The Board Game Family stops by

This week, I’ll shut my pie hole and let another dad talk about one on one time with his daughter.  Here’s Trent from The Board Game Family talking a little bit about one of his favorite Daddy-Daughter Dates.


Daddy-Daughter dates are fantastic. Getting out with your daughter is terrific one-on-one time.

But no one says you have to go out to have a date. In our house, a lot of our Daddy-Daughter time is spent around a table – a game table to be precise.

We love play board games and card games in our family. We’ve found that board games offer a great way to spend quality face-to-face time with each other.

With 3 boys and 1 girl in our family, Brooke gets that special daughter attention and she loves it. She turns 12 at the end of the summer and is at a great age for doing things together. Since her interests are expanding (so is her time with friends) it’s important to still make time to spend with her. So pulling a game off the shelf to play together is a great way to keep our relationship strong.

She’s also surprised me this last year in the types of board games she’s wanted to play with me. For the most part she’s enjoyed games on the lighter side without a lot of strategy. Games that have more elements of luck have been fun to her because they level the playing field. And board games that have fun themes, like food and animals, or let you act silly are particularly appealing to her.

So I was in for a surprise when I pulled out a new game for a grand adventure with my 3 sons – Defenders of the Realm. It’s a cooperative board game set in a fantasy world with wizards, elves, dwarves, rangers, and evil foes to vanquish.

But lo and behold, the one that loved it right from the start was Brooke!

Brooke has never been interested in anything fantasy themed in the past. Fantasy themed games hold no interest for her and the same has been true for any other dice rolling combat type games. So my assumption from the very beginning was that she’d have no interest in Defenders of the Realm. Thus, my only thoughts were centered on playing it with my boys.

But when I set up the game for the first time, Brooke walked in to see what I was up to. Then she noticed that there were a couple female character roles and asked me what the game was about. Next thing I know, she’d picked a character card and pulled up a chair.

So we went through what she could do on her turn, what her special skills were and we were off and rolling – literally. And of course right from the start she was knocking down minions left and right and worrying about not rolling high enough numbers. And as the evil generals started advancing she was totally into the game – concerned that we wouldn’t get to them in time.

Although our first play of the game ended in defeat for us, Brooke was anxiously asking when we’d get to play it again. Of course, I don’t think she would have ever hit that level of interest if I hadn’t been playing board games with her since she was little.

I’ve always felt that games provided a great way to connect with kids (and to stay young ourselves). Getting down on the floor to play a game with them that they’re interested in is time well spent – even
if it does involve princesses and tiaras.

In fact, we think board games are such a good way for parents to build relationships with their children that we started a website dedicated to that very thing.

We post video and written reviews of fun family board games, card games, and party games. The unique aspect of our video reviews is that it’s the kids doing the reviews. They’re the ones talking about the games so parents can see what their own kids might enjoy. And our most prolific game reviewer is our daughter Brooke.

If you’d like to see what board games are her favorites, take a look at our game reviews list where you can click on her name at the top of the table to sort the reviews by her rating. (You’ll see that she has quite a long list of 5 out of 5 and 4.5 out of 5.)

So next time you’re looking for a Daddy-Daugher Date idea, grab a game and have some fun.

– Trent

P.S. And if you haven’t tried a cooperative board game before (where you work together as a team to defeat the game), we’ve got a great recommendation for you that’s great with daughters – Forbidden


This makes it all worth it

Look, blogs aren’t the most popular things to read out in the Internet, well, at least mine isn’t.  But there are SO MANY of them, which means there are so many people slaving away in front of a computer screen; and for what?  For a few visitors every once in a while that drop by.  Often to promote their own blog. 

But then, you receive that email/note/tweet that makes it all worth it.  Here’s the one I got from Kristi (notice it’s not a dad):

I was just lead to your blog by my husband. We have two daughters, 6 and 2, and are expecting our third little girl in September.

I grew up in a house with two younger sisters do I’m familiar with the dynamics of an all-girl household, plus my Dad.

Growing up, I was always seeking my dads approval. Whether it be test scores, track races or wearing a pretty dress. He never really acknowledged these things. In fact, he often joked about those subjects, never ever really telling us how proud he was of us. My sisters and I grew up and are still quite insecure women and I attribute this somewhat to my dads inability to show his love and/or praise.

Raising two (soon to be three) daughters ourselves, my husband and I have always felt that a strong daddy-daughter unconditional relationship is so very important. In fact, my six year old and husband go on many daddy-daughter dates from the driving range to quadding to quiet afternoon matinees. These moments melt my heart as I know how beneficial these are to our daughters well being.

Thank you for your blog and insight on daddy-daughter relationships. After perusing your blog today, I laughed and I cried, but most of all, it reinstates the fact that there is no greater relationship than that of a dad and his girls.

Thank you!
I have to say, I am touched.  Normally blogs are one of those things that you don’t always see the impacts, but you put it out there hoping it’s hitting home.

“You like me! You REALLY LIKE ME!”

Kristi told me three big points there: #1 – Her husband was the one that found the site and it was something powerful enough for him to pass on #2 – That she is a living testament to a father’s impact, whether conscious or unconscious #3 – That there is a dad making a difference in the lives of 4 women.

That’s why I love my readers.  Whether you guys (and girls) respond or not, I’m honored that you’d stop by the blog and that you take the time for your daughters.   Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….


A rose by any other name….

So unless you haven’t picked up a paper, checked any of your social media outlets, or crawled out from underneath that rock, you heard that Jessica Simpson and her fiance Eric Johnson welcomed their baby girl into the world.  I’m totally pumped that Jessica Simpson finally had her daughter, because of two reasons:

#1 – it gives me one more reader as there is another dad out there with a daughter


#2 – the media will stop covering the whole thing

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Jessica is all that everyone makes her out to be, but let’s face it: that convulsive head thing she does when she sings COULD NOT have been good for that baby in utero.  But seriously, maybe motherhood will change things up for her.  Just after the kid gets over her name.  Oh, you didn’t hear?  The daughter’s name is Maxwell Drew Johnson.

Now, the Johnson part I get.  The Drew part is cool (Jessica’s mother’s maiden name) and is sort of like Nancy Drew.  But Maxwell?  For a girl?  Look, I might take some flak here, but if someone is going to stand up to celebrities that name their kids weird things, it should be this blog.

Take for example, the following daughters of celebrities:

Alcamy – Lance Henriksen / Mary Jane Henriksen

Ever Gabo – Milla Jovovich / Paul W. S. Anderson

Tu Simone Ayer – Rob Morrow / Debbon Ayer

Brody Jo – Gabrielle Reece / Laird Hamilton

And it wouldn’t be a list without Zappa’s kids:

Moon Unit and Diva Muffin – Frank Zappa / Gail Zappa

How she turned out like THIS, I’ll never know

All I’m saying is that I think it’s a bit unfair to already throw the kid into a tumultuous upbringing like Hollywood.  Now you add some really odd name that require them to follow an initial introduction up with “Really.”

So this is an open plea to Mr. Johnson:

Dude, you need to change your daughter’s name.  Your fiancee has been attributed, whether factual or not, with some of the most public blunders known to this generation.  You can avoid one more notch on that flag pole.  Find yourself a baby name book, look at the top ten girl names last year, and do the ole’ cover and point.

NOPE-NOPE-NOPE. Find a different book.

A quick sharpie marker, a few record updates, and just tell Jess that it was her idea.  I’m pretty sure she’d swallow that hook.  If not, that’s okay.  Just take her on a few Daddy-Daughter Dates when she’s old enough.  Thanks for reading and thanks for becoming a new dad…


Daddy-Daughter Date #41 – Chuck E. Cheese

Time: 1-2 hours
Cost: $
Recurrence: Once or twice a year
Age: 2-10
Impact: 😀

There’s probably going to be some big hubbub about me referencing the actual establishment’s name, but I see it as free advertising for them.  And with ALL the readers I have out there, I think they’re the winners in the end, really.

“We’ll take it” – CEC Entertainment, Inc

Chuck E. Cheese is another iconic kid destination that even single people or older couples understand is strictly a kids restaurant.  There is no other way around it.  It’s all fun and games, even when someone gets hurt.  No….not really.  But where else can you find that many games for kids and adults and still get some place to put your stuff down and eat?

A few comments on the food.  It’s not that great.  If you can, I would suggest eating ahead of time.  The pizzas are an absolute miracle within a culture that has seemingly tried to improve this dish in so many ways.  It’s actually found a way to made it worse, yet still charge a premium.  That’s brand loyalty and recognition, my friends.  If you want to have authentic Chuck E. Cheese pizza, you can make it at home.  Take a tortilla and leave it out on the counter for 2 days.  After it’s good and stale, take a ketchup packet and spread it evenly across the surface of your tortilla.  To top it off, find the most off-brand mozzarella flavored gum-based product and make a fine coating upon your ketchup.  Microwave for thirty second and viola: a $16 pizza.  I’m not a huge eater, but I could eat two of these on my own.  And the salad bar isn’t going to be much a smorgasbord either.  If you like a lot of different colors in your salad, you’re not going to get it as most of the vegetables are just a slight hue off of white, from the lettuce to the tomatoes and the carrots.  So, try and minimize the damage and the recurrent hunger pains and eat something to fill you up before you go.  Oh, you’ll still get the pizza for your daughter, but she likes that stuff.

Relevant meme is relevant

On to the games.  I would chat with your daughter ahead of time as to the whole “ticket” scam.  You play one game of skee ball and out come a few tickets.  She then runs the tickets over to the Prize Table only to have you talk her through how many tickets she needs to get some of the prizes.  In some cases, it’s going to take a few months worth of skee ball.  A good route would be to talk through what she really wants to “win”, if there is anything at all.  If there isn’t, AWESOME!  But when she does want to win something, do some quick math with her to talk through how she is going to earn it.  She might have to pony up some of her own money to get her to that stuffed Chuck E. Cheese.  Work it out ahead of time, and that will save you all the tantrums in the world.

But play some of the actual video games with her too.  Most likely, she’s going to need your help to pull some of them off.   Sure, she could play on her own, but playing a Big Buck Hunter or motorcycle game with Dad helping out is so much fun to her.  If she’s big enough, play a little air hockey and compete a bit.  If she gets frustrated, don’t make it a big deal, just move on to the next game.  And who gets too irritated playing air hockey?  Remember, this isn’t college, so you don’t need to bring that intensity.  Visually and verbally taunting your daughter after your win is probably poor tact, even in an establishment with as snooty of an air as Chuck E. Cheese.  That was sarcasm.


Lastly, don’t forget the big mouse himself and his band of animatronic friends.  Weird, yes, but not to a kid.  When that teenager dressed up as Chuck E. comes out of those doors, just suspend the believe for a bit and let your daughter high five it up.  Yes, that costume has not been washed since 1998 and is probably crawling with some form of bird lice, but she’s excited to see that character in uniform.  Unless there is a birthday party taking up the whole area, sit down for a few minutes from the action to watch the robots in action.  The music isn’t the best, but that’s another thing they haven’t changed since 1998.

You have to admit that there are far too many similarities with these guys….

When you’re done with the tokens, you’re done.  That’s the best way to leave on a good note and with as little push back as possible.  The whole thing is an absolute sensory overload with the lights, food, games, screaming kids, and music.  Your daughter is probably going to be ready for break to.  So when she says, “Dad, can we go?” GO.  Leave on that high note that way she’ll want to come back with you.  And if she wants to come back to THAT, it’s not about that place, it’s about YOU.

DID IT! with David B.

“Chuck E. Cheese is just one of those dates that just has to be done.  But then, you’ve got to lose her while you’re in there!  It was crazy.  She doesn’t remember now; she was only three.  I was scared to death.  

We’re going down to see Micheal (her brother) for the first time because he was born in the hospital.  So we went to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner, and I LOST HER. IN CHUCK E. CHEESE.  For like, 15 to 20 minutes, I could not find her. It was not a good moment!  I mean, it’s totally a fun idea, but not the way I did it.

It’s funny because we had a great time, but that’s all I can remember.  Like I said, she doesn’t remember and her memories of Chuck E. Cheese are all of games and prizes.  So I guess I didn’t screw up too bad.”

Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad…


Happy Mother’s Day from Daddy-Daughter Dates!

At the Daddy-Daughter Dates blog, we’re celebrating Mother’s Day.  We’re celebrating it with vim, gusto, and panache.  It might confuse you for me to suddenly be flipping to a non-dad or daughter topic.  “But Scott, why talk about Mother’s Day?  It’s a dad blog!”, you might say.  A very simple reason: you’re only a dad because of a mother out there.

Seriously, bro?

Okay, I know it sounds a bit hokey, but the fact of the matter is that you’re only on this Earth because of your mother.  Whether she was a staple in your family and the standard matriarch persona, or you never even met her.  Maybe you and your mom haven’t talked in years because of stupid human nature or maybe you talk with her every week.  As I’m typing this, my mom is visiting us for a few days and sleeping on the couch in the basement.  Sure, she gets on my nerves from time to time, but I couldn’t be here without her.  That’s something to celebrate.  That’s SOMEONE to celebrate.

Do something to celebrate your mom today.  It could be a card, flowers, or just a phone call.  It could be putting a rose at her grave site.  Or if you never met your mom or don’t speak to her, it could be taking two seconds to be thankful for becoming the person that you are today.

She always wondered why you got picked on…you never told her the reason was her.

Which leads me to another person to celebrate: the mom of your daughter.  My wife is currently sitting 3 feet from me and has no idea of the flowers I have for her hidden on the side of the garage or the card and box of Swedish Fish (one of her favorites).  Sure, I could do more, but this is going to speak to her about my love for her.  The girls already made cards for her with a multitude of Crayola goodness.  She’s the mother of my children; I need to celebrate her on Mother’s Day.

Again, it may not be so easy for you.  The mother of your daughter might be someone you’ve grown far apart from, even hating, or someone who simply ran off on your little princess.  If that’s the case, still celebrate the gift she gave you.  You’re a dad, and a hell of a good one too.  You wouldn’t be that without the woman that gave birth to your daughter, regardless of how you feel about her.  So wherever you’re at with her, still celebrate her in some way.  Maybe you call her just to say “thanks”; not “I forgive you” or “I want you back”.  A simple “I love being a dad, and regardless of what happened between us, I have you to thank.”.  Think about the example that shows your daughter.

That’s the scene you’re looking for….minus the photoshopping

Speaking of which, you should celebrate your daughter.  There is a high chance that she might be a mother some day.  Hopefully it’s not before she graduates high school, but let’s not think like that right now.  Or she might already be a mom.  Regardless, this is a time to show her that moms are respected for all the hard work they do.  As with anything you do, consciously or unconsciously, she’s watching.  If on Mother’s Day, you thank the women in your life, she’ll feel secure knowing that if she makes that choice someday, her dad will show her that same respect.

FAIL. I mean, really? Really Society? REALLY?

Tell someone “Happy Mother’s Day” today.  Thanks for supporting them and thanks for being a dad…


p.s. – Happy Mother’s Day to my wife, my mom, my grandmother, and to all you amazing ladies that sacrifice for your kids.

Rock it out

I’ll admit that I was pulled in by the video of a dad singing Bohemian Rhapsody with his kids on the way to school.  I just love how the dad starts a tradition with his kids, especially with his daughters, just showing them how to have a good time.  It’s just a ride to school, after all.  But I’ll bet you that’s one awesome ride to school.  C’mon, growing up, you would have thought that was awesome until the age of 13.  Then it would just embarrassed you.

No...THIS would embarrass you

The video did make me step back and pause, though.  What sort of traditions am I making with my kids?  We often think about Christmas traditions, 4th of July, or the last day of school for doing something special, every year.  But did you think about on the way to school?  How about on Sundays?  What about before every baseball game?

I recently chatted with a co-worker that was reviewing the blog and she mentioned that her dad was a shining example of an engaged dad.  His tradition?  Every softball game of hers, he was there and watching, and afterward he’d take her out for Wendy’s.  Look, Wendy’s isn’t the most amazing food (I’m asking for arguments, right there), but it’s not about the food.  It’s about that dad investing the time with his daughter.  He built her confidence up bit by bit, by every game he was at and every Wendy’s meal he bought.  That’s a good tradition.

Way better than "Butterfly Kisses"

So what’s your tradition with your daughter?  Is it a Daddy-Daughter Date?  Is it watching her softball games?  Is it a ride to school?  Whatever it is, it might be something so simple and so basic, yet it’s building that confidence, brick by brick, by you being that engaged dad.  Don’t have a tradition?  Look around on the blog; you’ll find something.

Dads rock. Enough said.

Thanks for being a dad….


Daddy-Daughter Date #20: Grocery Shop

Time: 1-2 hours
Cost: Your grocery budget
Recurrence: weekly
Age: infant – 12
Impact: =)

Grocery shopping may not seem too much like a Daddy Daughter Date, but we’ve already seen a few dates on this blog that are day to day activities that can be turned in to a special time for dads and their daughters.  Chances are, you probably need some groceries at some point.  Chances are that she would be willing to go along with you.  Both of you may even earn brownie points with mom by taking care of the shopping and giving her a little bit of break from child-care (unless you have multiples).  Grab your list, a few reusable grocery bags, and your daughter to go do some shopping.

She's got a Groupon for those Cocoa Pebbles

Your daughter’s age is going to make a big difference in your experience here.  I think taking an infant is a fine thing as a date, as you can still talk to her and interact with her as you’re shopping.  As the age levels go up, your daughter can take more and more responsibility during the shopping trip.  The critical element is having a game plan ahead of time WITH your daughter before you enter the store.  If it’s her first time there, walk through the rules of the grocery store (no running, shouting, or GRABBING ANYTHING Dad DOESN’T TELL YOU TO, etc).  If it’s not her first time, still walk through your expectations for her in the store (see above).

"Lisa, where are you honey?"

Plan out how your daughter is going to help.  Obviously, you want to gauge your daughter’s sense of responsibility first.  Maybe she’s just going to push the cart, maybe she’ll be finding different foods in a different aisle.  If your daughter is the appropriate age, going an aisle or two over with a specific item to find is a good self-esteem builder, but it should be something she has seen before and knows how to locate easily.  Don’t ask her to find a new version of the crunchy peanut butter with 50% reduced fat, no sodium, and gives 5% back to the rain forests.

While inside the store, talk through the choices you’re making.  Show her how you buy on value or buy on quality.  Your daughter, even at a young age, will be able to understand differences.  She knows when you have an haven’t shaved, correct?  She’ll be able to pick up why you’re buying whole grain bread versus regular wheat.  Talk about prices and have a calculator to keep a running total BEFORE you get to the counter.  That is an amazing way for her to learn about money and sticking to your budgeted amount for groceries.  She’ll learn to make choices with her money, when the time comes.  Once you get to the checkout line, have your daughter see how close you came.

"Why did you spend $40 on Cocoa Pebbles? I thought you had a Groupon..."

At the end of the trip, make sure to have a few bags or items light enough that she can carry.  This helps her realize that she’s part of the team and can make a contribution.  It might be just a grocery run, but she’ll see it as a time with Dad where she felt needed.

DID IT! with Adam from Fodder4Fathers
“My wife and I both work, but every weekend, my daughter and I go shopping.  So, it just me walking down the aisles with my daughter.   So I’m walking with the cart, but she’s right in front of me, so no one can actually see her.  Often times, it will look a ghost is just pushing the cart, because I’m walking behind it, she’s pushing it, but I don’t have my hands on it.  I’ll get strange looks because I’m throwing things in the cart, and she’s banging in to stuff and the carts going all over.

My favorite part of that is just watching the eyes of all the moms, just staring, like, “Why doesn’t my husband do that?”  People that are from older generations just watch you and say, “You’re doing such and amazing job!”, but I’m like “How is this any different from a mom doing something like this?” “

“Dads and daughters have a different relationship than boys.  That one on one time is really the only way to get her over Mommy-itis.  Like, if it’s the three of us together, it’s almost impossible to get my daughter’s full attention.  Being a dad has totally changed my life.  My life is still about me, but now I get so much joy from doing things from her. I’m the one that wakes her up the morning; I’m the one that takes her to daycare; I’m the one singing kid songs out loud, when no one else can see her in the back seat.  I’m the one that makes her dinner.  Being a dad, it’s just a great joy, especially with a daughter.  “ Adam @Fodder4Fathers

Thanks for being a dad….