Time: 15 mins – a day
Recurrence: Weekly, monthly, etc
Age: 4 – 60
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.
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.
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.
“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…
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