Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. Alex Haley
By C.J. Hirschfield
Over the 13 years I’ve run Children’s Fairyland, hundreds of adults have said it was their grandparents who brought them to the park when they were young. The tradition continues, and it’s not hard to understand why: We provide a safe, sweet place that invites intergenerational interaction. At Fairyland, the child is the leader of imagination-driven adventures, with no electronics or commercial influences to stand in the way of talking, reading and singing—three activities that have been proven to dramatically improve the chances of success of our kids.
During the holiday season, when so many grandparents visit family in the Bay Area, we delight in seeing multiple generations of Fairyland fans.
So due to this we decided to create Grandparents’ Week: the day after Christmas through Dec. 30. By welcoming grandparents with free admission, we hoped to embody the essence of the holiday season—families connecting and making lasting memories.
Grandparents’ Week is an unqualified hit with over 5,000 family members joined us last year.
At Fairyland we see the positive influence of grandparents every day; there are an increasing number of children in our community who live with their grandparents, or being raised by grandparents. But even if grandparents don’t live with their grandchildren, they nonetheless support parents by providing parenting tips, affordable childcare, much-needed breaks and more.
For children who are in high-risk situations caused by poverty or trauma, grandparents can really make a difference in helping form a child’s sense of normal relationships.
Grandparents, we love you. Come grab your grandchild and visit Fairyland. Sprinkle your special brand of stardust …and, while you’re at it, buy the kids some cotton candy and a noisy toy; that’s also part of the gig.
Fairyland’s Grandparents’ Week is Dec. 26 through 30; 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Free for grandparents! During Grandparents Week, in partnership with ScholarShare, go to http://www.fairyland.org for the chance to win $500 towards a ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan account!
Editor’s Note: At Children’s Fairyland, they have circulated nearly 85,000 self-guided school readiness activity sheets to our guests. Learning makes us happy.
C.J. Hirschfield has served for 13 years as Executive Director of Children’s Fairyland, where she is charged with the overall operation the nation’s first storybook theme park. Prior to that, she served as an executive in the cable television industry. C.J. is former president and current board member of the California Attractions and Parks Association, and also serves on the boards of Visit Oakland and the Lake Merritt/Uptown Business Improvement District. C.J. writes a weekly column for the Piedmont Post and OaklandLocal, where she loves to showcase the beauty of her city and its people. She holds a degree in Film and Broadcasting from Stanford University.