How to be a fun dad and not a fail dad

One year on Father’s Day I got some great news. That morning at church the kids teacher had them make a sign for their dads that had one word on it that describes their dad. There were many funny answers and some odd ones as well. But I cherished mine. My daughter’s sign said, “FUN!” I was blown away and so grateful that she thought of me this way. Of course I got emotional like I normally do. Even when we got home later that day I was telling my wife how honored I felt that my kid thought of me as fun. No one wants to be thought of as a failure, a flunkie, or a big fat lazy dad. All the dads I know want their kids to look up to them and to be their hero. We want to be thought of as fun! It’s super easy to be a failure, just do nothing. But being considered fun requires a little work and commitment. I know you can figure it out but here are some tips and tricks to be a fun dad.


  1. Make a game out of everything- I bet you already know this but it’s really easy to make a game out of everything. Kids love to run around and do crazy stuff. One day I wanted to hit some practice foam golf balls just for my own pleasure. But kids seemed board and were looking for something to do. So for a half hour I hit practice shots and they chased the foam golf balls. They loved it! I’m sure you’ve made a game out of cleaning up lego’s before you step on one and your foot falls off. I’ve even made a game out of weeding the garden. Games are fun and making mundane activities fun is a great way to lead by example as a dad.
  2. Offer rewards for tasks- At the end of the school year my wife and I realized that there needed to be some sort of structure to the summer vacation. She decided to make a chore chart with stickers. Our kids are young and we thought this would be a good way to help them understand work and reward. Later this summer they can use their stickers to buy something at the toy store. Now they get excited about making their bed and think it’s fun to clean up because they associate cleaning with toys, which sounds fun to me! Another thing I do is have them collect all the cans and then we take them to the bottle exchange. I realize that this is not offered everywhere but it’s still a fun idea. After they get the couple of bucks I let them pick out a small candy item or gum. They love it! Also ice cream. Ice cream makes everything fun!
  3. Participate with them- I’ve talked about this before but it’s always worth revisiting. My kids love when I play with them. Whether it’s lego’s, building a fort, or even cleaning, doing things together makes a huge difference. Even when we do a little family camp fire I have them get the kindling, wood, and matches. They love to be apart of the process, they love feeling important and the sense of accomplishment that comes with helping out. Sometimes if I’m working on a house project I offer to let them help and they always jump at the opportunity. Kids want to be involved!
  4. Do things they like- Trying to find time to workout is tough as a dad. Although the early morning can be optimal it sure doesn’t work for everyone. I sometimes like to workout in the evening before the kids go to bed but I also don’t want to miss a chance to spend time with them and play. One thing I discovered recently that my kids love to do is dance like crazy people to loud music. So now when I workout at home I pump up the tunes (kid appropriate) and lift while they run around and dance and play. They lose their minds and it makes them feel like we’re doing stuff together. Also I’m pretty certain all kids love “horsey rides” but it’s a knee buster for me. But I know my kids love it and think it’s the best so I suck it up and give a couple laps around the living room. It’s not always easy to do the extra little things but it makes a world of difference to your kids. Go the extra mile!