The happiest childhood memories have been revealed!

The memories you make with your children now will stay with them forever.

children building sandcastles
(Image credit: Denkou Images/REX/Shutterstock)

The memories you make with your children now will stay with them forever.

Creating happy memories for our kids is one of the best things about being a parent. And new research suggests it could also be one of the most important things we can do, because our fondest and most vivid childhood memories can stick with us for a lifetime.

So why not be inspired by the childhood memories that have stuck in your own mind and recreate some of those happy experiences for your own kids this weekend?

A new survey of 2,000 UK adults has revealed the top 50 most common childhood memories. Heartwarmingly, family memories have taken the top three spots, with Christmas dinner in first place, closely followed by going to the beach and visiting grandparents.

‘Memory is a tricky and unreliable thing, but those earliest recollections from our childhood can also be the strongest and most vivid,’ said a spokesperson for Heathrow, who commissioned the research.

‘It is encouraging to see that bright and positive experiences like your first Christmas or time on a sunny beach with your family are the experiences which stick with us as we get older.

‘For parents, this should act as an incentive to ensure your child has these kinds of memorable experiences – they will stick with them for a lifetime.’

ice cream van

Credit: Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock

As well as going to he beach, memories like building sandcastles, eating fish and chips on the beach, hearing the ice cream van music and counting down the days until the summer holidays also made the top 10.

‘This research shows that precious times on a sunny beach with family are some of the most important experiences that stick with us as we get older,’ said Heathrow’s Ross Baker.

70 per cent of parents agreed that they had tried to recreate similar memories for their own children.

The South West was one of the most popular holiday destinations linked with happy childhood memories. The research was timed to coincide with the launch of a new Flybe service from Heathrow to Cornwall Airport Newquay.

‘We hope that it provides parents with opportunities to ensure their children have similar experiences that will stay with them for a lifetime,’ said Ross.

Home or away, getting out in the fresh air seems to help lay the foundations for lasting memories: playing in the park, learning to ride a bike and playing playground games also made the top 10, while climbing trees and playing conkers snuck into the top 20.

Here’s the full list 

  1. Christmas dinner
  2. Going to the beach
  3. Going to your grandparent’s house
  4. Hearing the ice-cream van music
  5. Playing in the park
  6. Getting pocket money
  7. Buying penny sweets from the village shop
  8. Learning to ride a bike
  9. Playing playground games
  10. Getting a pet
  11. Pick 'n' mix sweets
  12. Buying your first album/single
  13. Building sandcastles
  14. Counting down the days until the summer holidays
  15. Playing conkers
  16. Climbing a tree
  17. School dinners
  18. School sports days
  19. Your first crush
  20. Fish and chips on the beach
  21. Listening to your favourite song on repeat 'til you get bored
  22. Caravan family holidays
  23. Blowing out the candles on a birthday cake
  24. Skimming stones
  25. Swimming lessons
  26. Singing hymns
  27. Searching through rock pools
  28. Sitting cross-legged in assemblies
  29. Learning to read
  30. Going out with your friends for the first time without your parents
  31. Sleepovers at a friend’s house
  32. Being in the school play
  33. Catching frogs, newts, tadpoles in a pond
  34. First day of secondary school
  35. Family holidays abroad
  36. Spelling tests
  37. Flying a kite
  38. Watching films that were above your age rating
  39. Being read a bedtime story
  40. Winning an award
  41. Your first time on an aeroplane
  42. Painting/arts and crafts
  43. Bath time
  44. Jumping in puddles
  45. Finding a rope swing in the woods
  46. Buying a school uniform
  47. Going to theme parks
  48. Playing with leaves
  49. Going to church
  50. Handwriting lessons
Freelance Writer

Samantha is a freelance writer at Goodto who has been with team since 2019. Initially trained in psychology, she specialises in health and wellbeing and has additionally written for magazines such as Women’s Health, Health & Wellbeing, Top Santé, Healthy, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo, CelebsNow, Good Housekeeping and Woman&Home.