When I think back to my childhood, some of my most vivid memories are of simple things such as sitting next to my grandmother as she sewed a blanket for my teddy bear, or lying in the grass with my mom on a summer day, describing the shapes of clouds in the sky. Or licking frosting from beaters while watching my mom decorate cupcakes for my class party. Driving into town with my dad to get the newspaper and freshly baked doughnuts. Or being delightfully surprised on an unusually hot, spring day in third grade when a classmate’s mom brought Fudgesicles for our whole class. These moments may seem trivial, mundane perhaps, but in the mind of a child, this is the kind of stuff that makes for the absolute best memories. They’re the thoughts that come to mind when kids are prompted by teachers at school to describe what they love about their parents, family and caretakers.
Sure, I remember more special occasions with my parents, like going to a fancy restaurant, traveling as a family, going to sporting events, or other significant excursions, but what really made the lasting impression was my parent’s interaction within these events. Children feel special when we carve out time for them. When we connect with them on their level by listening to a story, watching them do something they love, or meaningfully interacting with them to create, build or do something, it becomes a beautiful memory. Making a dinner reservation or booking a hotel room is easy – child’s play, LOL! Putting together a Lego hospital or Playmobil castle requires setting aside time, patience, more TIME, and a genuine commitment to spend quality time with your child that he or she will remember.
Ideas for Making Memories:
- Camp indoors – pitch a tent or make a fort, decorate with battery-operated lights and read to your child using a flashlight
- Roast marshmallows over tea light candles
- Describe the clouds in the sky
- Visit a small airport and watch the planes take off and land
- Try a new recipe together
- Play your child’s favorite board game
- Make a crazy drink concoction
- Play the tasting game – blindfold a child and have her guess different foods items.
- Let your child choose the path on a family hike
- Do a simple science project together with household stuff - make a volcano, lava lamp, frozen slime, make play dough, etc.
- Build a bird feeder and watch the birds eat
- Blow up a bag of balloons and let kids play indoors or out
- Throw a ball, play catch or tag
- Fly a kite
- Decorate a dollhouse or build a model rocket