“This is the primary advantage of being a single dad — it isn’t so bad — I get to make all of the decisions.”

Being a dad has been the best experience in my life… Period. Nothing else compares to it, and I get joy from spending time with my kids all of the time. Being a dad is by far the best choice that I’ve ever made in my life, and it pays dividends with something that money can’t buy — happiness and joy. I have a daughter and son (they are currently 10 and 8-years old). I feel my best while I’m spending time with my kids, no matter what we do together. I’m a single dad, so the three of us will do fun things together all of the time and I don’t have to listen to someone else barking about what we need to do or should do together. This is the primary advantage of being a single dad — it isn’t so bad — I get to make all of the decisions with the kids on my time without any interference from another adult (woman). The kids and I will usually make a decision together and I will often let them decide what they would like to do, and how they want to spend their time (or money) on my weekends. Below are some fun weekend activities that we have tried. They are simple and won’t break the bank.

Take Your Kids to the Mall

It’s unfortunate that malls are dying a slow death across America because they are a super fun place to take your kids! I will often let my son go to GameStop to look at fun games to play, and sample some video games there at the store. It’s a fun time for me too, because I’m really just a big kid at heart. I love bonding with my son over fun stuff to play, cool video games, and new game systems. My daughter, on the other hand, enjoys stores like Justice, Claire’s, and Macy’s (because she thinks that the store was named after her)… just kidding. Fun little girl stores are great for girls, because she learns to shop and I will often let her pay for her own purchases with her own money, as she reaches into her little purse to pay at the register. It gives her a sense of accomplishment, and she learns about sales and the value of money. We all enjoy going to the Apple Store, because my kids absolutely love their iPads, and I love my personal Apple tech toys as well. The food court is also a good place to relax, eat, and take a momentary break from the exciting shopping fun. Perhaps you can take a little ice cream break to reenergize before doing some more shopping. Maybe after the mall, we’ll take a trip to the local Toys ‘R Us, Target, Best Buy, or we’ll go to Five Below, where they have a lot of fun inexpensive stuff for kids under $5, so I won’t ultimately bust my wallet.

Go to the Zoo with Your Munchkins

On a beautiful and sunny lazy Saturday or Sunday, the zoo is an ideal place to take your kids. It’s fairly inexpensive, and you really have a lot of fun together walking around and checking out all of the different creatures and animals. It also gives you some good exercise walking around, and you can get a tan… Bonus! You will need to make sure to take breaks often during hot days. You can stop to get something to drink like Gatorade, water, or you can even stop for ice cream. What kid doesn’t like ice cream? Take them to see the lions, monkeys, giraffes, rhinos, otters, tigers, aquarium, etc. I guarantee that you will have a fun day that you will remember. I often take my kids every summer to explore the local zoo, and we always have fun. We take some awesome photos together and we have an enjoyable and inexpensive fun-filled day. You can also let the kids ride the ponies or camels if rides are available – they will love it. You may not love it so much, because you will want to avoid the smelly pony or camel doo-doo.

Take Your Kids to the Lake to Go Swimming Together

I love the summer, because this is the time when we go up to the lake to go swimming at the cottage. Kids love to get out on the water and go swimming. You need to really supervise them and make sure that the water is shallow, and that they have floatation devices available. You can also take them out on a boat and have fun on the lake. I love the sunny days of summer when you have many options to pursue at your disposal. You can also grill hamburgers or hotdogs for lunch with them. If there are other kids present that they can swim and play with, it is absolutely a bonus. Make sure to lather them up with sunscreen so that they won’t get sunburned at the beach or lake. I live in Michigan, so this is definitely one of Michigan’s positive assets — lakes are beautiful and plentiful.

Play Video Games with Your Kids

My kids and I have a lot of fun just playing video games on the PS3. Multiplayer games are fun to play with the kids. My personal favorites to play with them are EA Sports Games (like College Football or Madden NFL Football) and Diablo 3. They primarily enjoy playing Minecraft, and this is a good way to keep your kids occupied. They really enjoy playing other video games as well on their iPads, such as ROBLOX. There’s nothing more fun than playing a nail-biter College Football game with my son, and I’ll often let him win with a TD in OT to get his confidence going. (He can’t really beat me yet… well, he did once before, fair and square. Hehe!)

Throw Around the Football or Play Basketball

I recently purchased a brand new Wilson Football for throwing it around with my son during the spring or summer in the back yard. Playing with your kids and just throwing around the football with them, or playing basketball, is an excellent way to spend time with them, and it makes them more athletic with practice in the process. You can also watch games with them on TV, and give them tips and pointers for becoming a better athlete. It’s fun on a nice and sunny day to just throw deep passes to my son, and make up creative football plays to run with him. It also helps him to excel in the sports that he participates in, like flag football, basketball, or soccer. Playing basketball with him has made him better; he improves with practice and he learns about sportsmanship and being competitive on the basketball court. It’s a fun way to spend a lazy Sunday.

Take Your Kids to the Park

I will often take my kids to the park on sunny days. They love to play on the playground equipment and we will often go for small hikes on scenic paths in the hills. You can also invite the grandparents to spend quality time with you and the kids. The park gives the kids the opportunity to run around and burn off energy.

Go Out to Eat and Go to the Movie

You can take your kids out to a snazzy restaurant that they like (perhaps a local breakfast place, or a fun kids place like Chuck E. Cheese), and then go see that cool new LEGO animated movie in 3D, or perhaps a new Star Wars movie! I take my kids to movies a lot, and we really enjoy it and have a good time together. Buttered popcorn with cheddar topping, a large Diet Cherry Coke, frozen cokes, and candy doesn’t hurt either… It’s fun being a dad. Just be prepared to drop around $60 or so because movies simply aren’t inexpensive anymore.

Take Your Kids Bowling

Don’t just take the skinheads bowling, take your kids bowling! Bowling is a fun time to spend with your kids. You can get bumpers or bowl regularly, and it’s fun to watch their excitement if they get a strike or two in their dorky bowling shoes. A bowling alley also makes for a fun birthday party.

The Dad Life is a fun-filled life, and it’s even more fun as a dad to relive your own childhood through your kids. Some of my best times have just been chilling with my children or doing fun activities with them. I will cherish the memories for years to come, and I’m always thinking about new ways to explore and experience life with them.

William Watson on Twitter
William Watson
William Watson is a Single Dad of two adorable children, a boy and a girl. He enjoys spending time with his kids and he currently works as a Graphic Designer for Lansing Community College. He is also a creative writer and regular contributor for GoDates (http://www.godates.co.uk/author/william/). You can feel free to connect with him on twitter @williamdesign.