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. Greenbelt Peepers

    March 23 @ 9:45 am - 10:15 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  9:45 am - 10:15 pm
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Through hands-on activities, crafts, and stories, two-year-old kids and their caregivers will become familiar with the sights and sounds of the forest. Space is limited. Registration requested. To register, please email naturecenter@sigreenbelt.org or call (718) 351-3450.
  2. Free Foreclosure Legal Services

    March 23 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  10:00 am - 3:00 pm
    Senator Andrew Lanza's District Office
    The Mobile Legal Help Center is a partnership between the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) and the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program that provides free foreclosure legal services to New Yorkers in need. Private meeting rooms
  3. Toddler/Preschool Story Time

    March 23 @ 10:30 am - 11:15 am
    March 23, 2017  |  10:30 am - 11:15 am
    St. George Library
    Songs, rhymes, picture book stories, & a craft activity are all part of this story time. Registration required.
  4. Toddler Storytime

    March 23 @ 11:00 am
    March 23, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library
  5. Tot’s Time Plus

    March 23 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Your pre-schooler will create artwork, sing along and listen to stories.
  6. Greenbelt Tree Tots

    March 23 @ 11:00 am - 11:45 am
    March 23, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:45 am
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Through hands-on activities, crafts, and stories, children will become familiar with the sights and sounds of the forest. Space is limited. Registration required. Email nature center@sigreenbelt.org or by phone at 718-351-3450. Fee: $3 or Free for Greenbelt Conservancy Members.
  7. Bouncing Babies

    March 23 @ 11:15 am
    March 23, 2017  |  11:15 am - 11:15 am
    West New Brighton Library
    Come for playtime, stories and songs for babies and their caregivers.
  8. Baby Social

    March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    St. George Library
    Playground is too cold or it’s rainy? Do you and your baby need to get out of the house? Come to the library! A safe, indoor space for babies 0-23 months and their caregivers to play and socialize. Baby toys
  9. Reading & Technology Family Workshop

    March 23 @ 12:00 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 12:00 pm
    Huguenot Library
  10. Animal Time

    March 23 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    March 23, 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.