Monday, May 22, 2023
Well what do you know,
Monday’s here already!
We hope you had a lovely May weekend!
Here in Minnesota it was picture perfect
and we savored every minute of its beauty!
From sporting sunglasses while enjoying an auntie’s concert
to learning to run and jump
from dining al fresco to finding a treasured dandelion…
The stellar weather certainly has us clamoring for summer
and all that is to come!
Earlier this spring, we shared our first post in a series we call
In this first post we focused on visiting the library with our Littles
including hints and suggestions for making it a successful experience for everyone!
One of the things we are looking most forward to this summer
Is spending time out and about with our grandkids - our Littles!
Will you be caring for your Littles this summer?
Will you be on the go at all?
No matter where you are headed with your Littles, you’ll want to plan ahead!
So today we are getting us all prepared for any adventure
by sharing the contents of our Grand bags…
the essentials and the extras,
that will ensure fun adventures for all involved!!
We both know of several Grands who watch their Littles
occasionally or on a regular basis during the summer!
Older grandkids will be on summer vacation from school
and time spent with them could be at a premium!
We also know that extended family celebrations or travel can take place
during the summer months!
Each of these possibilities could lead to
opportunities to get out and explore together…
the zoo, a neighborhood park, mini golf, a museum or movie, the beach or a pool!
These are only a few of the places you may head with your Littles
and we want you to be ready for it all!
Your Middles (what we call our own children/our grandkids’ parents in this blog)
will, undoubtedly, have a Diaper Bag packed,
especially for infant and toddler Littles!
Yet, you may find that you’d like to have your own Grand Bag all set,
filled with the essentials and extras needed for these experiences!
While your older Littles (preschool and older) probably don’t need you
to carry a bag with lots of essentials,
there will probably be a few items they’d benefit from having on hand!
And, perhaps, after reading this post, you’ll find that a combination works best
for you and your Little(s)…
using the family’s Diaper Bag for the essentials
and your own Grand Bag for added extras and surprises!
Choosing what style of Grand Bag you’d like can be a tough decision…
there are SO many options out there!
When it comes to selecting your Grand Bag you want to make sure
that it’s something that will work best for you, your needs and your lifestyle!
Popular options include a backpack, a messenger style bag,
a shoulder bag or a tote!
Be sure to consider features such as comfort, durability,
storage and ease for cleaning!
So, once you’ve chosen your Grand Bag,
It’s time to fill it with the essentials and extras you’ll need!
On one hand you want to be prepared for anything and everything.
But, on the other hand, if you pack too much
you are going to find your Grand bag overly cumbersome!
Here are our essential recommendations for a well-equipped Grand Bag!
Essentials for Your Newborn/Infant Grand Bag!
The list below is what we’d include in our Grand Bag for our littlest Littles!
This list, while not exhaustive, includes items that help us
find success when on the go!
✳ Baby Bottles (with Breast Milk or Formula) for Feeding
Infants this age feed on breast milk and/or formula and do so every 2 to 4 hours. For that reason, it’s a bit tricky to take these young Littles out and about! If you do, be sure that, if your Little is being breastfed, you have adequate breast milk in a bottle that he/she is used to drinking from and keep it adequately refrigerated until needed. If your Little is drinking formula, make sure you have access to water and that you’ve brought bottles. (If the formula has already been mixed, you will need to keep it refrigerated, as well.)
✳ Portable Changing Pad
You never know when your Little will need a diaper change so having one of these on hand is so helpful!
We recommend including one diaper for every 2-3 hours that you will be gone as well as a few extras (especially for those newborns)! You can never be too prepared!
✳ Diaper Wipes
It’s best to have a stash of these on hand! We speak from experience! 😯
A Grand Tip! Putting a handful in a plastic bag works well for short term trips! We speak from experience! 😯
✳ Diaper Cream
It’s always helpful to have a small tube of ointment, especially if your Little is prone to diaper rashes!
✳ Plastic Bags for Dirty Diaper(s) & Other Emergencies
Having a few is essential in our book… they are perfect for containing the smell if you can’t get to a trash can after changing a stinky diaper or for clothes that may need to be laundered!
✳ Burp Cloth and/or Bib
Be prepared for those possible spit ups! It might even be worth adding an extra one to your Grand Bag!
If your infant Little is typically swaddled when he/she naps, providing this will ensure a sense of security! It’s also a good idea to include a blanket that can provide extra warmth/protection in the car or to have ready for floor time!
✳ 1-2 Changes of Clothing
Newborns up to six month old infants can often surprise you with spit up or by pooping through an outfit… sometimes more than once! Add these spares to your bag so that you won’t be caught off guard!
✳ A Pacifier… or Two! (Optional)
Be sure to rely on Mom and Dad on whether they are using a pacifier with your Little! If so, be sure to have a few on hand to use, as needed! A pacifier clip or a case for it help in finding one when you need it most!
✳ Teethers, Toys & Soft Books
Having a teether on hand to soothe can be so helpful and small toys can provide a great distraction during a diaper change, a car ride or while in the stroller! Your littlest Littles will also love looking at books and the soft ones are a safe choice when you are on the go!
✳ Just in Case Items…
These are items that could provide an extra layer of comfort… for you and your Littles! A
Thermometer, Tylenol, Nose Aspirator and Nail Clippers are extra items we’ve been glad to have with us!
More Essentials for Your Toddler/Preschooler Grand Bag!
We certainly want these older Littles to have a safe and happy time
when on the go with you!
So, we'll need to include a few different items in your Grand Bag, specifically for them!
First read through the list above (for newborns/infants) to determine which items you may still consider essential to include in your Grand Bag for older Littles! In addition to any of those items you continue to find worthwhile, we have these suggestions for you, as well!
✳ Sippy Cup/Straw Cup
If your Little has transitioned from a bottle, you’ll want to include 1-2 of these in your bag. You may need to have an insulated compartment/bag so that you can bring milk or juice with you!
We always have a sippy cup of cool water ready for our Littles! We suggest you do, too!
✳ Food & Snacks
Depending on how long you are going to be gone, you may need to bring food (for a meal and/or snacks) along! Baby food pouches work well on days you are on the go as do containers of dry cereal or crackers. DON’T FORGET to include eating utensils, as needed (a bowl, a spoon…)
✳ Pair of Socks/Extra Underwear
Your toddler is more mobile these days, so having an extra pair of socks with you is a great idea! AND, if your Little has recently been potty trained, bringing along extra underwear/set of clothing could also prove to be a necessity!
✳ Warm Jacket/Hat
In the spring or fall you may want to have a jacket and hat nearby in case the weather changes!
✳ Sunscreen/Sun Hat
Summertime means we all need protection and no one more than our Littles! Having sunscreen available (year round, actually) and a sun hat, is crucial!
✳ Sleep Sack/Favorite Blanket or Stuffed Animal
If your Little will be sleeping (naptime or bedtime) during your excursion, bringing a sleep sack or blanket and a stuffed animal will provide some routine for him/her!
✳ More Toys & Board Books
Your Little is now able to hold and manipulate his/her own toys and, in some cases, books, too! Bringing a selection along will keep them entertained during those down moments!
A Few Grand Tips!
As your Little(s) get older,
we suggest keeping a variety of toys and books in the car.
That way, you can change them out, as needed,
and there is always something new for your Little to do!
Also, depending on the season,
you may want to keep a lightweight jacket or sweatshirt in the car
for those weather changing moments!
Laurie’s Daughter A keeps a “car bin” on the floor in the back of the car,
under the seat.
There are paper towels, a blanket, plastic bags, diapers, wipes, sunscreen,
extra clothes, a sweatshirt, an extra cup, and a bib in it for emergencies.
Let’s face it, hasn’t everyone left home at sometime
and forgotten something as important as the diaper bag??
Daughter A also confided that as a child growing up with a brother who got carsick,
she also keeps a couple of easy to grab plastic bags in the middle console!
Essentials for the Grand (YOU) to Have on Hand!
When packing your Grand Bag,
don’t forget about yourself and your needs!
In addition to your personal essentials - a wallet, cell phone, sunglasses and keys,
here are a few other items you'll want to be sure you have with you!
✳ Water & Snacks for YOU!
Don’t forget your own water bottle and a snack or two for extra energy - a protein bar, a bag of nuts or a bit of dark chocolate should do the trick!
✳ Hand Sanitizer
We don’t go anywhere these days (thank you, pandemic) without our trusty bottle of hand sanitizer!
✳ Disinfectant Wipes
We feel the same way about our disinfectant wipes! We’ve certainly been known to wipe down a chair or table in a public place before settling in!
You can never have too many as these always come in handy!
✳ Stain Removing Pen
Have you ever wished you’d had one of these with. you? We sure have and, with our Littles around, having a stain removing pen in reach is a must!
✳ First Aid Kit
This addition brings piece of mind, especially if you are headed to a park to play or plan to be gone all day! Keeping one in the car at all times would be a smart idea… that way, it’s always there when needed!
✳ A Small Cooler
If you plan to be on the go longer than a few hours, you may want to invest in a small cooler to house bottles, milk, juice or food items… especially important during those hot summer months!
Whew! We think that about covers it!
We hope this list of essentials will help you
as you decide what to include in your own Grand Bag!
As we mentioned earlier in this post,
it may work best for you and your Little(s)
to use the diaper bag they regularly use each day to house the needed essentials!
However, a separate Grand Bag will definitely prove useful,
especially for your Littles that are toddler aged and older!
By this point, our Littles will be ready for more toys and activities
to help entertain and engage them when we are out and about!
Thankfully, we’ve got a whole list of extras for you!
Extras for Your Infant/Toddler Grand Bag!
While we listed essential items above to include for newborns,
we know that Infants up to 6 months old
(and maybe even a bit older)
require very few extras in your bag
since they only need a few teethers, toys and soft books to entertain themselves!
For toddler Littles and older children,
Laurie got the list of items below from her very organized Daughter A and a niece.
These activities would come in handy,
especially when your Little is sitting at a restaurant waiting for a meal
or when he/she is waiting for you to finish an adult conversation after dinner!
In fact, having this stash of resources available to pull from
- anytime, anywhere your Little is waiting -
could prove to be a godsend!
These fidget toys are soothing and appropriate for Littles who are 6 months and older! They can be found at many stores at a reasonable price ((Amazon carries a large selection) and they are fascinating for all ages... including us Grands!
You’ve seen a version of this idea shared on our site before… it was included in our first Household Happies post and this version travels well. For a smaller version, simply take an empty spice container and poke Q-tips through the holes.
Magna Doodles can be found everywhere - at garage sales, drugstores, and Dollar Stores! They are easy to store and they also provide great fine motor practice, too!
Bristle Blocks are a cross between blocks and Legos and work for all ages! Put several in a plastic bag and you’ve got a simple and quiet time activity that will completely engage your Little!
Pom Pom Sorts
Here's another activity that will quietly entertain your Little! Sort pom poms by color, matching them to the colors of paper!
Crayons, paper and stickers are an oldie but a goodie for a reason!
Lift the Flap Books
Look for lift-the-flap books that have multiple flaps per page (check at public library sales, thrift stores and garage sales, too). These books keep your Littles looking and guessing!
Mini Books, Cars & Post-It Notes
Even if the story isn’t that great, Littles love to manipulate those tiny pages! Their imaginations rev up playing with a few matchbox cars, too, creating roadways all around! And, we all know that our Littles love using post-it notes. (Remember the ideas featured in a previous Household Happies post?) Check it out again to discover more traveling fun!
Let’s Go Fishing!
To prep this game, hot glue paper clips onto stickers or pictures. We used animal photos to make our set! Create a pole with a stick, some string and a magnet. Your Little is now ready to go fishing!
Sponge blocks are easy to move and they are such a quiet toy, too!. Just cut a sponge (or a few) into strips and build away!.
Extras for Your Preschool & Older Grand Bag!
Of course, your older Littles can use
any of the extras described above!
Below you’ll find a few more that would be appropriate for these Littles!
Melissa and Doug make magnet puzzles that work great for preschoolers. As an added bonus, the pieces stay put, which makes clean up time pretty easy!
And a Few More Grand Ideas!
Dry Erase Games are great and come as dry erase mazes, puzzles, word finds, etc. Your Littles will love using dry erase markers to complete these activities.
Search the internet and then copy Online Word Searches, Mazes and Other Puzzles for your Littles to complete! Keep them in a fun folder for quick organization and bring a fancy pen or pencil with you to add more interest for your Little!
A fun family game to play while you are waiting is Categories. Pick a category (like fruits, types of candy, farm animals, etc) and go around the table with each person naming something that fits the category without repeating a previous answer.
Play Tic-Tac-Toe with sugar/sweetener packets when you are waiting at a restaurant!
Don’t ever forget the power of a great Book! Be on the hunt for search and find ones (i.e Where's Waldo?) or ones with engaging illustrations or that your older Littles can read to themselves!
A well-packed Grand Bag can prove to be a lifesaver
when it comes to changing, feeding, clothing or entertaining your Little(s),
especially when you are on the go!!!
If you have any suggestions for essentials or extras
to include in our own Grand Bags,
please share by commenting at the end of this post!
We wish you a summer filled with adventures ahead!
We will be back on Thursday with a post devoted to
We’ll share ways to celebrate this holiday and its meaning
with your family and especially your Littles!
Next week we will be taking a break from blogging.
After that, we are planning for a slower paced summer schedule,
blogging once each week on Tuesday mornings!
This summer our blog posts will focus on a different theme each week…
Get ready for
Summer Camp with the Grands!
We look forward to sharing more details with you this Thursday!
Thanks to everyone who has subscribed to our blog!
You know... it means the world to us!
With summer approaching, you may want to join our subscribers
simply to ensure that you are notified each time a new post is published!
We are also excited to share that our blog has recently been featured
as part of two more link up parties!
for your support and for highlighting our posts!!
we suggest you do!
There’s lots of extras taking place there!
And you can also find us on Pinterest where we’ve linked
many of the activities featured here!
It’s hard to believe that there’s only one more week of May to come!
Make the most of it!
We are delighted to join these link up parties and blog hops this week: