National Grandparents Day is Sept. 13, and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation has planned a virtual celebration as well as a number of at-home activities for people of all ages to show their appreciation.
On Grandparents Day, FMWR will hold a virtual celebration on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mwr.ftwood. Visitors are encouraged to share their favorite photos, recipes, stories or other media explaining what makes their grandparent — or grandparents — so special. Items may be submitted as comments on FMWR’s celebration posts throughout the day.
According to the federal register, Grandparents Day was first proclaimed as a national observance in 1979 with a proclamation by President Jimmy Carter, establishing it annually on the first Sunday after Labor Day. But the history of the holiday actually starts nine years earlier, when a West Virginia housewife named Marion Lucille Herndon McQuade first proposed it.
A mother of 15 and grandmother of 43, McQuade was also an advocate for older Americans. She hoped Grandparents Day would not only be a day for families to enjoy together, but also serve as a way to honor grandparents and help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer. Through McQuade’s efforts, West Virginia became the first state to proclaim Grandparents Day in 1973.
Those who submit items on the National Grandparents Day Facebook posts agree to allow FMWR to use their material and likenesses online, on social media and other platforms. All submitted materials become the property of FMWR and may be used in future programming.
Need some inspiration for your own celebration? Here are some suggested Grandparents Day activities for parents and children from FMWR:
— Create an “I love you because…” list. Parents can encourage children to write down the things they love about their grandparents, then have them read aloud to their grandparents on the big day. Parents can help write the list for little ones, and copies can be mailed, emailed or printed out and given to grandparents so they can follow along.
— Send a homemade card. Cards can be a loving gift for grandparents near and far, especially if it’s handcrafted. Parents can provide children with art supplies, such as paint, colorful paper scraps and stencils and see what they come up with.
— Make a homemade puzzle card. Paste a photo of a grandchild on cardboard, then cut into pieces and send with a note that reads,” Put this together and see who loves you!”
— Make treats. Want to sweeten the celebration for grandparents? Parents and children can work together to whip up some of their grandparents’ favorite treats and take it or mail it to them (just make sure to choose recipes that are safe to send and travel well).
— Make a scrapbook. Parents and children can gather their favorite photos, letters and other mementos from their grandparents and place them in a scrapbook, which can be kept as a family keepsake or presented as a gift.
— Record an interview. Grandparents often have fascinating stories to tell. Parents can encourage their children to record an interview with their grandparents, asking them to tell stories about their lives. Questions such as “What did you love to do when you were a kid?” “How did you spend your summers growing up?” and “Who was your best friend?” are all good conversation starters for a trip down memory lane.
— Learn about hobbies. Children can learn a lot from grandparents and their hobbies, whether it’s figuring out how to bait a hook, throw the perfect strike or play a song on the piano. Parents can arrange an afternoon for their children to learn about their grandparents’ favorite hobbies. Besides making memories, children might even discover a new interest.
— Customize a T-shirt. Parents can have children to draw, paint or make other types of artwork featuring their grandparents, then snap a photo and use it to make a T-shirt. Parents can either do it themselves by using special T-shirt transfer paper or seek out one of the many companies that offer custom T-shirts online.
— Arrange a serenade. A musical performance by children dedicated to their grandparents featuring favorite songs can create special memories. Parents can help their children rehearse and performances can be done in person, by phone or online.
For more information about the National Grandparents Day virtual celebration, contact the FMWR Installation Wide Events Office at 573.596.6913.