Daddy-Daughter Date #16 – Play Tennis

Time: 15 min – 1 hr

Cost: Cost of equipment ($10 – $50)

Recurrence: Whenever

Age: 3 – 80

Impact: =}

Let’s say you don’t have a super athletic daughter or you yourself are not coordinated in any way.  Tennis is a good entry for you then.  All you need are two rackets and a little fuzzy ball.  Dependent on age, you might only need one racket, as you’ll very likely be pitching to her.  And by pitch, hopefully you understand you’ll be bouncing the ball her way.  The nice part about tennis is that when they’re little, it can just be about teaching them to make contact with the ball.  When they get older, it can turn in to a real tennis match.

She’s about to crush you

There should be some tennis courts you can use in your local community.  A majority of them are maintained by the public works departments or area schools.  Those are very often wide open for use and free.  If you belong to a gym, there may be courts for rental.  Either way, you’ll want to at least plan ahead and check schedules, if possible, to make sure there isn’t some sort of tournament or high school meet going on.

Don’t rule out the possibility of a good brick wall.  If you can find a flat area like that with enough pavement to run around and play, that’s a great place to practice.  You and your daughter can practice making contact, aiming shots, or can even play an impromptu “doubles match”.  Some tennis courts have a wall installed over the chain link fence, but you might find a usable wall at an area school.  Just remember that the wall is a very good tennis player and is a fierce competitor.  It does not give up.


Again, if you’re not athletic, that’s okay.  She may be extremely athletic and tennis is just not something your body can do.  If that’s the case, go with her to watch her practice or toss her serves.  Hey, rent one of those serving machines and run that for her.  Just try and hold back from using it as a Gatling gun (Oh come on, you were thinking about it)  Either way, you can still spend time with her and give her an opportunity to do the sport if you’re not directly on the other end of the court.

It’s like combining Call of Duty and Grand Slam Tennis

“Some one-on-one time that I try to do with my daughters is I try to center on a more physical or “athletic” activity.  For example, there’s a pretty big park called “Wheeler Park” about 3/4 mile away from our house. So I’ll take just the younger 2 girls to the playground there, or I’ll take just the older 2 girls there to play tennis for 45 minutes.

Frankly, my daughters are still developing as players, so it’s usually me just hitting groundstrokes from one side and my daughters on the other side trying to send the balls back.  Admittedly though, I’m a HUGE sports fan, so anything I can do with my daughters in the area of sports/physical activity, I try to promote it.  I did play tennis in high school. Held my own as a solid doubles player, but I’m no Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic.

 I’m sort of passing it down to them, but it’s definitely not important for them to do sports.  Don’t get me wrong, when they do like a sport and have some aptitude in it, it’s very easy for me to share in that.  However, my larger goal in this area is to promote healthy physical activity and a lifetime of fitness…and I think organized sports can be 1 tool out of many to accomplish that.

At the end of the journey, you won’t say “boy, i wished i worked x more hours in my life”….but one might say, “i wish i spent more time with my wife / daughters / friends / whatever”. Russ C.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for being a dad….


Fifty Shades of I Don’t Want to Know…

What’s your daughter reading?  Seriously, think about that.  What is she currently reading?

She might be at such a young age that it’s really irrelevant.  There are bears, princesses, and you have to find 4 hiding goldfish.  That’s about it.  Sure, the plot line is a little thin, but she asks you to read it over and over and over.  It’s good bonding time and you’re raising a little reader.  Good for you, Dad.

Well, this looks like a good-OHNONONOOOO

But what happens when she’s older and she’s making decisions on what to read on her own?  Some experts have voiced their opinions on how young women could perceive relationships based upon fantasized stories.  I’ve already addressed my distaste for all things Twilight, but that was what I first believed to be bottom of the barrel as it came to content.

I was wrong.  Do you know if your daughter is reading Fifty Shades of Gray?  You should.  Look, I haven’t read it, can almost guarantee I won’t read it, and definitely won’t be listening to it on my commute (it could make a traffic jam awkward).  But your daughter might want to read it.  That’s dangerous stuff, right there.  It’s being lauded in the media and lifted up as edgy.  But a teenage girl reading that is going to warp her sense of relationships.  Face it, you don’t want your daughter involved in that in real life.

Doesn’t look so bad NOW, does it?

Look, depressed vampires and belligerent werewolves are one thing.  You don’t need to worry about her ACTUALLY bringing home one of those.  Yeah, maybe a few introductions will be with someone that’s tatted up and looks like they tripped on a tackle box, but they’re not going to make you part of the living undead.  Rest easy there because you shouldn’t have to break that one to your daughter.

But the representation of what’s normal in relationships and physical relationships; you have to talk to her about that.  So many dads look at a situation like that and ostrich up.  “Too much drama”, they say.  “I can’t talk to her” or “That’s her mom’s job” are two other common answers.  Seriously, you need to get over that and get ready for that conversation.  I’ve said it before, if you want your daughter to be able to talk to you about anything, you should be willing to talk to her about anything.

Way to go, Dad.

Yeah, it’s going to be uncomfortable and it’s not going to be fun.  It’s going to be a conversation both you and her remember for the rest of your lives.  And that’s why it’s so important.  As my friend Dale says, “That conversation just might stop her from having sex with a drug addict.” That’s nothing to bring up during your speech on her wedding day, but it’s true.  If she’s going to read fiction, she needs to know what should be fiction to her.  Just like she’s not still trying to take off on that broom after reading Harry Potter.  And don’t pull the technicalities of Universal Studios on me.

Yes, there will always be those things out there that we wish our daughters weren’t exposed to.  I guess Twilight’s no worse than those Harlequinn novels my mother-in-law reads, but that’s another blog post.  But just because she is into something you don’t understand, doesn’t mean you stop being her dad and that you stop helping her understand the world around her.  It means you double-down, get serious about parenting, and be there for her.

Thanks for reading and thanks for being a dad….


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

Daddy-Daughter Date #42: Ice Skating

Time: 2-3 hours
Cost: $$
Recurrence: Once or twice
Age: 2-12, 20-35
Impact: 😀

If there was ever a date where your daughter was going to be learning as much as you, it’s probably going to be here. Now, I don’t know your comfort level when skating, for sure, but I’d wager that unless you seriously skate a lot, you’re going to be stumbling around out there on the ice.  Your daughter probably will too.

You’ll notice I left a gap in the ages on this Daddy-Daughter Date.  That’s for a couple of reasons.  The first being that I you won’t get her near an ice rink with you during the teen years.  This activity is REAL DATE material at this point, so don’t try it then.  You can pick it back up again in a few years.  But the cut off date is around 35 as I figure you’ll be at least 55 at that time and fearful of breaking a hip.

Then again...maybe not

Ice skating can be done in a number of different places.  If you have a rink near you, they most likely have an open skate each week or possibly lessons if you’re both starting new.  I wouldn’t go out an buy skates, FYI, unless you’re both REALLY serious.  And I mean REALLY serious.  You think it’s expensive buying new shoes all the time.  Now think about those shoes with metal blades on the bottom.  Yeah, expensive.  So rental is going to be the way to go. Just make sure you get good, sharp skates that are straight.  The injuries that can happen to your out of shape groin are not fun.  And no, that doesn’t not count as exercise for your groin.

If it’s free skate and it’s both your first time, take it easy.  Grab some buckets or whatever “walkers” they have available to stabilize yourself.  I wouldn’t suggest holding hands the first few go arounds.  Let her get her footing and get comfortable on the ice.  Stand around her so she doesn’t face plant, but other than that, just hover.  I know, I know, bad term especially when talking about parenting, right?  I’ll assume you’re able footed from here on out, however.

Pick a “lane” where there isn’t much traffic.  You’re not going to be flying around the ice the first time, so don’t try and go all speed skater here.  Secondly, you’re going to see a number of show-boating teens that whip in and between people, so stay within a good distance of your daughter just so you don’t get in their way and she doesn’t become one of their casualties.

If your daughter is a little older, maybe you will race her a bit.  If it’s still okay for you two to hold hands (she’ll let you know), take a lap or two doing that.  It’s sweet, come on.  It’s not going to be long before it never happens again, so take it while you can.

Okay, she's a little ahead of the curve

She’s probably going to want to learn how to do fancy ice skating moves.  If so, take a stop in the middle of the rink as there are probably going to be a few ice dancers in there practicing.  Watch and learn.  If you do it with her, all the more smiles.

Thaaaaaaaat's a little over the top

She might not turn out to be the next Michele Kwan, but she’s more important and beautiful to you anyway.  By lacing up the skates, wobbling alongside her, and feeling sliding along, you’ll be adding another memory to her treasury about her dad.

Super Dad Tip: Rent the rink out.  Just you and her.  Take a private lesson.  Find a hidden pond or a farmers pond where you’ve worked out a deal.

Thanks for being a dad….


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