7 Fun Games Daddy Can Play with the Kids


Expectations were sky high.

Mommy was going to be gone for the morning, and daddy was going to swoop into the nest and provide the kids (ages 5, 3, and 1) with a great day of family fun.  The problem is that this daddy, like many daddies, has no idea what to do with the kids for an ENTIRE morning.

There were three problems:

  1. Daddy is not the most creative guy in the world. (Mommy says he is, but he just applies all his mental energy to other things.)
  2. Daddy doesn’t want to spend a lot of money to entertain the kids.
  3. Daddy lives overseas where there are only a limited amount of supplies and resources.

Fortunately, two books came to the rescue: A Child’s First Library of Learning: Things To Do and The Little Big Book for Dads.

As soon as mommy left, my five-year-old had a game plan.  She brought daddy two books and told me to find something fun.

7 Fun Games Daddy Can Play with the Kiddos

1. Paint daddy with flour.

This game is simple.  Just get a cup of flour, put it in a bowl, and sit down on the floor.  Let the kids dip their fingers into the flour to ‘paint’ and ‘decorate’ daddy.  Special note: Daddy should clean up before mommy sees the mess. Otherwise, mommy might say, “Why does daddy always find the messiest games?”

2. Paint the bathroom shower with shaving gel.

Grab a little food coloring and mix it in with some shaving cream.  Let the kids write all over the shower walls with this new, fun, and slimy paint.  Rinse everything down when you’re done.

3. Make paper airplanes together.

For some daddies, it has been years since they fashioned a paper airplane.  That’s OK.  Your kids don’t care if the thing flies.  In just a few minutes, it will end up as a ball of paper that is getting kicked around the house.

4. Make use of empty cans or bottles.

Set up your own bowling alley.  Play stack the cans.  Tie strings to the cans to use as stilts.  Make a string marionette.

5.  Guess the animal.

Let your kids choose an animal and have them act it out.  The rest of you can guess the animal.

6.  Play 20 Questions.

I’m not sure what it is about 20 questions, but my kids are loving it right now.  One person chooses an item (usually an animal or an item in our house), and the other people ask up to 20 yes/no questions until they guess the correct item.

7.  Wash your car.

This might seem like work, but if your kids are anything like mine, water and bubbles will put a smile on their faces.

Final Observations

The question: “What were you thinking?” is a rhetorical one.  You’ve probably done a less than stellar job if mommy asks you that question when she gets home.

  • Avoid games that involve permanent pens, markers, or paints.
  • Avoid games that are dangerous (i.e. no throwing kids miles in the air).
  • Don’t make the kids take care of themselves.  If you are caught sleeping on the job, you’ll get something worse than “What were you thinking?”

Put your thinking cap on and enjoy a wonderful, fun day with your kids.

What are some games you love to play with your kids? Leave a comment below!

Photo By willyk

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  1. Craig B

    These are some pretty good suggestions. My kids, 9 and 6, like to play the movie/tv game. One person says one word at a time that describes a movie or television show (i.e. Space, battle, force, “Star Wars”) until it is guessed. Another fun one is to build a fort out of pillows and blankets and set up the Nerf guns to ambush mom when she gets home. I usually send a warning text just to make sure mom is not completely surprised when she gets home.

    The best things I have found is to do what the kids want to do. No amount of planning and creativity can beat playing dolls or tossing the football if that is what they want to do.

    Thanks for the post. I’ll keep the flour handy.

  2. Lea Sadler

    My son used to love — and still does, now that he’s ten — to go for a walk with me (hooray, exercise!) while we play “I Spy.”

    For example, one person says “I spy something red,” and the other person has to figure out what it is. You can decide ahead of time if you want to limit the number of guesses before you give them the answer. Then, it’s the other person’s turn!

    This game is fun, educational, and can be done while going for a walk in the beautiful fresh air. What could be better?

    (Well, making cookies together MIGHT BE better….maybe we’d better call it a toss-up!)


  3. Jon | Free Money Wisdom

    Haha, I love that these ideas are pretty much free. I remember washing my car with my dad. Such a highlight of my childhood. I’m excited to have some kids of y own 🙂

  4. Jackie

    Cute games 🙂

    My son and I still like to play sword fighting and water balloons. You never outgrow those 🙂

  5. Great games Craig, that would be really fun, i will share it to some of my friends who really need ideas in playing with their kids…