Different generations to meet at the playground in June

This summer, the City of Helsinki will be trying out something completely new, offering playground meals not only to children but also to elderly clients of service centres. The aim is to create opportunities for youth and seniors to connect, share experiences and foster wellbeing across generations.
The tradition of the playground meals goes a long way back. Photo: Aleksi Poutanen
The tradition of the playground meals goes a long way back. Photo: Aleksi Poutanen

Summer meals will be offered to groups of seniors who are clients of the Syystie and Kontula service centres. Once a week during the month of June, the groups will make excursions to the playgrounds participating in the trial together with a social counsellor. The groups will arrive to the playground in the morning, where the seniors can take part in the playground’s guided activities if they want to. After the activities, the senior group can have a meal with the children. 

The trial will be carried out at Playground Traktori in Malmi and Playground Kiikku in Kontula. The playgrounds are accessible and located near the service centres.

The idea for the trial was put forward by Seija Meripaasi, Director of Hospital, Rehabilitation and Care Services at the City of Helsinki.

“In brainstorming for ideas for summer activities in Helsinki’s suburban regeneration areas, a group of us was trying to come up with things that people of different generations could enjoy doing together. I then suggested that senior residents could take part in playground activities and meals during the summer,” Meripaasi says.

According to Miia Kemppi, Head of Early Childhood Education, the trial provides an excellent platform for getting people of different ages to meet and share experiences. 

“Both younger children and older people most definitely benefit from spending time together and engaging with each other. In her doctoral studies focused on the interaction between children and elderly people, Tuulikki Ukkonen-Mikkola  found that that even just having an elderly person present and looking on as they played gave children a feeling of safety and that they matter. What could be more important than bringing together these two generations,” Kemppi says.

The trial providing summer meals at playgrounds to service centre clients is part of Helsinki’s suburban regeneration, which is the City’s new way to ensure the equal development of all areas and to prevent regional segregation. The suburban regeneration strives to boost the vitality of older residential areas by investing in renovation and new construction. 

Summer meal trial at playgrounds:

What  A trial during which playground summer meals are offered also to elderly clients of service centres.
Where Playground Traktori in Malmi and Playground Kiikku in Kontula.
When Once a week during June 2024.
Who A group of elderly service centre clients and children taking part in the playgrounds’ activities.