'The summer traditions from my childhood I want to pass on to my son.’

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On a recent 30 degree day – that arrived out of nowhere two months early – I was at the park melting with my 2-year-old when I spotted some kids eating an ice block.

I thought to myself, ‘That’s exactly what I need.’ So off we went to the kiosk, selected our ice blocks, climbed to the top of a nearby hill and sat watching the parklands at our feet as we licked away. I was eyeing the huge volumes of sticky juice running down my son’s arms when I had this sudden, important realisation – this was his first EVER ice block.

That is a huge deal, you only get ONE first ice block and there we were just casually eating without realising how momentous the occasion was. I broke out into a silly grin and began enthusiastically regaling my toddler with stories of ice block adventures from my childhood. A lemonade ice block post-swim at the local pool, homemade ice blocks eaten on the back steps of our backyard and a well earned ice block cool down after a day at the beach. He listened patiently, smiled at me and simply said ‘yummy.’

Since that afternoon, with the weather heating up (or being just plain unexpectedly boiling hot) I have been thinking a lot about when I was a kid and all the fun and silly ways that we would burn off energy, kill time and cool down over the long summer holidays. Here are some of my favourite summer memories that I either already have, or definitely will attempt to reenact with my son.

1. The sprinkler.

Every kid who grew up in the Aussie suburbs, but wasn’t lucky enough to have a pool, will remember long, hot afternoons of running around in their cossies through the sprinkler. We had one of those ones that fanned from side to side and we would continually run back and forth, chasing the water. In hindsight we would have been a lot cooler if we just stayed put… geniuses we were not.

australian summer memories
Most Aussie kids will remember this. Image via iStock.

2. Street tennis.

We lived on a quiet street where everyone knew each other, it was like Ramsay Street without the evil villain or bad dialogue. Sometimes all the kids in our ‘hood would march out onto the street armed with tennis racquets and a few ratty tennis balls. We would mark a line on the road in chalk for the net and just whack the ball back and forth. I remember having to pause the game for cars from time to time and the fact that I was pretty terrible at tennis is also etched firmly in my consciousness.


3. Eating watermelon.

I often see kids with little containers of perfectly diced seedless watermelon and I can’t help feeling that they are missing out on all the fun. When I was young and we had run around the backyard until we were about to fall over from heat exhaustion we would come inside and complain to mum and she would cut us a big slice of cold watermelon. We would sit outside, dig our faces in and start eating, spitting the black pips out as we went.

australian summer memories
“We would sit outside, dig our faces in and start eating, spitting the black pips out as we went.” Image via iStock.

4. Body surfing.

We would sometimes go camping over summer, often somewhere on the coast, walking distance to a beach. I have always loved the water but was a little wary of the surf. That all changed the year my Dad taught me to body surf. We didn’t have boogie boards, just our arms and legs and wits.

Dad showed me how to swim out far enough, how to wait for the perfect wave and how to time it so that when you started to swim into shore the wave would gently pick you up and carry you. It didn’t always work, but when it did, it was magic.

5. Bush bashing.

We lived smack bang in the middle of a nothing-to-do-i-am-so-bored-i-want-to-scream suburb, but one saving grace was that our house backed on to the bush. There were trees, a creek with tadpoles and frogs, a bike path, birds, possums and the odd snake. We would often ride our bikes around, or wander through the creek with our pants rolled up on hot days, or simply bash our way through the bush whacking the ground in front of us to scare off any snakes in our path.

australian summer memories
“One saving grace was a house backing on to the bush.” Image via iStock.

I hope to reenact as many of these powerful memories as possible, giving my little guy some insight into the childhood that made me, me. In the end though, his idea of summer will be his and it will be stacked with a whole range of smells, sounds, tastes and memories that are unique to him.

For my part though, I am going to make the most of our sun drenched Aussie summers together, so that he has oodles of memories to choose from.

What memories do you want your children to experience?