When it comes to families – the feeling seems unanimous – it’s the quality of time your spend together, not the quantity – that’s the golden ticket. So how can we improve the quality of time we spend together as families when we are all feeling the total frazzle of overwhelm of modern day life and all of it’s mind boggling demands? When we are so caught up in rushing back and forth, making sure mouths are fed, homework is done, and that we are keeping our sanity in tact all the while?
I’m not saying I have all the answers here, but one thing that really helps us handle the general overwhelm in our family is simply to focus on making memories with our children. Memories guide our thoughts, actions and decisions; they shape who we are. But as we become busier and more digitally distracted, are we investing enough time in creating new memories? Here’s twenty of my favourite things we love to do as a family which maybe you might fancy taking as inspiration to make memories with your children too.
I am definitely no Mary Berry, and have had my fair share of disaster bakes in the kitchen, but one thing our daughter loves to do time and time again with me is bake. Never mind what the result is, there is something so special about spending time together baking – it’s a brilliant bonding experience and whether you are a whizz baker or a damage limitation baker like myself, it’s a great way to create memories with your children. Here are some easy baking recipes to make with kids to get you started.
2. Take them fishing
My other half loves to take our daughter fishing, and again it’s a great bonding experience. The random chat and banter as you wait to hook a fish, the excitement when you reel one in. You don’t even need to be an experienced fisherman or woman to take them fishing. It’s more about just carving out that special time with them to do something different and connect with nature that really creates a beautiful moment and memory here.
3. Go fruit and vegetable picking
Making your way through rows of strawberry plants, sneaking in juicy, ripe sweet berries as you go, digging up carrots and traipsing through pumpkin fields, marvelling at how huge those courgettes are, and getting lost in rows of corn…enough said!
4. Go on a “midnight” drive
Don’t panic! I’m not suggesting you actually haul your kids out of bed at midnight to go on a drive. But we love to create the illusion of going on a midnight drive during the winter months by jumping in the car and heading out to a service station at around 6pm, having a bite to eat there and a “midnight snack”, and heading home where they flop into bed. I know, not exactly glamorous but if you’re a child this can really seem like a fantastic adventure and that’s all that counts!
5. Build an indoor den
This is a great one for the Winter months when it’s too cold to go camping. Build a den, stick some cushions and blankets in there, snuggle up with a torch and read some books with your children. So beautifully simple but it always feels so magical.
6. Do science experiments together
Make an exploding volcano, or perhaps some colour changing vampire blood, or some frozen slime. There are so many simple science experiments you can do with them at home – children absolutely love experiments and it’s usually quite fun for we the parents too (just be sure to embrace the chaos along the way!)
7. Craft together
Crafting can be a really great way of being in the moment together, and arts and crafts can be a really relaxing way of spending some quality time together with your children once they are through the disaster zone of the toddler years. If you’re looking for some ideas to get cracking with check out these winter craft ideas for kids.
8. Make shadow puppets
Get lost in a world of shadows and put on an impromptu shadow puppet show. This is a lovely thing to do at bedtime as a spin on the usual bedtime story, and all it requires is your hands – think owls, foxes and the like.
9. Indulge in some cloud gazing
There is nothing like being in the moment than lying down on the grass and looking up at the sky, trying to figure out what all the different clouds look like. It’s a lovely way to slow down time and let your subconscious minds weave a bit of magic in each other’s company.
10. Go firework hunting
This one is very seasonal but next time fireworks night rolls around, try it! There is something very exciting about jumping in a car together and driving around, trying to spot fireworks in and around your neighbourhood.
11. Have a snowball sock fight
We all long for more snow days, but in the absence of these, rolling up your socks into snowballs and throwing them at each other inside is absolutely priceless!
12. Have a staring contest
Legend has it that eye contact can make you fall in love so what better way to reconnect with your children and look deeply into their eyes before you fall all over the place laughing at the ridiculousness of a staring contest. The true stuff of memories!
13. Watch YOUR favourite cartoons together
Yes, it might feel that life revolves around Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and PJ Masks, but you would be amazed at how willing and mesmerised your sproglets can be by your favourite childhood cartoons. Mister C and the little miss have a weekend ritual of snuggling up in bed in the morning watching Road Runner together. Such a simple thing but definitely something I know will be a future memory of hers.
14. Have a compliment exchange
Compliments make people smile, and we like to remember the things which make us happy, so why not create a new dinner ritual and give each other compliments. Sounds cheesy I know, but not only does it make everyone feel great (and lessen fussy eater battles) but it’s a lovely way of creating feel good memories too.
15. Take them camping
Before we first went camping together as a family, I though anyone that went camping with small kids must be CRAZY. But then we did it, and I totally got it. The slowness and simplicity of all, the being amongst nature, the true quality time together – now I understand why so many people have fond memories of going camping with their family. You can create them too!
16. Go ice skating
Whether you spend more time with your bum on the ice rather than gliding around like an ice skating whizz, there is no denying that going ice skating as a family is a great way of creating lovely memories. I don’t know why ice skating feels just so magical but we have started a tradition of going on New Year’s Day and I know that’s going to be such a lovely ritual to add to our memory bank.
17. Make music together
Bust out the maracas, triangle and tambourine and have a family jam! Put on your favourite tunes and unleash the xylophone and cymbals, have a bash on the piano – whatever you have at your disposal, it may be more noise than music, but you know how the songs of your past evoke distinct memories….well you’ve got to start somewhere eh?
18. Dance like nobody’s watching
…but together. Blast the volume up and let loose around the kitchen table. Dancing is not only amazing for your brain, but all those endorphins surely can’t fail to create some happy memories when you collectively shake your money maker.
19. Play your favourite board games
In this digital age when the whole idea of gaming seems to have moved online, board games have never been more important for bringing people together. Hunkering down on rainy Sundays in your PJs trying to be the last one standing in Jenga is fast becoming one of our favourite memories in progress.
20. Tell stories about your past
As we become more and more distracted in this world, the art of storytelling is slowly dying. Well I say bring it back! Story telling is a great way of reliving old memories to your family and creating new ones in doing so. The perfect full circle don’t you think?
What do you do to make memories with your children? Do leave a comment and share. And if you enjoyed this post and would like to capture some of those memories on camera, here are some great tips for photographing children that you might like.
*This is a collaborative post