This time of year, more and more teachers are hunting for ideas for Grandparents’ Day crafts and ideas for activities that their students can do with a visiting grandparent for the September holiday. If you’re one of them, you’ve landed in the right place!
The holiday is a favorite for some elementary teachers — especially those teaching pre-school or kindergarten — and that includes several members of the Teach Starter teaching staff. We’ve asked a few to share some of their favorite ideas with us, including gifts and cards your students can make and what to do if grandparents will be visiting the classroom.
Read on for their Grandparents’ Day ideas to make the September holiday a sweet success in your classroom!
Teacher Ideas for Grandparents’ Day
Before we go too far, several teachers on our team mentioned that it’s important to be mindful of students who may not have grandparents in their lives when you’re planning to mark this day in your classroom. Some may have passed away, some may not live nearby, and some may simply not have contact.
Whether or not grandparents will actually be invited, any Grandparents’ Day functions or celebrations should be inclusive of all students.
With that in mind, we’ve made sure that all of the ideas for the day that you’re about to read be adapted to celebrate a “special person” in a child’s life just as easily.
Planning for Grandparents to Visit Your Classroom
It’s simple, we know, but inviting grandparents to drop in during an appointed time (cleared by your administrator, of course), is a classic way to mark the holiday that is always a hit with families.
It’s a way to promote inter-generational learning, and show your students that we should honor and recognize the contributions of older adults in society.
It’s also just plain fun. Excited students get to show off their classroom, grandparents get a rare chance to peek behind the scenes at the place where their beloved grandchildren spend their day, and you have some very happy students on your hands. To ensure all students are included, make sure you let families know that children can invite one special person in place of a traditional grandparent.
Here’s how to make the visit this work:
- Invite the Guests — Have your students create Grandparents’ Day invitations — these simple invitations can be printed and filled out by students.
- Incorporate Show and Tell — Challenge students to conduct an interview with their grandparent or special someone prior to the event. On the big day, allow students to show off their grandparent — show and tell style — sharing one interesting fact they just learned. Use this interview template as a scaffold!
- Set up a Photo Gallery Wall — Make grandparents and special guests feel special by creating a photo gallery to honor them. Ask your students to bring in a photograph of their grandparent that you can post on the wall (you can put out a call in your newsletter to parents). On the big day, students can show their person the photo on the wall and ask questions about when and where it was taken. Worried about caring for all of those photos? Have students draw pictures of their grandparents instead.
- Run a Classroom Tour — Take things one step further by inviting students to take their grandparent or special guest on a classroom tour to show off their desk, cubby and other special spots in the classroom.
- Sing a Song for the Guests — Teach your young learners a new song to sign to welcome their guests on Grandparents’ Day! One of our favorites is The More We Get Together.
Grandparents’ Day Activities Kids Can Do With Their Grandparents
If you’re inviting grandparents into the classroom for Grandparents’ Day, you might want to plan a craft or activity that the student can do along with their special guest. We’ve got a few ideas that are perfect for a range of grade levels.
Not planning a classroom visit? Keep scrolling for crafts your students can do to make gifts they can take home!
Make Handprint Keepsakes
Have the visiting grandparent work with their grandchild to create a work of handprint art that can be accompanied by a sweet note. Give each grandparent/grandchild a sheet of paper and paint to coat their hands. Instruct the duo to place their handprints beside one another on the paper to create a keepsake of this period in time when their hands were each this size.
Depending on the grade level, you can then challenge students to write a note to their grandparents — thanking them for their visit — and present the result as a gift, or you can ask grandparents to write the note.
If you want to skip the mess of having paint all over people’s hands, you can alter this craft activity to simply tracing each other’s hands on construction paper and cutting them out. Glue the grandparent’s hand to a piece of cardstock, glue the child’s on top and then add the note. Easy!
Create Family Books Together
Enlist visiting grandparents to provide background information about their grandchild’s family as they work together to create a special book about their family. For children who don’t have a grandparent present, you may want to change the topic and use this free “all about my role model” booklet!
Draft 10 Reasons Why I Love You Lists
Our Grandparents’ Day Top 10 Reasons Worksheet is a great way to get your students thinking about why they love their grandparent(s) or special guest. Have students fill it out before the event to present to their special person.
On the day of the visit, extend this Grandparents’ Day idea by asking special guests to reciprocate and provide 10 reasons why they love their grandchild.
Get Craf-Tea With a Tea Cup Card Craft
Teach the importance of recycling, and create a fun craft at the same time with this fun tea cup card idea!
- Empty egg cartons
- Tea bags
- Pipe cleaners
- Additional decorating items, such as buttons or stickers
Younger students can get Grandma or Grandpa’s help with the cutting of this craft, but many of the elements will help them work their fine motor skills, as well as offering an opportunity to practice handwriting.
- Fold a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock in half to form a card.
- Trace the folded card on your felt, and cut out the rectangular shape.
- Glue your felt to the front of your card.
- Cut the egg cups out of your egg carton.
- Turn your cardstock horizontal, with the opening pointing toward, and glue your egg cup to the front section, right in the center of the felt. This will be your teacup.
- Form a semicircle with a pipe cleaner, and glue to the side of your egg cup, forming a “handle” for your cup.
- Decorate the remainder of the card with additional felt, buttons, stickers, etc.
- Write a note on the inside of the card.
- Slip a tea bag into the egg cup. Teachers, you may want to grab your stapler and staple this in place so it doesn’t slip out when this craft is carted home!
Dye Paper Towel Roses for Grandma or Grandpa to Take Home
Using paper towels and food dye, grandparents can work with their grandchildren to create beautiful tie dye flowers, which students can then present as a thank you gift for the visit!
This Grandparents’ Day craft can double as a fun STEM activity (just have students hypothesize what will happen when you try to dye paper towels, recording observations all through this fun activity).
Get the flower creation instructions here!
Frame Family Photos
Do you have a photo printer handy? Why not take photos of each visiting grandparent with their grandchild, and provide materials for the duo to make photo frames?
You can provide a variety of items for the framing project — simple craft sticks and glue are always a hit! You can also skip the work and simply print out pre-designed Grandparents’ Day frames.
Design Family Crests Together
Looking for something a little more unique to do with your visiting grandparents and special people? Why not challenge your students to create family crests with their visitors?
Explain to the visitors (and your class!) that crests traditionally include a variety of colors, patterns and even animals that hold a significance in the family’s history or represent their values. You can show examples if you’d like, or you can simply open the challenge up to let people be creative!
(Need a template? Borrow the coat of arms from this getting to know you activity!)
Grandparents Day Crafts for Kids to Take Home
Not planning a visit? There are still plenty of craft and activity ideas to be had. Students can complete these tasks at school, then take them home to gift to their grandparents.
Tell Lola and Lolo They Rock
Students can create something rocking to take home with a fun “Grandparents Rock” craftivity. The template comes complete with paper guitars and a space for students to practice their penmanship while writing notes of appreciation. Encourage students to use describing words to make their notes more interesting!
Make Take-Home Terrariums
Bring life science and the water cycle into your holiday planning to create a take-home gift that’s curriculum-aligned. The terrarium itself will help teach your class about evaporation, condensation and precipitation, and the result is a low maintenance present for Grandma or Grandpa.
- Small (clean) glass jars or plastic soda bottles
- Potting soil
- Small rocks or gravel
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Pencil (optional)
- Place a layer of small rocks or gravel at the bottom of the bottle to create a drainage layer. This will prevent water from accumulating at the bottom.
- Add a layer of potting soil on top of the rocks, filling the bottle about one-third of the way with the soil.
- Press down on the soil gently to compact the layer.
- Create small holes in the soil layer using your fingers or a pencil.
- Remove the succulents from their pots, and gently shake any excess soil from the roots.
- Place the succulents into the holes, gently pressing the soil around them to secure the plants in place.
- Use the spray bottle to lightly mist the soil and the leaves of the succulents. Tell students to be careful not to overwater!
- Carefully place the cap back onto the soda bottle to create a sealed terrarium environment. This is how terrariums retain moisture and create a mini greenhouse effect.
If you are creating your terrarium in advance of Grandparents’ Day, you can use the opportunity to extend the science lesson by placing the terrariums in a location with indirect sunlight.
Students can periodically check the moisture level inside by misting the inside of the terrarium with water. If they see condensation, that means it’s humid enough for the succulent to survive!
Create Classroom Crowns for Grandparents
Use these fun printable Grandparents’ Day crowns to help students craft some headgear to show off how much they love their grands!
There are more ideas where these came from!
Explore the best Grandparents’ Day activities, card templates, and more resources, created by teachers to add to your teacher toolkit!
Banner image via Shutterstock/Pressmaster