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. Join today to receive our monthly, themed subscription to either Bridging Families or Bridging Groups today!

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

How-To Guides are themed, activity plans geared toward anyone looking to add IG to their engagements including teachers, community/senior center directors, mentors, grandparents, etc. Consider them easy-to-execute and step-by-step guide sheets to engage, entertain and strengthen families, organizations and communities.

To truly benefit, please join one of our subscriptions today!

  • Bridging Families: a monthly guide for enriching IG conversations and activities
  • Bridging Groups: a monthly how-to-guide for successful IG programs from convening a leadership team to establishing goals & objectives, deciding on conversations & activities through to evaluation methods

Below is a list of our free How-To Guides along with a sample list of some of the topics covered in our subscription How-To Guides. We hope you will join us in IG engagement today!


FREE How-To Guides

Download one of our subscription-only How-To Guides to sample before joining!

ABCs of IG Programs

Art Museum

Calling All Scouts

Celebrating Grandparents (and Grandfriends) Day

Get Outside!

Helping Hands: Intergenerational Volunteering

Music to Our Ears: Making Intergenerational Music

Let’s Dance: Planning an Intergenerational Prom

Walking Together: An Intergenerational Outdoor Activity


Subscription-Only How-To Guides

There is a How-To Guide created for both subscriptions, Bridging Families & Bridging Groups, with every monthly theme.  Monthly themes are based on nationally recognized observances that will take place 1-2 months after the guide has been released. Here is a sampling of some of the themes covered. Join a subscription today to start accessing these and more!

Gratitude: It’s a Life-Changer

Peace: Let It Begin With Me (included a bonus lesson “Dying, Death & Living”)

Who’s Cooking? (included a cooking books supplement)

Reading For Life

Playing with Art: Enjoying the Process

Gardening: The Intergenerational Way

Summer Movies

Outside The Classroom: Helping Others While Having Fun

May is Older American’s Month: Engage at Every Age

Exploring the Passion and Power of Poetry (included a Poetry Supplement)

Women’s History Month: Empower Women and Girls

 

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!

Ask The Expert

Bridges Together offers our members a chance to connect with our experts here at Bridges Together. This will allow you to ask questions to BT trainers and receive up to 30 minutes dedicated to your need. By filling out the form below and signing up for a time, you can gain insight on your topic and connect with Bridges on your activities, events and programs to make the most of it!

Please fill out the form below with your availability and someone will be in touch shortly. Thank you!

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 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.

Job Board

Bridges Together Members can post job openings on the BT website for free. Job will be live for up to 60 days. To have your openings posted, please email us at Info@BridgesTogether.org. (Not a member yet? Join today.)

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, 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.”

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

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!