Children may outgrow toys, but they’ll never outgrow adventures. They’ll forget the stuff we bought for them, but they’ll forever treasure the quality times spent with dad. The world is our playground and children are only young once. Don’t overthink adventures—just rock n’ roll!
Hiking a trail opens more than just an escape from screen time, it gives way to freedom, exploration, and imagination. In the great outdoors, some of life’s coolest adventures happen spontaneously. On snow days, children who build a snow man, make snow angels, and go sledding all have healthier and more memorable experiences than those who bury their faces in an iPad. If it’s hot outside, turning on the sprinkler can help everyone cool down—silly dads can run through while the kids break out into hysterical laughter!
Spur-of-the-moment play can inspire some of the best and most contagious smiles! At the beach, join in as the kids hurl themselves into wave after crashing wave. Bring a blanket and picnic basket for a walk in a field of flowers; some of the fondest memories can be made settling in under a gigantic oak tree for snacks and play. Have a loaf of bread? Bring it to the pond for children to break off pieces to feed geese and ducks; they love watching as nature’s creatures scramble and scurry about for scraps. The benefits of the natural world work wonders for every dimension of our family’s health and well-being.
When it comes to art, drawing, painting, and building sculptures can help children tap into their innermost creativity. Rocks, sticks, and even repurposed trash can be beautified with a child’s own personal touch. Playing with kinetic sand is delightful; children and adults alike can be captivated by the flow of diamagnetic particles as they come together and fall apart as if controlled by magical forces. Creative uses for food coloring expand beyond painting eggs once a year on Easter Eve. Sidewalk art with chalk can inspire hopscotch and social gatherings with other children from the neighborhood.
It is a wonderful moment in time when a child learns to ride a bicycle. Once they learn, they’ll be more capable of exploring their world. Visiting a busy playground can keep children stimulated for hours—while helping them develop gross-motor and social skills. Sports are great for hand-eye coordination; playing catch, shooting hoops, and soccer ignite competitive juices in children for fathers to support and guide them in healthy ways. Swimming allows children to become more familiar with their physical bodies—water encourages a whole new world of creative games as children imagine themselves as sharks and mermaids.
Fathers can set up a tent outside with a campfire and s’mores. If we take a ride in a small boat or a dinghy, collecting mermaid tears (sea glass) can be an amazing experience. Consider the build-up and anticipation of a treasure hunt or the exhilaration of a scavenger hunt. Although not advisable to make it into a regular habit, how about the thrill of just getting really dirty? How about a good old-fashioned battle? Snowballs, water balloons, Nerf guns, water guns, pillow fights, even crab apples if the kids are mature enough; something about firing projectiles evokes such simple, primal joy.
Discuss nutrition and the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Bring children to a farm or a farmer’s market to get closer to the source of the food; planting a garden allows children to “get to the root” of fresh produce. Use vegetables they hand-pick to make healthy meals. Don’t forget about dessert! Children love mixing, baking, and decorating brownies, cakes, and cookies.
Blocks, Legos, and puzzles are great for young kids. As they get older, we can introduce science experiments and scrapbooking. Learning to play chess helps children develop critical thinking and decision-making skills. Building a blanket fort in the kitchen can be just as fun as going to the bowling alley, the arcade, or a movie theater. Fun dads can make an adventure out of traveling to and from a destination, whether by car, train, bus, or ferry. Volunteering at a church, an animal shelter, or a local non-profit can be a lot of fun—all while reinforcing the good habits of humility, kindness, and generosity.
Closer to home, make plans with family and close friends to strengthen bonds and social skills; spending time with loved ones is one of the most rewarding things we can do in life.
When dad makes reading fun and exciting, trips to the library can inspire a genuine love for learning! Read about space and constellations before setting up a telescope under the stars. Read about bugs and go catch some fireflies or other insects! Read about the beasts of the animal kingdom and visit a zoo or an aquarium. Read about dinosaurs and tour a museum to get up close with fossilized remains. Research plays coming to a nearby theatre, read the story, and attend the show. With supportive guidance, reading is fun, strengthens vocabulary, and improves communication skills. Although this post is about adventures, let’s get in a plug for the importance of books: consistent reading helps children internalize correct sentence structure and creates a direct competitive advantage as they speak and write for the rest of their lives.
Children don’t need to be lavished with expensive gifts or extravagant vacations. As we think back to childhood, what was our favorite thing to play with? How about our imagination?! Kids want to be loved and enjoy moments in time with their father, creating memories we will cherish forever.
“The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” —Psalm 121:7-8 NLT
Turn off the screen and turn on the creativity. Whether your family is looking for fun activities after school, road trip vacations, or everyday ways to learn together, this collection of interactive educational activities will help your kids get creative, get into nature, and get closer to each other.
Struggling to decide what was best for her family, McGurk embarked on a six-month journey to Sweden with her two daughters to see how their lives would change in a place where spending time in nature is considered essential to a good childhood. Insightful and lively, There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather is a fascinating personal narrative that illustrates how Scandinavian culture could hold the key to raising healthy, resilient, and confident children in America.
With challenges ranging from baking an apple pie blindfolded to painting on a unique canvas, boring family board games are a thing of the past. Until you scratch it off, your adventure is a mystery!
Parents today complain of fragmented relationships with their kids. What parents yearn for–and their kids too–is deep, heart-to-heart connections. But how can parents compete with all the other noise fighting for their kids’ attention? The answer, says Greta Eskridge, is to break free from regular routines and familiar comforts of home to experience new places and adventures–even if those adventures go awry. From simply reading a book together to going on an overnight backpacking trip, activities together provide unique and crucial bonding opportunities. Adventuring Together highlights Greta’s stories of doing just that…
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.