7 Ways To Celebrate National Grandparents Day

By Jeff Bogle

Sep 08, 2023

Celebrate National Grandparents Day with these 7 activities for spending time and making memories with your grandparents.

In the United States, National Grandparents Day is held on the first Sunday of September after Labor Day. The history of Grandparents Day dates back to the 1960s, but the holiday was championed most successfully in the 70s by Marian McQuade, who reached out to civic, business, faith, and political leaders in West Virginia, hoping to create a way to celebrate grandparents. Grandparents Day became official in the state in 1973, and in 1978 the whole of the United States began to celebrate National Grandparents Day after President Jimmy Carter signed a presidential proclamation. Because this is a whole day dedicated to our grandparents, the annual holiday offers people an ideal opportunity to treasure their connection with grandparents.

7 Ways to Celebrate National Grandparents Day

As people age, they may lose touch with modern trends, current events, language, and more. It’s crucial to help the elderly feel included in modern daily life, and to let them know that they remain valuable members of the family and their community at large. Some great National Grandparents Day activities include: setting up a video chat, going to the park, going fishing, going for a walk, going out to dinner. Here are 7 more ideas for having a happy grandparents day this year.


1. Fishing

The gentle pace, quiet nature, and opportunity to talk at length about topics big and small make fishing a fantastic National Grandparents Day activity. Everyone knows that fishing with grandpa is the coolest activity! These are the moments you’ll cherish and they will appreciate—catching anything will just be a bonus!


2. Yours and Theirs Movie Double Feature

To bridge the generation gap, one of the National Grandparents Day 2023 activities you could do is inviting your grandparent(s) over for a double feature of movies, one of their favorites from yesteryear and one of your most watched modern masterpieces. Maybe you and your kiddo will fall in love with Esther Williams’ grace in and out of the pool in one of her classic films, and maybe your grandmother will also find Atonement to be a perfectly gorgeous film.

Or, if your grandpop prefers war movies, try Tora! Tora! Tora! and Dunkirk back to back.


3. Try An Old Favorite Recipe

Did your great grandparents used to make their flapjacks a special way or have a secret cookie recipe that's been handed down through the decades? Spend a part of National Grandparents Day 2023 in the kitchen together trying to revive an old favorite family recipe from their childhood!


4. Visit a Farmer's Market

Whether they grew up on or near a farm, or simply still appreciate homegrown fruits and vegetables, local honey, and pretty aromatic flowers, takie your grandmother and/or grandfather to a weekend farmer's market on National Grandparents Day this year.


5. Go See a Baseball Game or Soccer Match

Both the MLS and MLB (and the divisions below these major leagues—USL and minor league baseball) will be winding down when National Grandparents Day is celebrated, so take your favorite grandparent(s) out for a beautiful late summer day at your local soccer ground or ballpark, enjoy some hot dogs, peanuts, and cold beverages, cheer on the home team together, and stretch at the 7th inning of the game or halftime of the match.


6. Be a Guide for Guided Journaling

Sadly, our loved ones won't live forever, but their stories don't have to end. With the help of a guided journal, your grandmother or grandfather's childhood experiences, wisdom, love, hopes, dreams, and memory can be documented for future generations to enjoy. Sometimes though, guided journals need someone to act as a guide, to help get the recipient started, so for National Grandparents Day, sit down and help your loved one tell their story in their own words!


7. Have a Photo Shoot

Selfies aren't just for kids! On National Grandparents Day, have fun with your grandparents by taking a series of photos of and with them. Here are some photo ideas to get you started:

  • Grandparents holding a youthful photo of themselves
  • With the grandkids, making a great after school activity for kids too!
  • In locations that are special or meaningful to them
  • Close up photos of hands (with weddings bands on, holding hands with each other and/or their grandkids)

Needs more autumn activities to enjoy with your family? Check out these 10 outdoor fall activities!

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, OWTK.com and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion