I’d sort of set myself a bit of a goal these holidays to do some good wholesome family things with the time I’d got off. The type of things that I did when I was a kid that stuck with me, that I look back on, make me smile and give me those warm fuzzy feelings we all love.
When I think back to my childhood school holidays – I don’t remember playgyms (not quite sure if they were invented back then!), I don’t remember beaches in Spain (Mablethorpe was as exotic as it got), I don’t remember trips to Toys R Us. I do remember endless sunshine, riding my bike (without a helmet – oh my goodness.. ) , 99’s from the icecream van, building sandcastles at the seaside and decorating them in seashells. I appreciate that you look back through rose tinted glasses, I don’t think for one minute that the sun shined all the time or that I never complained of being bored. But my fondest and dearest memories are of the simple things.
If I’m honest, I to find it very easy when doing activities with the kids, to sit back, stand on the sidelines, and watch them play. I have found myself far too many times telling them to go off and play, whilst I sit with a cuppa chatting to a friend. Its hard sometimes (often in fact) to get involved, to run around with them, to get dirty knees scrambling along the grass – it takes a conscious effort on my part. But I tell you what – its so worth it. Listening to them squeal as I chased around playing tig, and the giggles and laughter as I catch them and tickle them all over. The effort was worth every moment of being out of breath, panting and being that little bit on the sweaty side (note to self.. a return to the gym on a regular basis is most definitely required!)
I was trying to decide what we should for the last couple of days of the holidays. I felt we’d not done much that was particularly exciting – a lot of visits to some fabulous outdoor places including Fairburn Ings, Hemsworth Waterpark, Cow & Calf at Ilkley, Kirstall Abbey (all highly recommended), but I started to feel a bit guilty that I’d not taken them anywhere other than places where it was only what nature had to offer.
Cannon Hall was definitely at the top of the list to go to I think an excellent value fun full day out for the family, and one of my favourites. There is so much on offer there for all ages including various play parks for different ages, rope climbing, zip wire, animal petting, tractor ride and absolutely not to be missed is the sheep racing. There is even now an indoor play gym should the weather not be so great. It’s a place we go to at least once or twice over different school holidays – usually with a group of mum friends and a whole host of kids. This week we did it with 5 mums with a total of nine children. I have a tradition of a group photo at the end of the day of the kids, with an iceream sat on the grass (the icecream is the bribe to get them to leave at the end of the day with minimum number of tantrums!). I now have 4 years of this traditional end of outing photo – I love looking at them, some of the faces change year to year, some are the same. But you see how they’ve grown and changed – nostalgia.. a wonderful thing
So other than Cannon Hall, I was perhaps thinking along the lines of – Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Sea Life Centre – was it time for some to splash the cash, would those be days out that the girls would remember from the holidays. Sitting down with them chatting over tea, I asked them what they’d enjoyed the most from our activities over the past week, was there anything they would like to do again, or was there anything we’d not done, places we’d not been to that they would like to go.. I was expecting cinema, Krispy Kreme, Sundown Adventure .. but to my surprise their favourite things weren’t things that were thrill seeking, cost money or anything that I’d expected them to say..
- Pond dipping catching frogs (done at Fairburn Ings)
- Making a daisy chain crown (done at Kirkstall Abbey)
- Rock srambling (at Cow & Calf Rocks in Ilkley)
- Playing tig (At Hemsworth Park)
- Baking bread and eating it whilst it was still warm (in our very own kitchen)
The things they remembered, the things they’d enjoyed, were in fact also the simple things that cost nothing other than me, giving them my time and more importantly my attention. Listening to them describe their most fun moments so far was humbling.. as fabulous as Alton Towers or Sea Life would be, they would rather be rolling around on the grass or climbing rocks with their mum..truly treasured memories for us all.
What memories have you made over the holidays?