Have you ever had an outing with your child that you wished could last forever?
Sure, you can take countless photos to mark the occasion and help record the fun. But if you want to prolong the experience even after it is over, you need to think creatively.
Use your imagination to come up with a craft that mimics the experience and you both get to relive the fun.
More than that, just as the handwritten word helps us to remember things, handmade crafts activate the same neurotransmitters that enhance memory.
MAKE GREAT MEMORIES LAST – THE THREE SISTERS
Earlier this year we took one of the Goddesses to the Three Sisters, a famous rock formation in the Blue Mountains, Australia.
She was bursting with excitement at the outing and we had an amazing time, taking advantage of the fun rides that allow you to see the view from different angles.
We started by viewing the Three Sisters from the lookout and then from the Scenic Skyway which goes across the valley, from clifftop to clifftop. It is up to 270 metres above the ground – an impressive sight through its glass floor.
The next ride was the Scenic Railway, which descends 310 metres through a cliff-side tunnel to Jamison Valley floor and a beautiful rainforest.
A walk along the Scenic Walkway revealed the coal mining history of the area and a sculpture walk featuring the work of world-class artists.
Then it was time for the Scenic Cableway ride – 545 metres back up to the top of the escarpment.
We had so much fun that the Goddess was a little sad when the adventure ended and it was time to return home.
To compensate for the post-fun let down I suggested we make our own Three Sisters.
We started by painting our own version. It gave me the opportunity to teach her how to use a paintbrush in different ways to achieve different effects.
When we completed the paintings, we decided to carve out our own Three Sisters with air dry clay. More skills were learned but it also gave the Goddess a wonderful reminder of the fun we had.
MAKE GREAT MEMORIES LAST – OTHER ADVENTURES
This isn’t a new idea for us. Two of the other Goddesses regularly have fun hand feeding the beautiful parrots that visit our backyard. The first time they did this, the activity was immediately followed up with drawings that celebrated the memory.
Bushfires are always a worry during warmer months in the Blue Mountains. When they occur nearby, firefighters take advantage of a lagoon near our home to collect water in their firefighting helicopters to help douse the flames. It’s an impressive sight.
This happened last year and we joined dozens of others at the lagoon to watch the spectacle. We made our way home as the sky darkened and the last helicopter made its final ascent from the lagoon.
Immediately the Goddesses wanted to record the event with their own pictures.
More recently we visited China where we were lucky enough to see the pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Of course, we showed the Goddesses our pictures.
When it came time to do arts and crafts, the Goddesses chose pandas as their theme. While I was collecting materials for the younger one, the older Goddess got to work and created her own panda with no help or supervision.
HOW HUMANS HAVE ALWAYS TRIED TO MAKE GREAT MEMORIES LAST
Humans have always had a desire to creatively record events in their lives.
From the caveman drawings that help us understand the lives of our ancestors, to modern-day photography that captures a special moment in time.
So intent on capturing the beauty of his garden, French Impressionist Claude Monet (1840–1926) created about 250 oil paintings in his water lily series.
Some of Dutch post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh’s (1853–1890) most famous works are his Sunflower series. He painted a total of 12 of these canvasses.
He also created dozens of paintings on another favourite theme, Wheat Fields.
Why the repetition? As artists, they were refining their skills. However, some believe it was to recapture a moment in time. Perhaps a moment of magic when the light played perfectly on Monet’s lily pond, or van Gogh’s wheat fields.
HELPING YOUR BRAIN MAKE GREAT MEMORIES LAST
A lot goes on in our brains when we are experiencing things outside of our head.
Each new sight, sound, taste and touch cause information to go through our brain. Whether we are conscious of it or not.
The information is then stored as sensory memory. This can last for just seconds as our brains determine whether it is important enough be stored. Either in short-term or long-term memory.
Neural connections create short-term memories that can easily be replaced, depending on the importance of the information.
On the other hand, neural networks that can hold vast amounts of information are what make up long-term memories.
Sometimes our brains will be confused about where to store memories. We can have a lot of unimportant information stuck in our heads. We can remember the words to a silly childhood song and forget the name of a person we met just moments before.
This is why educators give students homework – to help their brains retain what they have learned.
If you want to make great memories last, you sometimes need to help your brain to categorise it in the long term neuro-network.
The trick is to do this before it’s removed from the sensory or short-term memory in favour of something else. Such as the latest YouTube video or online game.
HOW TO HELP MAKE GREAT MEMORIES LAST
You can help your brain hold onto precious memories by finding a way to physically recreate them, using creativity.
Consider ways you can enhance the great experiences with a follow up creative project.
It can be a simple drawing using coloured pencils, or something more elaborate.
You can even turn a movie into a creative adventure.
You’ll not only be helping to make great memories last, but you’ll be reaping the benefits of creativity.
Happy crafting and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.