It might not seem like it with the weather, but summer break is just around the corner. The kids are going to be out of school for a bit, and it’s time to get creative. It’s also a great time for dads to take time off and have fun with their children.
If you’re a working dad, it’s safe to say that when you get home, second shift will consist of pouring the stay at home spouse some wine, and getting the kids out of the house.
Or, if you are the stay home parent, you’re going to need some fun things to do to get out of that house.
Worry not, dads! We have some great ideas for you because we’ve been there, done that. Here are some fun ideas for dads to spend quality time with their littles:
Join a Local Dads Group
One of our favorite networks is City Dads Group, all over the USA. This is a great place to find dads in your local area that are getting out and about and would like some company. Don’t forget- if your area doesn’t have one, you can start it. There are a lot more dads these days wanting other dads to spend time with.
Visit a Local Wildlife Sanctuary or Zoo
Kids love wildlife. All kinds of wildlife, too. You can look for birds or other wildlife and even plan an outdoor treasure hunt of sorts. Make a list of specific plants and wildlife in your area that you will no doubt see. Maybe include some bonus ones just in case. This will not only be entertaining but educational.
As a prize for finding any amount of items on the list stop by your local Dollar Store on your way home and have your kids pick out one toy each for their hard work on the treasure hunt. If going to the Dollar Store is challenging, pick out something ahead of time and reward them in the car. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Go Geocaching in Your Area
Geocaching is a newer activity that melds together technology and the outdoors. Essentially, you are putting in coordinates into your GPS to find a small treasure hidden by others. There are over 2 million of these treasures hidden in the world. Caches are typically are in a waterproof box of sorts that can be well camouflaged.
You’ll be surprised to find that your very own neighborhood has treasures hidden around. To explore them, use the popular Geocaching App. With this app, you can let it use your location, and it will show you were all close Geocaches have been placed.
Here is how it works:
- Go to the Geocaching website, create a login, and find a cache near you.
- The app rates locations by degree of difficulty, so pick wisely and find that cache.
- Once you discover the cache, leave a note in the log book and leave a new trinket.
- Once you are home, go back to the geocaching website and leave a note for the “owner.”
Create Pottery Without the Mess
Paint your own pottery places are increasingly popular – and a lot of fun. They are full of blank pieces out on shelves for you to choose from, so it’s easy to please even the pickiest artist. You could paint the ceramic flowers, the coffee cup, or the crazy looking bunny rabbit that everyone has avoided (dads don’t exclude, they include).
Whatever piece you and the kids pick, you’re sure to have fun and even get that creative side of you out a little bit. Just remember – no matter how great (or, ahem, not great) the final pieces look you’re there for the memories and quality time. So put down that phone and make sure Timmy isn’t breaking everything.
Most paint your own pottery places are local and unique to where you live, so just head on over to Google and search for them. And remember, have fun.
Take a Bike Ride
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a city that is very bike friendly, this is an easy journey to make. Otherwise, if you don’t it may take some planning. Either way a nice bike ride to a nearby park for a picnic or to a restaurant not far off the bike path is a great idea.
Tip: Plan for the crazy “only our family” moments that only seem to happen at the worst times. Like that one time the kid that had been potty trained for a year all of a sudden decided to have an “accident” while taking the city bus to the summer fair.
Yeah. It’s pretty much Murphy’s Law for dads when you the kids anywhere.
If you’re more the off-roading type, check out this awesome blog from “The Bike Dads.” In this blog, they go over some seriously cool off-roading bike seats for those younger kids too young to tame the trails.
Also, must-read blog is the one where they talk about the difficulties of bike riding with kids. This blog will help you feel a bit more prepared so you can have much more fun.
Go See a Play, a Puppet Show, or Art Gallery
How often do you and your family attend plays? With real live actors? Going to a play or gallery is not only fun and easy but according to recent studies, kids that are exposed to the arts are, “4x more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.”
Not only that, but they will have increased critical thinking and memory, more confidence, and all around a better outlet for all those emotions. Who knew that going to see a show would have such benefits?
Sounds like a win-win. Look to see if your city has a theater that also serves meals to make it a dinner date and take each kid alone as a special night with dad.
Go to the Local Hobby Store and Work on a Project Together
This is where dads often shine: hobbies and any kind of hands-on building or learning with their kids.
Taking your kids shopping at the local hobby store or toy shop shows:
- That you are genuinely interested in what they are interested in
- That you actually do have some skills they don’t and can do really cool things
- There are many ways to have fun together
So, how do you get them excited about this when all they want is to play video games or sleep?
First: learn about your kids. Is your son or daughter into Minecraft? Let them explain what it is and why they like it (even though they’ve likely told you a million times, but you still can’t figure it out). Then head on over to the hobby store and get something Minecraft-related. You would be surprised what you can find there and they will be excited to do something involving their as-of-now passion.
Second: Start talking about how much fun it is to build replica cars, or create something super cool. Ask your kids what would interest them as a family project and get it started.
Third: just go get something without them and start working on it yourself. That “opening of a cheese wrapper” effect on dogs will happen to your kids when they see dad has something new and interesting he’s working on. When they ask all about it and want to help, hum and haw a bit. When the time is right, ask for their help. It’s a proven method and involves some serious bonding time.
Indoor rock climbing is just about everywhere these days, even indoors. These facilities are fantastic and the staff is incredibly helpful with guiding you and your kids on the best ways to get to the top with ease.
This adventure is also a two-fold reward. You get incredible bonding time with your offspring while simultaneously tiring them out (just don’t tell them we said that). If you plan your day just right, you can do lunch and a movie after then home for a calm evening.
It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you spend time with your minions. Building memories with your kids are so important, for you and them. With any luck, you could make that one memory that gets told every Thanksgiving to your children’s children. Most of us have fond memories of our parents from when we were growing up.
As Tony Dungy once said, “A father’s job is to not only protect and provide but to love and lead.” Show your kids what dads are all about, and enjoy every second of it.