Six Inexpensive Memory Makers

As we begin the second half of the summer vacation, time with the grandchildren can become more challenging and expensive. It’s great when kids are outdoors pursuing activities, but unbearable heat could drive them indoors and that could mean pricey activities. Below are a few frugal ideas to keep grandparents and youngsters occupied as summer comes to an end.

  1. If you belong to an organization or volunteer somewhere, bring the kids along for a few hours. It’s a great way to show off the grandchildren and let them see you around other adults. Most of the Island’s museums and historical sites welcome volunteers, even temporarily. Sign up for a single fundraiser or commit to a weekly service project. Find something that fits your schedule and will give you and your teen an opportunity to work together.
  2. Hungry? Dine at a “Kids Eat Free” restaurant. Here on Staten Island, on certain days of the week, some restaurants offer free kids’ meals with the purchase of an adult meal. Mark your calendar to keep track of the various offers or check out siparent.com for a list.
  3. Cook a special meal together for the family. Call it a special event! There is so much less pressure bringing the family together on a non-holiday occasion. And what better way than to involve the grandchildren?  First, plan a menu with the kids. Teach them to scan the weekly circulars for good deals. Next, shop for the grocery items together. You can get adventurous with your meal choices or choose cuisine from different parts of the world to really make it interesting! Then invite everyone over to eat.
  4. Play cards: the old fashioned kind, with a deck! Youngsters will learn several essential life skills. Card games enable children to think strategically, see patterns, and strengthen their memories. Start with shuffling, which demands dexterity and perseverance. Once that’s done, build a house of cards. While you’re playing a game of Rummy or War, teach them how to hold their cards so that they are not showing.  Build up to more skilled games.  How about a few card tricks? Teach them to amaze a crowd!  You can find simple tricks online.  Last, but not least, card playing encourages good sportsmanship—win, lose or draw, it’s all for fun or chips!
  5. Visit a nature preserve or wildlife center. Bundle some education in with a fun trip to a local nature preserve. The Greenbelt Nature Center and High Rock Park are two ideal places to begin a tour of the Staten Island Greenbelt Preserve. A visit to these centers is often free, and participating in programming may be as well. If not, the fee likely will be inexpensive. They have both educational programs and outdoor exhibits. Volunteering at a nature center is not only a great way to get involved in your community, but it’s also a great way to get to know one of New York City’s largest and most beautiful parks.
  6. Grab a ride on the Carousel in Willowbrook Park, which is open seven days a week all summer long. Rides are still just $1.50, and multiple ride vouchers are available.

Life is a one-time offer. Use it well!

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



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  1. Baby Rhyme Time

    April 28 @ 10:30 am
    April 28, 2017  |  10:30 am - 10:30 am
    New Dorp Library
    Bring your baby to an interactive program with books, gentle movement, and songs.
  2. Preschool Storytime

    April 28 @ 11:00 am
    April 28, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library
    Stories, crafts, and play time. Join us for our weekly Preschool Story Time for fun, fun, fun!
  3. Playtime!

    April 28 @ 11:00 am
    April 28, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Huguenot Library
  4. Toddler Rhyme Time

    April 28 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
    April 28, 2017  |  11:30 am - 1:00 pm
    New Dorp Library
    Bring your toddler to an interactive program featuring books, finger plays, action rhymes and more.
  5. Toddler Story Time & Activity Hour

    April 28 @ 11:30 am - 12:00 pm
    April 28, 2017  |  11:30 am - 12:00 pm
    Port Richmond Library
  6. Animal Time

    April 28 @ 2:30 pm
    April 28, 2017  |  2:30 pm - 2:30 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.
  7. Book Worms

    April 28 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    April 28, 2017  |  2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Walker Park
    Book Worms is a program for children to share and develop their love for reading. Children will be able to develop and advance their literacy skills through a variety of fun and educational literacy games, activities, and library trips. Registration
  8. Wii Time

    April 28 @ 3:00 pm
    April 28, 2017  |  3:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    South Beach Library
  9. Produce perfect pancakes

    April 28 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    April 28, 2017  |  3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Kids cook continues its culinary vocabulary with the letter “P”. Learn how different cultures like to eat pancakes.
  10. Wii Love Gaming

    April 28 @ 3:30 pm
    April 28, 2017  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Stapleton Library
    Challenge your friends and other kids as you play cool Wii games!