Now that Father’s Day has passed and your family has showered you with the appreciation every dad deserves, it’s time to start planning the next father-son outing to return the favor. Planning unique activities with your kid is about much more than just finding fun things to do. It’s a chance to share valuable bonding experiences and and even pass down skills they can use in the future.
Dear Mr. Dad: We can’t afford to send our two kids, 5 and 7, to Winter camp, so it’s going to be just me and them for the next two weeks. What are some activities I can plan with the kids so we can stay warm but not spend the whole day in front of the TV?
A: Keeping kids from turning into TV-loving zombies isn’t always easy—especially when it’s cold out. Fortunately, there are plenty of activities that can keep kids of all ages busy during the cold winter months.
If you have a sand or water table that’s collecting puddles of rain in the backyard, bring it inside, fill it up with dried beans, rice, or moon sand (check the Web for inexpensive recipes), and let the kids start sifting. It’s a little messy, but the hours of fun will make it worthwhile. If you don’t have a table, use a hard plastic baby pool.
Dear Mr. Dad: Our kids are within the normal weight range for their age and height, but I’m the first to admit their eating habits are awful. I don’t want them to end up joining the epidemic of obesity. Should I be concerned? What should we do to be sure they avoid becoming overweight?
A: It’s great that you are asking this question now, before a problem develops. Reversing bad habits is always much more difficult than avoiding them in the first place. Childhood obesity is a serious issue that can lead to real health problems, including quite a few that used to be considered adults-only, like diabetes, liver disease, and hypertension.