40+ Things to Have for When Your Grandchildren Visit

40+ Things to Have for When Your Grandchildren Visit

Are you Ready for Grandchildren to Visit?

It occurred to me, after spending a boatload of money on baby things to have at home for when my grandkids visit, that someone should start a grandparents baby shower movement for when their kids are expecting!

Since I’ve lived 15 minutes from my oldest grandson from the time he was born, and I was going to take care of him when his mom went back to work, I wanted to have a completely stocked home.

Cash and I were together every weekday until he was 2 and his parents decided he needed to play with “kids his own size!” I, of course, didn’t understand what about me was not his size! Kidding aside, I have to say it was about the most magical bonding experience ever.

I also have a now 2-year-old grandson who lives almost 1,000 miles away, so I have kept everything I had for Cash for when Ethan and his parents come to visit.

I also keep items on hand to lend to friends whose grandchildren live out of town and come to visit.

Emergency Items

What you’ll want to have on hand when grandchildren come to visit will, by and large, depend on their age, how much space you have, how often they visit, etc.

However, there are certain things I keep around all the time for those “just in case” emergency moments. These are:

  • Emergency contact information: Parents’ cell phone numbers, work numbers, pediatrician’s name, number and address, poison control. In addition to being on the refrigerator, they’re also in my cell phone.
  • First aid kit: Band-Aids, hydrogen peroxide, anti-biotic cream or ointment (like Neosporin), hydrocortisone cream. I also keep a second kit in my car.
  • Thermometer: I bought one you lightly swipe across the forehead and it reads temperature. I love it!
  • Children’s liquid ibuprofen and acetaminophen: Kids can contract a fairly high fever for any number of reasons. I’ve found that these two medications are highly effective in bringing their temperature down quickly. But, don’t give it — or any medication — to them without checking with their parents first.
  • Ice pack: The old adage says, “If it can, it will and it does.” For those inevitable times when your grandchild will hit their head, knee… you name it!
  • Children’s Benadryl: For any adverse reaction they might get to a bug bite or allergy. Here, again, check with their parents before giving.
  • Sunscreen: I keep at least an SPF 30 or higher around all the time. If you’re going somewhere, remember to take it with you since it will need reapplying every hour or so.
  • Insect repellent without DEET: If it’s summer, I “coat” the kids when they go to play outside because my home backs up to the woods and I want to try to forestall mosquito bites… not to mention my fear of Lyme disease.
  • At least two changes of clothes: The first time I didn’t have a change, Cash managed to spray himself with the kitchen sink hose! Poor child had to stand with a towel around him while his clothes were in the dryer! Needless to say, neither of us were happy campers and I learned my lesson.
  • Tissues: For the inevitable runny nose. I also keep Boogie Wipes around, which are easier to use when kids are younger and they don’t quite know how to “blow” their noses.
  • Hand sanitizer: Easy to use and carry with you.

Toys and Games

  • Books: I’ve read to my grandkids since they were first put into my arms. When my kids were young, their favorite books were “Goodnight Moon,” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Believe it or not, those are also my grandsons’ favorite books and the very first books I bought each of them!
  • Art supplies: I’m determined to try to cultivate a Picasso, so I keep an easel with plenty of paper, washable markers and washable crayons. And I love putting their artwork on my refrigerator.
  • Sidewalk chalk: When it’s nice out, we head outside and draw lots of pictures in the driveway.
  • Puzzles and board games: No matter how digital we’ve gotten, I still love playing Candy Land, Monopoly and Scrabble. When my step-grandkids come over, we usually get into a “hot” game with goofy prizes going to the winners. I also have jigsaw puzzles; Magni-Tiles; Lincoln Logs on hand.


The following is a list of food and snacks I keep on hand:

  • Cereal: In addition to breakfast, cereal makes great snacks. Just make sure they’re of the healthy variety like Raisin Bran or Granola, or my favorite, Chex.
  • Cut-up veggies and fruit: I pick up already cut up celery and carrots for myself when I’m shopping, so when the kids are over they’re readily available. They make a great snack and for them, I serve the fruit or veggies with yoghurt dip or peanut butter. I love peanut butter with apples and celery.
  • Yoghurt: My grandkids love theirs mixed with fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.) and for “special” occasions, I’ll throw in some M&M’s or Heath Bar candy. I also keep a stash of frozen yoghurt in the freezer.
  • Cookies or brownies: Usually when the kids visit, now that they’re a little older, we make cookies or brownies which is a fun — and delicious — activity. And just sometimes, if they haven’t devoured them all, they give a few to their parents.
  • Peanut butter, jelly and marshmallow fluff: My grandkids are sworn to secrecy… but occasionally, I make them a “fluffer nutter” sandwich. They think they’re the best and, if truth be told, their moms loved them as kids. They are sinful, sweet and gooey, and not the least bit healthy, but a Grandma’s gotta do what a Grandma’s gotta do sometimes! Just take 2 pieces of bread, slather one with peanut butter and the other with marshmallow fluff, put them together, cut into squares…and watch them disappear!
  • Cheese for Mimi’s “famous” grilled cheese sandwiches: Cash and Ethan both love my grilled cheese. I take two slices of bread, lightly toast them, then put a slice of cheese on each, make a sandwich, then a little bit of light butter on the outside of each slice and “fry” it until the cheese is melted. Sometimes, I also add tomatoes.

Everything Else

If your grandchild lives nearby and will be visiting often, or you’ll be caring for your grandchild, you’ll want to have these additional things on hand so your kids don’t have to carry tons of stuff back and forth.

It’s a fairly long and extensive list, but don’t worry — you can accumulate it little by little as I did. I bought the items I needed as my grandson needed them. For example, I didn’t buy the high chair until he was old enough to sit in one and I found one in excellent condition at a neighborhood flea market.

If, on the other hand, your grandchild lives at a distance from you, you may want to borrow the items from friends-or rent them.

When your long distance kids come to visit, you’ll want to ask what they need you to get. When my long distance kids come to visit, they always travel with their own car seat. The rest I pretty much still have from when I was watching my oldest grandson every day.

  • Crib, or Pack n Play (which doubles as a crib and playpen)
  • Crib mattress and sheets. I also used a “mattress pad cover” to prevent any diaper leaks or heavy spit up from hitting the mattress.
  • Diapers. I used disposable diapers, but bought some cloth diapers to use as spit up cloths when I fed him.
  • Bottles and formula
  • Baby food. Always check with the parents to make sure they’ve already given the baby the food you’re going to feed him/her to ensure there’s been no allergic reaction.
  • Baby monitor
  • Receiving blankets
  • Sleepers
  • Toddler bowls, plates, spoons for when they’re old enough to feed themselves.
  • Lightweight stroller
  • High chair or booster Seat
  • Car seat
  • Bibs
  • Sippy cups
  • Child proofing items to make outlets, cabinets, storage areas, steps, doorknobs, edges of furniture, etc. safe
  • Bath tub, bath toys, and non-skid appliques for the bottom of the tub
  • Nightlight
  • Potty chair
  • Step stool as they get to the toddler stage to reach the sink or regular toilet.
  • Gym mat, with hanging toys, so that when they start moving around they can “exercise” and entertain themselves.
  • Rocking chair. This one’s definitely not a necessity, but it’s nice to have when they’re infants and you’re feeding them, when you’re reading a bedtime story or when they’re scared and want to be held!

With all of the above, the most important things I’ve found to have on hand when the grandchildren come to visit are huge hugs, lots of kisses and my undivided attention.

It really doesn’t matter to them if there’s nothing they want to play with, as long as we put our heads and imaginations together, we have a great time.