Saturday, March 8, 2008
Dads tend to be more solitary parents, seemingly preferring to do things alone with the kids rather than going out in groups. It's not very often that you hear about 'Daddy Play Groups' or SAHD gatherings, although they do exist.
So, why is it that dads don't do many group activities with each other and their kids? Because they don't like to sit around talking (gossiping) for hours, and kids don't enjoy hearing conversations about politics, money or sports.
Dads like to do things, not talk about them.
Here's 10 Fun Group Activities for Dads and Kids:
1. Swimming - it can be group lessons or just meeting up at the pool. Kids love the water, and there are many things dads can do with the kids in between short conversations with other fathers. It's fun to watch kids learn how to swim, overcome their fears, laugh and interact with each other. The pool is also a great place for kids and dads to get some exercise together.
2. Yard Games - wiffle ball, lawn darts, badminton, frisbee and kickball are all fun games for dads and kids to play together. This is a great way for dads in the neighborhood to get to know one another, as well as encourage the kids to get outside more.
3. Organized or Team Sports - team sports are an excellent way for dads to connect, but they have to be careful not to go overboard on the competitive spirit. Coaching your kids team is a tradition among fathers that helps to build friendships with other dads. Remember that kids learn from adults on how to be good sports, so set a good example.
4. Scavenger Hunt - dads love adventure, and many love to hunt. Organizing a scavenger hunt for dads and kids to do together once or twice a year is a great way to engage dads. If you really want to make it even more special, then have each dad pitch in $5 or $10 for a couple cool prizes
5. Fishing - most kids remember the time they caught their first fish, and many fathers take pride in being there for this memorable experience. Why not plan fishing trips together in small groups? Many planned neighborhoods have ponds or lakes in them, so it would be easy to meet up with the kids on a Saturday. If you have a boat, you could also invite another dad and his kids to come along on a daytrip with you for a few hours.
6. Ride Bikes - every kid loves to ride bikes, and most dads would rather ride than walk anywhere. A monthly bike ride with a group of dads and kids is something that the older kids might enjoy more too. Bike riding, like swimming, is also a low impact activity for dads that may have problems getting around.
7. Go Hiking - dads like to connect with nature in a 'mountain man' kind of way, so taking the kids for a group hike is an energizing way to both connect and learn. Different dads may know different things to point out to the group, so it makes for a unique experience. Double the fun by picking a cool destination, like a waterfall or scenic outcrop, to hike to within an hour or so.
8. Chaperone a School Dance - it may not seem like a fun activity, especially for the kids, but take my word for it, dances can be a blast. After the first Daddy-Daughter dance with my little girl, I looked forward to it every year. As the kids get older, they think it's funny to see dad bust a move, at least until they become teenagers.
9. Volunteer at a Community Event - joining together with other dads and kids to help out at a local charity event or community clean-up day is a good way to teach children the value of volunteerism. It's also a way to get to know things that may be important to fellow dads beyond parenthood. Giving back to the community gives everyone a sense of pride, and it just might help to increase the respect dads have for one another and their kids.
10. Go on a Field Trip - organizing a group trip or meeting at an area zoo, aquarium or interactive museum is something sure to get the kids attention. It provides an opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time, and dads can talk in short spurts between shows or exhibits.
Dads are much more likely to come out of their cave and socialize if there is a fun activity involved. It's important that we set a good social example for our kids, and show them how dads can interact with each other is positive and productive ways.
Please feel free to share in the comments any fun group activities that you do with other dads and the kids.