The average parent spends less than an hour a day in one-on-one play with his child, parenting expert Dr. Miriam Stoppard found, and more than 25 percent of parents said they only spend 30 minutes of quality time a day with their kids.
As other parents increasingly rely on high-tech gadgets to entertain their kids, be an above-average dad by engaging your child in a unique activity that will challenge his brain and body.
Primitive camping gives you and your son an opportunity to bond in the simplicity of the natural world. The key is to not rely on electronic gizmos to tame the experience.
Leave all electronic and battery-operated equipment at home. The exception is a cell phone to use in case of an emergency. Take a tent, sleeping bags, blankets and some cookware. Take food with you, unless you’re an experienced forager. Cook on a campfire and heat your water to clean up. Without the electronic distractions, you and your son will have a lot of time to just talk.
For those rainy fall days when you don’t even want to step outside, competitive video gaming is one of the super dad activities. You are helping your son build his coordination and confidence as you play together.
Find titles that allow you to work together to achieve a goal. The Call of Duty games allow you and your son to collaborate as soldiers in a platoon. There are sci-fi games, mysteries and puzzle-solving video games that let you work collaboratively.
Doing something with your son that helps others can make a big impact on your relationship together. Find the local Habitat for Humanity (or similar organization) office and ask how you two can get involved. Help build or remodel a home for someone in need—you’ll bond, have fun and learn about community service.
Visit a Flight Museum
Flying Compass lists various flight museums around the country. The National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is probably the best-known, but many states have flight museums with their own unique displays. The Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita, Kan., holds some of the earliest space capsules used to send men into space.
The exhibits are fascinating, but also give you a chance to talk with your son about the pioneering spirits that built the early aviation and space programs. Those men and women were the early entrepreneurs. Their passion for flight kept them going in spite of the risks.
Many museums offer rides in antique and restored aircraft. Take the opportunity to experience this with your son. He may come away from the trip with a different view of who the heroes really were.
Build Something Together
If you have some task around the house you’ve been meaning to start, create a project to do it with your son.
Building shelves in the garage, replacing the patio door or putting in a deck are all great ways to work with your son. Get them involved at the very beginning, so they can see what it’s like to plan and get the right tools and materials together. Your son learns by doing, so make sure he works alongside you and isn’t just watching.
Visit ActivityHero for more local activities including camps and classes in your area.
Author: Erick Nicholson
Erick is a dad first and an engineer second. He works for a construction firm designing sustainable machinery.