August 31, 2017

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Raising Global Citizens: 11 Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day this September 10th

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.

 

Source: http://www.grandparents.com/family-and-relationships/grandparent-names/grandparent-names

Why Inter-generational Activities?

  • The skills of a lifetime can be applied to new challenges.
  • Cultural information and values can be passed on to a new generation.
  • Stereotypes can be dispelled, relationships forged, and sense of community strengthened.
  • Old and young alike can contribute solutions and learn from each other.

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

Source: http://www.senioroutlooktoday.com/the-huge-influence-of-grandparents-on-their-grandchildrens-lives/

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.

  • Gather some creative supplies such as colored paper, crayons, tape or glue.
  • Use a pencil and paper to take notes as you ask your grandparent questions about their family. Here are some helpers: What are the full names of your parents? How many brothers and sisters did you have? Who did they marry? What were the names of their children?
  • Take a look at these free templates to choose your style of family tree.
  • Here are some other variations on the family tree activity

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.

  • Record your grandparent telling a story from their childhood – use an audio recorder or pen and paper.
  • Have your child create an illustrated storybook for your grandparent – featuring their very own story.
  • Long distance families can use Storybird, a free visual storytelling website that you can use to create digital picture books.

Movement & Music

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-joan-lombardi/making-children-a-priority_b_3876193.html

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:

  • Help your elder find a story book with plenty of action words – words such as "jump," "run," "clap," or "Twirl."
  • As your elder reads the story aloud, have your little one act out the story, or if you are reading to a baby, have grandparents act out the actions.
  • Add costumes and props into the mix for a more interactive story.

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.

  • Collect leaves and use them to look up the types of trees they fell from.
  • Go on a color hunt. Look for natural objects every color of the rainbow.
  • Take an alphabet stroll. Begin with "A" and try to spy something that begins with this letter. Continue through the rest of the alphabet.
  • With a baby, just talking to them about what you see is stimulating enough
  • Want more ideas? Visit this site.

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.

  • For younger children, make a playlist of their grandparents favorite songs for songtime so they can grow up sharing their music 
  • For older children, help them make a list of their favorite songs and create a playlist so grandparents can sing along with them 
  • Here are some options for building free digital playlists 

Create Together

Source: http://vcgn.org/september-toolshed-tips/

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:

  • Gather a supply of old newspapers and magazines. Cut out interesting figures, shapes, even words.
  • Take turns pasting pieces onto a surface. You can use paper, cardboard, even lightweight wooden objects. Continue until your surface is completely covered.
  • If you are trying this activity long-distance, have some patience. As you mail back and forth your collaborative art work, it may take time before you can add the next piece.
  • For older children, add a letter telling their grandparent about their week each time you send the next piece (written by the parent or the child). For tech-savvy families, you can try a digital version of this activity using a printer and scanner.

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.

  • Ask your grandparent what their favorite thing to eat is? What did they like when they were a child? What do you like to eat? Pick a recipe and make it together.
  • If neither grandparent or child feel comfortable in the kitchen, try taking a cooking class together.
  • If you're long-distance, try cooking together via a video chat with the grandparent giving instructions while you help your little one

Give Back to Your Community

Source: http://cagp.org/intergenerational-programs.html

8. Game Day - Preschoolers and up

Organize a board game day. Invite your friends and neighbors and the elders in their life.

  • Find an ideal shared location – like a public library.
  • Ask the participants to each bring a favorite card or board game.
  • Take turns sharing and learning new games.

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:

  • Select an ideal place to have the conversation. Depending on the size of your event, you can use a park or even your own home.
  • Invite your grandparents and their friends. Invite your own friends.
  • Select a topic and questions for discussion.
  • Set rules for a fun and respectful conversation.
  • Here are some great guidelines for setting up your own intergenerational discussions.

10. Community Clean-Up - Preschoolers and up

Help beautify your community by volunteering your time together. Here are some options to consider:

  • Plant a tree 
  • Work in a community garden
  • Help a school with their landscaping needs
  • Pick up trash in a public park or beach
  • Paint a wall that has been defaced or needs a new coat

Bonus Activity

Source: http://www.subcotrust.uk/intergenerational

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/)


Hillary Dodge
Hillary Dodge

Author

Hillary Dodge is a U.S. expat living in Chile. She moved there in 2016 after giving up her 9-5 job to pursue a love of food, culture, and travel while researching a cookbook with her chef husband. Follow their adventures at http://gourmetfam.com



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