Keeping Grandkids Entertained
Entertaining grandchildren can be a lot of work, but there are many activities for grandparents and grandkids to do together. From puzzles to arts and crafts, board games and playing outside when the weather is nice, all you need is an active imagination to have some fun!
Toys and Activities for Grandparents and Grandkids
It's a good idea to have games and activities for grandparents and grandkids for you to play with your grandkids. These supplies include:
- Books. I have 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 am determined to try to cultivate a Picasso, so I keep an easel with plenty of paper, washable markers and washable crayons. I love putting their artwork on my refrigerator.
- Sidewalk chalk. When it is nice out, we head outside and draw lots of pictures in the driveway.
- Puzzles and board games. No matter how digital we have 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 and Lincoln Logs on hand.
Activities for Grandparents and Grandkids to Keep Stocked
Since I have 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 two and his parents decided he needed to play with “kids his own size!” Of course, I did not 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 another two year old grandson who lives almost 1,000m 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.
What you will want to have on hand when grandchildren come to visit will depend on their age, how much space you have and how often they visit.
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 are 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 have found that these two medications are highly effective in bringing their temperature down quickly.
- Ice pack.For those inevitable times when your grandchild will hit their head.
- Children’s Benadryl. For any adverse reaction they might get to a bug bite or allergy. Check with their parents before giving it to them.
- Sunscreen. I keep at least an SPF 30 or higher around all the time. If you are going somewhere, remember to take it with you since it will need reapplying every hour or so.
- Insect repellent. If it is summer, I coat the kids with repellent when they go to play outside because my home backs up to the woods and I want to try to forestall mosquito bites and Lyme disease.
- At least two changes of clothes. The first time I did not 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.
The following is a list of food and snacks I keep on hand. Make sure you have a diverse set of food to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In addition to breakfast, cereal makes great snacks. Just make sure they are of the healthy variety like Raisin Bran or Granola, or my favorite, Chex.
Veggies and Fruit
I pick up already cut up celery and carrots for myself when I am shopping, so when the kids are over they are readily available. They make a great snack and for them, I serve the fruit or veggies with yogurt dip or peanut butter. I love peanut butter with apples and celery.
My grandkids love theirs mixed with fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) and for “special” occasions I will throw in some chocolate or candy. I also keep a stash of frozen yogurt in the freezer.
Cookies or Brownies
Usually when the kids visit, now that they are a little older, we make cookies or brownies which is a fun and delicious activity. If they have not devoured them all, they give a few to their parents.
My grandkids are sworn to secrecy, but occasionally, I make them a “fluffer nutter” sandwich. They think they are 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 has to do what a Grandma's has to do sometimes. Just take two pieces of bread, slather one with peanut butter and the other with marshmallow fluff, put them together, cut into square and watch them disappear.
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.
If your grandchild lives nearby and will be visiting often, or you will be caring for your grandchild, you will want to have these additional things on hand so your kids do not have to carry tons of stuff back and forth.
It is a fairly long and extensive list, but do not 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 did not 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.
Other Things You May Need
When your long distance kids come to visit, you will 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.
- Bottles and formula.
- Baby food.
- Baby monitor.
- Receiving blankets.
- Toddler bowls, plates, spoons.
- Lightweight stroller.
- High chair or booster Seat.
- Car seat.
- Sippy cups.
- Child proofing items.
- Bath tub, bath toys and non-skid appliques for the bottom of the tub.
- Potty chair.
- Step stool.
- Gym mat.
- Rocking chair.
This one’s definitely not a necessity, but it is nice to have when they are infants and you are feeding them, when you are reading a bedtime story or when they are scared and want to be held
With all of the above, the most important things I have found to have on hand when the grandchildren come to visit are huge hugs, lots of kisses and my undivided attention.
It really does not matter to them if there is nothing they want to play with, as long as we put our heads and imaginations together, we have a great time. Hope you enjoyed learning about these activities for grandparents and grandkids.