I find myself reminiscing sometimes of adventures way back when, before my children arrived. The freedom I was afforded, the plans that were weeks in the making that came, after much anticipation and excitement, to fruition and mostly, the utter spontaneity with which my social life seemed to pan out.
It was a great part of my life and one that has brought me to where I am today but now there are new adventures to be had. Gone are the almost selfish pursuits which I yearned to seek out and in their place I find myself planning weekend activities that I can share and experience with my two boys.
It goes without saying that any time spent with your children is like money in the bank, for want of a better expression, but building memories through shared activities is what hopefully, you will be reminiscing about in years to come. I would like to share with you a few of our favourite activities that we enjoy as a family.
My boys are absolutely obsessed with wildlife and whenever we tell them that we’re off to see the butterflies and the creepy crawlies we have to make sure that our ear plugs have been pre-inserted. Being fairly young, they are always keen to explore and hopefully find new things. Because of this we like to turn the walk into a scavenger hunt where the boys can check items off a list when they have seen them. There are many examples online or you can make a tailor made list of things that you are sure to be found on your excursion.
Seldom will you ever experience a more all-encompassing family day out than when you pack a picnic and turn up at the local park/beach/lake. In my mind, picnics are akin to a whole vacation packed into one day. There’s fresh air, food and entertainment in abundance and kids can come and go from home base (or in this case the picnic blanket) at their convenience. We always take a Frisbee and a bat and ball which all but guarantees some exhausted kids for the journey home.
This is actually an activity that runs in conjunction with another one that we like to do, namely camping out. We are very lucky in that light pollution is not as big a hindrance for us as it is for the vast majority and therefore our camping tends to be done in the back yard. We are not at the stage yet where we have bought a telescope but the kids love looking at the moon through our binoculars and learning the constellations with the help of star tracking apps that we have on our tablets.
Fun With Water
On the face of it hot summer days sound like a dream but can often lead to testing times when you have children. In theory, these are the days where you should be able to enjoy family time to the max but sometimes the reality is that you are left with irritable kids who are begging for some relief from the intense heat. This is when a day filled with water activities can be a real life saver. We are lucky enough to have a water park relatively close to where we live but if you don’t have that option available to you there are still many viable alternatives. Water guns can provide hours of entertainment as can balloons or even a simple garden hose. The bonds made during these hours interacting with your kids whilst providing great entertainment for all ages are likely to last a lifetime. Just remember to follow correct child safety protocols for days in the sun.
Riding bikes as a family offers so many obvious benefits but at the end of the day, the time that you are spending together is all that matters. Picking a quiet, scenic route is essential to maximising your biking experience, as is making provisions for stop off points and refreshments. We like to pick terrains that aren’t too flat. This means some good old fashioned hard work is required for the inclines, we can stop and rest at the peaks and then the enjoyable, thrilling decline can be savoured at the end.
I’ll be honest. I’m not a great cook. I did not have my grandma or mom teaching me recipes at a young age that have stuck with me that I can pass on down to my own kids. Some of my favourite memories of my childhood however are making cakes at school and being elated when I got to stick my fingers in the remnants of the cake mix and greedily licking them clean. This is something that has stuck with me and something that I wanted my kids to experience. You don’t have to be the best cook in the world. Sometimes it’s much better if things do go wrong. It’s all about shared experiences and time spent with your family strengthening bonds.