Marian McQuade believed in the importance of honoring grandparents. For many years, she advocated to set aside a day for families to celebrate the role grandparents play in our lives.

Grandparents Day became a national holiday in 1979, its purpose is "...to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.” 

Every year on the first Sunday of September after Labor Day, we honor grandparents. This year it falls on September 10th.

Whether this is Grandma and Grandpa’s first Grandparents Day or the first time you’re celebrating such a day, here are some gift and activity ideas to commemorate these special people in your life.

How to Celebrate Grandparents Day

Giving Gifts

Books: Who doesn’t like to read books to their grandkids? Even the newest baby will enjoy hearing the familiar voice of her loved one read a precious book about the unique place grandparents have in our lives. Here are a few ideas:


Keepsakes: In our digital age it’s still nice to have printed pictures. Grandma will love these sweet keepsakes to display photos of her precious bundles.

Grandparents these days are not like my grandparents. Most have smart phones and social media accounts. But cameras are not obsolete, and as I said before, printed photos are still important. If Grandma or Grandpa loves to take pictures, here’s a great camera for them to capture images of the sweet grandkids.

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Making Memories

Sometimes spending quality time with Grandma and Grandpa making memories is the best gift there is. If they live far away, consider “adopting” an older couple in your community from which to love and learn. My daughter has a few special “grandparents” in her life since both sets live out of state.

Indoor Activities

  • Heart Handprint Canvas 
  • This is the sweetest and easiest craft! Simply cut a heart shape out of construction paper, lay it on a canvas and have children make several hand prints inside the heart. Write this precious quote (or something like it) around the outside of the heart: “Grandmas hold our little hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever.”
  • Baking 
  • What’s better than eating cookies with grandma? Baking cookies! Does Grandma have a family recipe that needs to be shared with the next generation? Run over to her house for a day of baking her favorite cookies.
  • Snuggle up on the couch, read a good book and ask Grandpa and Grandma to share their favorite childhood memories.


Outdoor Activities

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Grandparents Day arrives just in time for outdoor fall excursions:

  • Visit an apple orchard for all things apples: crunchy apples, delicious apple cider and my favorite, yummy cider donuts.
  • Find a pumpkin patch for adorable pictures amongst the bright orange pumpkins. Find a patch that includes a corn maze for an extra adventure.
  • Go for a walk in the crisp fall air. Jump in the crunchy leaves and collect nature’s treasures.


Mother’s Day and Father’s Day include an apostrophe in the official name, but Grandparents Day does not. Mrs. McQuade imagined that day would not just be for grandparents, but for the whole family to honor them and so they can share their legacy with the following generations.

Grandparents hold a special place in our hearts, offering much love and wisdom. Enjoy spending time with them, cultivating a special relationship and making memories.



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Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.


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