Some things you never forget, like the moment you found out you were going to be a family – that’s what we call a real milestone moment. And as that family grows, you’ll have hundreds if not thousands of memories to look back on, so here are our Top Ten ideas for excellent, first, low-cost milestone moments to have with your own little ones during the school holidays:
Sow together, grow together
It doesn’t matter if you have a farm or a few flowerpots on a windowsill, everyone can sow a few seeds together. Capture those moments: decorate your flowerpots; photograph your seedlings; compete for the tallest, fattest, tastiest treat from your first family ‘vegetable patch’.
You can make it as simple as setting up a few tubs of cress, herbs or lettuce (easy on a sunny ledge), or you could go for cauliflowers, leeks, even putting garlic cloves in the garden (they’re an easy one to plant all year round). Handy links for what to sow, and when, include:
- Suttons Seeds Vegetable Calendar
- The BBC’s Gardening Calendar
- The Royal Horticultural Society’s Advice Pages
Get out and about in a whole new way
Taking the car is easy, because it’s usually on the drive. But how about turning an everyday journey into a real adventure – with a first trip out on a train or a bus?
Think of it as an opportunity to explore your local region (and maybe save a few pennies on your own motoring expenses, too). It’s a great time to teach your little ones about paying for tickets, counting money, and to let them ‘take charge’ of getting you across a busy road. You could combine it with…
Spending A Day at The Museum
You may have seen the film ‘Night at The Museum’, but how about going to a museum with your children one day this holiday? Don’t worry, it’s not all about dinosaurs. Best of all, most museums give free entry to children under the age of 16 – so it’s a great way to spend some quality time together.
Use the film as a taster, remind your children what they saw – and then let them choose which museum they’d like to visit: there are about 2,500 across the UK (there’s a handy museum finder here), although the real favourites can get busy in the holidays.
Pop out for some popcorn
There are some exciting film releases coming up, so why not plan your first trip to the cinema instead of watching from the sofa? Make the most of ticket offers though, and encourage children to see the benefit of having a drink and snack before going into the cinema itself (popcorn and soda can be very expensive).
Start some healthy habits
Boring? No, health and fitness is a great habit to start early. Kick-scooters are all the rage, especially with younger children. But why not invest in bicycles for the whole family, and take a day out learning to ride together? Sure, there’ll be a few bumps and bruises along the way, but there’s nothing quite like pushing your child along for a while and then … suddenly … they’re riding a pushbike, all on their own. Now that’s a truly memorable milestone moment!
Make a splash
You’re busy, and if feels as though you’ve never got two moments to spare when you have a young child to look after. So why not treat yourselves to some time out, and make a real memory you’ll treasure: take your children swimming. Even if you’ve been to baby swim-gym, it’s something most children will adore – a trip out with Mum and Dad to the pool. And don’t worry if you’re not keen on swimming yourself, it doesn’t matter. Splashing around in a toddler pool is what it’s all about!
Take off for the holidays…
Really tiny babies and very young children are unlikely to remember much about going on holiday, but as soon as little ones can wriggle sand in their toes, there’s a memory to be made.
If you’re making a long road trip, either to an airport or off to the beach here in the UK, make it as enjoyable as you can (for you, as well as for them). Plan ahead, take a scribbling book or pack of cards rather than electronic gadgets that could lead to nausea. If you're going to be racking up the miles on the road, you could try our free Aviva Drive app. Complete 200 miles using the app and get a personalised driving score out of 10 and a discount off your car insurance individual to you. That could mean more money to spend on your next family outing!
Make everyday moments, special
Take spring cleaning, for example. If you’ve got your phone in your pocket, create a photo-diary as you’re tidying up your children’s bedroom. That can lead to a sort-out of older (less played with) toys. Talk about the toys, and then take a trip to a charity shop together.
Or why not see if there’s a carboot sale in your area? Have a good old rummage in the cupboards, share the idea of ‘sell it, keep the pennies’ with your children – and watch how their excitement grows.
Book in for a real treat
When it comes to learning, you don’t have to wait for pre-school to give your child a head-start in life. You may have lots of storybooks at home, but why not take your toddlers to a library? Give the trip a real sense of occasion, get their first library card stamped, and teach them how to show respect for books they’ve borrowed. If your children enjoy looking at books and reading early on, they’ll have something to treasure their whole lives – imagination costs nothing, and books are a great source of joy at any age.
Make something to eat that’s a real treat
How about marking a special event (perhaps a sibling’s birthday or parents’ anniversary), with a celebration family meal. Get everyone involved in agreeing what to cook, really let your children’s imaginations run riot here: look up a recipe together and write out a shopping list – even buying basic ingredients on a budget can be loads of fun if you make into an ‘I Spy a Bargain!’ game at the Supermarket.
It could be their first ‘I-Made-This!’ Their first lunch with potatoes they’ve peeled themselves, or even the first time they treat someone special to a home cooked breakfast. Here are some recipes for you both to try. Children love eating meals they’ve cooked themselves, and it guarantees an enjoyable milestone moment for the whole family.
Years ago, we were limited to shoeboxes of newspaper clippings and pictures stuck into photo albums. But today you can easily capture those milestone moments online and associate memories and events with members of your family, far more easily. Try hosting pictures from your phone or camera using Instagram, Pinterest, or even Facebook. Make it a whole-day event – talking to people, phoning them up, visiting and asking for photographs of older relations perhaps, to help your children understand where and how they fit into their own family tree.