September 10th is Grandparents Day in the US (it is celebrated on other days in many other countries*), a day where we commemorate the elders in our life. Sometimes they live down the street and sometimes they live on the other side of the world. Although many of us are fortunate to know our grandparents, there are obviously some families whose grandparents passed away or perhaps never knew them.
Even if we don't have a grandparent in our life, most of us know an elderly neighbour, a parent of a friend, or the regulars at the local park who are spending their retirement outdoors. Finding a way for children to meet and experience and enjoy people of all ages is an excellent way to raise compassionate, caring kids and to encourage community as elders share the joy of having children's company. Check out our suggestions for ways to encourage inter-generational activities and to celebrate the wise and wonderful elders in our life.
Why Inter-generational Activities?
Whether or not you have a grandparent or "grandfriend" close by, there are still ways you can celebrate Grandparents Day. Here are some ideas to try with kids from young to older.
Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane
1. Family Tree - Preschool and up
Create a family tree together. Learning about the history of your family can be surprising and fun. Ask your grandparent to help you with this educational activity. For long distance grandparents, talk with your grandparents over the phone and then send them the final product in the mail or via email.
2. Sharing Stories - 2 year olds and up
Ask your grandparent to share a story from their childhood. It can be an exciting adventure they had or even a special experience they remember fondly.
Movement & Music
3. Active Story Time - All ages
We all know that our littlest friends seem to have boundless energy. What better way to help them work it out than through an active story time? Here's how:
4. Nature Walk - All ages
Get outside and go on a nature walk. No matter the season, there are always things to see. Whether it's a five-minute walk or an hour's epic adventure, here are some ideas for making your nature walk special.
5. Share Music - All ages
Make a playlist to share with your elder. This is a fun activity that be shared with a grandparent far or near.
6. Collage Art - 1 year olds and up
Make a piece of art with collage. This fun activity can be done side-by-side, or even across the oceans. Here's how:
7. Cook Together - 18 months and up
Food is known for bringing people together. What better way to spend time with the elder in your life than by sharing your favorite recipes? Here are some ideas for cooking together.
Give Back to Your Community
8. Game Day - Preschoolers and up
Organize a board game day. Invite your friends and neighbors and the elders in their life.
9. Intergenerational discussion - Primary schoolers and up
We can only be familiar with the experiences we share with those around us. Expand your horizons by expanding your perspective with an intergenerational discussion. Follow these steps to organize your own discussion forum:
10. Community Clean-Up - Preschoolers and up
Help beautify your community by volunteering your time together. Here are some options to consider:
11. Special Message - All ages
Spend some time thinking about the things you like most about your relationship with your grandparent. Think of 3 things you are thankful for and let them know. Write them a letter or record a heartfelt message that will brighten their day. Use a program like Magisto to add some photos of grandparents with their grandkids to the message for an extra special keepsake.
Want to learn more about Grandparents' Day? Find out more here.
*Several countries other than the United States celebrate Grandparent's Day, including Australia (date varies in different states), Canada, Hong Kong (2nd Sunday in October), Estonia (second Sunday in September), Italy (October 2nd), Pakistan (second Sunday in October), Singapore (4th Sunday in November), South Sudan (2nd Sunday in November), Taiwan (last Sunday in August), and in the UK (1st Sunday in October). (Source: http://www.softschools.com/facts/holidays/grandparents_day_facts/1340/)