Daddy-Daughter Date #12 – Build a Snowman or Snowfort

Time: 10 – 40 mins
Cost: Free, unless you have to build your own snow
Recurrence: Twice a winter
Age: 2 – 18
Impact: =}

What child doesn’t remember making a snow man?  Don’t you remember making a cool snowman?  The second the flakes start falling, most kids are thinking of getting two sticks, a hat, a scarf, and packing the snow in to a few boulders.  That time is a great time to help your daughter play dress up with approximately 100 pounds of snow.  Given that the total snowman weighs that much, she probably is going to need you to do the heavy lifting and assemble it.  It does depend on where you live, however.  If you live in Arizona, this Daddy Daughter Date might be problematic to pull off.  But if you’re in an area where typically you have to shovel yourself out before heading to work, slot some time to make a snowman.

Proved me wrong yet again, eh, Arizona?

Think of something imaginative or let your daughter come up with the idea.  You don’t have to do the typical hat and scarf if you don’t want to.  Just remember, whatever you put outside has a potential to blow away or get destroyed by the elements.  Here are a few ideas to get your daughters creative thoughts going:
– A family of snow people
– A snow princess
– A snow dog

– A snow giraffe (Okay, you’d need A LOT of snow to pull this off and would need to be an amazing sculptor)

Again, I stand corrected...and impressed!

Say that your daughter isn’t in to dress up or your back doesn’t necessarily want to roll that much snow.  A snow fort can be just as fun and a neat project at the same time.  One method to create a snow fort is to simply make a HUGE pile of snow that you dig a “cave” in to.  Your back is going to still be screaming at you, however.  Another route is to make snow bricks using a plastic mold (retail of $4.99) or just use a pan or bucket.  Just set expectations on whether you’re going to be building an igloo or not, because that conversation will come up.  You could make a fort, or maybe just a few walls for a good ole fashioned snowball fight.  Plus, sitting inside the little igloo you created with your daughter is pretty fun and gives you the chance to pretend with her for a bit

She'll be the envy of the neighborhood

Super-Dad Tip: The snow should be somewhat wet, so it can actually stick together.  Start with a snowball, packed together tightly, and then roll it around in the snow to make it bigger.  Think back to Loony Toones and a massive snowball barreling down a mountain.  You want the base to be a bit flat on top, so shape it so it’s ready for the 2nd and 3rd ball.  Repeat the same steps for the 2nd and 3rd ball, rolling it out of a starter snowball.

Take pictures of you and your daughter next to your creation.  Then go inside and have some hot chocolate.

Thanks for being a dad…

-Scott-

Do you dadvertise?

One of my favorite gifts (if not my most favorite) that I received for Christmas was my Super Dad shirt.  I’ve already got a few shirts that advertise my personal occupation, but it dawned on me that people often speak through their clothes, do dads?

He's trying to tell you that he likes to pop his collars

For an example, I don’t have a ton of t-shirts, but I know a bunch of people that do.  They have T-shirts from high school track teams they were on, concerts they went to, creative slogans (“Without me, it would just be aweso”) and the like.  People that go to concerts often wear shirts that they got at other concerts.  People profess their allegiance to specific teams by wearing their colors or jerseys, and often pay a small fortune just to advertise for that team.

Think of it.  Do you have a Harley Davidson shirt?  Maybe a Yankees jersey?  What about an LSU Tigers hat?  You’d wear those out any day of the week.  It’s who you are. It’s what you’re behind.  It’s what you spend your time on.  If your daughter got you a shirt that mentioned being her dad, would you wear it with that same pride?

Do you dare?

I’m not hoping to guilt you in to buying one of those shirts, I’m literally wondering whether I think being a dad is way cooler than it is.  Is it something to put on a shirt or is it just something should see from you based on the pictures on your desk and the recap of the family weekends that you have? How do you advertise being a dad?

Gretzky jersey? Nah, this is a true Great One

Whether you advertise it or not….thanks for being a dad…..

-Scott-

and my wife wants me to coin “dadvertise”.

Daddy-Daughter Date #8 – Adventure Hike

Time: 15 mins – a day
Cost: Free
Recurrence: Weekly, monthly, etc
Age: 4 – 60
Impact: =}

Take a hike.  Literally.  Your daughter will love a special walk just you and her.  But don’t just walk out of the house, make an adventure out of it.  Either drive to a special spot like an arboretum or state park, or make up a story to go along with your hike.  It will teach her how to use her creativity and spontaneity.  You can plan a long hike through winding forest trails or simply climb to the top of a hill.  It’s great exercise, too.  She’s not made of glass and neither are you, so you can get dirty and scrape your knees.

Unless you're this guy

Hike during every season and every kind of weather.  Don’t just make it at 70 degrees with low humidity and no breeze.  That’s not an adventure.  It’s predictable and not very unique.  Remember that you’re trying to make memories and have her remember a special time for just you two.  By finding a really interesting twist to your hike, she’ll keep coming back for the next twist.

I think that's a little TOO EXTREME of a twist

For an unforgettably tranquil hike, hike through a forest during a snowfall.  Have your daughter listen to the silence in the trees.  Just be sure to wear orange if you’re out during hunting season.   Find the peak time for fall and plan a color tour where you’re looking for all different colors and tree types.  While you’re watching the colors, tell her why the leaves are changing (green chlorophyll runs out of the leaves) and have her tell you her favorite fall color.  In spring, make it a game to find the first flower/first sprout/first squirrel.  For summer, the possibilities are endless.  You can spend a whole day traversing trails and finding new heights to climb.  If you do return to the same area, take pictures of you and your daughter from the same spot over the seasons and years.  Looking back through those pictures will be a visual reminder for both of you of the adventures you had.

I like to imagine she's stabbing a snake

One of the things I love to do with my daughter is just take a walk through an arboretum about 20 minutes from our house.  We’ve gone there in every season; fall, winter, spring, and summer.  It’s totally cool because she gets to see the different effects of the seasons in the same spot.  Also, it’s an arboretum, so there are a bunch of trails and different trees.  It’s actually a good spot to climb trees.  I never figured out whether that was allowed though.

It’s really just a special time for her and me.  It’s so quiet there, and she loves it when it’s quiet, so we sometimes just sit and listen.  I was sort of an outdoors kid, so to me it’s sort of sharing part of my childhood.  For her, I think she looks forward to it because it’s just me and her.  No sisters or mom to have to share time with.  And when we’re talking, we don’t have to talk over anyone or wait our turn.  It’s just a cool opportunity to have a conversation.” Mike, WI

Thanks for being a dad…

-Scott-

Want to share your Daddy-Daughter Date idea and be featured on Daddy Daughter Date?  Drop me a line and let’s do it!

Daddy-Daughter Date #76 – Photowalk

This Daddy-Daughter Date idea come from Drew over at benspark.com.  Thanks Drew!

Time: 1 – 2 hours
Cost:  Free (assuming you have a camera)
Recurrence:  Once a month
Age: 2-73
Impact: =}

Taking a walk is already a Daddy-Daughter Date (stay tuned for DDD #8 – Adventure Hike), but this one has a bit of different flare.  Why not snap a few memories of your walk, where ever you go?  Taking along a camera is just a good idea for any Daddy-Daughter Date, but when you’re out in a natural area or just any area with interesting surroundings, having a camera on hand is good idea.  Capturing your surroundings will catelogue your Daddy-Daughter Date, giving you the opportunity to look back in a year, 5 years, or even 50 years (if you live that long).  Your daughter will want to look back, so give her that opportunity.  Every time she does, she’s going to think how awesome her dad was.

Step 1: Camera.  You’re going to need some sort of camera to take pictures.  I like to suggest that both you and your daughter have your own camera, that way you’re not always waiting for each other or snatching it out of each others hands.  That and you can compare pictures or snake off in your own little area to grab some hidden shots.  Now, I know what you’re thinking. “I’ve got a camera on my phone.  It’s good enough”  MAYBE.  It’s true that the cost of digital photography has assisted in cameras being everywhere, but you do want to take fairly decent pictures.  With the prices of cameras down to around $40 for a starter rig, you could afford to pick up a new one for you or your daughter.  Also, you’ll have better control taking the shot by not using your phone and you won’t accidentally upload thirty leaf photos to Facebook by accident.  Just make sure if there is a wrist-strap, she uses it.

Actually, that's from when she took a picture of Woody Harelson

Step 2: A place to walk.  This should be a no-brainer, but let’s just talk this one through.  For a photo walk, you don’t have to go much farther than the end of your driveway.  There are a ton of basic scenes and items that when photographed, end up becoming a work of art.  Yes, snapping a picture of a rusted fire hydrant ends up becoming art and going for $10 at an art fair.  But, if you’re looking for some locations outside your driveway, find an area where you have room to roam and not a lot of crowd.  Having less people helps when trying to grab photos.  Some ideas: a field of grass, a park, a zoo, a botanical gardens, a golf course, a beach, the forest, a downtown area, a pond/lake, etc.  Whatever she wants to shoot, let her shoot.  C’mon, it’s digital.  Yes, when we were talking film, this was different story.

Be on the lookout for the photobomb, though

Step 3: Review.  After the Daddy-Daughter Date is all said and done, find a way to display the pictures.  You may decide to get them made in to a prints and help her put them in an album, or you might just throw them on a thumb drive and have a digital picture frame play the day back to you.  Either way, her seeing it all over again, and you, conjures the memories of that time and the feeling of togetherness with you.  It reminds her that dad is there for her and cares about taking time with just her.  In a way, it reminds her that you love her.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that couldn’t be truer in her mind after this Daddy-Daughter Date.

From Drew at benspark.com
“I brought her to this park that we have near our house and they have a sort of petting zoo with domestic animals like horses, sheep, and goats and stuff.  And you can bring carrots or apples and feed the animals.  Well, we brought our cameras; she was about 2 1/2. 

property of benspark.com

I’ll just give her a real camera.  I thought about getting her one of those Fischer Price ones, but then I though, it’s not going to take good pictures.  I gave her a point and shoot camera, one that I had used for a long time.  It was one I was going to replace, so I just gave it to her.  She knew how to take pictures already, so the two of us just went around and took pictures of the animals at the park.  I’ve got pictures of her and pictures of me, and I actually still got a picture of her holding the camera; I keep it on my Ipad.  That was a year and a half ago.    And I wanted to show her how to take pictures, so we do things like that together.  It’s definitely sharing a passion.

property of benspark.com

I think it’s just that special time with Dad.  I’m busy a lot.  I used to work 9-5, but now I’m working weekends, so I’m home throughout the week, but I’m also trying to work on my blog, so I can’t play all the time.  So, this is a special time, just the two of us.”

property of benspark.com


“I’m really trying to build a relationship so she knows she can always come to me.  That we have things in common and that we can talk about them for years to come.” Drew

Hey Drew! Thanks for being a dad…

-Scott-

Want to share your Daddy-Daughter Date idea and be featured on Daddy Daughter Date?  Drop me a line and let’s do it!

Daughter Vs. Google: One Dad’s quest

Maybe you’ve seen this whole thread and maybe you haven’t, but either way, you’re probably see yourself somewhere in this whole story.  It’s a sign of the time as it’s one dads fight to stick up for his daughter online.  But it’s a little different than the expected story.

It’s not a dad trying to cover for his daughter or try and ward off cyber-bullies; it’s a dad that’s miffed at Google for deleting his daughter’s account.  Apparently, his daughter has had the account for a few years, using it primarily as a communication tool with grandparents, but once Google realized that she was underage, the wiped the account.

Google was just trying to cut down on the views of this video

With all the online stuff that’s just omnipresent these days, you’d figure this would story would have taken some sort of plot twist or had a different driver.  We all remember the Jessi Slaughter dad threatening to call the cyber police (sad thing is, the dad passed away in August) and usually these things just have a dark and ugly cause to them.

Nope.  Just Google.  Being Google.  Look, you can probably see this dad’s beef, but you can also see Google’s point.  The dad just wants some sort of notification.  Google just wants to steer clear of any lawsuits that could arise from something bad happened to underage children.

Well, at least it gives you some sort of notification when it happens

So, what’s your stand?  Is this Google protecting themselves or making a conscientious choice for everyone’s safety?  Is the dad justified in stepping in for his daughter or should he just move on?

Either way, thanks for being a dad…

-Scott-

Daddy-Daughter Date #73 – Make a fort

Time: 5-15 minutes to construct, hours of play
Cost:  FREE
Recurrence: Once every 3 months
Age: 0-12
Impact: =D

We’ve all seen our share of Christmas day toys discarded immediately to play with the boxes, and for good reason.  Those boxes are imagination machines, full of nothing but opportunity to create their own universe.  We’ve also seen neighbors and siblings shell out hundreds, if not thousands, on extremely large and expensive playsets for their kids, giving them to opportunity to pretend elaborate adventures on these structures.  Both methods are expensive ends to to the same goal, really.  So, why not just use what you’ve got sitting around and create an all-new play area inside your house?

Making a fort is extremely simple and fun for both you and your daughter.  Granted, if you’re a dad of a teenager, I’d go out for coffee instead of this, but for those with younger kids, this Daddy-Daughter Date can’t be beat.  You’ve probably got all the materials you need right in your house.  Various items can be used, but here are few of the best “building materials”: couch cushions, chairs, stools, large plastic bins, blankets, large pillows, and chip clips.  Round up as many of those items as you can and then pick a spot to construct your masterpiece.

Time to finally use those couches from Pier One

First off, it doesn’t need to be a masterpiece.  You could literally take 4 couch cushions and build a mini-hut for your daughter and she’d love it.  There is just SOMETHING about taking a space and making it look new.  That’s one of the reasons we re-decorate our house and change the colors of the walls.  In this case, you’re taking a room she’s been in hundreds of times and you’re giving her the chance to see it as a completely different space.  Try and find some sort of boundaries to that space, though.  Large couches, chairs, and railings can all be used to set the “boundaries” of the fort.  That will give you some sort of structure to play with.

If you’re going small, just use a few couch cushions for walls and cover the top with a few pillows.  If you’re going large, blankets should be used as the top of the tent.  Here comes the tricky part; unless you have a HUGE Blanket, you might end up having to work some sort of post in the middle to attach multiple blankets together.  That’s where stools or big storage bins can be your ally.  Stack the bins up, as long as they have weight to them, and bring the blankets together.  If the bins don’t have weight, you and your daugthter are going to bring that fort down so fast you won’t have time to grab tissues for her tears.  On the other side of those blankets is where you use the chip clips.  The bigger the blanket, the stronger the clip you’re going to need.  Woodworking clamps work great if you have access to them.

Make a few entrances to the fort, and maybe even a “secret” one.  You can do this my moving couches together in an L shape, while leaving a little gap.  The more ways in and out just add to the fun of the space.  Windows are also a great one to add to the fort, whether you do that with gaps in the blankets or having an open spot between cushions.

Peek a boooo, I see-AAHH! WHO ARE YOU!?!?!

Then play.  You will be blown away by how much she wants to play in that fort.  Old toys suddenly have new life in the fort and reading becomes and absolute treasure in her little hideaway.  But this isn’t just play time for her, it’s for you too.  Pretend alongside her and come up with different adventures that happen around the fort (exploring the jungle, being pirates, surviving the wild west prairie and not dying of dysentery).

Leave the fort up for a few days, playing, but also observing.  This is a time to treasure, where the only cares for your daughter are how many dolls can come to the tea party or how many friends she can invite over to hang out in the fort.  When it’s time for the fort to come down, communicate that ahead of time….DAYS ahead of time.  It’s for the best and have her help you take it down and fold everything up.  She’ll look forward to the next fort you’ll build, which will be completely different from the first one you made.

I'd go more Cape Cod style next time...

Pro-Tip: If this all seems like way too much work, think about setting up a tent inside.  It’s a great fort, a cool place to play for your daughter, and it has windows.  Just be a bit careful when staking it in to your hardwood floors.

Thanks for being a dad…

-Scott-

There’s no replacing a dad

Now, I normally don’t just link to other blogs, as I’m not really one of those aggregator sites, but I found this post not only relevant, but also backed up with research.  I think we all hope we make a difference, being a part of our daughter’s life.  We want to show her what a man really is (even if it’s not us), we want to protect her, and we want to dote over her.  But often we don’t know how (that’s what the Daddy-Daughter Date blog is about) or if it even makes a difference (oooo, good foreshadowing).

Dr. Peggy Drexler writes on her blog about the impact of fathers on their daughter’s lives, not only as young children, but as those children age.  As dads, I think we underestimate our power in our daughter’s lives.  The things we say, or do, or even just how we act around her, it all molds her.  But what we miss is that our daughter’s are looking for our approval, whether that’s in her grades or just how she combed her hair.

Aww, that's sweet, hon-WAIT, IS THAT A RHINO?!?!

Overall, Dr. Drexler’s research tells us what we’ve hoped and feared: there’s no replacing a dad.  A daughter is always going to seek approval from her father, even from the bad ones.  What to do with that information?  Go out and be an encouraging dad.  Tell her a good thing you saw her do today, whatever the age.  Compliment her on one thing, whatever the age.  Yeah, she might roll her eyes and storm off.  Yes, she might be embarrassed.  But at least she has a dad that’s encouraging her, and in part, she might just return the favor.

*sniff*...Sure is dusty in here *sniff*

Thanks for being a dad….

-Scott-