Gung ho grandmas, do you remember that magical carpetbag that Mary Poppins brought with her when she came to stay with the Banks family in the movie Mary Poppins? Do you remember what she pulled out of her bag? To the amazement of Jane and Michael, those mischievous Banks’ children, she reached in and pulled out a coat rack, mirror, potted plant, lamp, shoes, hand mirror, jacket and that tape measure. When I watched that as a child, that bag was pure wizardry.
I have a friend who has her own version of that bag … she has a Grandma Bag. She doesn’t pull out any large household items like Mary Poppins did, but her grandchildren still think it is quite magical. Inside it are items just for her grandchildren, and she carries it along when she goes to visit her grandchildren’s house or when they go out on an adventure.
The items in a Grandma Bag are not gifts for your grandchildren (grandma’s presence is the real gift)and they are not to be left behind at their house. They come and go with grandma (though the odd time an item could be given to a grandchild if they are desperate for it). Just remember the wise adage, “The worst thing you can give a child is everything they want.”
It is a good idea to have items for outdoor play, like going to a park, and some for indoor play, like when you are at restaurant or doctor’s office. You can regularly put new items in your bag so your grandchildren are always anxious to see what is new, and keep their old favorites in. And it can be any kind of container … a large purse, a shopping bag or a backpack.
What kind of things might go into a Grandma Bag?
Here are some suggestions:
- Snacks – try and have some healthier snacks like granola bars, dried fruit, popcorn, and crackers. It is not a good idea to be a Willie Wonka and always be giving your grandchildren candy.
- Small bag of Lego
- Bouncy rubber balls
- Coloring books or activity books
- Bubble solution (but keep the container in a Ziploc bag to prevent leaks)
- Paper and washable markers/pencil crayons
- Wind-up toys
- Small dolls and their clothes
- Ball and jacks
- A Frisbee
- Small family photo album to look at
- Mini puzzles
- A pack of playing cards
- Finger puppets
- Matchbox cars
- Small shovel to dig in the dirt
- Travel-size games
- Sidewalk chalk
- ABC or math flashcards
- Action figures
- Long elastic/string to play Cat’s Craddle
- Books to read
- Small containers of Playdough
- Bag of marbles
- Small stuffed animals
- Beads and string to make jewelry
- Small Playmobile figures
- Musical instruments like a harmonica or tambourine
Stocking your Grandma Bag does not have to break the bank. I love to walk around the garage sale tables, or up and down the aisles of a dollar store looking for treasures. A great Grandma Bag can contain things that are fun, things that are educational, and things that are a surprise.
When you are a gung ho grandma who always shows up with her magical bag, you are creating a fun family tradition and telling your grandchildren that your relationship is important. You can become almost as cool as Mary Poppins …
What are other ideas for great things to put in a Grandma Bag? Do you have your own version of a Grandma Bag? Do you have any great stories to tell about how your grandkids love it? Please send a comment below … I would love to hear all about it!
And if you like the idea of a Grandma Bag, please share this blog with your friends!