When you have a young family, weekends, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are all opportunities for family time. But just as often, they are a time when the kids get special time with Dad. And sometimes dads (and moms) need a little inspiration for how to pass this time in a fun and active way that everyone will enjoy.
Inspired by our interview with Slow Movement advocate Carl Honore, we got to work thinking about ways to carve out special time together without electronics or a big financial outlay. Imagination, creativity and a sense of adventure are all you really need to make a parent-child connection and have a blast.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started.
- Build a fort together. Either head outside to the backyard and forage for scraps and materials or if the weather isn’t cooperating make the mother of all pillow forts. Create your own story and characters to act out once it’s finished.
- Go for an explorer walk. Load up a backpack with binoculars, notepads, pencils and any other explorer gear you have laying around the house and set off to find some treasures or record nature facts. Bring back what you find and use it to create a nature picture of the whole family (use sticks for bodies, leaves for hair, pebbles for eyes; better yet, use your imaginations and come up with your own unique creations) or make your own nature fact book.
- Be an active artist. Break out the sidewalk chalk and play hopscotch and then beautify your driveway or put your stamp on the sidewalk.
- Have a ball. Grab a soccer ball and head over to the park for some throwing, catching or kicking practice. Let the kids lead the game and make sure that it stays light-hearted and fun.
- Dig it. If you have young children, nothing is more of a sure-fire hit as sand, sand and more sand. Pretend to be paleontologists and go digging for dinosaur bones in your local sandbox.
- Cook together. Choose mom or dad’s favourite recipe and make it together. Dad can either pass along his skills in the kitchen or everyone can learn together.
- Pick wild flowers. Nothing says ‘I was thinking of you’ like a handful of forget-me-nots from a toddler. Make sure to climb up and down some hills for additional exercise while you are at it.
- Create an obstacle course. Let the kids lead this one by helping them pull out items to bike, scooter or run around. Don’t forget to give it a whirl yourself!
- Change the scenery. Pack a picnic and visit somewhere you’ve never been before. A park that isn’t in the usual rotation or a spot by the water. Tuck a jump rope into the picnic basket and work off lunch by practicing your skipping skills.
- Be a tourist. Take the kids on a tour of your own childhood. Visit the house you grew up in, the park you played in and your favourite tree. Recreate some of your favourite active childhood games. If you don’t live in the same place you grew up, then show your kids a meaningful place in the family history. This could be where you and your spouse met or a special place you liked to go when they were babies. Take a picture of the kids in that spot and then frame it for a special gift.