I know all parents desire a family vacation where their kids come home with great family memories. Today I want to share a few tips that we have learned for creating those unforgettable moments and still having a great time.
First of all it is very important not to expect every moment and event to be extra special. I have tried too many times to make everything we do memorable and honestly that makes for a tired and stressed mommy (and I will add tired and stressed daddy and kids).
I would encourage you rather to pick one thing to focus your energy on and make it big, fun, and exciting. I still plan other fun activities, but I don’t stress as much about those. If I purpose the one big event to be what I want us to remember and cherish from our vacation, I am able to plan it better which makes for a more relaxed and happy event.
For our last vacation our memorable event was building a huge sand castle. I love this activity for many reasons. One: who hasn’t dreamed of making a giant sand castle, two: it didn’t cost anything, and three: we could go as long as we wanted and be finished when our little ones had had enough.
Here are my 5 tips for keeping it fun for all and helping to make the memories last.
While the rest of our family enjoys body surfing and we could have easily made this into our memorable event the problem with it was that Eli didn’t like being anywhere near the big waves. Instead we had to pick something that everyone would enjoy and get involved in.
Eli is almost two and hasn’t mastered sandcastle building but boy does he know how to dig. He dug holes and filled buckets of sand for mommy.
Tip #2: Assign everyone a job.
When everyone knows their job they can feel proud about the work they are doing and nobody is walking around getting into trouble or messing up someone else work.
Remember the activity is about doing it together and not about the end result. Our tower walls were not perfectly straight or all the same height but they were created by Eden and I working together. Working together and her feeling good about her work was so much more important than a perfect castle.
I have found the best way for the kids to remember your great time is to have pictures for them to look back at and then talk about the time together. This also goes back to Tip #2, give someone the job of taking pictures of all the details. Just be sure to get a few pictures of the photographer too.
Each trip is different but this time we planned our activity around nap times and to avoid extreme temperatures. After dinner when the beach was shaded was the perfect time for working on our sandcastle. This activity would have not been as fun in the middle of the day with the hot sun beating down on us. I also didn’t have to worry about continually putting on sunscreen.
It was a happy coincident but we were able to tie our sandcastle theme into a special ice cream treat one evening. The local ice cream parlor had a Sandcastle Challenge that included eating 7 scoops of ice cream (we got to pick our flavors), a crushed waffle cone, 3 kinds of syrup, cookies, nuts, whip cream, and lots of cherries. All was served in a sand bucket and the kids had a blast using the shovel to eat.