About a year and half ago, I stumbled upon the best parenting trick: Make it Epic. It is a game changer - let me tell you why . . .
Sometimes as a single parent, I worry about all of the things that I can't give my children, all of the things they will miss out on. But I determined early on as a single parent that I wasn't going to let what we didn't have get in the way of a happy childhood. So, despite my limitations, and often because of them, I've been forced to get creative as a parent, which is how I discovered the best parenting trick of all.
A year and a half ago, as New Year's Eve approached, I decided I wanted to do something special with the kids, something they'd remember. We didn't have the money for exotic vacations and even a dinner for all five of us at a restaurant would have been a real stretch. The only ideas I could come up with that fit within all of the constraints felt too ordinary. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel and rent a movie, however, inspiration struck. Maybe we could turn something ordinary into something epic.
I thought of all the ordinary things that my kids enjoyed and tried to think of ways to make them epic. They like to eat pizza, so what if we tried to make the biggest pizza of all time. They like to watch a movie, so what if we hosted a movie marathon. Somewhere in the brainstorming process I came up with Epic Slide Day and it stuck. On December 31, 2014, we ended the year with the most memorable, most epic family adventure.
Epic Slide Day
Going to the park is a pretty ordinary thing for my kids. We live within walking distance of one park and very short driving distance of many more. But for Epic Slide Day, we didn't just go to the park. We made ordinary park play time into something truly epic.
First, we made a plan. A few days before New Year's Eve, we mapped out all the parks in our city. I got all the kids involved in the process to help build excitement for the big day. We found 40+ parks around here and then mapped out a route that would take us by every single one of them. We packed snacks and lunch and geared up for a proper adventure.
The plan was to go to every park and go down every single slide. We agreed that every person had to go down every slide and every slide had to be photographed. We printed off a check list that the kids marked as we went so we could keep track of our parks and slides.
The epic slide adventure lasted all day long. We started at 10:30 AM and ended at 4:30 in the afternoon, with only a lunch break in the middle. In the end, each person made it down 78 slides in one day!
We had so much fun! And to keep the memories alive, I put together an Epic Slide Day book with photographs of all 78 slides.
I made the book with MyPublisher and it is truly a family treasure. It's also the perfect reminder to me that we don't have to go very far, or spend a lot of money to have fun experiences and make memories together.
Since our Epic Slide Day, as it has come to be known around here, we've tried to come up with more ways to make ordinary things "Epic." It turned into such a fun and special family experience that I decided I wanted to do something EPIC at least once or twice a year and the kids are always game. Making something ordinary into something Epic is a simple parenting trick, but it's my favorite one so far.
What are your tips for family fun? I'd love to hear. . .