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. NYRR Open Run

    February 19 @ 9:00 am
    February 19, 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.
  2. Living with White-Tailed Deer

    February 19 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
    February 19, 2017  |  11:00 am - 12:30 pm
    Blue Heron Nature Center
    Explore Blue Heron Park with the Urban Park Rangers in a search for deer. Learn about deer ecology and behavior as you look for clues of deer presence. Join a discussion about the impacts of deer in an urban environment.
  3. Hieroglyphs in the Art studio

    February 19 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    February 19, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Arts vocabulary; Hather,Hake and Horos- can you find these Egyptian gods in hieroglyphs? Learn this ancient form of communication and create your own Pictographs.
  4. Sea Shanty Sessions

    February 19 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    February 19, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Noble Maritime Collection
    Led by the Folk Music Society of New York, this program is really gaining in popularity and offers a great opportunity to experience authentic, time-honored maritime songs in an appropriately historic setting. The sessions are free and family friendly, and
  5. Animal Time

    February 19 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    February 19, 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.
  6. Story time

    February 19 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    February 19, 2017  |  4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Join our staff in Portia’s Playhouse and hear a heart warming tale. All books will feature a letter of the alphabet. Time is subject to change. Call Museum for more information
  7. Presidents’ Day

    February 20
    February 20, 2017  |  12:00 am - 11:59 pm

  8. Historical Craft

    February 20 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    February 20, 2017  |  11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Make an historical craft and design a gold coin in honor of Alexander Hamilton founder of the Federal Reserve, the First Bank of the United States.
  9. School Holiday Break

    February 20 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    February 20, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Staten Island Museum
    Enjoy drop-in activities during school vacation including family tours and art activities.
  10. Kids Week Staten Island: Living with Deer

    February 20 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    February 20, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    Bloomingdale Park
    With the Urban Park Rangers we will look for, learn about, and discover the signs of white-tailed deer.