“We didn’t realise we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.”
Cast your mind back to your childhood: what’s your fondest, and most vivid, memory? Perhaps it’s the first time you camped out alone with your mates, the time you swam in the sea as the sun set, or the time you built a den with your dad in the back garden.
The childhood experiences we tend to remember most all have one common theme: adventure! Memories of adventures are the memories that live on, and that’s because they involve us experiencing something new and exciting for the very first time.
The sad thing is, there are plenty of stats to show that kids just aren’t experiencing the same things we did when we were young. In an age of smartphones, iPods, games consoles and tablets, kids are becoming increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Well, parents, it’s time to help them reconnect!
This weekend, why not relive some of your favourite childhood memories with your little ones? If your memory needs jogging, we’ve put together some ideas to get you started:
1. Get lost in nature
“Back in my day, there were no SatNavs or GPS.” Yep, we’ve caught ourselves saying this once or twice, too. But, in knowing where we are all the time, we lose the ability to get lost; to explore and enjoy the unknown.
So, when you head out this weekend, switch off the SatNav, store away those smartphones and let your intuition guide you! (OK, it’s probably a good idea to pack a pocket map, but only use it if you really need it).
2. Play Poohsticks
Poohsticks: a simple concept that’s loads of fun! If your winter walk takes you across a bridge, stop for a while to play Poohsticks in the stream. Get your kids to hunt for their own sticks – count to three before dropping them in and racing to the other side to see who wins the race!
3. Scavenge for material to build a den
Remember the first outdoor den you made, and how you pleaded with your parents to let you camp out overnight in it? Alright, so it might be too chilly for an outdoor sleepover, but you can still build a den to chill out in for a few hours. Keep it basic – all you need is a frame and cover, and the forest floor is an ideal spot to scavenge for materials.
4. Climb trees!
As kids, we were fearless and carefree. We can’t be the only ones who used to compete with our mates to see who could climb the highest tree (and we’d tell a white lie to our parents when they asked what we’d been up to).
It’s true: trees are nature’s climbing frames! So, the next time you’re strolling through a park or forest, why not show your little ones how fun it can be to clamber up a woody trunk?! (If you’d prefer the safety of a harness – which most people do – then you can always come and climb some trees at one of our Go Ape courses!).
5. Become photographer for the day with a disposable camera
OK, so the quality of the photos were never amazing, but there was something exciting in taking snaps on a disposable camera, not being able to view or delete them, and then waiting until you finished the film for the photos to be developed. You’d forget what photos you took, which made looking through them really exciting!
Nowadays, kids snap photos on their smartphones all the time. And these photos either end up deleted or stored only in the digital space. So, here’s an idea: why not take photos of your family adventures on a disposable camera, get the snaps developed and create a scrapbook with them!
6. Make your own vegetable patch
Plant it, grow it, eat it! Your kids are bound to love growing their own food; not only it is fun, but it’s educational, too. Plus, there’s something extremely satisfying about picking your own carrots and parsnips to cook for Sunday roast.
What do you remember from your childhood that you think kids nowadays are missing out on?