This week I am looking at the next 20 things to do with your kids before they grow up. The time goes by so quickly. One minute they are in need of your help every step of the way, and the next they are adamant that they can do it themselves and you look on both proud and sad. Don’t let those precious moments be taken away from you, don’t let work and life interfere, and do these things before your kids grow up…
41. Go to Disneyland. Ignore your inner cynic, stop thinking about your child being marketed at, and just go out and have wide-eyed fun together. Remember what it was like to walk into Disneyland with huge eyes and total awe.
42. Turn off the TV. Not for a minute, an hour or a day. Turn it off for seven whole days and see what happens to your family interactions.
43. Invent the Cuddle Attack and spend some time, every day, giving your children a huge hug that shows them how much they are loved.
44. Invent a family tradition. It could be anything from a serious moment to a daft contest on a specific day. Let the kids name it, make it and be in charge of it and watch it grow.
45. Tell them about the day they were born and how it made you feel.
46. Choose your own adventure. Remember those books? Well why not do a verbal equivalent at home. You start telling a story but let your kids decide what happens next. It is enormously entertaining.
47. Don’t get off the train until the kids say so and then explore whatever town you get off at. You may find something surprising!
48. Go camping. It has to be done at least once and if you don’t have the kit, borrow it!
49. Drive across country in a camper van. I’ve always wanted to do this, always, and if you can get the time off and can afford to rent one of these monsters, then go ahead and do it. Don’t plan your route, just drive!
50. Throw darts at a map and go there for the day. Obviously you will need a map of the local area or you may be in for a long drive.
51. Go to war! One half of the family dresses up as knights, the other as marauding ninjas. You build two forts, prepare your balloons (water balloons if you’re outside) and FIGHT! Brilliant. We did this at Pembroke Castle without the balloons and it was brilliant.
52. Do volunteer work that interests your children. Whether it is volunteering at an animal shelter or working with the elderly, it teaches you all the value of life and giving.
53. Teach them to play a musical instrument and learn with them. Create a band together. Make terrible music together. Remember the moments fondly.
54. Take them somewhere incredible and share in the majesty together. Ideas include: African Safari, The Grand Canyon, Whale Watching, and the Great Wall of China.
55. Create a doll house that looks identical to your house. My father did it for me, complete with mini painting replicas, and it was fantastic.
56. Paint a mural on their bedroom wall. Paint a mural in the bathroom! I’ve always wanted to do this and one day I will. I will create a design with my child and get someone to paint it for them. Then I will paint a blissful countryside scene onto my bathroom walls as I’ve always wanted to take a bath in a meadow.
57. Teach them core values and morals that will see them through the truly tricky tides of life.
58. I created a mailbox for my daughter and started sending her emails from when she was about three. These are memories, moments and thoughts that will be there for her to read when she is older.
59. Make pancakes for breakfast and eat them with Nutella and consequences be darned!
60. Have as many kisses, hugs, cuddles, bedtime stories and den chats as possible. Write down moments that stand out so you don’t forget them, and share them with your kids when they are older.