The best school holiday memories September 24 2015
Last school holidays we were very lucky to spend ten luxurious days in Bali. We were warm, relaxed and totally carefree. I was able to be a great Mum. Without the constant washing, cleaning and preparation of meals, I had so much free time to devote to my four energetic boys. Without all of the stresses that go with the school term and running a busy household, I was a fun, happy Mum too. I was the antithesis of me at 8am on a Monday morning trying to rally the troops out the door on time for school and kindergarten.
This school holidays we are staying at home. It is something we have been looking forward to for various reasons. Slow, messy mornings not rushing anywhere. Play dates. No bed time curfew’s. No homework, no sports training sessions and no deadlines. Bliss for different reasons.
The big boys (who share a room) are eagerly awaiting the delivery of their new bunk beds. That means I am using the opportunity to subtly discard some old toys and start spring cleaning. A chance to start term four feeling relaxed and organised before the routine starts again and we travel head first into summer.
In planning our two weeks “staycation” I have been thinking about my best memories of holidays as a child. To my surprise it was the long days at the local beach, pretending to camp on our trampoline and staying in our pyjama’s as long as we wanted, that I recalled first. I too grew up in a family with four children so that meant built in play dates and constant action. I’m sure my Mum chased her tail cleaning up after us, but to me the memories are all carefree. Making up games, entertaining ourselves and always surrounded by a lot of kids.
I was lucky to also grow up in a family with parents who loved to travel and explore. Whether it was intentional or not, they instilled this in each of us too. We had some amazing holidays travelling across the United States, riding donkeys in Greece and exploring different parts of South East Asia. But these were not the first things that sprung to mind when I was jogging my memory about my own school holidays. It was the “free” stuff. The games that required more imagination and the wild escapades that I got up to with my siblings.
Spending days building cubby houses in the garden bushes that included separate and elaborate kitchens, bedrooms & lounge rooms. Trying to fit all four of us on one bike and then riding fast down the hill. Of course, with no helmets. Or shoes. Never shoes.
Making mud pies and home made lemonade and then attempting to sell them out the front of our house. Finding 50 cents and sneaking down to the Milk Bar to buy the biggest bag of mixed lollies ever. Playing with the neighbours in the street until dark. Marco…..Polo. A Monopoly game that was taken so seriously that it consumed the kitchen table for days and days.
So while I would NEVER let my kids do most of the things I have just mentioned (I know I’m Mrs Fun Police) I have come up with just three fun things we would like to try these school holidays that I hope you will share with your kids at some stage too.
- Go out in the rain. Yes the rain. Rather than it be a hindrance, see it as an opportunity to have a lot of fun. Put on some old clothes or waterproof yourself as best as possible and go for a walk. Jump in puddles. Dance in the rain. I promise when you get over the initial jolt you will laugh with your children and they will rejoice in watching their Mum in a different light. After a warm shower and a change of clothes you will laugh some more. Priceless.
- Build the best cubby house possible and then try to have a sleepover in it. If you’re lucky enough to experience some warm nights, do it outside. If not, rearrange the lounge room for just one night. Yes it will be a big mess but who cares? Make it as elaborate as possible as it is the creation of your fortress that is most of the fun. Take in a “midnight snack” and snuggle up to your children with a torch. Even if you only last until 9pm, the look of them blissfully sleeping with a smile on their face will be worth it.
- Do something for others. Collect your old toys and take your children with you to a donation centre. Make colourful little notes with happy messages inside them and plant them in places around town for people to discover. Spend a day with arts and crafts and make lots of postcards to mail to friends. Go to your local park or beach equipped with gloves and bags and spend a few hours cleaning up. Teach them to do something for other people without expecting anything in return.
It doesn’t have to be expensive or exotic to be memorable.
In fact for me, the priceless memories are the one’s I least expected.