Fun Activities to Build Relationships with Kids
Eight months ago, I became a stepdad to eight children whose ages range from 18 years down to 4. It’s a big responsibility! I didn’t just want to be a husband to my new wife, I wanted to share in the parenting of these children as far as possible.
I know that step parents are not meant to make too many alterations when a family first blends, but I made one change that has proven to be very valuable: I instituted a weekly family night. I have learnt a lot during this time and I’m still learning every day.
Probably the most important lesson so far is the importance of spending time with the children. It lets them know that you care for them and that they are important to you. It builds the relationship. It gives a child a sense of belonging and a sense of security.
For me as a step-dad, it goes further than that. When I give the children instructions or get them to do their chores at other times, there is a growing openness to receive what I have to say. I’m earning their respect and acceptance. Here are some of the activities we’ve done together as a family that’s worked well for us. Roasting marshmallows so simple, but they love it.
We make a small fire in a metal BBQ in front of the porch, just large enough for us to sit around and use wooden kebab sticks to roast marshmallows. On one occasion, their mom, who is a bit of a tomboy and has a reputation for being able to do anything around the house better than most men can tried to light the fire and refused to take advice from me.
I gained some respect as master fire builder when I was able to light it on my first attempt after she gave up, which was great for establishing the father-figure reputation 🙂 The kids have competitions to see who can pull the most roasted skins off of a single marshmallow or who can roast one to the perfect brown fastest without the marshmallow catching fire.
It’s an easy, mellow activity and the kids don’t mind sitting around and talking because they’re also busy with something fun. And they’ll do chores around the house to earn extra marshmallows… BONUS 🙂 “Sucker Kaskade’s“ That name, which I have no idea how to translate into English, is a traditional community fun day in South Africa.
It’s really just a bunch of team building exercises, but you can imagine for yourself how the kids will enjoy activities like tug-of-war, an egg throwing competition, running around the house while balancing an egg on a spoon, three-legged races, fishing apples out of a bucket of water and other games where the kids are bound to get dirty with mom and dad’s permission.
Sound like a lot of work? You could just sit on the side and be the judge, but I highly recommend getting involved as kids naturally love to compete and interact with their parents and who doesn’t want to see their dad covered in the raw egg? Puzzle building competition for last week’s family night event my wife suggested that we have a puzzle building competition.
As I expected, the older kids frowned at the idea at first, but surprisingly they really got into it once both puzzles started taking shape and once we had finished they all wanted to take the puzzles apart and have a rematch.
There are so many things to do if you are willing to put some time into your family. It’s not that hard to entertain kids and as long as you’re spending time with them, they’re probably going to enjoy it. If you need more ideas, my wife and I have started a section on our website dedicated to fun family activities. Dirk Wessel is the father of 8 and is passionate about spending time with his kids and raising them with love. He regularly blogs about his experiences with his kids on Husband Hunter Dad