5 Simple & Effective Memory Making Ideas That You Can Start Today

Memories are such a funny thing. They can bring back a moment in time in a rush and they can be accessed through the strangest triggers. Humans seem pre-disposed to purposeful memory making in the form of physical objects: scrap-books, heirlooms and keepsakes. And yet some of the best memories are just that: memories of times, places and people that, for some reason, remain firmly lodged in our brains.

5 Simple And Effective Memory Making Ideas That You Can Start TODAY By UK Yankee



5 Simple and effective memory making ideas that you can start today

I recently read a great article about Memory Making Family Activities in Parenting Magazine. Some of the ideas were so simple, I started thinking about the things that we do in our everyday life that are making beautiful memories. I’ve popped my list of the top 5 things you can do TODAY to start making memories:

1. Be spontaneous for memory making

Our lives are full of schedules and if we spend too much time doing the same thing over and over, our brains get stuck in the groove of predictability. Sometimes the thing to do is shake things up a little bit. The very unpredictability of this ruse is what makes the brain jump out of its rut and allows the experience to become a memory. When my brothers and I were little, my parent’s restaurant took up a lot of time. But every now and again, my dad would come home from work and my parents would announce that we were going to a hotel to stay overnight. We’d bundle into the car in our pj’s, swim in the hotel pool & watch tv late at night. I remember this vividly all these many years later.

Here are Three Great Spontaneous Memory Makers to do with your family (Psst! You don’t need kids to do this!):

  1. Go out for ice-cream after the pj’s are on.
  2. Start an impromptu game of ‘It’ with your kids/partner when they’re not expecting it
  3. Put off bedtime in favour of a rousing game of Uno (or whatever your favourite card game is).

2. remember for memory making

Make it a point to talk about the other people in your life, especially those you don’t see on a regular basis. It’s so much fun to laugh together remembering funny things that your family and friends might do or say. In my dad’s family, there is a story about his grandmother who used to take unused jars of jam or salt & pepper packets from their table in restaurants so that she could use them at home. Now, whenever anyone in our family takes napkins from the coffee shop or little jars of Tiptree jam from a restaurant, it’s part of a wider family joke called ‘Pulling a Grandma Josie’.

Remembering the people who are part of our lives, even if we’ve never met them, connects us to a wider community. This community connection is rapidly being identified by scientists as vital to good health and longevity. So keep the connections alive!

3. tell stories for memory making

The stories of our lives are what connect us to each other and to everyone else’s stories. I vividly remember my mom telling us stories about her childhood when we were children. There was the story about burying her sweets under the blackberry bushes (only to find that her sister had dug them up and eaten them). Also memorable were the stories of turning the neighbourhood lake polka-dot by throwing hundreds of crab-apples in the water. Or my favourite, the story of HER grandfather taking her fishing when she was 7 years old. She caught 8 bullheads and showed up the neighbourhood boys with her fishing prowess.

Obviously I come from a family of story-tellers and have continued the tradition in my own house. Between my husband and I, we have a repetoire of stories from our childhood that we have told Minnie-Sue from very early on. Even some of her friends know the ‘characters’ in our stories. On top of that, Mr UK Yankee is extremely gifted at weaving fictional tales involving motor-cycling cats and naughty crocodiles. Through these stories, he sent Minnie-Sue off to sleep, dreaming of pie-scoffing pussy cats and constipated crocodiles (I am seriously not making this up!).

It is through telling our stories between generations that we keep our own history alive. Think of all the cultures that have kept their traditions and history alive through story-telling. Now follow their lead…!

4. include your wider tribe in memory making

Everybody remembers things differently. Few things are funnier than hearing a story told from the perspective of the different people who were part of it.


When you are gathered together with friends or family, get everybody to recount their memory of a specific event. Chances are pretty good that viewpoints will differ and much hilarity will ensue.


Get everybody to share their favourite memory of a particular person or event. You might learn something new about a loved one! And remembering together has been shown to improve mental wellbeing (See Danish Hygge).

Memory making is so much fun when you are with people you love!

5. create traditions for memory making

I love having something to look forward to. My ‘Planning Gene’ is something that was definitely passed down on my maternal side. My grandma, my mom and The Aunts all have this gene to a greater or lesser degree. But I won’t apologise for it because when you plan something, you have something to look forward to. This is why traditions are so important to me. They give me a road-map of things to look forward to.

Many of you know that I have a tradition of Friday Night Pizza. The tradition started more or less when I was a kid and we’d go to The Red Noodle (my parent’s restaurant) for pizza after Iceless Hockey games. Pizza is a great Friday night treat for lots of people. But it’s a bit of an obsession for my husband and I. To the extent that Friday Night Pizza is now a weekly occurrence (yes, we do schedule other things around it because it is sacrosanct) and it is always homemade. We have road-tested many crusts, many sauces and many permutations. We have dedicated pizza stones and I have my eye on the original Red Noodle pizza knife which currently resides at my parents house. Pizza is a huge deal for us. But only on Friday nights. Because that is our tradition.

PIzza tradition next-gen

Now that Minnie-Sue has entered the mix, she has a ready-made tradition. We’ve added to the tradition by ratifying the Friday Family Film Amendment which allows for pizza eaten in front of a film chosen through our complicated Film Choosing System. Our tradition starts on Thursday evening with the making of the pizza dough and of course our salivating over the fact that the next day is Pizza Night.

I hope that when she is grown up, Minnie Sue will be able to recall the anticipation, smell & taste of Friday Night Pizza. I hope that she will continue the tradition and that we will be invited to her house to join her and her family. We can then share the memories of Friday Night Pizza when she was growing up, each one telling the stories from their own perspective.



5 Simple and Effective Memory Making Ideas That You Can Start TODAY_UK Yankee


Do you have anything special that you do around memory making or memory keeping? Or are you looking for new ideas to preserve memories? Let me know in the comments below!


Mother of Teenagers

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25 thoughts on “5 Simple & Effective Memory Making Ideas That You Can Start Today

  1. I really like this. Memories are so important, and talking about them helps too. We recently moved house and it was so lovely to look through some of our old stuff together with the kids and remember what they were all about and why they were special to us. #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. Oh yes! Moving house is a great opportunity to pull out some of that stuff that is usually stored away and reminisce about it! I think kids especially love to see things that are meaningful to their parents because it helps them connect to the ‘grown-ups’ on a different level. And makes us seem more human too…(maybe 🙂 ). Thanks for commenting! xx

  2. I just finished sharing lunch at my house in the lovely company of two special friends.
    In cooking & serving lunch, I enjoyed the flood of wonderful memories that came from our families’ age-old traditions of “feeding people”. In this age of minimalism, I still enjoy using the “things” that have served delicious food to generations of friends & family that went before me. In fact, for certain, some of those people sat around the table at which my friends and I sat. I hope my friends realized how special they are!

    So I encourage all to break out those pretty things and use them as lovely reminders of the specialness of family & friend times, both past and present. Make a memory of beauty in serving food. Really, doesn’t that jam look prettier in Grandpa’s whiskey glass than in the Jar in which it came? Thank you Mom for the Candlewick!

    1. I love this connection between ‘things’ and memories. You always hear about how you shouldn’t keep your china or your silver ‘for best’. But using something that has been in your family and has memories for you is a beautiful way to make memories with others too. I love using Gigi’s milk pitcher and Grandma Y’s tiny salt & pepper shakers. People always ask where they came from and then you have an excuse to tell them about the wonderful people who went before you. xx

  3. What a gorgeous post. It is so true that kids (and even more so teens) love spontaneity. I love these ideas and will be trying some out. Thanks so much for sharing on #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. Thanks Sharon. In our house, we get our heads down and into our routines so much, spontaneous actions help break us out of that rut! Thanks for your comment!

    1. Hi Catherine! I hope you had a great time with your friends! I love having such mobile cameras in this day and age. So helpful the next morning…lol. xx

    1. Me too! In fact, Minnie Sue just said yesterday that we should start a scrapbook of the fun little activities that we do. It’s so much fun to look back and relieve those happy times! Thanks for your lovely comment! x

  4. I love this! I’m definitely going to be trying our some of these ideas. As a family we love to create new memories, and like you we have a weekly Saturday night pizza/any form of fakeaway or an actual takeaway with the 2 elder children with a family film & a board game Xx

    1. Your Saturday traditions sound like so much fun! We’re big fans of Monopoly in our house! Your kids are going to have some wonderful memories of this!! Thanks for your lovely comment! xx

  5. I love this! Hotels are my favourite so I’d be so excited to be whisked off one night. And when I read the traditions bit, I turned to my husband straight away and said we need to start something like this. Great post ?

  6. Loved this post. Talking about aunts and uncles and cousins is such fun. We relive memories through old photographs or I read out bits of my blog (since it’s about the kids’ childhood). They love that. Also at birthdays or festivals we try to remember the past celebrations of that day – year by year – and try to see how far our memories go. It’s a lot of fun.

    1. I love your idea of talking about past celebrations & festivals year by year! What a superb oral tradition! Thanks for the comment xx

    1. Thanks Nicky! There’s nothing more grounding that the realities of life 😀 Best thing is to embrace them and remember them fondly! Thank you for the comment! x

  7. I have to confess to being a planner, I need things to be organised which is the opposite of my husband who thrives on spontaneity! This makes for an interesting time on holiday as I like a schedule and to know when and where we are eating etc – it makes for an easy life. BUT I am the first to admit that a bit of variation is good too. Our regular Friday night tradition is Pizza. I think it is the same world-wide. I don’t allow it in our house during the week but it seems right on a Friday somehow. We also have a tradition of always sharing dinner together as a family and Sunday lunch is sacrosanct! As you say family time produces wonderful stories and memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks for joining us. #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. Ha ha. I am also a planner! But have begun to really recognise how important that little bit of spontaneity can be in getting us out of our day to day rut! And I LOVE that you also have a Friday Night Pizza tradition! I think I need to start a Friday Night Pizza Club! There seem to be a few of us out there! How great that you also have traditions around family mealtimes. I am the same. I think it is so important for families to eat together and am a big fan of food culture! Thanks for commenting and for running #TweensTeensBeyond!

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