At the Children’s Museum of South Dakota, we work hard to offer a space where families can make meaningful memories. Memories from childhood make us who we are and help shape our lives. Take a moment to think about what you remember most from your childhood. Perhaps it’s a family road trip. Or maybe it’s running through the sprinklers on a warm summer day. Likely these memories bring a smile to your face.
When planning the museum, our founders talked a lot about our values. They had a goal of an engaging, hands-on space where guests could learn through play and take part in intergenerational activities. In addition to having fun, another outcome of this goal was that it created positive memories.
Not all memories are positive, but it seems that positive memories do have a lot in common. What is it about certain childhood moments that they become cherished memories?
One factor is that they have similar core values. A few examples are togetherness, undivided attention, and joy. Cherished memories are full of emotion and convey feelings that have the power to bring us right back to the experience. While memories are stored in our brains, they seem to come back to life when they are revisited in our hearts.
We all can work to create positive memories. When we become aware of the core values of positive memories, we can bring them out in any given space and time. Let’s explore them below:
Togetherness – Children desire and need to feel a sense of belonging, which is key to an experience embracing togetherness. Engaging intentionally with one another helps a child build the kinship with their family and loved ones.
Joy – Children are naturally joyful, so it is fitting that many memories of childhood are full of joy and laughter. Just having fun together as a family helps make the connection between happiness and positive memories.
Heart-centered – The act of allowing love to guide your experience makes it heart-centered. Families brought together by love add light to their experience that makes memories sure to last a lifetime.
Undivided Attention – At the heart of undivided attention is consideration of children’s interests. Taking time to be in the moment away from distractions and focusing on children’s interests leaves a lasting impression while making them feel important.
Nurturing – When an experience is nurturing it fosters a feeling of warmth and sense of security. The child feels cared for and is encouraged to grow and develop along with the entire family, which supports their overall wellbeing.
Adventurous – A first-time experience often has a lasting memory. The excitement and anticipation of new adventures are heightened when experienced with others.
Traditions not only celebrate the things and people that matter most in life, they reinforce the values mentioned above. Many childhood memories connect back to a special day or place. Whether it’s the thrill of meeting a life-sized T-rex, a story created playing in an exhibit, a keepsake created in an open studio, or a meal shared in Café Coteau, the Children’s Museum of South Dakota hopes to set the stage for your family’s next moment that turns out to be a lifelong memory.