Playdate ideas for Dad when Mom is Away

Dads must be ready for the moment. Mom needs to be away for work or other reasons, and we’re in the spotlight flying solo with the children. We scan our minds for things to do with kids. How do we make this time productive and fun?

1. Build Fort Daddy

Every kid loves to build a fort indoors. Utilize the couches, cushions, blankets, boxes or whatever you’ve got, and construct Fort Daddy right in the living room. Make it a tech-free zone and read their favorite books, tell them stories, or just let their imagination run wild.

2. Family Trivia Game

Ask the kids questions about mom and dad’s history, their own history, or even extended family history. Things like…

  • What city was Daddy born in?
  • What year did Mom finish high school?
  • What branch of the military did Grandpa serve in?

Keep a running score of correct answers and the winner gets a special reward.

3. Create a Brand New Game

Using a ball, socks, bean bags, or just about anything, a dad and his kids can come up with some pretty fun games. I’ve played sock baseball, hallway bowling, something we called crocodile pit (you couldn’t touch the floor because it was filled with crocs and had to maneuver through an elevated obstacle course), and a personal favorite, “Ball of Doom,” where we continuously passed a ball in sequence with a timer running. When the timer went off…Boom! Ball of Doom. You’re out. Get creative.

4. Teach Life Skills

This is the perfect opportunity to do what dad’s do best – teach. Demonstrate self-defense techniques. How to handle money (Monopoly is great for this). Work on their bike riding if needed, or driving skills for older kids. How to do yard maintenance. How to properly clean things. Work on all those skills they need to learn before they are one day on their own.

5. Make a Video for Mom

Use this time to make a present for mom that shows how much she’s loved. A cool idea would be making a video in talk show format. Interview your kids with a series of questions about her. Then have them express why they love her so much. Send it to her while she’s away to brighten her day!

6. Household Olympics

A family fave! The Wooden Spoon Relay Race. Indoor obstacle course. Gymnastics skills. Anything you want to come up with. Hold an opening ceremony, name the family pet or stuffed animal official mascot, compete in the games, award medals, and close with an ice cream ceremony of champions.

7. Create Your Own Recipe

It’s always a good idea for a family to be in the kitchen together and teaching cooking skills. Go a step further and create your own dish. Set aside mom’s important nutrition rules for the night and make it fun. Think more Fritos Crusted Chicken, and less kale wrapped anything. Who knows, maybe you’ll create a dish that becomes a family tradition!


What are some of the things you do with your kids when Mom is away?