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The Importance Of Summer Memories, And How To Treasure Them

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A mother raises her small daughter into the air, while sat beneath a tree in summer time.

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Think back to your own childhood and the kinds of memories that most stand out.

Chances are, you're recalling happy times in the sunshine. The long summers of childhood can be a magical time for families, and live long in the memory as we grow older - perhaps even more so than festivities such as Christmas or Chanukah.

There's something about summer memories that is particularly stirring. Whether playing games together in the sunshine, running around on a sandy beach, or taking a picnic beneath the dappled light of tree cover, we all look back fondly on the sunny season.

Memories are everything. How can we make the most of summer to ensure we have a time we'll never forget? Why are memories so important in the first place, and how can we make sure we never lose them?

See also: Forget the Beach... the Best Alternative Family Experiences for Summer, and Have you Made Your Summer Bucket List?

Creating The Best Summer Memories

A smiling family are out for a walk in a wooded area lined with birch. The children sit on their parents' shoulders.

The best memories are the ones that stick around in your head without the need for any kind of photography. They tend to involve unusual experiences or situations that provoke the emotions (preferably positive ones). So to lay down the best summer memories, you need to do things that go a little beyond the norm.

Making Holiday Memories

For many families, the best summer memories are tied in with holidays or short trips. Almost by definition, holidays are a break from normal, generic life and a chance to visit new places and share novel experiences. Try to build the unusual into your trip. You're sure to have a pleasant time lazing on a beach, but how much more of a summer to remember would it be if you also have a go at snorkelling, donkey rides, boat trips, surfing, exploring a lighthouse or any of the more unusual experiences to be gathered at the seashore.

Similarly, you could try visiting the kinds of attraction you've not yet ventured to with the family. How about a day on the farm, learning to ride a horse? Or an exhausting but rewarding afternoon fruit picking? If you've got older children, you could attempt to climb the three highest peaks in your area (even if they're just hills), or go wild swimming in a nearby lake.

Keeping It Simple

That said, you don't have to travel far to surf the summer vibe. Long walks are wonderful (and cheap) ways to create memories. The simple action of moving around triggers parts of the brain that don't see much action when you're doing little more than sitting around the home. New sights, colours, smells and sounds all feed into the sensorium, building some of the most powerful summer memories.  

Even time spent creatively in the garden can develop into the perfect summer's day. Play family games, or find an activity you wouldn't normally do, to set the day apart from the countless others you've played outside. To brainstorm just five ideas, you could bring home a pair of stilts, or a pogo stick, for the family to take turns on; stage a home Olympics, with running, throwing and jumping events; invest in a game of giant Jenga, connect 4 or another garden game; have a nature day, when you comb every corner of the garden for small creatures, and note down what you find; or watch a movie outside, perhaps using a large tent to screen off the sun.

The Importance Of Making Memories As A Family

A humorous brass bench plaque in London reads "In loving memory of a loving memory".

You might ask "why bother with all this". After all, you also make plenty of memories from the little things in life, such as the giggle you get when a child comes out with something funny. But we also need to build up a bank of memories that go a little further.

Picture yourself, say, 20 years from now, when the kids are all grown up and perhaps moved away. How much would you give to be able to go back and visit that time, just for a few hours, and see them playing as children once again? You can't go back, but you remember summer days filled with joy, and that's the next best thing. The more shared, unusual, and remarkable experiences you enjoyed as a family, the more you'll have to look back on with misty eyes.

Spark Their Curiosity

It works both ways, too. Offering a child a wide variety of experiences can be transformative. They're more likely to find something that sparks their imagination and leaves a lasting impression; not just a memory, but a fillip to their curiosity that leads them on to further adventures and experiences.

A child who grows up steeped in happy and varied activities with their family is likely to be more rounded and content than someone who spent their childhood mostly amusing themselves. Building happy summer memories in their early years will also bind them closer to the wider family as they enter their teens and adult years. We grow as a family through shared experiences. It's a win-win.

How To Organise And Treasure Your Family Memories

These days, we have no shortage of ways to capture memories. Almost everyone carries round a high resolution camera in their pocket, thanks to advances in mobile technology. We can even shoot lengthy videos, panoramas, slow-motion footage and timelapse - a miniature film studio that's ready to record at a second's notice.

But taking hundreds of snaps and hours of video footage is not enough. It's all too easy to leave our digital records sitting around in the cloud or on hard drives and forget what we have. You may be just one technology failure away from losing those precious images.

Building Photo Books And Scrapbooks

So, even in this digital age, it pays to move your favorite holiday snaps and other memories of summer into a more tangible home. Perhaps you could put together a vacation photo album or scrap book to forever bind and capture those precious summer vibes.

The very act of choosing the best images to print, and them sticking them into your travel photo album will be enough to cement those memories into your long-term recall. The selected summer memories will be reinforced every time you open the album. You're much more likely to browse a photo and relive those long-lost days if the image is in a properly labelled volume, as opposed to sitting within a memory bank with thousands of other images.

You can take this further still by getting the kids to make their own DIY photo album. This could be a simple repository for photographs, or could include scrapbook elements, such as rail tickets, wristbands and other flat objects that spark travel memories. You could even start a pictorial family diary to record everything you do over one summer - which could be quite time consuming, but is hard to beat as a way of collecting together summer memories.

Another option is to create a memory tree. This is a way to collate and show off memories from a specific event, such as a holiday, outing or birthday. The kids can draw the branches of a tree, then populate them with good memories in the form of photos, keepsakes and even drawings.

And then, of course, you could do things the really old fashioned way and ignore the digital camera. Instead get hold of an old film camera (processing centres are still surprisingly common), or a Polaroid camera that will print out photographs straight away. Using these more limited technologies, you're likely to spend longer considering which moments are truly important to capture, and will then cherish the resulting images all the more.

See Also

If you found this article helpful, then why not take a look at Everything You Need For A Family Beach Day, or How to Explore the English Countryside.

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Kidadl Team

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The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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