First of series of intergenerational playdates at UOW's Discovery Space

Ken Faulkner joins great grandsons Eli Rankin and Jack Ranking and his daughter Karen Newman at the Early Starts Playful Learning Space at UOW on Wednesday. Picture: Adam McLean.
Ken Faulkner joins great grandsons Eli Rankin and Jack Ranking and his daughter Karen Newman at the Early Starts Playful Learning Space at UOW on Wednesday. Picture: Adam McLean.

It is commonly known that play is a good activity for the young.

But research also shows play is especially good for older adults, helping to fire the mind and get the body moving.

On Wednesday young and old alike came together to play at Early Start's Playful Learning Space.

The first of a series of intergenerational playdates, bringing together children and older people to connect in a fun, relaxed environment, highlights research funded by UOW's Global Challenges in partnership with Playgroup NSW and IRT.

Children aged 0-6 mingled with grandparents and older friends and took part in activities such as music, art and movement at the Intergenerational Playgroup.

FUN TIMES: Young and old mingled at the Intergenerational Playgroup at Early Starts Playful Learning Space. Picture: Adam McLean

FUN TIMES: Young and old mingled at the Intergenerational Playgroup at Early Starts Playful Learning Space. Picture: Adam McLean

Professor Lisa Kervin, who leads the Play, Pedagogy and Curriculum Research Group for Early Start and this research project, said being able to observe different generations engaging in play together was a great opportunity and privilege for UOW researchers.

"While we know that intergenerational contact is beneficial, we still have a long way to go in terms of understanding what the benefits of intergenerational play actually are for all participants," Prof Kervin said.

Children's play changes when it is intergenerational, and research shows children display higher levels of language and problem-solving skills when they have lots of contact with adults.

Playgroup NSW CEO Nadene Lee said the collaboration with Early Start made the experience truly unique for participants and researchers.

"We have numerous intergenerational playgroups operating across the state, but the opportunity to facilitate a group in a purpose-built early learning space is valuable and really exciting for us," Ms Lee said.