All tools are Hyperlinked for Members once they log in.

21 Days To a New Habit

Lifespan Mobile


 

FREE Springboards

Tech Tips for Grandparents

Looking for Bridges Together to customize a intergenerational How-To Guide for your program? Contact Us to discuss!

Grand Conversation Cards

Bridges Together’s Grand Conversation Cards are designed to spark meaningful dialogue between the generations. One deck includes 40 cards, all with thought-provoking questions that are appropriate for people of all ages. Keep them on your dining table for engaging meal times, use them in your workplace for trainings or take a look at our How-To Guide of four games that you can play using the cards.

Questions include:

If you could choose one song to be your “anthem,” what would it be and why?

What do you do to make the world a better place?

When you were little , who took care of you when you weren’t at school?

Purchase your Grand Conversation Cards here:

Bridges Together Grand Conversation Cards


$10 per deck (including tax) plus shipping and handling as follows:
$3 shipping for one deck
$6 shipping for two to three decks
$9 shipping for four decks and more
cards fanned new





Research

Intergenerational Programs: The Missing Link in Today’s Aging Initiatives

Bridges Together recently published a white paper for the senior living communities and programs, synthesizing the research behind the critical need for intergeneration programs to support older adults and to prepare young adults for the future. Beyond the family and personal opportunities for young adults, many job opportunities for the next 30 years will be focused on serving an older adult consumer. For those who work in the aging field, those who are fostering age-integrated communities or programs, or those working to reframe aging, this paper shines a spotlight on intergenerational engagement’s power to enhance and multiply those efforts.

If you would like to read the executive summary of Intergenerational Programs: The Missing Link in Today’s Aging Initiatives, click here. To download the paper for sharing, click here.

Intergenerational Programs are a Vaccination Against Ageism and a Prescription for Longevity

You already know that you feel great when you or your child participates in a Bridges or other intergenerational (IG) program. But did you know that there is scientific research to back up the efficacy and importance of the work we do at Bridges Together? One of our researchers, Edward H. Thompson, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at College of the Holy Cross, has compiled a list of research that suggest that intergenerational (IG) programs are a vaccination against ageism and a prescription for longevity.

A student's picture of a senior citizen before participating in Bridges Together.

A student’s picture of a senior citizen before participating in Bridges Together.

A student's picture of a senior citizen after participating in Bridges Together.

A student’s picture of a senior citizen after participating in Bridges Together.

Intergenerational Programs: A Vaccination Against Ageism

Aday, Ronald H., Cyndee Rice Sims, Wini McDuffie, and Emilie Evans. 1996. Changing children’s attitudes towards the elderly: The longitudinal effects of an intergenerational partners program. Journal of Research in Childhood Education 10: 143–151.

Minichiello, Victor, Jan Browne, and Hal Kendig. 2000. Perceptions and consequences of ageism: Views of older people. Ageing and Society 20: 253-278.

Cummings, Sherry M., Mona M. Williams, and Rodney A. Ellis. 2002. Impact of an intergenerational program on 4th graders’ attitudes toward elders and school behaviors. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 6(3): 91-107.
Meshel, David, S., and Richard P. McGlynn. 2004. Intergenerational contact, attitudes, and stereotypes of adolescence and older people. Educational Gerontology 30: 457-479.

Adair, Melanie, Joe B. Adair, and N. Kortner Nygard. 2008. The Sage Movement: Replacing ageism with sageism. A call for culture change. Walden, TN: Waldenhouse Publishers Inc.

Bodner, Ehud. 2009. On the origins of ageism among older and younger adults. International Psychogeriatrics 21: 1003-1014.

Intergenerational Programs: A Prescription for Longevity

BT_Full_BW_CB_Oct2015Levy, Becca R., Martin D. Slade, Suzanne R. Kunkel, and Stanislav V. Kasl. 2002. Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83: 261-270.

Levy, Becca R. 2009. Stereotype embodiment: A psychosocial approach to aging. Current Directions in Psychological Science 18: 332–336.

Kotter-Grühn, Dana, Anna Kleinspehn-Ammerlahn, Denis Gerstorf, and Jacqui Smith. 2009. Self-perceptions of aging predict mortality and change with approaching death: 16-year longitudinal results from the Berlin Aging Study. Psychology and Aging 24: 654–667.

Thompson, Edward H. Thompson, Jr., PhD and Andrea J. Weaver, MA. 2015. Making connections: The legacy of an intergenerational programThe Gerontologist. 2015, 1-11.

Xaverius, Pamela k., and R. Mark Mathews. 2004. Evaluating the impact of intergenerational activities on elders’ engagement and expressiveness levels in two settings. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships 1(4): 53-69.

Sargent-Cox, Kerry A., Kaarin J. Anstey, and Mary A. Luszcz. 2012. The relationship between change in self-perceptions of aging and physical functioning in older adults. Psychology and Aging 27: 750-760.

Andrea's Favorite IG Books

Intergenerational Reading Opportunities

Preschool/Early Elementary

introEugeneEugene’s Unsuspecting Journey; Choi, Heather and Bryson, Laura, Best Boy Publishing, 2013

Eugene’s Unsuspecting Journey is a meaningful intergenerational tale composed of whimsical illustrations, strong characters, and important values. Eugene eagerly engages in a relationship with an older farmer who provides him with lessons and inspiration. The farmer in turn gets to share his wisdom with the young boy, who otherwise, might not have learned the notion of purpose. This touching children’s story can be shared by all ages and is a wonderful read for intergenerational companions.

My Grandma Loves to Play;  Loving, Winifred “Oyoko”, Trafford, 2013grandma loves to play

Dear tiny angels, slippery tadpoles, and sugar bears everywhere! When I was little (just about your age), I visited my grandparents in New Bedford, Massachusetts for summer vacations. Grandma always had fun lessons waiting for us “city kids” She brushed our hair, ironed our underwear, and hung the laundry on the clothesline while holding clothespins in her mouth!

Freddie the Leaf coverThe Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages; Buscaglia, Leo, Slack Incorporated, 1982

This story by Leo Buscaglia is a warm, wonderfully wise and strikingly simple story about a leaf names Freddie. How Freddie and his companion leaves change with the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with winter’s snow, is an inspiring allegory illustrating the delicate balance between life and death.

51oloarld6LThe Keeping Quilt; Polacco, Patricia, Simon and Schuster, NY, NY 1988

The Keeping Quilt tells the story of a handmade quilt. Using an outgrown dress, a babushka brought from Russia, an uncle’s shirt, one aunt’s apron and another aunt’s nightgown, Anna’s mother creates a quilt for her daughter’s bed that lovingly binds six generations together.

61QR-HKhsQL The Blessing Cup; Polacco, Patricia, Simon and Schuster, NY, NY, 2013

The Blessing Cup is a companion piece to The Keeping Quilt. The Blessing Cup recounts Great-Grandmother Anna’s life in Russia, her family’s immigration to America as a result of the pogroms in Russia, and the Blessing Cup which the family lovingly brought to their new home first on 10th Avenue in New York City and then to Union City, Michigan. The Blessing Cup helped the family across multiple generations not only to remember their heritage, but also to know God’s blessings.

51DFuN5MTpLThese Hands; Mason, Margaret H., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, NY,  NY,  2011

In These Hands, a grandfather and his grandson explore their evolving manual dexterity. The child marvels at his increased ability to use his hands together. Conversely, while the grandfather’s manual dexterity has lessened with age, his younger hands did help him to change life for his grandson.

519KFKCRACLWilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge; Fox, Mem, Kane/Miller Publishers, Bklyn, NY, 1985

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge recounts the adventures of Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, a toddler, who lives “next door to an old people’s home.” That proximity enables each generation to enrich the other’s lives.

Young Reader

21B88J13PWLA Gift for Tia Rosa; Taha, Karen H., Bantam Skylark Book, NY, NY, 1986

A Gift for Tia Rosa helps the young reader to understand that a deceased person lives on in the skills which he/she has taught to someone else. Tia Rosa taught Carmela, her grandniece, to knit and when Carmela knits she immortalizes Tia Rosa with every “around, over, through, and pull.”

Dream Something Big; Aston, Dianna and Roth, Susan L.; Penguin Young Readers Group, 2011

Between 1921 and 1955, Italian immigrant Simon Rodia transformed broken glass, seashells, pottery, and a dream to “do something big” into a U.S. National Landmark. Readers watch the towers rise from his little plot of land in Watts, California, through the eyes of a fictional girl as she grows and raises her own children. Chronicled in stunningly detailed collage that mimics Rodia’s found-object art, this thirty-four-year journey becomes a mesmerizing testament to perseverance and possibility. A final, innovative “build-your-own-tower” activity makes this multicultural, intergenerational tribute a classroom natural and a perfect gift-sure to encourage kids to follow their own big dreams.

granny torrelli makes soupGranny Torelli Makes Soup; Creech, Sharon, Harper Collins, 2005

Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don’t always get along, that’s true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her interesting stories and family recipes. It’s easier to remember what’s important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup.

9780688066451Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World; Walter, Mildred Pitts, Amistad, 2010 (Reprint)

Sure, he can catch a greased pig at a local rodeo, but can he bake biscuits? Ten-year-old Justin struggles to “feel like a guy” in a family dominated by females. When he goes to spend a week at his grandfather’s ranch, he discovers there’s more to being a man than riding horses and tending to livestock.

Skilled Reader/Young Adult

51QOaSh7gjL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU01_You’re Smarter Than You Think; A Kid’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences; Armstrong, Thomas, PhD, Free Spirit Publishing, MN, 2003

You’re Smarter Than You Think; A kid’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences presents Dr. Howard Gardner’s innovative theory on how people learn. Gardner has theorized that people not only acquire knowledge in multiple ways, but that they also demonstrate their intelligence in multiple ways. One’s intelligence is not just demonstrated in good grades and IQ scores. It also is shown when one draws, plays musical instruments, swims, is interested in and sensitive to others, is aware of the environment etc. Learning about the eight different intelligences; discovering which intelligences best suit your learning style; and then using your intelligences to be more successful in life will enable the reader to recognize that he/she may be smarter than his/her GPA suggests.

Bud Not BuddyBud, Not Buddy; Curtis, Christopher Paul; Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 1999

Bud, Not Buddy is full of laugh-out-loud humor and wonderful characters, hitting the high notes of jazz and sounding the deeper tones of the Great Depression. Once again Christopher Paul Curtis, author of the award-winning novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963, takes readers on a heartwarming and unforgettable journey.

GoldfishThe Fourteenth Goldfish; Holm, Jennifer L.; Random House Books for Young Readers, 2014

With a lighthearted touch and plenty of humor, Jennifer Holm celebrates the wonder of science and explores fascinating questions about life and death, family and friendship, immortality . . . and possibility.

81cJChEQjSLThe Giver; Lowry, Lois; HMH Books for Young Readers; Rep Mti edition, 2014

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

Adult

Being Mortal; Gawande, Atul; Picador, 2017

Is an accounting of the care and treatment of the elderly and the dying as it has evolved over the last century to what it is today and could become in the future. In the United States in the early 1900s, old people who were sick and poor – most were poor and many were sick – were institutionalized in poorhouses which provided little care and largely accelerated the decline of the sick and old. There was a great contrast between the treatment of the elderly in America and in Asia and India, cultures that revere their elderly and take them into their homes until they require advanced care.

Final Gifts; Callanan, Maggie and Kelley, Patricia; Simon & Schuster, 2012 

In this moving and compassionate classic—now updated with new material from the authors—hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley share their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life, drawn from more than twenty years’ experience tending the terminally ill.

 

The Longevity Economy; Coughlin, F. Joseph; PublicAffairs, NY, 2017

In The Longevity Economy, Coughlin provides the framing and insight  business leaders need to serve the growing older market: a vast, diverse group of consumers representing every possible level of health and wealth, worth about $8 trillion in the United States alone and climbing. 

 

51eaGMlvjcL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU01_The Sweetness of Forgetting; Harmel, Kristin; Gallery Books, NY, 2012

The Sweetness of Forgetting introduces the reader to Hope McKenna-Smith, a Cape Cod baker, and to her grandmother, Mamie. Mamie also is a baker and her French pastries are the mainstay of the bakery which Hope now manages because Mamie has begun to drift into the “haze of Alzheimer’s.” Their close bond enables Mamie to share her past memories with Hope and for Hope to learn some wonderful secrets about previous generations of her family.

512nganrHQL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU01_The Ride of Our Lives; Leonard, Mike; Ballantine Books, NY, 2007

The Ride of Our Lives is a laughable account of a cross-country odyssey that humorist Mike Leonard, made with his parents, three grown sons, and a daughter-in-law. During that journey, Marge and Jack, Mike’s parents, share their whimsical view of life and times, while Mike shares how it was to grow up in their household.

51CHu6PUb-L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Adriana Trigiani’s Valentine Collection: Very Valentine, Brava, Valentine, and The Supreme Macaroni Company; Trigiani, Adriana, HarperCollins, 2014 (e-book)

From New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani comes her beloved Valentine trilogy, now available in one volume for the first time. The eBook collection includes Very ValentineBrava, Valentine, and The Supreme Macaroni Company.

porch lightsPorch Lights; Frank, Dorothea Benton, William Morrow Paperbacks, 2013

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank is back home in the Carolina lowcountry, spinning a tale that brims with the warmth, charm, heart, and humor that has become her trademark. Porch Lights is a stirring, emotionally rich multigenerational story—a poignant tale of life, love, and transformation—as a nurse, returning to Sullivans Island from the Afghanistan War, finds her life has been irrevocably altered by tragedy…and now must rediscover love and purpose with the help of her son and aging mother.

Here’samazon smile a way to donate to Bridges Together without giving a penny directly: Shop through Amazon Smile! When Bridges Together is your preferred recipient, Amazon.com will donate 0.5% of your shopping expenditures to our nonprofit organization. Through Amazon.com, you save… and we earn! Click here to start shopping.

Movies

The following movies feature intergenerational themes. We welcome your recommendations as well; please send ideas to Info@BridgesTogether.org.

Movies for Children

The Lorax
Up

Movies for Adults

And So It Goes
Black or White
Parental Guidance
The Intouchables

If You're an Educator...


If You Work with Older Adults...

Bring Bridges to Your Center!

Use the Bridges or a custom program for your senior center. You can also join our membership, attend an event and more!


If You're a Grandparent or Parent.....

Bring Bridges To Your Home!

Integrate IG activities into your household using our printable Springboards. Join our membership to get monthly activities!