31 Grandparent's Day Activities to Celebrate Your Elders

These Grandparent's Day ideas will honor your grandmother or grandfather or help you have fun celebrating alongside them.

Updated August 21, 2023
Grandmother and granddaughter hiking on mountain

Grandparent's Day falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day, and there's no shortage of ways to celebrate the official grandparent holiday. Whether your grandparents are still living or have passed on, take some time out of your busy life to honor them. Celebrate all that they mean to you with these fun and meaningful Grandparent's Day activities.

Simple Ideas for Celebrating Grandparent's Day

Cynics may want to believe that Grandparent's Day is just another trumped-up way to sell more greeting cards, candy, and flowers, but it still means something to many grandparents across the USA. With that in mind, consider the following ideas for celebrating this holiday in a meaningful way.

Send a Card With Something Extra

Don't just send a card; include a handwritten letter. While a card is a nice way to show that you care, it's even more fun to send a letter with news about your life. A letter written by a young grandchild will also increase the cuteness factor and sentimental value.

Homemade Gifts From the Heart

Have your children give their grandparents a homemade gift or drawing. The grandparents will appreciate the time and effort the children put into their creations, and they'll treasure them more than any retail trinket.

Visit in Person

Clear your calendar and go visit your grandparents in person. A few hours of your time can mean a lot, and that time will be just as valuable to you as it is to them. Ask them questions, share jokes, or talk about family memories. 

Make a Phone Call or Video Call 

If you can't visit in person, your grandparents would still love to hear your voice. Set aside some time for a nice long phone call, FaceTime, or video chat with whatever app their devices support. This gives you all an opportunity to catch up on what's going on in your lives or reminisce about older memories.

Family video chatting with digital tablet
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You could also schedule a family Zoom meeting to get multiple people in the family involved. 

Hold a Family Photo Shoot

Surprise Grandma and Grandpa with a fun family photoshoot. Tell them to dress in their finest frocks and meet you at a designated location. When they arrive, have a photographer ready to snap some memorable images of them.

You can incorporate other family members into this idea as well. Consider having all of their grandchildren present and taking some pictures with the varying generations.

Perform a Play

Do you have a gang of creative minds in your family? Put a play on for your grandparents. Use a favorite family memory, humor, and props to set the scene.

Your grandparents will appreciate the effort and time it takes to put something like this together, and everyone can have fun participating in the production. If you know details about how they met or a funny story from their lives, reenact it as a family. 

Write a Poem

If you have children, make this a family activity. Together, construct a poem specially made with grandparents in mind. The poem can be silly or sentimental. Have everyone sign their name to the poem and consider framing it so that your grandparents can keep it safe and intact forever.

Organize a Movie Date

What a special treat for grandma to get all dressed up and head out to the picture show with her beloved grandchildren. See if any theaters are playing classics and take her back in time. Consider making this type of "date" an annual occurrence.

Buy Matching 23andMe Kits

Ensure your grandma or grandpa are up for learning more about where they came from and then purchase matching DNA kits from 23andMe. Together, you can discover so much more than you previously knew about where you both came from.

Host a Luncheon or Dinner

Hold a luncheon or dinner in honor of your grandparents. Be sure to include other family members who also want to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa on this day.

Teenage girl talking with family at dining table

Share Family History

Dedicate the day to learning more about the past and listen carefully to your grandparents' stories. Record them on tape, or write them down to create a lasting record of your family's history. If you're interested in genealogy, you can also use this time to expand on your family tree.

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You could also surprise your grandparents with a presentation of all the information you've discovered about the family history and genealogy.

Plan a Grandparent's Day Event

Plan a school or church event. Taking part in a special presentation can help you honor your grandparents on a larger scale. It might be nice to offer refreshments as well.

grandma teaching granddaughter to ride a bike at the beach

Share a Grandparent's Hobby

Ask your grandparents to teach you about their favorite hobby. Whether they prefer bird watching, gardening, golfing, riding bikes, or playing poker, they'll enjoy the opportunity to share a favorite pastime with you. Grandparents love nothing more than teaching!

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Gram or Papa might have some grey hair, but they might be more active than you realize. Getting out and doing something together with their grandkids might just be exactly what they want to do this Grandparent's Day. If they're generally active and have the physical capability, grandparents might love things like bowling, hiking, mini-golf, or even axe-throwing. 

Build Something Together

A grandparent can do wonders with a hammer and some nails. Build something together that will live on long past your dear elders. Fashion a birdhouse or a bench for the garden. Paint a special quote or write an inside joke on the item to personalize it.

Recreate an Iconic Photo

If there's a beautiful photo of your grandmother or a dashing picture of grandpa, you can recreate it with your own likeness. Dress in similar clothing, find a location that mirrors the background, and pose just as they did.

Add a filter or set the photo in black and white to replicate the photo of your grandparent. Wrap it up and offer it as a special gift that tells them how much you long to be just like them.

Cook a Family Recipe

Have your grandparent choose a recipe from their childhood or heritage and make the dish together. Spend an afternoon learning how to make the recipe and then listen to their stories of decades long ago while you feast together. Food is an excellent way to connect to one's culture and heritage.

Have a Sleepover

If you have younger children, turn Grandparent's Day into an annual sleepover. Arrange for all of your parents' grandchildren to stay with Grammie and Gramps for a weekend retreat. They can bake cookies, watch movies, and camp out in the living room. 

Take a Trip

If you and your grandparents are feeling up for some adventure, try road tripping. Every Grandparent's Day weekend set out on a trip with your grandma or grandpa. Visit places near and dear to them, like the city where they were born. Make a list of new places you want to see together and choose one destination each year.

Do Their Yardwork

Gifts of service are extra special when they come from your dear grandchildren. Give your grandparents a big surprise by gathering all the cousins and working together to tackl yard work or update some landscaping for the grandparents.

Senior woman and teenage girl gardening together

Plant a Tree

Plant a tree with your grandma or grandpa. When they pass on, you will remember their love every time you sit beneath its shade. Read under the tree's branches, build a tree fort in it someday with your own children, and allow that tree you plant together to be a space dedicated to your grandma or grandpa's memory.

Grandfather looking at grandson planting tree

Sign Up for a Class Together

Think of something that you have always wanted to learn, like pottery or knitting. Ask your dear granny to take a class at a community center with you. Even if she is a professional with knitting needles, she will likely attend just so that she can spend quality time with you.

Ways to Honor Grandparents Who Have Passed Away

Just because you have lost your grandparents doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate them. Honor their life, reflect on memories of them, and think of them fondly on this day.

Visit the Cemetery

Consider visiting your grandparents' graves and planting some fall mums or placing a wreath on them. Even spending a few moments of silence remembering them and the times you shared together can make the day special.

Light a Candle

Lighting a candle is a very symbolic gesture, and it's a lovely way to pay homage to your grandparents. You could light a candle at church or light one at home and let it burn all day long in a safe location.

Hold a Dinner in Memory

Gather members of your family for a special dinner to commemorate your grandparents' lives. Ask everyone to bring their favorite photos to share, and set a special place at the table for each grandparent to show they are still present in spirit, if not in person. Ideally, try to serve some dishes made from some of their family recipes.

Volunteer at a Senior Center or Nursing Home

Consider volunteering to spend time with seniors who may not have any grandchildren to visit them. The nursing home or senior center staff can help identify lonely seniors who might like some company. You could talk with them and let them share stories about their lives and families.

Try reading to them or just being present if that's what they prefer. If you form a bond with a particular senior, you might even like to continue visiting on a more regular basis.

Fashion a Plaque

Have a plaque made with Grandma or Grandpa's favorite saying on it. The plaque can be hung in the home or the yard. You can even attach it to a favorite tree or bench. Each time you gaze at the plaque, you will remember your grandparent's wise words.

Make a Donation

What charities did or would your grandparents be involved in if they were alive today? Was your grandpa a veteran? Consider supporting a military organization to honor him. Did your grandmother love her cats more than life itself? Donate to a cat rescue center each year in her honor.

Honor Them at Church

If your grandparents were devout religious folk, honor them at a local church service. On Grandparent's Day weekend, have a special prayer said for them or make an extra generous donation to the church on that weekend each year.

Do Something That They Loved

If your grandfather loved to fish, take your own children fishing on Grandparent's Day weekend in honor of his memory. If your grandma loved gardening, plant a new flower or bush in your yard on this weekend each year. Think of the things that they loved and engage in those activities to help remember them.

A little boy and his grandfather go fishing

Re-Fashion a Family Heirloom

Did your grandma or grandpa leave you something before they passed? Perhaps you have some old jewelry of your grandmothers or tools that were once your grandpas. Take the time to restore them to their initial beauty. Old broaches and gems can be reset and polished up. Tools and be fixed up and used for years to come.

Wear Something Special

Did your grandpa have a favorite tie, or was he a suspenders fellow? Pay tribute to his iconic fashion on Grandparent's Day by wearing something that he often wore. Did your grandmother wear hats each Sunday to church? Dress up and wear an old hat of hers or a new hat that she would have adored on Grandparent's Day.

What Really Matters to Your Grandparents

It doesn't matter if you plan an elaborate celebration or plan to share some quiet time together. Your grandparents will still appreciate hearing from you and spending time with you, no matter what you have planned for the day. What really matters to them most is that you care enough to mark the day with them, so make the most of the time you have together.

31 Grandparent's Day Activities to Celebrate Your Elders