‘Grand’parenting: Creating a museum of memories

What memories do you conjure up when you think back to your childhood? If you grew up in New Zealand they probably include lots of long hot summers spent playing outside, baking some of the classic dishes from Edmond’s cookbook, and winter nights spent with the family by the fire. Just thinking about it now will probably make you smile.

Memories are something we can give to our grandchildren that will stay with them always.  A legacy of happy memories – a museum of recollections they can wander through again and again later in life. It will give them joy and also roots, as they re-interpret their childhood experiences with adult insight.


We enjoyed these ideas as a family and you just might as well

Sleep out with your kids in a small tent

Brilliant fun, and a real adventure – even if it’s just on your back lawn. There were enough nighttime squeaks and scufflings around our compost heap to make it a pretty scary adventure.

Sleep marae style in the lounge

Drag the mattresses into the lounge and tell stories in the dark. Lots of giggling, midnight snacks and torch-beam sword-fights. You might think, “Why am I lying on the floor when I have a lovely big bed just a few meters down the passage?” It’s making memories, and hey, at least you’re not in a tent.

Breakfast barbecues

Though I love to linger late in the sack, I must admit that parks and beaches are beautiful in the early morning. The kids loved the mistiness, novelty, and having the whole place to themselves. One time we did it, two pigs came running out of the bushes to scrounge our scraps.  And that was in the Auckland Domain, not the middle of the bush.

Satellite spotting

“How boring!” said our oldest when I suggested this. But after he had done it he was the keenest to do it again. Get away from the city’s light pollution on a clear evening and lie on the grass.  The best satellite spotting happens just an hour or so after sunset. There is something incredibly moving about that cathedral of stars – I bet you will find yourselves whispering after a while.

Have fun, and make time for adventures. Our kids are only going to have one childhood – and guess who is going to give it to them?

By John Cowan, The Parenting Place

Improving and equipping families to thrive.

Read more from John and The Parenting place here.