Nana and Grandpa’s Let’s Go Bag

I confess. I may not exhibit full-blown OCD, but I definitely lean that way. I sort my M&Ms by color and then eat them so as to even out the piles. I stack silverware in the tray. Open dresser drawers WILL be closed after I walk by. . . . and I make lists. It’s a family thing. I remember my mother taping lists inside our suitcases before we went on vacation each summer and my father made lists for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. He was a meticulous recordkeeper who kept mileage calculations and a daily expense ledger that would pass IRS scrutiny right up until he went into the hospital three days before he died.

I also love little adventures, day trips, hikes; whatever you want to call them. These short outings of exploration are one of the things I most look forward to sharing with my grandchildren.  Between my upbringing, my Girl Scout training and previous parenting and grandparent experience (I think everyone can relate to the toddler public venue full-diaper diarrhea blowout), I realized that a little advance planning and preparation was probably in order. Trying to hose down said toddler in a restaurant ladies’ room sink, discarding his clothes because they made me gag,and carrying a naked and crying 3 year old past all the other patrons to grandpa waiting in the car is not a scene I wish to repeat anytime soon.

Another thing I notice is many parents, even the most focused and dedicated ones, tend to sabotage their own efforts to get their little ones out the door on a happy and relaxed note. Getting kids ready to go anywhere at anytime is a challenge.Kids have their own agenda and we adults don’t always telegraph our intentions real well. Either the parents spring the news on the little tykes (that’s right, they didn’t hear you talking about it for the last half hour), then expect them to drop everything without complaint and run to the door, pulling on shoes and picking up toys in one fluid motion; or they announce with great excitement that “we’re going bye bye” and then proceed to spend the next 15 minutes gathering everything together while simultaneously trying to get Junior dressed, and they wonder why Junior keeps wandering back to his toys. Everyone’s stress level ratchets up a notch and communications aren’t always zen-like in tone. A little advance logistics planning and preparation is worth well the time.

Enter Nana and Grandpa’s “Let’s Go” Bag! Basically a diaper bag for the toddler to pre-teen set, it will stay packed and replenished with perishables and age-appropriate substitutions, ready for planned excursions or an impromptu walk on the butterfly trail, to help ensure the comfort and safety of our little charges and maybe a few more minutes of sanity for Grandpa and Nana.

Tomorrow we are taking our almost 4 year old grandson and 7 year old granddaughter to one of our favorite places, the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford NY, meaning a couple of hours of walking and a good amount of that time outdoors. Food and drink are available but not always convenient. Dominic is potty trained now, so we no longer need a diaper stuff, but we’ve learned that messes happen, that they are hungry and have to go the bathroom at THE most inconvenient times and they get restless easily. So, Nana is packing our Let’s Go bag tonight.


Get a lightweight and not-too-dorky looking backpack and load ‘er up.

Contents [Large Zip-Loc or mesh bags keep things organized within the backpack]: 

The Comfort and First Aid Bag:

  • Diaper Wipes for Sensitive Skin {better than hand wipes because they are larger and don’t have a lot of alcohol}
  • Paper Towels [use as placemats or for big spills]
  • Baby sun screen,
  • Band Aids
  • Sting Eze or After Bite Itch Eraser
  • Small water tight covered container, balanced sterile saline solution [tooth preservation kit]
  • Eco-friendly, non-toxic bug repellent (I used Burt’s Bees)
  • Lip Balm 

Disaster Recovery Bag:

Plastic grocery bags, hand sanitizer, disinfecting surface wipes, and extra T-shirt, shorts and underwear for each child. So even if they toss their lunch on the Teacup of Terror Ride, you can still get them semi-presentable in a jiffy and not have to ride home with all the windows down. 

Snacks and Drinks:

  • Water
  • Sippy Cups or Reusable Drink Boxes with Built-in Straws
  • Straws and extra paper cups (also double as collection cups for pretty rocks and leaves)
  • Child size plastic eating utensils
  • Small covered dishes 
  • Covered Plastic Container and Zip-Loc Sandwich Bags
  • Individual packages of snacks for each child (sharing is a mess waiting to happen)

Boredom Buster Bag:

  • Fat Crayons and Small Activity Books or Paper Pads
  • Stickers
  • colored pipe cleaners 
  • Small plastic cars or figures
  • small puzzles or books

We discourage the use of electronics when we go on outings because, well, we want to spend time with them, educate and entertain them,  and maybe even have them remember what we looked like after we’re gone. I will admit though that after the 14th game of “I’m going camping and I’m bringing a_____” on the car ride home, Grandpa begins to turn white around the lips, at which point a little handheld game may or may not appear out of Nana’s wonderful magic bag. 

Happy Trails!





About wisdomseason

Embracing both the hard scrabble self sufficiency and resilience of my ancestors and the burgeoning Information Age to help make family experience richer, healthier and happier. Maturity does not mean I cannot approach every day with the same excitement I felt as I swung my skinny legs over my bike on a summer morning, bag lunch in my basket, for a day of riding and hiking the woods and fields around my home in upstate New York or went blackberry picking in the heavy cicada song drenched afternoons at my grandmother's in Kentucky. Let's explore!
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