8 Activities Every Child Needs to Experience with Dad!
While you're monitoring the progress of your NCAA March Madness bracket, make sure you're following March Dadness, our game plan for Coach Dad. We started with Sweet 16 Words of Affirmation and are advancing to the next round with Elite 8 Activities that Every Child Needs to Experience with Dad.
At NFI, we like to say that "the smallest moments make the biggest impact in a child's life." While not all "the smallest moments" need to be centered around an activity, it's often shared experiences that form lasting memories. There are some experiences that seem so intrinsic to childhood, and while anyone can share those experiences with a child, the impact is magnified when Dad is the one making those memories.
Be intentional about creating memories through these activities with your child.
8 Activities Your Child Should Experience with You:
- #1: Playing "catch": Grab a couple mitts and a ball and take an afternoon to teach your child (boy or girl!) how to throw a baseball. Even if neither one of you masters the perfect form, the important thing is that you're spending time together. In our earliest PSA, NFI illustrated the crisis of father absence through a game of catch.
- #2: Learning to ride a bike: Taking the training wheels off is a big step for kids, and having dad there to hold them steady until they have the confidence to ride off on their own is important.
- #3: Camping: Whether "roughin' it" under the stars is your style or you prefer the comforts of a cabin with electricity and water, getting out in the great outdoors is a valuable experience for kids, as one of NFI's staffers noted on our blog. Take a hike, go fishing, and roast marshmellows over a fire. If you can't get away for a camping trip, pitch a tent in the backyard for a night.
- #4: "Day with Dad": Set apart a full day to spend with just you and your child one-on-one. Attend a sporting event together, play at the playground, go out for a dinner "date." Better yet, make "Day with Dad" a regular occurance!
- #5: Volunteering: Whether you're serving at your local church or helping at a homeless shelter, there's countless opportunities for you and your child to give your time to a good cause together. Your child will enjoy spending time with you and you'll be setting a good example for a lifelong habit of service.
- #6: Reading: Your child is never too young (or too old) to read with you. From reading Goodnight Moon to your baby to The Lord of the Rings with your pre-teens, the list of great books will last you a lifetime. Make it a regular habit to read aloud with your child.
- #7: Opening a bank account: Many banks have youth savings accounts with low minimum balance and no monthly fees. After your child has saved a certain amount of allowance or money from jobs, take him or her to the bank to open a savings account. The experience of investing his or her own money will provide a sense of accomplishment and a headstart on positive financial habits.
- #8 (for sons): Learning to tie a tie and shave: Boys need their dads to coach them through these "rites of passage" in manhood and give them the "seal of approval" when they master the task. One NFI staffer whose father was mostly absent blogged about the significance of this experience with his dad.
- #8 (for daughters): Dancing: Whether it's a silly dance in the living room (as humorously shown in one of NFI's PSAs) or a daddy-daughter dance held by a local church or community organization, girls need their dad to show them how a gentleman treats a lady. Don't let the father-daughter dance at her wedding be the first and only time you dance with your daughter.