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Statewide Culture 0

Celebrating Grandparent’s Day the Arkansas Way


Grandparent’s Day is not a national holiday, but when you have terrific grandparents, you realize it is a great way to stop and thank them for their influence on your child’s life.

Grandparent’s Day was established in 1956 to celebrate the connection between generations. The National Grandparent’s Day Council went on to explain the purpose was to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.

Conducting a Grandparent Interview

Have you ever done a grandparent interview? It is one of the best ways to learn more about their life and the times they have experienced. Many of the historical events we read about in textbooks they lived through; interviewing them helps you understand more about their world by making the time to sit across the table from them and ask questions. If you don’t live close to each other, use the technology to call them through FaceTime or Zoom.

Click here to download the Grandparent Story Mapping form.

Make a journal of their responses to share as a timeless treasure with your cousins. Use some of these suggested questions as a framework to get started.

More Ways to Make Memories Together

  • Create a list of things you “love” about each grandparent and share it with them – maybe it’s a cookie recipe, fun play days, grandpa’s jokes, or the silly songs he makes up. Does he always come when you invite him to your game? Does grandma always have your favorite cake at Sunday dinner? Make a list and mail it to them, or visit them and deliver it in person.
  • Send a handmade card or a photograph project – a simple, handmade surprise card in the mail will bring as big a smile as anything for a grandparent. One of our favorite things to do is upcycle our food boxes. We often use the inside of cereal or snack boxes and cut them into postcards. You can color or paint them and share a great message while protecting the environment.
  • Make a family recipe together – Cook your grandma’s favorite recipes with her. Maybe you will finally find that secret ingredient in her coconut pie or how she folds the puff pastry for baklava! Prepare a meal together and spend time at dinner sharing your favorite memories.

  • Spend some time outside together – go for a walk, watch the birds, get up early and get to the river, or let them sit in the lawn chair while you pull all the weeds or get their fall garden ready for the next season.
  • Take grandparents to visit the house they grew up in or their first home together. Ask them about their memories in that place and what life was like for their family.
  • Work on family history together. Set up a free Ancestry.com account, or just ask them the names of people in their past and have them share stories with you that they remember about these people. It is always fun to have ancestors’ names, but the stories that go with those people’s lives make all the difference in connecting to your past. Visiting a family cemetery spot is a great way to jog a memory or piece together gaps in conversation.

  • Play a board game together or a fun game they enjoyed from childhood. New board and card games are continually developing, but some old standbys like Uno, Go Fish, or Old Maid are timeless and great ways to learn early math or writing skills.
  • Tag along and volunteer together – Does your grandparent love to volunteer or connect with a specific organization? Spend some time together in that place. Maybe they sort clothes or groceries at a food pantry. Perhaps they keep the church flowerbeds clear of weeds. Or do they answer the phone one day at a local nonprofit office? Spending time together at a place they love can cultivate a love of serving others for yourself.
  • Watch a movie together – ask them about their favorite movie or invite them to watch your favorite movie with you. Bring the popcorn and snacks, and be cozy as you giggle and enjoy time together.
  • Do their favorite activity together and have them teach you about their favorite hobby – knitting, gardening, scrapbooking, fishing, knifemaking, painting, antique shopping, sewing, etc. Spending time together is one of the greatest gifts families can give each other.

Arkansas Places to Visit with a Grandparent to Spark Conversation

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Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in Northwest Arkansas with her chicken man and break-dancing son. Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, small business trainer, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now, she is using those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop, which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom! Keisha loves to feed birds, read the stack on her nightstand, do dollar store crafts, cook recipes from her Pinterest boards, and chase everyday adventures on her Arkansas bucket list.

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