by Amber Bishop
Creating family memories take some time and effort but the rewards and pay offs are tremendous. Your children will have memories of their youth whether you are intentional about it or not, so why not instill a few that you want to be there. I have found three things that keep the “wonder” alive. Your children are only “young” once and the stage of wonder and mystery is so special. It makes sense that we fan it early helping them to develop life long memories inspired by you.
Outdoor Time: Never underestimate the benefit of playing out side. Think back to when you were a child. Do you remember the feeling you felt when the day was done after a good day of play? All of life is learning and outside time is part of it. Maybe you are blessed with a large back yard or you live in a rural area. Use it to your advantage. In our family we have created a “thinking bag”. It has a magnifying glass, flash light, journal to record new discovers, small brush, chisel and hammer (to hunt for fossils). We even started a “nature blog” to record all of the wonderful things we find from day to day. If you live in a suburban or urban area like our family, try to plan field trips that give your children new things to experience outdoors. On rainy days, if there is no lightning, let them splash in puddles and play outside. Do you remember doing that as a child and how much fun it was? Yes, there will be messy, wet children to clean up, but isn’t the memory worth the mess? I never thought of it until a friend of mine mentioned swimming in a drizzle. The children talked so much of it after the experience that I routinely look for rainy days that they can play outside.
Creative Cooking: Part of our home school experience involves learning how to cook in the kitchen. Children are never too young to learn. Begin with some small chore or project. 2’s and 3’s can chop cucumbers or watermelons with butter knives, 4 and 5’s can grate cheese and prepare simple recipes. Older children can even help with larger meal prep. This year we decided to create a family cook book with some of our favorite recipes. I am using one of those digital online book companies to create a family keepsake that will serve us well over the years. The joy of discovering new things in the kitchen will last a lifetime. Just imagine them as adults, making pancakes with fond memories of all the times they made them with you as a child.
Classic Literature: We all know that reading is an essential part of a well developed childhood. Reading is also a tool that gives your children a knowledge base for their whole life. Make sure to read good literature that uses challenging vocabulary. Read out loud just a little bit past their reading level. This will challenge them to stretch their critical thinking skills. Impart to them the love of “story”. Studies have shown that learning happens best when it is infused with story. It is commonly called the “parable method”. Take some time after dinner to read tales of wonder, mystery and adventure out loud as a family. Not only will it give you bonding time as a family, it will instill a love of reading and a cherished memory your children will hold their whole life through.
I always know when our week has been a bit off; the kids are complaining and bored. I haven’t instilled enough wonder for them. It doesn’t take a ton of planning or expense to instill wonder. Capitalize on the little moments and think outside of the box. You and your children will be developing memories that will last a life time.