It's musical chairs with a purpose - getting under-5s and elderly Age Concern members to know each other.

This is Intergeneration at Hamilton Age Concern and before long the youngsters and their new friends are holding hands, hugging and sharing stories.

"Today is all about bringing together two groups in our community and putting them together, seeing how they interact, having lot's of fun," said children's librarian Tania Jeffries. "From next year we'd really like to implement a regular programme."

Meanwhile four year old Ava was loving popping bubbles blown for her by the Age Concern members.


Pairing the young and old over books and play is good for everyone because it brightens their day said New Shoots Childcare manager Gill Palmer.

"They're meeting new people and they're not in their own surroundings so it's a big confidence push," she said. "They're just having fun and it will create questions and stories, and they'll start talking about their grandparents and their great-grandparents."

"Our children have a lot to give and I think older people have a lot of time and a lot of love to give, so it's just bringing them together and forming those beautiful relationships," Palmer said.

One of the 'oldies', Nancy Keep said having the children visit for the morning was a lovely change for Age Concern's regular Friday morning activity.

"I've enjoyed all the noise and all the bustle, but just seeing the children has been lovely," she said.

96 year old Athol Hemming says it's special to see the children having so much fun, and that being a kid is very different to when he was a young lad.

"They get more learning and so forth," he said. "They get to mix with one another better. We never got around like that, no Kindergarten care in my day. So it's much better much better for the children too I think."

In Hamilton over-60's make up more than 15 percent of the population and Hamilton City Council hopes to hold more intergenerational events like this. It's part of larger plan to become New Zealand's first official age-friendly city, as recognised by the World Health Organisation.

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