Things to do with Dad
Mums and Dads have different relationships with their children and interact differently with them. There is a lot of evidence that a Father's (or male's) involvement and consistent interaction in their child's life boosts the child's confidence, and has an impact on their school life and how the child forms long lasting relationships.
So I thought I would find a few ideas for things that children can do with their Dad to build this unique relationship. It can be difficult for some Dads to have lots of time with their children (especially through the week if they are working) and therefore the time you spend with your child is just that little bit extra special. Some of these ideas are cheap or free activities and others are messy (we all know how much Dad's love getting involved in all the mess and using their imagination from their inner child!)
Even with all of this, remember that sometimes it really is enough to cuddle down together and read or just talk.
Weekend breakfast fun
Why not have a lazy Saturday morning and have some breakfast fun together. Come on Dad be imaginative and make this breakfast the most fun you can and give your children some special and funny memories! Involve your child in thinking of things to make-a fry up, continental breakfast, pancakes (pour the batter out in the shapes of your initials), waffles and icecream... get all of the ingredients together and enjoy each other's company as you cook together. Put some music on to cook too, make up a song about the breakfast you are going to eat, if you are enjoying yourself your children are bound to be having fun too! Even if they are laughing at your dodgy €˜Dad moves' don't be afraid to embarrass yourself (show your child that they can be whoever they want to be and have fun in life!) Lay the breakfast table and sit down together. Talk to your child. The things they learn from you will be very different from what they will learn from their Mum and they need to see both sides.
Make up stories
My Dad used to love doing this at bedtime for myself and my 2 sisters. To this day I remember being on holiday in France and our Dad telling us a story about a princess whilst we snuggled in the bunk beds. Children love listening to their Dad-they look up to you so you are very likely to have their undivided attention if you tell them a story. Make it up as you go along; use their name and those of friends, siblings or other family members as characters.
Have a Home cinema
Who doesn't love to grab some sweets and popcorn and snuggle on the sofa in a dark room and watch your favourite film together?
Here's a free activity that most children will be happy to get involved with-especially if it means they have a chance of beating their Dad! It can be any sport-a race, football, rounder's etc. (make the game fun and silly by doing it in fancy dress, have forfeits for the looser or slightly change the rules)
Go for walk
It is quite often the case that the simplest things in life turn out to be the most fun! It doesn't matter where you live-go out and explore. Go on a Bear Hunt or make a treasure map and go in search of the X!
You do not need a license to fish in the sea. Being out in the fresh air, enjoying nature is a great way to spend time with your children doing something they may never have tried. If you can't get hold of fishing equipment you can always go rock pooling.
Watch the stars together
You don't need a telescope to do this-pick a clear night and look at the stars. Use books and the internet to discover their names or make up your own names for constellations.
Children love Investigation and Exploration activities-these scientific experiments are great fun and teach your children about the world around them at the same time. With your child gather the materials that you will need, talk to them about what you are doing and ask them questions, give them scenarios. Think about their interests or topics they are covering at school to make activities relevant.
You will need: Plaster of Paris, empty margarine or butter tub, Vaseline, a leaf.
- Smear the leaf and dish with the Vaseline.
- Place the leaf in the middle of the tub.
- Mix the Plaster of Paris according to the instructions and pour it over the leaf.
- Wait for 10 minutes.
- Turn it out
Build a kite
You will need: two sticks about 90cm and 102cm long, for example ), a binliner cut to just use one side, ribbons for the tail, sticky tape, string or garden twine.
- Tape the two sticks together, making a cross. The shorter stick needs to go horizontally, more than half way up so that you will have a diamond shaped kite once finished. Tie them together with string securely.
- Cut a notch in the end of each stick deep enough to put the string in.
- Cut a piece of string long enough to stretch around the frame of the kite. Make a loop with the string and attach it to the top stick, securing it in the notch.
- Stretch the string around the whole frame securing in all of the notches (make another loop at the bottom). Cut off any excess string. The string needs to be tight but must not bend the sticks.
- Lay the binliner on a flat surface. Place the kite frame on top. Cut around the frame leaving 2-3cm around the edge. Fold these edges over the string frame and use sticky tape o glue to secure the material tightly.
- Cut a piece of string and tie to the top loop of the cut. Just above the cross over of sticks tie another loop then tie the end of the string to the bottom loop.
- Make a tail using more string and tying ribbons along the length. Attach this tail to the bottom loop.
- Tie the flying line to the loop you made in the middle
- Decorate the binliner-dont use anything too heavy.
- Go fly your kite!
We used to have so much fun with this at nursery! This activity is definitely best done outside as it can be extremely messy!
You will need: strips of newspaper, water, flour and a balloon.
- Mix the flour and water so that it is the consistency of thin cream.
- Blow up the balloon
- Dip the newspaper strips into the mix and layer them all over the balloon.
- Build up the layers until the balloon is completely covered.
- This could take a few days to dry.
- Once dry it will be hard and you can then use paints to decorate the balloon to be anything you want.
- To make a hat only cover the top half of the balloon with the paper Mache. Once dry pop the balloon and decorate.
Ria has 2 girls and previously worked in nurseries for over 15 years and left managing a day nursery when her eldest was born. She now works for Raring2go! as our Digital Content and Strategy Manager
If you are interested in writing for Raring2go! or featuring on our site please email Ria.
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