Aside from going to Ocean City MD each summer, I have realized that most of the fun I had in my childhood was simple and cheap. The memories I am left with are really not about the actual activity at all, but about the feeling that resulted. I can remember the feeling of joyful discovery just as strong when I was scouring someone’s driveway for rose quartz stones as when I was on the boardwalk riding rides. Another good childhood memory where I felt special because my father chose to play badminton with me into the wee dusk hours after finishing up the milking trumps all of the trips to our nearest amusement park combined.
Creating good feelings and memories with your children does not have to cost much. I’d like to share with you some of my personal and precious memories I have from my childhood in the hopes that you can recreate these for your own children.
Visiting the Pet Store
I always remember my mother running a ton of errands. Fortunately for us, whenever we went to this one shopping center in Thorndale she would allow us to visit the pet shop next door to the store she needed. Of course, we knew we could never actually buy one of the pets (and we had a hundred or so “pets” on the farm anyway), so allowing us into the store was not a dangerous thing.
Going through Automatic Car Washes
One of our luxuries as little kids was when a parent took us through the automatic car wash. It was so neat watching the car get a bath and rinsed off while staying nice and dry inside.
Hunting for Gems
My father would take one or two of us with him when visiting other farmers/neighbors. One of these farmers in particular had beautiful rose quartz in their meadow/barnyard. Each time we went to visit I would spend an hour or so hunting for rose quartz (like finding treasure!). Also, at the edge of one of our fields was rumored to be arrowheads. My sister, brother, and I used to dig for these every so often. I don’t think we ever found anything, but how entertaining it was for us! As a bonus, one year I was given the Rock Tumbler as a Christmas gift, which gave us a way to polish any stones we found.
My grandmother’s grave, (she passed away when I was 5), is located at the end of the road where our farm is in PA. I remember taking a few walks down this road with my uncle and aunt. Each time we would collect the wildflowers we saw along the way to place on my grandmother’s grave. Finding different colored flowers along the roadside was like a game, and in the end we had a lovely little bouquet.
Having a Girls’ Night
My then-stepmother was very good at doing hair/makeup/and other girly things. Every so often she would put our hair in curlers or tweeze our eyebrows. One night she let us go through her jewelry box and gave us a few items from her party days. These nights were precious.
Using Temporary Tattoos
I can’t remember when we were first allowed to have temporary tattoos, but I do remember the absolute joy we had from partaking in such a forbidden (and temporary) thing.
Burying a Time Capsule
My childhood friend Michelle and I decided to bury a time capsule together one summer. We loaded a metal tin with baseball cards, trinkets, a friendship necklace, a contract that we signed (we made a pact to return at a certain age no matter what; it was like the movie “It” but without a crazy serial killer clown), etc. and went into my family’s woods to dig a hole for burial. Unfortunately, she decided that she wanted her baseball cards back and so we dug it up a few short years later. Still, it was very fun to open up the tin and see how much time had changed us in such a short period.
Sleepovers are so much fun (though now I feel bad for the parents who oftentimes didn’t get to sleep). Sometimes I would be allowed to have one friend sleep at my house, and other times I got to attend a sleepover with a group of people at someone else’s home. Always a lot of giggling, getting to know everyone even better, not much sleep, movies, and tons of food.
Camping Out in the Front Yard
Several times my brother, sister and I would pitch a tent in our front yard and go “camping” for the night. This usually coincided with some sort of eclipse or meteorite show we wanted to stay up for (and we never actually stayed awake long enough to see whatever we had wanted to begin with). This was a great way to get us excited, planning, and out of the house for awhile!
Please share your own simple childhood pleasures below. I would love to hear about them! Have you shared them with your own children?