Summer vacation has finally arrived for children across the state of Michigan! And that means kids have more time to spend with their grandparents.

As the family historians, grandparents have many stories to share. Finding ways to document those stories isn’t as difficult or expensive as it used to me. Largely thanks to technology.

Here are a few activities the life enrichment teams from Heritage Senior Communities across the state of Michigan thought might help your family build memories.

  1. Create a video diary. This can be a simple way to chronicle grandparents’ lives. It can be done with something as easy to use as the video camera on an iPhone or an inexpensive Flip Camera. Your children can come up with a list of questions to ask their grandparents beforehand. Ones that will get them talking about their lives. Then you can schedule a time for the “interview”. Consider having a friend do the taping so both you and your children can be in the video with their grandparents.
  2. Design a digital scrapbook. Technology has made this so easy to do! You can start by pulling out the box of old photos that almost every family has stored somewhere. Go through the photos with your children and your parents. It is a great way to reminisce and for your children to learn more about their family history. Take notes about the photos that seem most meaningful. Then you can scan the photos and use a digital software program to create the book. You can use the notes you’ve taken to tell the story behind each photo.
  3. Author a Family Cookbook. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t think their grandmother is the best cook ever? This would be a great project to could include the extended family in, too. Have everyone share their favorite family recipes –including the grandparents—and put them all together in a cookbook. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are family cookbook programs that start as low as $25.
  4. Create a Family Tree. Start this fun project by outlining your family history on craft paper or large poster board. Some suggested information to include on each family member would be their full name, date and location of their birth, and date they were married. Once you have that completed, you can decide how elaborate you want the tree to be. You could create an almost life-sized tree on craft paper with each branch of the family represented. You could scan old photos and print them out to glue to the tree. Or you could use a site like to create a digital family tree.
  5. Build an Old-Fashioned Scrapbook. Not everything has to involve technology! In fact, this is one low tech activity that most kids never get tired of doing. Your parents and your children might enjoy creating a scrapbook full of family photos, treasures, souvenirs, and handwritten descriptions. Local craft stores such as Michaels and Hobby Lobby have a variety of papers, binders, fancy scissors, stickers and stamps that you can use.

We hope these suggestions help your family get started on a project of your own this summer. Your parents and your kids will enjoy the time they spend making their treasure together. And, equally as important, they will create a keepsake to one day share with their own children.

Has your family created any digital scrapbooks or cookbooks?

We’d love to hear your ideas in the Comment section below!