Fun and Free Memory Makers

Whether babysitting or visiting the grandkids this summer, here are a few simple and interactive ways to make your time together light and easy and memorable too!

  1. Recycled fun. When my grandson was 10 months, his favorite toy was a half-empty water bottle. It rattled, squished, and entertained him. Make a simple dollhouse or a barn out of shoeboxes; use milk jugs to make birdfeeders and paper towel rolls to make anything from a glitter bracelet to giraffes. Check out Pinterest for ideas. Simply type in an idea such as “paper towel roll crafts for kids.”
  2. Play some old-fashioned card games with the kids. Start with Old Maid and War and graduate to Rummy and Poker. If nothing else, they’ll think of you when they are old enough for a casino. Show them how to have fun without a screen.
  3. Over the years I have collected teapots and coffee sets that I have never used. I look forward to having a tea party with my grandchildren, sipping tea and eating biscuits and inviting all the stuffed bears and dolls to join us.
  4. Start a special collection to share. Rocks, coins, shells from the beach. Decorate a special box to store everything.
  5. With older kids, try Geocaching, a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Click here to find geocache locations in Staten Island. If you are not comfortable with that level of technology, go on a simple nature walk, pointing out bugs, trees, birds, and butterflies. Bring binoculars.
  6. Print photos from the phone or computer and organize family photos in an album to give them or to keep at your home. This is also the perfect opportunity to share your own family recollections.
  7. Introduce the children to our music through Karaoke and YouTube videos. How else will they learn about The Who and The Beatles?
  8. Borrow some mysteries or classics from the library and take turns reading to each other. With younger children, borrow stacks of picture books and go through them all until you find some favorites. Then they can be borrowed again.
  9. Go to a museum exhibit you’ve never seen. The more unknown to both of you, the better. Staten Island is home to Tibetan, Photography, Italian American, Early American, and African American Museums among others.
  10. Find volunteer opportunities and use this time to introduce kids to the value of helping others less fortunate. Lead by example.

Ideas for how spend time with your grandchildren are as never-ending as the pleasure of your shared moments together. Just remember to keep the activity focused on the child—and having fun with each other. Sometimes grandchildren could take the lead on coming up with ideas. After all, you are never too old to learn new things!

By Staten Islander Marianna Randazzo, author, educator, and a newly minted grandmother.



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Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1. Marian T. Zinicola AKA “Marty the Psychic”

    April 29
    April 29, 2017  |  12:00 am - 11:59 pm
    Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
    Marty, a native Staten Islander of Italian descent, will discuss her new book, “Soul Bonding.”
  2. Movies Under the Stars: Doctor Strange

    April 29 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    April 29, 2017  |  7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    Clove Lakes Park
    Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film. Know Before You Go You should arrive before 7:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit
  3. The World’s Largest Game of Musical Chairs

    April 30 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    April 30, 2017  |  9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    South Beach
    This is an all borough event. We’re getting together at the South Beach Boardwalk to break The Guinness World’s record & raise funds to promote awareness for Protecting One Young Heart at a Time in memory of Frank J. Reali
  4. NYRR Open Run

    April 30 @ 9:00 am
    April 30, 2017  |  9:00 am - 9:00 am
    Conference House Park
    Join New York Road Runners for free weekly runs in your neighborhood! Open to all ages and experience levels. Walkers, strollers, and dogs on leash are welcome. Cost: Free, no advance registration required. Sign up here.
  5. Nature Photography

    April 30 @ 11:00 am
    April 30, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Silver Lake Park
    Bring your camera and get inspired by the powerful images of nature in winter. Registration Required: www.nyc.gov/parks/rangers/register On Wednesday, April 19th
  6. Kayak Tour

    April 30 @ 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
    April 30, 2017  |  11:00 am - 2:00 pm
    Freshkills Park
    Join Freshkills Park staff and Kayak Staten Island for a kayaking experience like no other! This excursion along the park’s waterways will take you into the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge and up close to some of the park’s varied
  7. Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

    April 30 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    April 30, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Alice Austen House Museum
    Join in a global event! Take your own pinhole photos on the museum’s grounds and process them in our pop-up darkroom. First exposure free; $5 per additional exposure.
  8. Farm Day & Shear Madness

    April 30 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    April 30, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Staten Island Zoo
    It’s hard work running a farm, especially with all the animals that need attention! And spring is sheep shearing time, removing the heavy winter coats from our flock at the Children’s Center! Professional sheep shearers will demonstrate how the wool
  9. Puzzles

    April 30 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    April 30, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Arts Vocabulary; create your own jigsaw puzzle.
  10. Animal Time

    April 30 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    April 30, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Join us for this daily program and meet one of the animals from our living collection. Check the white board at the museum for details.