10 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day

Forget the tchotchkes: This year, let your kids give their grandparents gifts that come from the heart.

Grandfather and Grandson
Photo: Nestor Rizhniak/Shutterstock

In the U.S., Grandparents Day is the first Sunday of September after Labor Day. Grandparents Day is an opportunity to express appreciation and love for grandparents (or other special people in your children's lives).

Read on for 10 ideas to creatively celebrate grandparents and other special people on Grandparents Day.

Create an "I Love You Because..." List

Does your kid crack up every time they listen to one of Papa's silly made-up songs? Do they adore the nicknames Nana has given them? Have them write it—and every other thing they love about their grandparents—down on a list. Then, read it aloud to their grandparents on the big day. Email or print out a copy so they can follow along.

Make Their Favorite Dessert

Need a fool-proof way to sweeten Grandparents Day? Help your child whip up their favorite treat, and decorate with sprinkles, raisins, or nuts for extra flourish. Tip: If you're bringing the goodies to their home or shipping them to another town, choose a recipe that will travel well.

Have a Sleepover

At the very top of many grandparents' wish lists is more time with their grandchildren, and what better way to do that than with a sleepover? Pick a day that works for the kids and their grandparents, and keep it free of plans so your children aren't shuttling from a playdate or party to their grandparents' house. If overnights aren't possible, have your child schedule a lunch or dinner date instead.

Create a Kiss Flip Book

While nothing replaces a smooch on the cheek, this sweet kiss flip book comes pretty close. (Bonus: You can pull it together in an afternoon!)

Here's how to make it:

  • Position your kid in front of a blank, white or light-colored wall and take a picture of them blowing a kiss.
  • Make five or so prints of the photo. (Hint: Opt for smaller-sized prints—think 2x3—if you want the book to be pocket-sized.)
  • Using a red permanent marker, have your child draw one tiny heart on the photo.
  • Add a heart on each subsequent photo (i.e. two hearts on the second print, three hearts on the third, and so on).
  • To bind, punch holes on one side of the photos and tie together with string or pipe cleaners.

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

Everyone has a fascinating story to tell—encourage your child to interview their grandparents about theirs. Since "Tell me about your life" is tough to answer, have your child prepare a few specific questions ahead of time. Some examples to get you started:

  • "What did you love to do after school when you were a kid?"
  • "What was your favorite thing to do in the summer?"
  • "How did you meet each other?"

Remember to record the conversation for posterity!

Make a Scrapbook

Gather up your child's favorite photos, letters, and mementos of their time with their grandparents, and put them in a keepsake scrapbook. If you're pressed for time this year, consider giving it to them as a gift during the holidays.

Learn About Their Hobby

Whether it's figuring out how to bait a hook, throw a perfect strike, or play a song on the organ, your child can learn a lot from their grandparents. Have them spend an afternoon with them doing some of their favorite hobbies. Besides making memories, your kiddo might even discover a new interest!

Customize a T-Shirt

Take the sidewalk chalk drawing your kiddo made of their grandparent to the next level by snapping a photo of it and emblazoning it on a t-shirt for them. Designing the shirt is simple and can be done entirely on your smartphone. Sites like CafePress.com and CustomInk.com are good places to check out—but keep in mind that printing often takes several days.

Make a Photo Book

If you need a memorable gift that can be made in under 30 minutes, look no further than a simple photo album. Print a bunch of your favorite recent pictures of your children, alone or with their grandparents and other members of the family. Include a date stamp on the back, if possible. Slip the snaps into a blank album and have your child jot a note on the inside cover.

Alternately, you can design a photo book with digital prints and have your book printed and mailed to you—sites like Shutterfly and Google Photos provide these kinds of books.

Serenade Them With a Favorite Song

Is your parents' playlist chock-full of Billy Joel? Does your child's special person have the "Jersey Boys" soundtrack on repeat in the car? Teach your child one of their go-to tunes and have them sing it to their grandparents. (Be sure to record the performance so they can continue to enjoy it after the big day!)

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