People are constantly telling new parents to enjoy every possible moment with their children because life passes by far too fast. Many parents take that advice in stride, not realizing just how true it actually is. Of course, all it takes is a few months of being a parent to understand the full wisdom behind the sentiment. Once the little ones enter elementary school, the time seems to fly by even faster, making you want to cherish what little time you get to spend with them around their increasingly busy schedules.
All the while, you'll find yourself wondering if the time you spend together as a family really matters to the children or not in the long run. Rest assured, it does. It matters a great deal. You may even be surprised to learn that the most lasting memories don't necessarily require spending a lot of money or even devoting much time to planning. Saying it's the little things that matter most may seem a bit cliched, but it's also true. Take a look at some great ways to create memories with your family that'll last a lifetime.
1) Cook Together
Food has an uncanny ability to bring people together and forge unbreakable bonds. That's just when you're eating it. When you prepare meals together as a family, even more memories can come from an otherwise mundane task. No matter what type of meal you're planning, there's bound to be something every member of the family can take part in. Let the younger ones mash potatoes while the older ones create a salad. Allow the kids to come up with a side dish of their own creation within reason, of course.
If you have teenagers, they can be even more involved in the meal preparation process. Let them be in charge of the meal while you sip margaritas and offer assistance when needed. You could have an outdoor kitchen, like those available from rtaoutdoorliving.com, installed to take the cooking adventure outside where cleanup tends to be a bit simpler. Even if the meal ultimately ends up being a disaster, it'll make for lasting laughs and fond memories of time spent together.
2) Take a Hike
Nature has so much to offer. Spending time in the sun gives you a healthy dose of vitamin D that helps with the absorption of calcium for strong bones. Vitamin D also fosters stronger muscles and heart health. Fresh air works wonders for the immune system and can even improve people's moods. Though children enjoy running and playing, being outside in the fresh air can actually have a calming effect on them. Going for a hike as a family allows everyone to enjoy all those benefits and many others while getting a firsthand look at the world's natural beauty.
3) Go Camping
Camping is another wonderful way to spend time together. Most children love to spend time outdoors, enjoying many of the benefits mentioned previously. Going camping gives the kids an expansive natural playground to enjoy. It also gets them out of the house, off the couch, and away from the television and other electronics. They'll get plenty of exercise and have experiences they just wouldn't have cooped up inside.
What if it rains all weekend? It doesn't matter. Keep in mind, children view the world very differently than adults. They won't say, "Remember that horrible camping trip when it rained the entire time?" They'll say, "Remember that awesome camping trip riding our bikes in the rain and roast marshmallows in the camper while watching movies?"
4) Take a Fishing Trip
Taking a child fishing offers several benefits. It teaches them new skills and can even impart the value of patience. Of course, it's also a wonderful bonding experience. Even if no one catches anything, you'll still have a chance to unwind, escape from the chaos of everyday life, and have relaxed, meaningful conversations with each other.
Taking a group of toddlers fishing may not be an ideal situation. In fact, it might even be dangerous and create more stress than it alleviates. Once the children are a little older, though, it's a perfect choice for an outing.
5) Plant a Garden Together
Planting and tending to a garden is a terrific family event as well. It's yet another excuse to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. At the same time, it's a valuable learning experience. It teaches children about the life cycle of plants, and they're sure to be amazed at what those tiny seeds they place in the ground evolve into. Once the crops come in, you can go back to the first idea and use those veggies to create a healthy meal together. Making a meal out of food you grew yourself is extremely satisfying and rewarding even for children.
6) Have Family Game Nights
This is another concept that may seem somewhat cliched, but it's also an incredible way to bond with the family. It's not just effective for younger children, either. Play board games with the teenagers as well. You might be surprised at the amount of uncontrollable laughter that ensues from something as simple as a game of Monopoly or Life. Your family is guaranteed to talk about those memories for years to come.
7) Enjoy Family Movie Nights
Movie nights can make for lasting family fun, too. Though older children may not enjoy the same movies as younger ones, it's certainly possible to find a middle ground. Many G-rated movies are fun for the entire family. For older children, picking out a few classic science fiction movies, old westerns, or comedies from decades ago could make for an interesting bonding experience.
8) Play Team Sports
Team sports give the entire family an opportunity to get outside and exercise. They're also a fun way to spend time together. From flag football to badminton and beyond, there are all types of sports everyone in your family can participate in together.
9) Make Christmas Ornaments
Art projects can be fun for the entire family, and those with a significant purpose are even more enjoyable. On top of that, when you make Christmas ornaments together, you'll have family-generated art that can be displayed every year at one of the most special times of the year. Each time you deck the halls, you'll bring back those memories of creating sparkly decorations as a family.
10) Create a Scrapbook
Scrapbooking is a popular hobby. With all the tools and equipment on the market designed for just this purpose, the decorative prospects are virtually endless. In essence, you'll be creating family memories while compiling photos of other family memories into an item that can be passed down from one generation to the next. It's a wonderful way to keep those memories alive.
Limitless Possibilities for Creating Unlimited Memories
Those are only a few ideas for creating lasting family memories. In truth, even something as simple as taking a drive and playing the punch bug game can make a lasting impression on children. Things don't have to go exactly as planned to spur lifelong memories, either. In some cases, it's the times when everything goes wrong that are remembered with the most fondness.