Are you a grandparent looking forward to having the grandkids visit? You want to keep the grandkids entertained as much as possible while they’re visiting you. At the least, you owe it to their parents to return them happy and healthy when the parents finish their badly needed break. Or you might just want to keep the young ones busy while you visit with the parents. At best, you can spend time playing with your grandkids, which you can’t do for long considering how fast they grow up.
Personally, I have very fond memories of visiting my grandparents as a child and heading straight to the “toy closet.” My grandparents always kept toys right there – in the same place. And they were still there when I brought my own kids over for visits. Great memories!
Keep reading for 12 great ideas for toys to keep around for your grandkids, broken down into infant, toddler, and school age categories.
Some of these choices are obviously classics, such as wagons and checkers, but others are more innovative and newer traditions. Opting for unique toys from overseas can make you a real hero in the eyes of your grandkids. Depending on how your own life is going, you might just have more free time to look around for great toys than the parents do, so make it count. Your grandkids are worth it!
Toys for Infants
They’re so sweet and innocent when they’re so young, but their toys need to be kept safe and simple:
Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy
It’s easy to find baby gifts, but not necessarily easy to find fun ones. If you’re looking for something unique your grandkid doesn’t already have, this top-rated toy might just be it. It’s very effective for building up dexterity and teething.
Linzy Plush Soft Dreams Owl With Music & Light
Made with soft, plush materials, this musical owl pull toy is a truly comforting thing that eases your youngest grandbabies to rest the first time they come for a sleepover. Your grandbabies can hug and cuddle it while it plays lullabies with glowing stars.
iPlay, iLearn Soft Plush Stacking Rings
What child doesn’t have these at some point? Babies can get badly needed practice with their motor skills. But as they get familiar with the toy, they can also develop spatial skills in figuring out the sequential sizes of the rings. This toy also gives early exposure to learning basic colors.
Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym
As much as you want to protect the youngest from the world, you can’t keep them swaddled up, in your arms, or in the crib forever. The right play mat gives them just a bit of breathing room to start taking in the world around them. Colorful imagery on the mat and dangling toys from the arches can keep a baby entertained on the ground, exploring in every direction, or truly reaching up for the sky as they learn how to stand and walk.
Just make sure you keep the camera handy if that magical first walk happens at your home without the parents around. They’ll never forgive you anyway, but they’ll be less mad if you can share it with them digitally.
The infant years are so precious and yet so fleeting. As they grow up just a little, their taste in toys is going to change a lot.
Mega Bloks First Builders Deluxe Building Bag
This classic toy is still around and for every good reason. The various shapes and colors give a toddler the chance to start exploring and expressing their creativity. Simple shapes with oversized prongs work well in small hands, and this toy lets your grandkids build animals, houses, and whatever else strikes their fancy. They won’t realize it, but they’ll be developing critical thinking and fine motor skills along the way.
The big, bright blocks have other advantages too, namely not being choking hazards for them and being things you can see easily before you step on them. (Pro Tip: Bribe your grandkids with cookies to use every single block in building something. You both win.)
Anamalz Farm Bull Wooden Toy
In a consumer-driven culture that loves showering kids with things, they’ll eventually see and have it all at some point, maybe even before they hit kindergarten. If you want to be the hero that offers them something to play with that they haven’t actually seen, then look to the Anamalz toy line.
These are created in Australia, but have recently become available in the United States. These whimsical posable animals include a range of funny creatures, including a triceratops, llama, and rhino. Made from sustainable textiles and maple wood, they are available with a combination storage bag and playmat for convenient storage and portability.
Radio Flyer Folding Wagon for Kids & Cargo
Whether it’s around your yard, up and down the street, or through the local park, this wagon has lots of room for carrying your grand-toddlers around for you to show off. There’s also room for snacks, sand toys, and plenty more. Fold it up for simple, compact storage when you’re done showing off your grandkids.
Melissa & Doug Folding Medieval Wooden Castle
Gender norms might be an occasionally testy topic these days, but the fact remains that grandkids love playing like they own their own house. They see their parents enjoying a home, they see you enjoying your home, and they want to follow suit, even if it’s with a toy. Whether it’s a dollhouse, farmhouse, fire station, or something else, let them live it up in their own little world for a while.
Toys for School Age Children
This might be the time of their lives when you start seeing them less frequently, but it also means they can start enjoying more sophisticated entertainment. They’ll be much closer to you in terms of skill, reasoning, and vocabulary, so you’re likely to enjoy playing with them more yourself.
Fingerlings – Interactive Baby Monkey
This is a hot gift at the time of writing. They’re honestly adorable, and they’re finger-sized interactive toys. The blue monkey named Zoe is someone that holds onto your grandchild’s finger, responding to touch, motion, and sound, reacting to petting and talking with blinking, head turns, and cute noises. Zoe will even blow kisses.
Melissa & Doug Wooden Tabletop Paper Roll Dispenser
Doodle Rolls, Anyone? No, this isn’t competition for your famous biscuit recipe. The Doodle Roll is an innovative way to always have paper for coloring and drawing. You can roll out paper for the grandkids to color on, and then either tear it off or keep it when it’s time to put it away. Don’t forget to post their latest masterpiece on the refrigerator too! Don’t forget the crayons or markers to go with it!
ALSO READ: Inexpensive Gifts for Grandkids
Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike
By the school-age years, your grandkids are past being pushed around in strollers or hauled around in wagons. This toy lets them learn how to pedal, slowly preparing them for their looming bicycle adventures a few years later. There’s even a rear basket to haul necessary items without you having to carry them, leaving you free to wave to people and brag about your grandkids yet again, or just take pictures and videos with your phone or camera.
Wooden 7-in-1 Chess Board Game Combo Set
What are classic games? Think chess and checkers. Checkers is far better to start with given the simplicity of it compared to chess, but kids do love learning how the pieces move in chess. Many find it utterly fascinating. Either game is a great way to kill an afternoon, and there are many combo sets that you can use for both games in one single kit at the same time to save space. It even makes the transition from checkers up to chess a lot easier to handle when it’s time to do so. Soon, it will be time to play games with teenagers!
Summary and Final Recommendations
Grandkids love visiting their grandparents. The aroma of freshly baked cookies, welcoming hugs and kisses, and lots of fun things to do with their grandparents make them feel as special as they really are. They know that grandparents mean a lot more spoiling and a lot less discipline, but they also know that there are going to be toys, toys, toys. I hope these ideas will keep your home well-stocked for future visits with your family’s youngest.
Do you recommend any other toys for grandparents to keep at their house? Tell me about them in the comments below!