For dads, raising our girls to become smart, confident, powerful women means always encouraging their curiosity, nurturing their joy of play and exploration and helping them to push the boundaries of what’s possible. We asked some of our favorite dads of daughters to share their most-cherished dad and daughter activities, and we received a treasure trove of ideas. Read on to discover our 35 favorite things for father and daughter to do together.
Editor’s Note: If there are some activities on this list you can’t do right now, be sure to make a list for future fun!
1. Go on a bike ride. Dads never forget the day when our daughters graduate from using training wheels to being able to ride solo on two wheels. Father-daughter bike rides are ideal ways to enjoy and explore the great outdoors together.
2. Go to work together. And not just on Take Your Child to Work Day. Pick a random day for your daughter to play hooky from school, and bring her to work. Whether you spend your day filing TPS reports or you’re the master of your own business, sharing with your daughter what you do for a living (and showing off how awesome she is to your co-workers) will give each of you great and lasting insights into each other.
3. Play a round of cards. Start simple with Go Fish or Old Maid and make your way up to rummy. It's a tradition you can continue to play for years to come.
4. Ride a carousel. There’s nothing quite like a leisurely ride on a merry-go-round with your little girl, whether it’s at one of the country’s most awesome carousels like the one at Disneyland, or the local park.
5. Have “the talk.” Because it’s never too early to teach your daughter the incontrovertible fact that the Marvel Comic Universe is vastly superior to the DC Comic Universe, Wonder Woman notwithstanding.
6. Build something. Start a project, and be sure to use tools because it's never too soon to teach your kid how to be handy.
7. Prepare a family meal together. Your spouse will appreciate whatever you and your daughter whip up in the kitchen, and your kiddo—no matter how young she is—will start to learn the joys of creating yummy eats for others.
8. Tell each other secrets. Start while your daughter is young so that she’ll always know that you trust her to keep your secrets and she will, in turn, know that she can trust you with hers.
9. Learn something new together. Whether you sign up for a crafting class or take your daughter somewhere to learn a new activity, it'll be fun for her to see you learning as an adult too.
10. Build a robot. It’s a proven fact that dads and daughters love robots and there’s nothing better than working on robot projects together. In addition to instilling a love of science and engineering in young girls, robots are just super-cool.
11. Have a lunch date. Whether it’s a standing lunch date every month or for a special occasion, splurge on a fancy lunch date with your daughter, preferably at someplace that doesn’t have a kids’ menu and requires dressing up.
12. Take a selfie with her. Pictures are a great way to capture a sweet moment in time.
13. Belt out songs in the car. Nothing beats the amazing acoustics in a sweet ride with your sweetest girl.
14. Build an epic couch fort. A great rainy day (or, really, any day) activity to do with your daughter.
15. Have a tea party. There's no rule book that says only moms can whip up a spectacular setting for two (or more). We love this tea set, too!
17. Dance like nobody's watching. It’ll be good practice for your first father-daughter dance at her wedding.
18. Volunteer in your hometown. Showing your daughter you have compassion will make you an awesome role model.
19. Work out together. Fathers and daughters who exercise together stay happy, healthy, and strong together.
20. Start a collection. Whether it’s small bottles of sand from every beach you’ve ever been to with your daughter or stubs from the favorite movies (this is the perfect place to store that type of thing) you’ve seen together, starting a shared father-daughter collection can make memories more tangible.
21. Take a walk on a beach. And while you’re at it, remember to build sandcastles, collect seashells, and play in the surf with your daughter. There are plenty of great beaches to explore.
22. Share an impromptu picnic in the backyard. Dining al fresco is best served with juice boxes and plushies.
23. Learn to code. These days, our precocious daughters could probably already teach us a thing or two about Python or Ruby on Rails, but for developing junior coders, there are plenty of programs that aim to instill a love of technology in young girls that all dads should encourage.
24. Attend a sporting event. Whether it’s watching your daughter’s soccer match or taking her to see college or professional league sports, sharing a love of athletics can nurture healthy competition and good sportsmanship.
25. Ride a seesaw. Do it while she’s still young enough to enjoy bouncing around with her dad, but old enough to appreciate just how silly it looks.
26. Do yoga together. Centering mind, body and spirit are helpful consequences of doing a few vinyasas and downward-facing dogs, but the true benefit of fathers and daughters doing yoga together is the quality time spent. Don't forget to buy your mat!
27. Explore the world. Family vacations are perfect for getting away from the usual day-to-day grind of school and work schedules. Traveling to a new city or town allows fathers and daughters to experience and see things with fresh perspectives.
28. Cosplay as your favorite animated characters. What can I say except, “You’re welcome.”
29. Attend a Minecraft convention. Or, really, any fan event that will let a father and daughter share something that they both enjoy.
30. Have “the other talk.” Because any self-possessed young girl needs to grow up understanding that Beyoncé is the Queen, no matter what anyone says.
31. Get ice cream at your favorite local spot.
32. Play backyard games. There are some classic ones that are fun for everyone.
33. Go fishing. There's nothing like the quiet togetherness that is required when you cast a line with kids. Do you have your pole?
34. Take a virtual field trip.
35. Read a few stories from the newest Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls book.
36. Volunteer without leaving the house with one of these ideas.
37. Pick a class from Outschool and do it together.
—Kipp Jarecke-Cheng with Gabby Cullen
Feature photo: iStock