We dads are busy guys — whether it’s serving as a proud parent or being reduced to an unpaid taxi driver.
When we do get rare quality time with our kids, what should we do? Sure, we could rush to a museum or favorite fast food place, but these take a hit on the wallet. Or we could make lasting memories and head into the wilderness of our own backyard.
In celebration of Father’s Day, here are six adventures you can do with your kids — dad-style.
Build a Shelter
Admit it — whether a den, base or hideout — as a kid, you loved making your own shelter.
Your kids are no different. They love the great outdoors, collecting sticks and getting mucky — they just don’t do it as often.
So head to the back of the garden, away from mom’s eyes. Whether you use just sticks and branches, or grab a tarp and old wood, you soon will have your child’s new castle or Mars colony to enjoy.
If you are really adventurous, why not grab a sleeping bag and flashlight and stay the night?
Firing Water-Filled Bottle Rockets
Who doesn’t like shooting rockets sky-high? Your children will, that is a fact — and you will, too.
Whether you take a shortcut and buy a kit or get handy and make your own Pintererst-inspired launcher, everyone will have a blast filling old soda bottles with water and launching them.
Just keep away from your neighbor’s new car. They land with a wallop.
Make a Giant Jenga
Children are experts at this game, as they use their small fingers to pull out blocks without toppling the tower.
Well, go large — make a garden set with two-by-fours. Show your children how to use tools safely: measuring and sawing, sanding edges and painting blocks.
To calculate your lumber buy, remember that since a two-by-four is, well, actually not two inches by four inches, each piece will be just under a foot in length — in other words, three times its width. You will get 11 pieces out of a 10-foot board.
Your children will love making it as much as playing it and you’ll have an unbreakable patio game that will last years.
Northeast Ohio Rocks
You must have seen them — your children certainly have. Little, cheerfully-painted rocks hidden in plain sight.
The name of the game is to find them, post a picture to the “Northeast Ohio Rocks!” Facebook page, and then hide them again for someone else.
Create your own to join in the fun: collect pebbles, get your paints out, decorate and label, then hide. Then watch on Facebook as your very own pebbles start their journey.
Back to Basics
We are programmed to enjoy fire. Using fire safely is a vital skill and can be taught from a young age.
Help your children gather sticks, sort them by size, and show them how to build a fire without resorting to cheating.
Their faces will be a joy to watch when the flames start to catch.
Of course, no fire is complete without a few marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers to make the s’mores.
Plant Giant Pumpkins
Or sunflowers. Or watermelons. Take your offspring to a superstore and pick interesting seeds.
Go overboard with the propagator and compost, or keep it low budget with garden soil and paper cups.
They will love potting the seeds — and if you have multiple children, they’ll enjoy being competitive over whose plants will sprout first, grow fastest or tallest, or produce the biggest pumpkin.
Best of all, as the seedlings grow you get more things to do together throughout the summer, ending with the excitement of harvesting your own food — which could lead to your own Iron Chef competition, too.
You never know, they may even eat their vegetables.