for release Friday June 13, 2003
by Melodie Davis
Things Dad Can Make Sure Their Kids Experience
A delightful book came to me last year titled, 101 Things Every Kid Should Do Growing Up.
What would you put on such a list for your children? Have a book read to them every night for bedtime? Go to the circus? Have a pet?
The author, Alecia T. Devantier, has come up with a list of things that not only provide ideas for lots of activities for this summer, but also can give a father an idea-list of things they can try or initiate if they've run out of ideas. Fathers who are involved with their children give their kids many benefits: love, stability, time together. ... Each of these items has a full page of explanation and additional "how to" in the book, but standing by themselves, makes a great reminder list of things to make sure you give your kids-in the way of experiences.
1. Every kid should go outside at dusk and stay there until its dark, watching the stars come out.
2. Every kid should camp in the backyard.
3. Every kid should write a thank you note of gratitude to a relative or teacher.
4. Every kid should eat homemade ice cream on a hot summer evening.
5. Every kid should do a "senior study." (Interview grandparents or other elderly person and write or make a video about it.)
6. Every kid should take music lessons. (Some might argue with this, but the author includes suggestions for making homemade instruments-a good idea, too.)
7. Every kid should help bake a cake from scratch and then lick the frosting bowl.
8. Every kid should grow a vegetable garden.
9. Every kid should build a sand castle in the summer and a snow fort in the winter.
10. Every kid should go on a factory tour.
11. Every kid should explore other cultures.
12. Every kid should play dress-up. My kids still have a bag full of dress-up clothes they are reluctant to toss. Now the collection includes past costumes for plays and musicals they've been in and old prom gowns.
13. Every kid should spend some time on a farm, even for a short visit.
14. Every kid should go to a fair, carnival or amusement park 14. Every kid should visit the place(s) where Mom and Dad grew up. It is a grounding experience to stand on the old home place with your kids and they can connect just a little with your stories, photos and memories.
15. Every kid should create a board game. My sister copied the games of Sorry!® and Life®-complete with the Million Dollar Acres Mansion. My daughter invented her own game which still sits in a box.
16. Every kid should have a personal library card. Every summer it was a special treat to go sign up for the Summer Reading Club at the library and haul home as many books as their arms or my bag would hold.
17. Every kid should enjoy lazy summer days. Don't schedule every week full with camps and lessons. If you must work, plan some vacation days when everyone is just at home to be lazy or do things you dream up on the spur of the moment.
18. Every kid should experience the ocean.
19. Every kid should go to summer camp.
Making sure your child experiences at least some of the things on this list will make you a special father, the kind they write about in the father's day cards. Here's a quick round up of other books with inspiration and activity ideas for fathers/parents:
* Real Fatherhood: The Path of Lyrical Parenting, Bob Kamm, 1st books Library (with CD of original music by Bob Kamm).
* Father to Son: Life Lessons on Raising a Boy, Harry H. Harrison, Jr., Workman Publishing Co.
* 101 Secrets A Cool Dad Knows, and 101 Secrets a Cool Mom Knows, Sue Ellin Browder and Walter Browder, Rutledge Hill Press.
What are you ideas for summer fun? I'll collect them for a possible future column. Send to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail: Melodie@mennomedia.org.
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three daughters.
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