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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  1. Easter Egg Hunt @ the Port Richmond Library

    March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    Port Richmond Library
    0 to 4 years @ 12 PM to 12:30 PM 5 years to 9 years @ 3:30 PM to 3:45 PM 10 years to 15 years @ 4 PM to 4:15 PM One winner from each age group will win
  2. Kidz Cook

    March 23 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Learn how the whipping technique adds volume to foods such as creams, eggs and cheeses.
  3. Wii Love Gaming

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Stapleton Library
    Challenge your friends and other kids as you play cool Wii games!
  4. Game On!

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    St. George Library
    Get ready to play some of your favorite board & Wii games.
  5. Happy Pig Day! An Elephant and Piggie Party

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Great Kills Library
    For ages 4 and up. Pre-registration is recommended.
  6. St. Peters High School Heart Health for Athletes

    March 23 @ 6:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  6:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    St. Peter's High School
    Free BMI, EKG and Echo screenings for athletes  
  7. Political Issues Affecting our Youth Today

    March 24 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Zimmer Club
    Please join us on Saturdays from January 20th to April 21st (except March 31st) at 9:00AM for the 2018 Zimmer Youth Conservation Classes. The classes are from 9AM – 12 Noon for approximately 13 weeks.  Each week we teach about
  8. Saint George Greenmarket

    March 24 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:00 am - 1:00 pm
    St. Mark's Place and Hyatt St
    Set on a hill overlooking New York Harbor and the downtown Manhattan skyline, this market draws a dedicated following of neighborhood shoppers who line up each Saturday to get first dibs on the freshest seasonal fruit, produce, cheese, meat, seafood
  9. Eggstravagant Feast with the Bunny

    March 24 @ 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:30 am - 2:00 pm
    Staten Island Zoo
    Join us for a special visit with breakfast AND lunch: hot buffet, Easter egg hunt, intimate animal encounters, ride our carousel with Chuck the Groundhog, take your own pictures with our Bunny (please bring your own camera), our cotton-tailed friend
  10. Sensory Storytime

    March 24 @ 10:30 am
    March 24, 2018  |  10:30 am - 10:30 am
    Tottenville Library
    An inclusive, 4-session program that combines the best practices from special education and traditional storytime to create an interactive, engaging program for children of all abilities! Limited to 12 children, best for ages 2 and older. Pre-registration begins one week