Any day you’re able to spend time with your grandchildren is a special one. But this year, National Grandparents Day on Sept. 10, 2017, is a wonderful reason to enjoy some bonding time with grandchildren of all ages — no matter the weather or number of miles between you.
Wondering how to celebrate the day? Enjoy these creative — and fun — activities with your grandchildren.
1. Play home-grown trivia
Write 10 (or more) trivia questions related to your family and/or relationship with your grandchild. Then call, face-time, email or text your grandchild to ask the questions and discuss the answers.
From your favorite food or color to the first time the two of you went to the movies together, engage your grandchild while sharing fun facts about each other. For inspiration, check out these sample questions from Red Tricycle and Aegis Living.
2. Hunt for mementos
Enlist the help of your grandchild’s parents to hide mementos of your relationship or time together, photos of the two of you, etc., around the child’s house.
Then while the two of you are on the phone or face-timing each other, give your grandchild “hot” and “cold” clues to help them locate the hidden object in their home. When he or she makes a discovery, the two of you can relive the experiences and memories associated with the item, photo, etc.
3. Teach them about their ancestors
Brush up on how to spell and pronounce 5 to 10 words in the language of one of your ancestral countries. Or try your hand at learning how to say a phrase too like “I love you very much” or a phrase that’s special to your relationship with your grandchild.
Then share the words or phrases via email, text, or phone call with your grandchild on Grandparents Day to pass on the knowledge and foster an interest in their heritage. You can also begin building a family tree together with other grandchildren who are interested in learning more about previous generations of their family.
4. Play games together
If you’re spending the day in-person, pop some popcorn and gather your grands around the table to play classic games like Monopoly and Chutes and Ladders or newer options like Out of Order from Endless Games ($19.99) and the Family Feud 40th Anniversary edition ($24.99).
5. Star in your own reality show
Stream a few episodes of Cupcake Wars while you and your grandchildren bake — and then decorate — your own tasty creations. “I inspire my grandkids to get creative with flavor creations, sprinkle combinations, and the hues of frostings,” says Chris Moss of San Diego, CA. Then have your own in-home sweet contest to see whose combinations take the cake.
6. Have a sparks party
Stock up on Wintergreen Lifesavers. “Take your grandchild in a totally dark room or closet and have everyone bite into the Lifesaver with their front teeth,” says Silvana Clark, a speaker on family activities and author of Fun Filled Parenting: A Guide to Yelling Less and Laughing More. Sparks will fly and the kids will squeal with excitement.
7. Inspire wacky stories
Clark suggests giving your grandkids some blank 4″ by 6″ index cards, scissors, old magazines and glue sticks. “Ask them to cut out pictures of anything and glue it to the cards, to wind up with about 20 or more picture cards.”
Divide the cards evenly among the group without looking at them. Pick a person to hold up their card and start telling a story about their card using at least 5 sentences. “Then they point to another person who holds up their card and continues the story,” says Clark. You could craft a story about some toothpaste that falls on a bowl of dog food and a baby eats it.
“The cards help give kids prompts to make the story interesting,” says Clark. “Keep the cards handy and play anytime, because the stories are always different.”
8. Look for treasures and leave your own
Take a walk together to gather smooth rocks you take back to your house to paint or decorate them with permanent markers, stickers, beads, etc. “If time permits, take another walk at a community park and leave the rocks along the path,” says Clark. You can also schedule time with your grandchildren to leave your rocks along a path during an upcoming future visit.
“Take your grandchildren back a day or two later to see if their rock has been replaced with that of a new ‘friend,’” says Clark.
No matter how you commemorate National Grandparents Day, Clark emphasizes the importance of nurturing your relationship with your grandchild. “Any time the two of you can be together to learn about each other or just curl up and read a book together creates cherished and lifelong memories for both of you!”