When you move into a Golden Girls home, you not only save money on housing, but can find great friends as well! But moving in with one or more strangers and getting to know new people can sometimes be difficult. Here are 21 ways to have fun with your housemates that won't break the bank, but will turn new roommates into lifelong friends!
* Binge watch a favorite TV show. Don't waste a perfectly good rainy day by watching TV alone. Grab your housemate and a bowl of popcorn and fire up your favorite old shows or the new ones you've been dying to watch.
* Schedule a morning walk. Make a habit of taking a morning walk together several times a week. Fitness is more fun and more likely to happen when you have a friend exercising with you.
* Enjoy a "Grandchildren Day." Invite everyone's grandkids over for fun. Arts and crafts? Barbecue and slip n' slide? Embrace your inner child and come up with fun ideas for all the housemates to celebrate each other's grandchildren.
* Have a picnic. Eating a meal outside just seems to make it special. Cart up the house's dinner and take it to a nearby green space, or plan an outing together and grill at a favorite park.
* Join or start a team together. Whether it's a bowling league, a golf team or a bocce ball league, playing a sport together is a great way to encourage a team spirit among your housemates on the field and at home.
* Stay-at-home spa day. Pull out the nail polish and facial masks and enjoy a spa day at home together. Soaking feet in warm water is a great way to break the ice for new roommates.
* Introduce a new housemate to your favorite place in town. Whether it's a coffee shop, movie theater or local bookshop, take your housemate to a place you really enjoy in your community. Ask her to do the same. It will give you both insights into what makes the other person smile.
* Host a wine tasting. Have every housemate contribute an inexpensive bottle of wine. Try them in small sips and decide which one you like best. Wine.com is a great resource for finding short descriptions and ratings of wine. Have an alcohol-free home? Have a coffee tasting or sun tea tasting!
* Create a question bowl. Write open-ended questions on slips of paper and put them in a bowl in the middle of the breakfast table. Answering questions like "What was your favorite vacation?" and "Which superpower do you wish you had?" when you're lounging around the table is a fun way to get to know your housemates.
* Cultural day. Take advantage of the museums or other arts opportunities in your area. Research before you go - most museums offer free tours that will give you and your housemates an even richer experience.
* Cook one meal a week together. Housemates can alternate who cooks the meal or everyone can chip in.
* Plant a garden. Have a green thumb? Work together with your housemates on a garden project! Or if a full vegetable garden isn't your thing, clear a small patch together, grab a pack of mystery seeds and see what blooms. Friendship certainly will.
* Take a fitness class together. Check your local gym or senior center for a fitness class that you can take together. Area churches many times provide space for pay-as-you-go fitness classes such as Jazzercise and Zumba that do not require a long-term commitment.
* Create a birthday tradition. Celebrate the wonderful years your housemates have been on this planet by establishing a house birthday tradition. Keep it simple so that you'll keep the tradition going; a cupcake and a favorite cup of coffee is a great way to let each other know you care.
* Book club. Hearing your housemate's perspective of the book you're reading is a wonderful way to get to know them. Alternate between the latest best seller and the classics.
* Plan a daytrip. Once a month, take turns planning a fun day out of town. That day spent on a hike, at an outlet mall or exploring the next town over will create inclusive, "Remember when..." memories for your group.
* Grocery shop together. Nothing makes the mundane task of grocery shopping more fun than strolling the aisles with a friend.
* Create a house music collection. Ask every housemate to go through their albums, tapes, CDs and iPods and select favorite songs. Then compile them to create a house music collection. A great way to start a morning or end an evening is with the gentle strains of everyone's favorite music playing through the house.
* Play cards or a board game. A little healthy competition is a great way to get fired up with your housemates. Just remember to be nice! You still have to live together when the cards are put away.
* Dessert buffet. Indulge your sweet tooth and follow up dinner with a dessert buffet! Each housemate can cook or purchase their favorite dessert to contribute. Make it even more fun and invite other friends, too!
* Be spontaneous. You can't always plan those moments when your housemate has a little more pep in her step and is ready for some fun. If she wants to chat or go for a walk or just get out of the house, go with it. The spontaneous fun you share with her now will build trust and affection for the future.
How else are you bonding with your housemates? We'd love to hear about your ideas!
Bonnie Moore, 70, is the President and Founder of Golden Girls Network, the only nationwide network that helps mature adults find roommates and access the resources they need to make shared living work. She is also the author of How to Start a Golden Girls Home.
*This article first appeared on the Golden Girls Network blog. See the original article by clicking here.