Okay, I’m going to get cheesy off the bat.
Grandparents’ Day is on the 1st October in the UK this year, and grandparents are the best. They swoop in to provide last minute childcare. They offer insightful advice about the chaos of child-rearing. They remind you that you too were a nightmare child while you’re watching your kid put a bowl of spaghetti on their head for the third day in a row. And they offer the most warm, adoring love to their grandchildren.
I told you it was cheesy.
Grandparents’ Day isn’t that widely celebrated across the UK, and so we could well let it go by unnoticed. It’s a real surprise that greeting card companies aren’t throwing it in our faces and making us feel guilty for not going all-out. Yes, we have Mother’s and Father’s Days that incorporate all generations. But come on, it’s the grandparents. We shouldn’t skip out on this one.
However, rather than buy tacky cards or shower them with gifts of, I don’t know, teddy bears holding hearts that say ‘granny’ when you really call yours ‘nana’, or keychains that confirm they really, definitely are the best grandad, we thought we’d suggest something that will be far more appreciated and treasured: some quality time with the grandkids.
With that in mind, we’ve dug through the toucanBox archives to suggest some crafty activities you could organise for the kiddies and grandparents to do together; making, exploring and creating memories.
These ideas are quick to assemble, and easy to adapt if you’re low on materials or time. It’s made even easier if you buy a toucanBox to take care of all the imagination and supplies. Hint hint, etc.
##### From toucanBox Magazine Issue 5
Team up the grandparents and grandkids to solve a challenge: can they work together to build a den? Print out this handy challenge sheet, and watch the little ones become mini engineers. And the older ones become, er, maxi engineers(?).
A great activity for an autumnal outdoor activity, or use items around the house on a rainy day.
##### From The Games Box
My grandad had some amazing card games up his sleeve (and coincidentally some rubbish magic tricks up his sleeves). Those are still my go-to games. Kick games day off by asking your grandparents to teach the kids a new game. Though maybe save Bridge for lesson 2.
Then work together to build a game! Take along a dice and some paper, and raid the button tin for counters. Start with the simple rules: think Snakes & Ladders. But once you’ve got the basics, what other rules could you add in? How complicated can your game get? What happens if you land on certain squares? Are there cards to take? You could use a deck of cards, with each number or suit representing a new rule.
Baking together is a fantastic activity that obviously yields delicious results. Send the kiddies round to the grandparents with the ingredients and a recipe card. And hey, this way at least it’s not your kitchen that looks like a bomb site at the end of the day. Maybe for Grandparents’ Day get the kids to really practice their tidying-up skills.
You could make your kids appear oh so charming and add some nice tea into your bake bundle to pair with your sweet treats.
##### From toucanBox Magazine Issue 5 & The Nature Hunt Box
Do all grandfathers own a magnifying glass, or was it just mine? Either way, one will come in handy for a breezy outdoor nature walk. Tackle some STEAM-inspired challenges - spot insects and animals, pick up fallen leaves and twigs to make some nature-inspired art, and see if you can get your hands on a compass to explore the cardinal directions. Fresh air? Check. Nice walk? Check. Quality time? Yep. Tucking in some great learning? Super check.
We can’t leave this one out. How about grabbing a toucanBox gift card and having boxes of fun and learning directly delivered to the grandparents? That way there’s always a fun, educational challenge for kids and grandparents to have a go at when they visit. You can buy a bundle of three months, six months or twelve months. No rolling subscription, automatic cancellation, totally stress-free and absolutely perfect for grandparents.
It might not surprise you that Grandparents’ Day was conceived in the USA. But rather than a money-grabbing scheme from greeting card companies, it’s actually got a much sweeter beginning. In 1970 a grandmother named Marian McQuade began campaigning for Grandparents’ Day. Not so she could finally get her paws on a mug that read ‘I heart G’ma’, but rather to celebrate the intergenerational relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren. It was all about spending special time together. No cards, no presents. It took her nine years, but she got there: in 1979 America celebrated the first Grandparents' Day.
It was brought over the pond by Age Concern in the 1990s, but the first British celebrations didn’t officially start until 2008. Age UK still champion Grandparents' Day, organising fundraising events and social media campaigns.