A lot of families come to visit Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community each year, including those growing-like-a-weed grandchildren! It can sometimes be difficult for residents to think of activities to do with their grandchildren that everyone will enjoy. Generation gaps can really mess up plans, huh?
But with some creative thinking, you can plan a fun day for everyone that you and your grandchildren will remember for years to come.
For the younger ones…
When young grandchildren grow up, they will cherish the time they spent learning from you. The time they get to spend with you will help shape the people they become, so make the most of that time!
- Pittsburgh Children’s Museum – Open seven days a week, the Children’s Museum is floors and floors of fun for kids and kids at heart! Explore permanent exhibits like the water play area, or attend an artist residency exhibit, like the XOXO: Love Letters Project that is taking place this weekend.
- Carnegie Science Center – Robots, railroads, space stations, and magnetic forces. Does this sound like your idea of an adventure? Then take your favorite little explorer with you to the Carnegie Science Center. This trip will prove to be both fun and educational… and not just for the kids!
- Stay In! – A night in with your grandchildren is filled with possibilities. From reading them your favorite books as a child to catching up on their favorite movies, you don’t need to get fancy in order to entertain! You can even plan a family game night or show them how to make their favorite food, asking them if they would like to help where they can.
- Take Them for a One-on-One Lunch – Everyone enjoys dressing up for a nice afternoon of good food and big laughs. Take your grandchild to a formal lunch, one-on-one, so that you have a chance to talk to them and teach them table manners. If they are good, don’t forget dessert!
- Outdoor Playground – Sherwood Oaks has a wonderful outdoor playground for grandkids and families to enjoy.
And the older ones…
Teenagers and adults obviously have different interests and hobbies than children, but just because your grandchildren are big, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have beautiful little moments with them!
- See a Show – We’ve previously written about the wonderful cultural experiences that Pittsburgh has to offer, and it’s an exciting moment when your grandchildren are old enough to truly enjoy them with you! Treat them to a night at the Benedum and Heinz Hall and grab a bite to eat in one of the Cultural District’s delicious restaurants after.
- Visit the Carnegie Museums – Another cultural activity that your grown grandchildren may enjoy are the Carnegie Museums, which includes the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Whether you and your grandchildren bond over art or history, one of the museums will be sure to get you talking.
- Work on a Family Tree – As grandchildren get older, they often show more interest in where they came from. Help them explore your roots and make discoveries yourself by working on your family tree. You can start online with Ancestry.com or MyRelatives.com.
- Stop by the Billiard Room – Sherwood Oaks had a billiard room, just in case you want to challenge your grandchildren to a friendly game of pool!
- Visit the Zoo
- Go to a Baseball Game at PNC Park
- Enjoy the walking trails around the lake and through the woods at Sherwood Oaks
- Or stop by our picnic area, complete with barbecues and outdoor games like shuffleboard, bocce ball, cornhole, badminton, basketball, lawn darts, horseshoes
- Take a dip in our indoor swimming pool. Grandkids are more than welcome as long as there is someone else in the pool area. No swimming alone permitted!
- Don’t live near the grandchildren? Set up regular visits with them over Skype and send letters in between visits!
Tips for visits with grandchildren:
- Make sure to be clear with your children on how often you would like to see them and your grandchildren so that all of you can work it into your schedule
- If the grandkids are visiting without mom and dad, make sure you ask what the rules are!
- Make sure to baby proof the house if little ones are visiting
It’s beginning to look (and feel) a lot like winter in Pittsburgh and at Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community. And while winter doesn’t officially kick in until December 21, winter activities in and around the city are already happening!
We’ve already made some suggestions for a few wonderful holiday shows, but our city has plenty more to offer. So we’ve made a list, checked it twice, and decided to share our top 10 Pittsburgh winter activities with you!
1. Gingerbread Houses
The PPG Place Wintergarden is one of the best places to get some holiday cheer in Pittsburgh. Each year, dozens of Gingerbread Houses call the building home for the Gingerbread House Display Competition. Many groups, from elementary schools, professional organizations, families, and nonprofits, will decorate gingerbread houses in hopes of getting named the number one gingerbread house in the city! You can see all of the winners for free every day through the New Year.
2. Ice Skating!
Whether you are a fan of ice skating or enjoy seeing family and loved ones on the ice, you have plenty of options right near home! The Rink at PPG Place allows skaters to circle a beautiful Christmas tree while skating with Santa and taking in a great view of the city. Plus, it’s close to some other fun winter activities in Market Square that are also on our list! To avoid some of the holiday rush, you could also visit the Schenley Skating rink.
3. Giving Back
It’s the season of giving, and volunteer opportunities are an easy but meaningful way to bring joy to yourself and your neighbors during the holidays. Browse resources like Pittsburgh Cares to search for a volunteer opportunity close to your heart.
4. Light Displays
5. First Night
Ring in 2014 in downtown Pittsburgh at First Night on Dec. 31 beginning at 6 p.m. The evening’s festivities include a parade, children’s activities, live music, fireworks, and more!
6. Winter Sports
Football and hockey will be going strong this season. While we love catching a game at Heinz Field and Consol Energy Center, it’s also fun to curl up on the couch and watch a game from home!
7. The Holiday Market
Located next to The Rink at PPG Place, The Holiday Market is a spectacular display of cultural gifts, food, shows, and more! Pick up a fir tree or a handcrafted ornament while snacking on European sweets.
8. Joy of Cookies!
Sugar, gingerbread, chocolate chip… which is your favorite holiday cookie? No need to narrow it down, because you can get your fill of holiday sweetness with the Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour in Lawrenceville from December 5 to December 8 for free! More than 30 businesses are taking part in the event, where shoppers can enjoy shopkeepers’ favorite cookies at stores throughout Lawrenceville.
9. Pittsburgh Twists
We love holiday traditions, but we especially love when holiday traditions have a Pittsburgh twist. It’s hard not to sing along to the yinzer-inspired carol, “Santa Claus is Coming Dahntahn.”
10. Nationality Rooms at Pitt
Experience holiday traditions from around the world with the Nationality Rooms Holiday Tours. Not only are the tours fun, but you can give yourself the gift of learning something new.
Retirement is the perfect time to really take advantage of that newfound free time. While there might be a hobby that you already have in mind – maybe something you’ve always wanted to try but figured you didn’t have the time – Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community also has a variety of classes and activities to get the ideas flowing for your new hobby!
A Variety of Healthy Activities
You can achieve two things when you take up a hobby that is also healthy for you. Staying physically fit can be a challenge when you are attempting to do it with an activity you don’t enjoy. But we’ve got plenty for you to do in order to keep yourself busy and fit, including:
A badminton court
A bocce court
A fitness center
Tai chi classes
Interactive Nintendo Wii games
Here are some ideas of hobbies you can do on your own, too:
Buy a DVD and keep up your fitness in your living room
Watch healthy YouTube videos
Take up cooking as a hobby and learn to prepare healthier foods
A Look into the Arts
Getting creative in your free time is a great way to express yourself and turn it into something beautiful. We are a big fan of the arts at Sherwood Oaks, which is why you can:
Regularly attend free performances like a Tribute to Frank Sinatra
Spend time in our arts and ceramics studios
Make a masterpiece in our woodworking shop
On your own, you can consider taking part in these hobbies:
Photography, sharing your work with friends and family on websites like Flickr
Learn a new language!
Buy a sketchbook and learn how to draw
Have movie viewing nights at your patio apartment
Make Use of that Relaxing Time
There are some days where you just simply need a time to wind down and de-stress. For those days, we have activities like:
A billiard room where you can challenge someone to a friendly game of pool
A horseshoe pit
An indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi
A library filled with knowledge waiting just for you
A practice putting green for perfecting your swing
A greenhouse and garden plots for those with green thumbs
Some other activities to do on your own:
Start a blog about an activity you’re passionate about
Take up playing an online game (but don’t get too addicted!)
Start a book club with friends
Host a board game night and crown someone the king or queen of Monopoly
Sherwood Oaks residents – what hobbies have you found the time for in retirement? We would love for you to share!