Think back, real hard. Do you remember every item in your toy box when you were 7 years old? Do you remember receiving each and every one of those plastic facsimiles of cartoon characters, games consoles or board games? Sure, you likely have one or two treasured memories of unboxing something you coveted for months or even years, but rarely will your most precious childhood memories be based around the acquisition of… stuff. Yet, in a capitalist society, we as parents are encouraged to measure our worth in terms of how much mass manufactured stuff we can help our kids accumulate. And sure, unwrapping it on their birthday or Christmas might afford them a fleeting moment of joy, but there’s a good chance that the object of their affections may well lie forgotten in a box somewhere after 6 months while their capricious young minds have moved on to the next big thing.
Kids and clutter
When you rewatch Toy Story with your kids, it can be a real eye opener when it comes to realizing just how much stuff your average 8 year old accumulates over the years. Just how much of that stuff has brought them any real value in the past year? We all know that clutter is at best a visual distraction and at worst a drain on our mental health in our adult years. Why should we assume that it’s any different for our kids. Instead of conditioning our kids to believe that the path to self fulfillment is through the acquisition of stuff, we should help them to realize that childhood memories are made not by toys, games and computers… But by shared experiences as a family. Whether it’s indoors or outdoors at home, out of state or even overseas, here are some memorable experiences for kids that are way more memorable and fulfilling than any material gift…
Learning new skills
When we learn new skills, we actively engage our brains and become more receptive to the world around us. We stop coasting through our day and pay serious attention. Thus, when kids learn to play a new sport, become proficient in a new activity or develop a new set of skills they’re more likely to form happy memories that they’ll reflect back on for the rest of their lives. Whether it’s learning to ski on DPS Wailer 112 skis, learning to pitch a tent or start a fire on their first family camping trip or even learning to ride a bike, learning new skills will help them to form lasting childhood memories. Not to mention enriching their childhood and helping them to find new interests and hobbies.
Travelling overseas is an extremely edifying and educational experience for kids. Immersing themselves in new cultures and locations with new sights, sounds, smells and tastes is a terrific way for them to learn new skills, build new relationships and forge long lasting and meaningful memories.
Finally, we all have our own family traditions that we hope will live on in our kids long after we’re gone. Whether it’s preparing milk and cookies for Santa the night before Christmas, creating a spooky haunted house every Halloween or simply all gathering together to snuggle up on the sofa for a movie night. Encourage your kids to embrace your family traditions so that they can pass them on to their own kids someday.