The funny thing about having big fun with your kids is that it doesn’t take a big moment.

Have you ever noticed that? The times you planned something expensive and complicated with your kids, they barely blinked an eye. The time you washed the car in your driveway and threw sponges at each other they talked about forever.

Why does that happen?

I think it’s the “cardboard box” effect. Every parent has had one of those moments when your child ignores the present you got them and instead goes gaga for the box it comes in. “No,” you think to yourself, “that’s just a cardboard box. The actual toy lights up and has laser beam sounds and is amazing.” But your toy protests go ignored as they chew on their new favorite object on the planet.

The cardboard box effect continues as they get older and starts to apply to experiences, not just presents. I have forgotten week long vacations as a child but still remember the night my dad put his hand in the Jello at dinner. My brothers and I lost our minds as he scooped out a big red handful of dessert as if that was the most normal thing in the world.

We had big fun because he did something little.

In your pursuit to have fun with your kids, don’t put big pressure on yourselves.
Certainly there are moments that call for elaborate and detailed adventures, but little moments matter too.

A little trip to a bakery before school, a little water balloon fight, a little hand in the Jello, those are the fun kind of little moments that add up to big memories.