Making memories that last a lifetime can be fun and inexpensive.
What do I remember from summers as a child? I remember playing with my friends outside. We played kickball, dodge ball, and hide-and-go seek. We skated on the side walk, rode our bikes around the block, and walked to the public pool. Summer holidays were the best. We gathered at my uncle’s home to celebrate. The adults cooked and the children played. The men would tend the grill while the women laid the tables. Bowls of homemade potato salad, baked beans, and corn-on-the cob were standard summer fare. And of course, hot dogs, hamburgers, and barbecued chicken and ribs were on the menu. Every now and then, there was homemade ice cream. The food was simple but good. Being with family was fun. Life was great.
Other than books, I don’t remember many of the things I got for Christmas. And, to be honest, I don’t remember a single birthday present. I know I got presents – I probably had a birthday party every year of my life until I was 12 years old, and even after that, we celebrated with ice cream and cake and always, always, received gifts. So why don’t I remember the gifts? Because the gifts weren’t important. What I do remember is how I felt. I remember feeling the warmth and camaraderie that only comes from being with close family and good friends. I remember feeling loved. I was making memories that to this day, I still treasure.
In today’s difficult economic times, expensive gifts and vacations are out of the question for many families. However, making memories that last a life time are not. Your children will remember how they felt much more than what they got, where they went, or what they did. With a little planning, you can have some fun and create some great memories for your family. Here are seven ideas to get you started.
1. Take them to some of your favorite places.
When I was a kid, I loved to go for ice cream or to the candy shop. The local drug store had a soda fountain and sold ice cream. I remember sitting at the bar and ordering Cherry Cokes or ice cream sundaes. When I went to the candy shop, I’d press my nose against the glass and mull over what I wanted and how much I could get with my nickel or dime. I want my grandchildren to have similar memories so when they visit, I take them to Atz’s Ice Cream. It’s as close as I can get to an old fashioned ice cream parlor. Once when they were there, we were taking pictures with my mom in front of the shop by an old-fashioned water pump. We heard a buzzing sound and discovered a nest of bees close by. A couple of years later, I texted a picture of that water pump to their father and asked him to show it to them. The first things they mentioned were the bees and Granny.
Abby Brown’s Candy Shoppe has the old-fashioned counter with the glass display. Whereas candy no longer costs a nickel or dime, my grandchildren love looking through the glass and making their choices.
2. Encourage an appreciation of nature.
Take them for walks in the park or visit a local nature preserve. Make a game of spotting different kinds of birds or animals. Go close to the water’s edge and try to identify the inhabitants that live close to the shoreline.
3. Send your kids outside to play.
Make them take a technology break. Challenge them to use their imagination and come up with new games or introduce them to old ones. Better yet, you go with them and join the fun.
4. Plan some family gatherings.
Invite family members over for a backyard cookout or take the cookout to a nearby park. Have a hula-hoop contest, play soccer, Frisbee, or other age appropriate games. Be sure to have some bottles of bubbles on hand. Kids love blowing bubbles and you can capture some great photos.
5. Take your children fishing, camping, or hiking.
These activities allow you to spend time talking, laughing, and just being. You get to know them and they get to know you. They may or may not develop a love for this or that experience, but they will remember that you took the time to share it with them.
6. Take a staycation instead of a vacation.
Let the family know that this year, you will be vacationing close to home. Discover the features or attractions close to you and let each family member choose one or two things to do. They will remember being a part of the decision making process.
7. Go visit a relative that lives close to an attraction you may want to visit.
Lodging is often the most expensive part of a trip. If you have a relative that lives close to an attraction, ask if you can spend the night with them. This saves money and allows time to visit with family you might not get to see often.
Memories happen; with or without our help, we are making memories every day. The trick is to create pleasant, heartfelt memories that last a lifetime. I’m making an effort to create the memories I want my family to have. What about you? What low-cost, inexpensive way have you found to have fun this summer and create memories that will last a life time? Tell me about it. Subscribe. Comment. Share.
Every dime counts.