Life Is Grand: Where Did the Year Go?

Enjoying Life as a Staten Island Grandparent

Enjoying Life as a Staten Island Grandparent

I’m not sure how the holidays crept up on me so quickly, but alas they are here. The family grows and that is a beautiful thing but the question remains: What do you give when you have no idea what to give?

If you are like me, I prefer to pick up gifts for the children and grandchildren throughout the year. As I travel or even locally, I inevitably find gifts that match personalities so I believe in stocking up before the pressure is on. Now though, with the holiday season upon us, it’s crunch time for the rest of the list. Instead of resorting to toys or expensive electronics, here are some ideas for more creative, memorable gifts from grandparents:

Family membership to local learning institutions. Help promote your grandchildren’s education through fun family experiences. We have so many cultural institutions and museums in Staten Island (including a zoo) that offer family memberships at a discounted price. Pick one and let your clan look forward to a year of visits.

Custom Gift Cards. Create a gift card telling the kids that you’ll take them, and perhaps a friend or two, to the next blockbuster movie they want to see. If you could, add a pre-movie pizza stop and a post movie ice cream. Present it in a festive box filled with their favorite movie snacks. This should work well with preteens but perhaps with older children a Broadway play or even a concert would be appreciated. Some of today’s teenagers do appreciate our old-school music.

Diaper Delivery. If you have a grandbaby, a coupon redeemable for disposable diapers and wipes by the case will be greatly appreciated. Print out a certificate with Expect Delivery By ______ on it. Then you can order online through websites like Amazon, Toys R Us, or Target and have it sent directly to their home.

Think Outside the Season. If your grandchildren like camping or hiking, pick up gear or gift certificates to stores that carry such equipment. Sleeping bags, backpacks, or camping gear are fun to use indoors as they wait for camping or hiking season.

Being a grandparent shouldn’t only be about what you can give, it is also about what you can teach. Besides sharing your cooking or crafting skills at home, why not sign up for some craft lessons along with the children? Perhaps a cooking, flower arranging, or a craft class would be fun. A search online or the SIParent calendar of events will show you options to attend with the children. If you have talents such as playing an instrument or artistic abilities, consider setting up a time each week for private lessons.

One of the greatest gifts you can give is to teach children to help others. As your grandchildren get older, their awareness of the world grows. Kids who express a passion for the environment should be exposed to the Greenbelt Conservancy here in Staten Island. The Greenbelt includes New York City’s largest remaining forest preserve, offering peace, quiet, and solitude. It is also home to wetlands, forests, meadows, and rolling hills that offer visitors a glimpse into the natural heritage of Staten Island. The Greenbelt is an extraordinary natural resource visited by over one million people annually with many opportunities to participate in events or volunteer. Check them out online at sigreenbelt.org

During this season of giving, make it your responsibility as the elders to teach to give back, keeping these four simple rules in mind:

• Be a Role Model
• Start Small
• Make It a Tradition
• Make It Meaningful

Life is Grand is the place for today’s generation of active, involved grandparents and seniors to get more smiles, have more fun, and create more memories during time they spend with their families.

By Staten Islander Marianna Randazzo, who is an author, educator, as well as a newly minted grandmother. 

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  1. STEAM Camp

    August 22
    August 22, 2017  |  12:00 am - 11:59 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Have fun doing independent hands-on projects as well as collaborate on group experiments that explore science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM)! *Additional materials fee: $15 1/2 day campers/$25 full day campers for the week. **Campers must have reached 4th
  2. Tot Time Tuesday

    August 22 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
    August 22, 2017  |  10:00 am - 11:30 am
    The Interpretive Center
    Learn about a new plant or animal every week by creating crafts, story time, and playing with other tots!
  3. Little Lion Cubs: Pre-K & Kindergarten Mini-Camp

    August 22 @ 10:00 am - 11:15 am
    August 22, 2017  |  10:00 am - 11:15 am
    St. George Library
    Did your child graduate from kindergarten or a pre-k program this school year? Or, is your child entering kindergarten or a pre-kindergarten program in September 2017? Our Little Lion Cubs Summer Mini-Camp is the perfect way to beat the summer
  4. Toddler Time

    August 22 @ 10:30 am
    August 22, 2017  |  10:30 am - 10:30 am
    South Beach Library
    Enjoy interactive stories, action songs, and finger plays, and spend time with other toddlers in the neighborhood.
  5. Preschool Story Time

    August 22 @ 11:00 am - 11:30 am
    August 22, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:30 am
    Port Richmond Library
    Stories, crafts, and play time. Join us for our weekly Preschool Story Time for fun, fun, fun!
  6. Homework Help

    August 22 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    August 22, 2017  |  11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    New Dorp Library
    High School volunteers are offering their services to help with reading and math! Reading: PreK -3rd grade, Math: PreK to 8th grade. First come first served. Sign up lists will start the day of each session when library first opens.

  7. Tuesday Storytime

    August 22 @ 11:00 am
    August 22, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Barnes & Noble
    Come on up to the Kids’ Department on the second floor and join us for a fun-filled Storytime!
  8. Tot’s Time Plus

    August 22 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    August 22, 2017  |  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Your pre-schooler will create artwork, sing along and listen to stories.
  9. Storytime w/ Literacy Inc

    August 22 @ 11:45 am
    August 22, 2017  |  11:45 am - 11:45 am
    Mariners Harbor Library
    Join Literacy Inc. as they host story time! Families are welcome.
  10. Literacy Inc. Read Aloud

    August 22 @ 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm
    August 22, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 2:45 pm
    St. George Library
    Come and listen to stories & enjoy related activities and a take-home snack with the staff of Literacy Inc.