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3, 2, 1… GRAND summer fun! our toolbox of fun plus a GRAND giveaway, too!

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Today is a special day for us at Our Grand Lives

It’s our 100th post!



during these past eighteen months of blogging about

the activities, adventures and celebrations

shared with our families and loved ones -

most notably our precious Littles!

♥️ Look at how we’ve grown! ♥️

After retiring from our careers as Kindergarten teachers,

OGL has given us both a wonderful outlet 

for sharing our love of family and children,

for learning and creating

and for celebrating and making memories!

We are so grateful for our friendship and the adventures 

we continue to have together 

as we've learned to navigate technology, the blogging world,

photography, graphics and more!

And… we’re just getting started!

The ideas keep coming… Imagine that!

And, of course, THE BIGGEST THANK YOU goes to ALL OF YOU!

THANK YOU for taking the time to stop by and to read our posts here

and/or by following us on Facebook/Instagram

THANK YOU for your faithful support as we've taken on this journey!

Today is also special because we’re sharing our plans for GRAND SUMMER FUN!

We know that many of our readers care for their grandchildren regularly

and with summer quickly approaching, 

we also know that many Grands are called on more frequently

to provide needed childcare for these special Littles!


To get started, today we’re giving you a glimpse at our toolbox of fun!

And, keep on scrolling to find a GRAND giveaway

(open from 6/6/24 - 6/12/24)

near the end of our post!

We always do our best to be prepared

when our Littles visit or we visit them!

So, today we’re sharing an overview of our GRAND summer plans

as well as some of the materials and supplies 

we always have on hand,  ready to go for lots of fun with Littles!

We’ll take a look at Laurie’s GRAND stash and Laura’s GRAND travel bag,

and we’ll each highlight 3 of our all time favorite finds!

NOTE:  Please know that, while we’ve provided links to the products shared,

this is not a sponsored post nor are we an Amazon affiliate.

We only wish to share items that we absolutely love!

Our goal this summer will be to give you a toolbox of ideas

that you can pull from as needed or mix and match as you’d like.

The activities shared can then be used on a given day, 

throughout the week or perhaps during a weekend spent with your Littles!

(Moms and childcare providers… Our suggestions will work for you, too!)

Each Thursday, we’ll introduce a new theme and share 3 ideas 

for simple and easy activities that you can then explore with your Littles,

all centered around the highlighted theme!

Hopefully each will provide extra fun for your time together!

Be sure to subscribe to our blog, if you want to know our latest and greatest!

Here’s a glance at our upcoming summer schedule:

In addition to these Thursday posts,

we plan on surprising you 

with A SUMMER FAVE here or there!

These extra posts will highlight an activity, a recipe or an idea

- a brand new one or one we’re revisiting - 

that we know is worth sharing with you all!

When I retired from teaching kindergarten, 

I had a whole classroom of items I had to pack up and take home.  

It was during the spring of Covid 

and I was to take everything with me 

and not gift any items to other teachers, as retirees often do.   

(We like to share the wealth!)

I filled an empty bedroom with stacks of boxes 

and started going through them…  

Long story short, I kept WAY too much stuff!!!

(After all, I already had the thought of grandchildren in the back of my mind.)

I know how lucky I am to have quite a stash of items 

 (although I’m not sure my husband would call it “lucky”)!


I also know that it’s unlikely that most Grands would have such a large stash!  But it’s easy to collect paper, glue sticks, markers, etc in a craft box to have on hand for visits from your Littles, and a few favorite books and play items go a long way!

I still remember the drawer in my grandma’s desk that contained items for us grandkids to pull out when we visited - a color book, crayons, a few books, a deck of cards and small trinkets. 

There are many kindergarten leftovers that I can pull from for my weekly daycare days and impromptu visits from my Littles,  but I definitely have a few favorite items that I grab more frequently than others! 

Laurie’s 3 Favorite Finds!

Here are three items that I find useful in a multitude of ways!

(you can find these in different colors and sizes, too.)

How does one live without these?!  Perfect for making picture frames, boats to float in the pool, shapes, roads and train tracks, use them for stirring or spreading in place of knives, build with them.  Let your Littles’ imaginations soar!  Simply give them a basket filled with craft sticks and you’ll be amazed at the creations they build!  These are favorites for a reason and their uses are endless… check out our related posts here and here!

There are different sets/sizes available for purchase - sea, jungle, farm, etc


My kindergarteners loved to play with these during play time and I have used them over and over for different projects and games as both a teacher and now as a Grammy!  

Play Hide and Seek with your Littles, act out stories together  (The Three LIttle Pigs and Noah’s Ark are the best!), use them in rice and water bins, hide them in playdough, match them to alphabet cards, show them to babies and ask “what sound does a lion make?’   The uses are endless!

 (these also come in a variety of colors and sizes) 

We love these so much, we even wrote a post about them here! Babies will love to pull these off a table or a wall and older Littles will keep busy with a stack of these - add in some fun pencils or washable markers and you are set!  Your Littles can us them to label items in your house, use them for alphabet hunts, letter, shape or number matches, graph with them, make tiny books. The list goes on and on!

If you want any more ideas on how to use these favorites, just ask 

and I’ll send you more!

We Distant Grands have to take a different approach to things, don’t we?

I am blessed that it is only a 5 hour car ride to visit our Littles

and that we’re able to make the trip regularly, every 4-6 weeks at the most!

Our Littles and their mommy and daddy visit us, less regularly, too.

I’m grateful for all the snuggles I can get!

Being able to travel by car, means I can bring my own mobile stash with me!

It works best for me if I do a bit of prep work ahead of time

for fun I've planned with Little L and now Little P, too.

I always travel with my trusty Bacco Bag in tow!

(some of you may recall that Bacco is the Grand name that Little L calls me!)

Before a visit (here or there),

I try to plan 2-3 fun activities for us to do together.

Little L and I love to cook together, so I usually find one fun recipe for us

and then I pick a few other projects I know we’ll enjoy!

The photo above was taken before a visit I made this past spring

when Rainbow Activities were on the docket!

I decided what activities I’d like to try with her, looked through my tubs of supplies

and got busy packing!

For that visit I brought Play Dough, food coloring, Froot Loops and pipe cleaners 

as well as a few art supplies like crayons, glue sticks, a paint brush, paints and paper!

I also pack a tub that I fill with quiet activities 

that Little L and I can enjoy together early in the morning!

Little L always looks for this tub when I arrive (or when she visits)

and it usually house books, puzzles, pom poms with a tong and a few other things.

I always include things she recognizes 

and I try to bring one new item to explore together…

 a book, a puzzle or something as simple as cotton balls are all examples!

I cherish this quiet time together and I think Little L does, too!

(And I know her mommy and daddy always appreciate it, as well!)

I have LOTS of Favorite Finds that I could share with you!  I love making trips to garage sales, Goodwill or the local dollar store to see what treasure I can find on a given day.  I also love checking out our local Once Upon a Child resale store.  Did you know that Wednesdays are Grandparent Discount days?  You can find lots of fun little treasures there, as well!

Laura’s 3 Favorite Finds!

If I had to narrow it down, my list of current faves would include the following items!

Little L loves these things and they are so easy to use, with minimal mess or clean up required!  When I first started bringing my set on visits, Little L’s favorite thing to do was to screw and unscrew the tops!  Another time we loved working on naming colors (can you find…?) and then she loved matching tops to bottoms!  Of course, she loves painting with them, too and soon she’ll be old enough that we can use them to play Bingo or Tic Tac Toe or we can use them for patterning and counting practice (Let's make five dots, etc)! 

This was such a GRAND find last year! I was researching the cost of the reusable water balloons that are all the rage right now and I happened upon these and decided to give them a try instead!  They are soft, they store well, they are easily cleaned!  Last  summer we wet them and played with them just like water balloons!  Then, throughout the year we’ve done our fair share of color activities, Little L had fun filling a muffin tin with them while using a slotted spoon, we had a color fight (our version of a snowball fight but during springtime)... so many options!  I know we’ll use them for years to come!

Okay, this may seem like a silly one, but believe me, these silicone cups have come in handy so many times already!  Of course, we use them when baking BUT we also use them to serve a fun lunch or snack!  I fill 4-6 cups, each with a different finger food item (fruit, veggies, crackers, cheese, etc) and Little L is SO excited for mealtime!  I’ve also used these to put paint or different crafts in when doing a project - they clean up easily and we’ve started to practice our sorting skills, too!  Did you know what an important skill sorting is for little ones?  Sorting items by color or size is a great first step!

Are you ready to add to your own GRAND Stash or Traveling Bag?

In honor of our 100th Post today, we’re celebrating with a giveaway!

We’re giving away TWO $50.00 Amazon gift cards!

One lucky winner will randomly be chosen from our blog readers


one lucky winner will randomly be chosen from our Instagram/Facebook readers!

You do not need to subscribe or follow our sites to qualify

🩷 (although we’d certainly LOVE that!) 🩷

Here’s what you do need to do…

BLOG READERS - Add a comment, including your name, at the end of this post and, if not a subscriber, include your email in your comment.  As an alternative, you can send a private email directly to us at with the info stated above.

INSTAGRAM/FACEBOOK READERS - Type “giveaway” in the comment section of the post.  If chosen, we will DM you to get your contact information.

REMEMBER... You have from 6/6/24 until 6/12/24 at 9:00 AM to participate!

Good Luck, Everyone!

Thanks, again for being part of our Our Grand Lives journey!

Do you have your own Grand Stash of sorts?

If so, we’d love to hear more! 

Share your ideas in the comment section

(and don’t forget to sign up for our Amazon giveaway while you are at it!)

Be sure to stop by our  Instagram and Facebook sites, too!

We’d love to have you follow us there!

You can find lots of resources (including last year’s summer themes)

 on Pinterest, too… we’ve got quite a collection of ideas available!

We have busy weekends ahead 

but we’ll be back next week with more GRAND SUMMER FUN!

See you soon!


A Morning Cup of Joe from The Cottage Market

from Two Chicks & a Mom, Building Our Hive & Coastal Bohemian

❤ We love our blogging community! ❤

❤️ We are delighted to join the following link up parties and blog hops! ❤️









26 Yorum

18 Haz

I have lots of thngs left over from my teaching days. My 5 yr old granddaughter has the attention span of a goldfish so isn't interested in doing most things and my grandson lives a 7 hour ferry ride away, but I do like to post him random things. Thanks for linking with #pocolo

Our Grand Lives
19 Haz
Şu kişiye cevap veriliyor:

We shall see if the interest continues! We may need to readjust as time goes on! I can't imagine a 7 hour ferry ride - it's quite a distance! Thanks so much for stopping by!

- 💕Laura


14 Haz

It is always great fun to visit here! This post is one of my features at this week's WTJR, thank you for sharing with us, we appreciate it! Melynda @scratcgmadefood!

Our Grand Lives
16 Haz
Şu kişiye cevap veriliyor:

Thanks so much, Melynda! it was such a treat to visit WTJR and see our post featured there! Have a great week!


13 Haz

Love our littles and your sites!

One of our favorite activities is to put coins into Eastie Beasties piggy bank. We save our change, then put in the bank together. He is learning sizes, fine motor skills, counting and eventually what amount each coin is. Right now he justifies loves putting “monies” into the piggy. 😍

Our Grand Lives
16 Haz
Şu kişiye cevap veriliyor:

We love this! What a fun learning experience! Thanks so much for sharing and for your kind words, too! - 💕 Laura


12 Haz

Lots of great ideas here! Congratulations on the blog milestone too. My daughter2 and I both taught kindergarten and have a few things saved I pull out from time to time. We live on a lake so entertaining the littles is easy this time of year. My oldest grandsons who are almost 7 and 4.5, would be happy to spend the entire day in the water. It's good for me too : ) Enjoy your day!

Our Grand Lives
13 Haz
Şu kişiye cevap veriliyor:

I bet your grandsons do love the lake! We have a family lake home in northern Wisconsin and I still remember my dad teaching our daughters to fish with such delight! Now it's our turn to teach our Littles and we can't wait til they are old enough! Lots of swimming, boating and fishing ahead! Wishing you a wonderful summer with your sweet grandbabies! Thanks for stopping by! - 💕 Laura


12 Haz

Congratulations on your 100th post! I always love visiting ❤️ Thank you for sharing this post at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #41


Our Grand Lives
13 Haz
Şu kişiye cevap veriliyor:

Awww! Thank you, Steph! We appreciate the support and encouragement we've received from you and from our blogging community! We're so grateful for this creative outlet! - 💕 Laura

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