Stop The Clocks: 5 Activities All Families Should Try

Family life is full of twists and turns, and you’ll never be entirely sure what to expect from one day to the next. Days and weeks seem to whizz past at the click of your fingers, and you can find yourself wondering where on earth the time has gone.

When their children leave for college, it’s almost a stereotype that parents wistfully wonder where the time went, and how their baby grew up so quickly. Although we all know time is passing, it can be difficult to truly judge it. We’re busy; the world is busy; and it can feel like you never quite have as much time as you ideally would have. One of the biggest factors in why time always seems to speed up is how our brains process memories; as we become more used to life as we know it, and go through familiar routines, our perception of time as an adult begins to speed up, and the years begin to blink past us with frightening ease.

Slowing down time in a literal way is impossible, of course– but that doesn’t mean you can’t slow your perception of time. Rather than feeling like a year vanishes in the blink of an eye, there are a few family activities that can help ground you in the moment, and give you an appreciation of the here and now. Read on to see which might be a good fit for your family…

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The Ultimate Travel Experience

Of course, a family holiday is a standard that most families have direct experience of– so is it really worth of mention?

It is, because there is a difference between “going on holiday” and truly travelling. Both are wonderful, of course, and a family holiday can be a wonderful experience that you treasure for years– but travelling is something a little different.

What makes that difference? Well…

  • A family holiday tends to fall into a familiar pattern. You travel to your location; you stay in a hotel with a pool and only a short walk from the beach; you go on a few excursions; your kids enjoy a few activities; you go home. It’s the standard break that many families rely on, and it’s great.
  • Travelling, on the other hand, is never predictable. The focus is not so much on relaxation, but on an experience, immersing yourself in another world and absorbing as much of it as possible.
  • Ideal travel destinations are places where you have to explore; where your hotel is simply your base rather than a luxury to be enjoyed in and of itself; where you’re always going out on day trips to experience new and exciting things.
  • Travelling is best reserved for when your children are old enough to fully enjoy the experience.
  • It’s also helpful if everyone in your family is physically fit, as travelling can be rather demanding. Classic “travel” trips, such as climbing to see Machu Picchu or exploring the Great Pyramids of Egypt, tend to be quite physically demanding.

A travel experience helps your family to bond by experiencing something new, giving you an insight into history, and taking time away from the usual everyday activities. These memories will help to slow your perception of time immeasurably, as there is nothing quite like a unique travel experience to shape the way your memories of a year form. Of course, you can throw a little relaxation time in there too, but for the most part a travelling holiday should be adventurous and full of exploration.

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Professional Photographs Of The Whole Family

We all constantly snap photos these days, usually with our smartphone but occasionally with a digital camera. The easy access of photography equipment means that our lives are more recorded than they have ever been before, so it’s tempting to think that old-school style family photographs are no longer necessary.

However, there’s no doubt that there’s still a place for family photography that showcases the entire family at its best. As good as we amateurs might think we are at pointing a lens, the truth is that a professional is always going to be able to capture images, moments in time, that might otherwise be lost. They can ensure everyone looks their best, is posed just right, and the image quality is of superb quality– things that are always difficult to achieve when you’re snapping away merrily on your phone.

Not only are the pictures wonderful keepsakes to look back on, but you also have the experience of going for the photographs as a day out. Have a lazy lunch as a family, do the photographs, then head to a movie to round off the day. This alone is a nice memory to create, and hopefully one that you can look back on for years to come– after all, you’ll have the picture-perfect reminder of it.

A Family That Crafts Together Makes Memories Together

Crafting may seem like a rather quaint, old-timey hobby, but it still has its place in the modern world. Crafting is all about vision; imagining what you’re going to be able to create and then going through all the necessary steps to reach your end goal. As a whole-family activity, you spend a day working towards a shared finish point, which helps to bring everyone together with a group purpose.

With Christmas just around the corner, there’s no better time to try crafting as a family. There’s so many Christmas DIYs to try, and you will be able to use the products of your hard work as part of your decor. Why not try making your own Christmas tree ornaments? Alternatively, younger children might enjoy making paper garlands which you can then string from the ceiling.

Cooking As A Family

The idea of cooking as a family might sound odd, given that there’s literally an idiom that warns against too many people being involved in the cooking process. However, cooking is an inexpensive way that the whole family can bond together.

You can assign duties, so someone always has something to do. Older children can help chop vegetables or monitor the progress of something in an oven; even younger children can help roll dough or season what you’re cooking. There’s a multitude of dishes that are easy to cook, healthy to eat, and give you the chance to spend time in the kitchen as a family.

The reward for your hard work is in the meal itself. While we all like dining out and enjoying luxury every once in awhile, there’s no denying that there’s an exquisite pleasure that comes with being able to eat something you have cooked for yourself. You might even inspire your children into a lifelong love of cooking, meaning they can put together healthy, nutritious meals for a fraction of the cost of takeaways and meals out.

Camping In Your Own Backyard

Camping in general is a pretty great family holiday, but there’s the downside of actually needing to be on holiday. This means that your camping experience is generally going to be restricted to two or three times per year, at best.

However, if you decide to camp in your own backyard, then you can camp out whenever the weather decides to go along with your plans. Set up a tent, eat off a stove– and always have the luxury of being able to head back indoors to use the bathroom when needed. It’s all the delights of camping — sleeping outdoors, watching the stars, telling spooky stories to one another — without any of the risk or inconvenience of “real” camping. You can even bring sofa cushions out from the living room to help pad the floor of your tent, offering you an extra touch of comfort.

Of course, you should take the necessary steps to ensure that your backyard is as secure as possible before you try camping out. Walk around the perimeter before sundown, locking gates and blocking any gaps in hedges or fences. If you decide to make a habit of camping outdoors, then you will find a motion-sensor light is incredibly helpful; these provide light when needed, as well as ensuring you will be alerted if the garden is breached. When you have taken the necessary security steps, you can camp out as and when you see fit, ensuring that the entire family has an evening away from the distractions of the TV, cellphones, and computers. Not only is this great for bonding, but it’s good for health to take the time to unplug every once in awhile.

In Conclusion

The more unique memories that you make with your family, the more you will be able to slow your perception of time. Even if you just try one of the above, your family will be better off for it. You’ll get the opportunity to experience something new that is genuinely enjoyable, and then you’ll also have the memories to look back on in the future. Whatever the age of your children, spending time together as a unit is always beneficial, and will ensure that your family stays close and united for years to come.

Rebecca x*affiliate links may be used

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