From the frivolous to the essential, these life lessons are best taught by dad.
Sure mom could teach them as well, but a father’s touch really brings out the fun and the manly expertise for these fun activities!
How-To Skills a Toddler Can Learn Best from Dad
1. Throw a Ball. Start simple, like throwing some bread to ducks. Coordination takes many, many years to develop, but a patient dad makes throwing fun.
2. Roughhouse Safely. Wrestling with dad is a vital aspect of play. Dads help children learn how to set boundaries, to respect others, and teach when to stop.
3. Say “I’m Sorry”. Everyone makes mistakes, even dads.
4. Recognize Symbols. Whether sports teams, or car emblems, or brand logos, symbology is a critical foundation for early literacy and reading skills.
By helping toddlers recognize symbols, dads are setting the groundwork for future letter and word recognition. Point out those Fords, and cheer for those Bears!
5. Play Cards. Toddlers playing poker? Well, not yet, but cardscan be a fun way for dads to introduce early math skills and pattern recognition.
Sort the cards by color. Talk about high and low cards.
Simple games can help teach fairness and how to lose (or win) gracefully. Even “52 Card Pick-up” is an important learning opportunity for toddlers!
6. Ride a Bike. A right of passage for any father, teaching little ones to balance and coordinate left-right pedal-pushing are fundamental learning skills. Don’t expect immediate results….the patient dad knows it takes time and practice!
7. Listen. Toddlers want to be heard, just like anyone else. Even when they are driving you crazy, take time to really listen to what your child is saying.
Half of all communication is about learning good listening skills, which supports their reading comprehension and social-emotional development.
8. Cook. Make a sandwich or stick apples in peanut butter. Whether a simple cheese, or old-fashioned PB&J, even the youngest little chef can learn a thing from dad.
Those little fingers are learning the importance of how to be self-sufficient and responsible (let them wipe the counters to clean-up!)
9. Tell a (Good) Joke. Making others laugh and feel comfortable are vital social skills. Toddlers can develop confidence when speaking to others (encourage them to make eye contact).
Start with simple, silly jokes, like “Where do polar bears keep their money?” In a Snow Bank!
10. Use Tools. Dads know that even little hands can learn to use screwdrivers and hammers safely.
It does take a lot of patience and supervision, but the fine-motor and visual-spatial skills kids learn through using tools are priceless dad moments!