a grandpa chatting with his granddaughter via video chat on his laptop
a grandpa chatting with his granddaughter via video chat on his laptop

How to Celebrate National Grandparent’s Day When You Can’t Visit

Started in 1978, National Grandparents Day is celebrated the first Sunday after Labor Day as a time to honor the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren. But in this era of COVID-19, how can you celebrate while keeping everyone healthy and safe? This blog post will suggest Grandparents Day activities focused on staying connected, and you can enjoy these activities all year long, regardless of what’s going on in the world around us.

Celebrating National Grandparents Day

Technology has changed the way we stay connected. Today, long-distance grandparents are able to close the distance with just their smartphone, while others aren’t quite as comfortable with that approach. The list below offers both high-tech and low-tech creative solutions for staying connected with loved ones.

Ideas for Grandparents

If it’s not already a tradition in your family, you might have to start the ball rolling for celebrating National Grandparents Day. Here are some Grandparents Day activities to help create a special day for everyone.

1. Video chat: Using programs like Skype, Zoom or Facetime allows you to see and hear what’s going on with your family, friends and loved ones. You can talk about the day and catch each other up on family news.

2. Online games and phone apps: There are all kinds of online games you can play with your grandkids. Not sure what to play? Ask them or their parents for suggestions. Then you can play against each other in real time.

3. Movie night: The streaming service Netflix allows you to watch movies with others, no matter where you’re located, with Netflix Party. However, you’ll need a free browser extension and a Netflix subscription. Netflix adds group chat and synchronizes playback. It’s not quite the same as being in the same room, but it’s fun being able to use the chat and emoji features.

4. Share books: With younger grandkids, if you make a habit of calling at bedtime, you can read them a bedtime story. With older grandchildren, you can ask them what they’re reading and get the same book. Then you can talk about the characters, plot, and guess what might happen next.

5. Work together: Even though you may be living in different parts of the country, you can still work on a project together. It just takes a little creativity. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Drawing a day challenge – Figure out a time frame and then draw a picture a day that you can both share the next time you talk.
  • Create a progressive story – Start by writing the first paragraph of a story and either upload it to Google doc or send it in an email. Share it with your grandkids to add a paragraph, and keep trading off until the story is finished.
  • Draw a progressive picture – Start a picture with just a couple of lines, and then send it to your grandkids to add to it.
  • Garden together – Send your grandkids a packet of seeds and plant the same seeds at your house. That way you can report back to each other as the plants grow.

6. Box of surprises: Companies offer subscription boxes catering to a wide variety of interests. You can either send your grandchildren something of interest to you to give them insight into your hobbies. Or you can send something that interests them. Whichever you decide, opening it together over video chat is a great way to create memories. And because a new box arrives every month, it gives all of you something to look forward to.

Ideas for Grandkids

1. Picture this: Grandparents love photographs of their grandkids, so incorporate pictures into a project. You can make a place mat by laminating a photo collage or adding magnetic tape to the back of a photograph for a special refrigerator decoration.

2. My next guest is … : Times have changed since your grandparents were young. You can ask them what life was like when they were growing up. Then you can record your findings and compile them into a card or book to send back to them.

3. Singing performance: Dedicate a song or dance to your grandparents. You could even invite all the cousins to join in. You can then send your grandparents the audio or video recording.

4. Offer thoughtful services: Make a little coupon booklet of things you can do for your grandparents, such as yardwork, ashing the car or baking muffins.

5. Family history: Make a family tree or a scrapbook with personal stories gathered from various relatives.

6. Think homemade: Sending a card you create is a great grandparents gift. You’ll be amazed what you can come up with from some paint, colorful paper scraps and stencils.

Keep in Touch

At McLean, we understand the importance of staying connected with friends, family and loved ones, no matter what’s going on in the world around us. That’s why we work every day to help residents maintain those bonds in a way that’s safe for everyone. If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of a senior living community like McLean, contact us here.