Getting your home ready for out-of-town grandkids: toys, books, gifts.

Having some fun items on hand makes our home even more inviting to the grandkids. After their long trip, what an adventure to come into a home with “new” items to discover!

But if you’re like me, since the grands don’t get to come to our house often, it doesn’t seem smart to buy a bunch of toys that will be “under age” by their next visit.

Some tips:

  • Inexpensive toys and craft items are available at the dollar stores. Yard sales and garage sales are good sources, too, but make sure the items are sanitary and safe.
  • Crayons, coloring books, stickers, balls, jump ropes, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk are budget-friendly and a big hit.
  • Friends have also let me borrow toys — hooray! Especially appreciated are big items such as yard equipment and sidewalk riders.
  • If you saved toys from your own kids’ childhood, take a good look at each item to make sure it meets today’s safety standards and is appropriate for the child’s age. Use a critical eye. Unfortunately, an item that has great sentimental value for you might really be tattered, unsafe, or unsuitable for your grand.
  • Visit your library and get a stack of books for every grandchild who’s arriving, based on topics they love. Our local library has wonderful books, including board books for toddlers. (We wipe the board books off first with a wash cloth.)

SNEAKY TIP:  We don’t make all items available when the grands first arrive. Most items are stored away and, during the course of the visit, we bring out a new toy here and there.

Caution:  If the grandchild is old enough to think these toys and book might be for them to take home, we are sure to say early in the visit — and occasionally remind the kids — “Now, remember, these toys/books stay at our house.”

Giving gifts to the out-of-towners.

Think twice before giving your grandchild a gift while they’re visiting you, especially if you think they might be confused about what items stay at your home and what they get to take with them. If I am giving a gift, I have found that gift-wrapping the item and clearly stating right away (and more than once), “This goes home with you — it’s yours to keep” helps. Of course, I’m aware that the size of the item has to make it easy to pack in their suitcases.

I do buy some items for the grandkids to have on the journey going home such as Melissa and Doug On the Go activity books (love those!) or items from a dollar store.

I try to buy items for their travel that are non-messy and don’t have many parts. I also get some healthy, individually-packaged snacks. I give everything in a bag to the parents — not the grands — for the parents to disperse as they want to on the journey home.

What items for fun do you have at your home for when grandkids visit? Share your ideas in the Comments section below.

Check out my other posts about grandkids visiting your house:



4 thoughts on “Getting your home ready for out-of-town grandkids: toys, books, gifts.”

  1. I especially like the tip about wrapping any presents and making it clear that the other items stay at your house!

    Mine are coming on June 17 and we can’t wait.

    My tip: an inexpensive outdoor toy is always a hit — like a bubble machine or sprinkler. Then I give it to my great nephews when we’re done with it at my house.

  2. I take them to the Dollar Store and let them pick out a few items each. They love it and it’s a part of every time to our house.


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