Originally featured on Dandelion Moms.
What do you remember most about your childhood?
What experiences stand out the most?
Have you ever seen, heard, smelled, or felt something as an adult that brought you back in time – a memory so vivid that you could swear you were a child again, if only for an instant?
For me, the fondest and most vivid memories of my childhood were created during years of camping trips with my family. I can remember in great detail the excitement of packing up the van and trailer, my dad, free from his work clothes and stress, laughing and joking as he drove, and the sounds of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” playing as we munched on beef jerky and played car games in the back. I can still smell the burned marshmallows on the campfire, hear the crackling of leaves under my feet, and smell the freshness of the mountain air filled with the scent of pine trees. But most of all, I remember being happy. This happiness had nothing to do with toys, gadgets, or TV shows, but on the joy of spending time with my family – sharing new experiences and creating amazing memories.
What about you? Do your fondest memories involve “things” or experiences?
As a homeschool mom, I have been doing a lot of research on how kids learn. Most of the studies show that the best learning is not achieved in a classroom, at our desk at work, or even on our cozy couch. Instead, the most vivid learning, the kind that stays with us long-term, involves our 5 senses of sight, sound, hearing, taste, touch, and smell, plus a feeling or emotional connection while we are experiencing them.
When we spend time making memories with our children through experiences involving nature, food, exploration, music, laughter, etc…, they will positively remember those far more than if we bought them a video game or a toy and stayed inside playing at home. Also, by abandoning technology and fully immersing ourselves in the experience with our kids, whether it be playing in the local park, camping at the beach, analyzing and discussing paintings in an art museum, or exploring a foreign city, the key is to enjoy them together and away from home, where distractions and obligations often derail our plans.
From the simple to the extravagant, there is no right way to create memories with our kids – we all have different circumstances and desires. The only requirement is to leave our troubles and stresses at home and spend quality time with our kids while they still want to spend time with us!
Each joyful experience where kids are with their families and exploring a part of their world with curiosity and wonder creates a memory that lasts. These experiences don’t have to cost a dime. We are born with our senses waiting to be used. Nature and love are free. All we have to do is invest our time and our kids will do the rest – they already know how to live in the moment and that is where the greatest memories are made!
And, instead of buying Junior another gadget or video game, why not spend the money on experiences and making memories instead? Memories never get old, lost, broken, or thrown away. They last forever. Now I call that a good investment!
Have a fun-filled, memory-making day!!
Share with us a favorite memory from childhood.