Friday, 25 April 2014

Cool Stuff: What Is ANZAC Day?

For those readers outside of New Zealand or Australia, ANZAC day is like our veterans day. It's a day for us to reflect on the sacrifice made by so many so that we could have the freedom we enjoy today.

As my Grandfather fought in World War II, my boys are fairly aware of the importance of ANZAC day and why we celebrate it. However, the video below shows Kiwi kids explaining in their own words why we observe ANZAC day.

Enjoy your day off today.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Episode Twenty Nine: Some Ideas Fail

Last year we tried making popsicle stick bow and arrows. I can't claim this idea as my own sorry, this comes from an amazing blog called The Brooding Hen. I saw the idea on Pinterest and straight away thought my boys would love it. I was right but we got it oh so wrong.

Some times you try ideas and they don't work. I think it's really important to acknowledge that. I think it's important for me to share with you that sometimes my kids aren't into the ideas. Or we miss out an ingredient or something breaks. This was the case with our first attempt at making these bows and arrows. But that's OK.

What I've found with my sons is that if they can't nail something straight away, they're not interested. This goes for the ideas that we try sometimes or big things like learning to ride a bike. If they don't believe they can succeed first pop - or if they don't pull off a trick straight away, they're not into it. This is totally understandable, and I even get that way some times. But it's how we deal with this disappointment and disinterest that shapes our character.

The first time we tried making the bow and arrows, I didn't soak the sticks for long enough and the majority of them snapped. The ones that didn't snap, bent the wrong way and the bow string sort of twisted around in a way that made the arrows hard to launch. My bright idea that I was so excited to share with my boys was met with rolled eyes and my boys promptly moved on. Stink.

But, I decided to put the idea on the shelf and come back to it another day. You're not going to be Tony Hawk straight away. What's important though is learning that you aren't always going to be amazing first go. Some things are really hard to do and take practise. That's why we admire our sports heroes or favourite musicians. They honed their craft to a point that it makes it look easy. So easy, in fact, that you believe that it really is - until you pick up a guitar or jump on a skateboard. What I wanted to teach my sons was that, yes, some things don't work first time - but that's no reason to give up. That's no reason to never try again.

Earlier this year I dusted the idea off and we gave it another crack. The mini bow and arrows worked out perfectly and we had heaps of fun. Neither of my boys mentioned the previous failed attempt (which was weird) and we had a blast.

It just goes to show, just because you're not an expert straight off doesn't mean you never will be. Teach your kids to keep trying and who knows what they'll achieve.

Have fun!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Cool Stuff: Cartoon Themes!

Check this one out for some serious blasts from the past! My kids loved this video if not for recognising some of their favourite cartoon theme songs then for how much fun it looks like the musicians are having.

The animations give you clues but it's still fun seeing how many you can guess without looking.

Have fun!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Episode Twenty Eight: Use Spray Paint

When I was young my Mother was making resources for one of her childcare centres that she owned. She got milk bottles, filled them with rice, covered them with newsprint, spray painted them and, with brushes, painted weird Aztec patterns all over them. I probably helped with measuring up cups or rice or mixing the wheat paste for the newsprint or something like that - but I don't remember. All I remember is that I got to use spray paint!

Spray paint is one of those perennial favourites with kids (and adults) - like balloons or pizza. Spray paint never stops being fun. I'm in my thirties and I still love mucking around with spray paint. I decided to share the joy and let my kids have some good old supervised fun with aerosols.

The first thing to note about spray paint is that the stuff is pretty fumey and full of crazy chemicals - so if you're not into exposing your kids to that I would suggest masks, gloves and safety glasses. I compromised by letting my children use the spray paint in a well ventilated area and to give them a lesson on which way to aim the nozzle etc. 

What my middle boy learnt was that painting anything precise with spray paint is hard. Really, really hard. I tried to show him some tricks that I picked up during my younger days. We talked about graffiti and tags and we talked about how, although it's naughty to paint on things that aren't yours, some of the graffiti is pretty clever. It takes a lot of practise to make things look cool.

Basically, there wasn't any lesson or point I was trying to get across. This idea was merely just a chance to be out in the sun mucking around with a bit of paint (and give the clothing rack last seen in Episode Seventeen another run). We painted a bit, stood back and admired our work and then went inside to eat lunch. Easy.

What sort of things do you still enjoy doing that you loved doing as a kid? These may be the very things that help you and your children connect. As I've said before, your children will love to see your enthusiasm for a certain activity. It's infectious. Why not dig out that old hobby - the spray cans, the Magic: The Gathering Cards, or chatter rings and show them? You never know, you might have bred the next Cope2 or Tony Hawk.

Bonus: A great video on can control. There's more to it than you think.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

A New Idea

Hey team,

Thank you so much for reading this site, reading this tweet or viewing this post on Facebook.

Ideas for Dads was a project I set out to do in order to share my parenting journey with interested parties. What I didn't realise is how much my own parenting would be affected. It has been a great journey so far and what I've come to realise is that I'm just getting started.

I'm going to be real with you: I set out to post 104 ideas on this website. My plan was that it is one idea per weekend for two years. I was going to edit each of the ideas and compile them into a book that I could pitch to a publisher and then travel the country being Nigel Latta's understudy. But unfortunately the plan changed without me really knowing it.

What has happened is that I've had a considerable lifestyle change. Well, a few things have changed and/or happened to me and with those changes and new experiences my perspective has changed. My aim and goals have changed. It's a good place to be in. While spending quality time with my three children is still a huge priority in my life - the need to package each of these experiences into a 'How To' has changed. I feel like the time has come for me to just document what I'm doing with my children and those of you who are interested can get inspiration from the recap. This means instead of step-by-step instructions on how to spend time with your own children, you can read about what I've been doing with my children and take your cue. You can copy my ideas or you can use them as a spring board into all sorts of cool times with your own kids.

Also, I have been loathe to post any 'Dadism' posts because I haven't felt qualified enough. I have felt that I am just a guy posting cute pictures on a blog and am in no way an authority on parenting advice. What I've learnt through my latest experiences is that, I am. I mean, I'm no Steven Biddulph, but I do feel I have a unique voice when it comes to parenting.

I want to share with you my concepts and thoughts on parenting. Not because I think they're 100% right, but because I feel I have a different way of looking at things that some people may feel refreshing. I have been told that I have a gift to share, in parenting advice, and so I am going to use it.

Please keep reading, keep sharing the posts, retweeting and keep liking the posts on Facebook etc. The more people I can get reading the site, the more effective I can be in helping Fathers, Mothers, Grand Aunts, Step-Uncles, Nanas, Koros and Big Siblings to make the most of the time they spend with the children in their lives. Thanks for supporting me to do what I love.

Many thanks,