It took a bit of trial and error on my part, but I eventually learned, over the span of three kids, how to provide a nonstop cavalcade of entertainment. All it takes is a bit of creativity and a never-ending treasure trove of tricks.
Hopefully, my three boys will fondly remember our silly games when they get older, even if it’s just because of how absolutely ridiculous they make me look. Here are ten of their favorites.
Funny Voices. If you want to keep kids entertained, try putting on a funny voice. Personally, I've found that a wide array of voices work best, from squeaky to deep and resonant. I'm sure my vocal cords have been ravaged by now, but what you can do? It's not easy being a daddy of a thousand voices, but the kids sure love it.
Scaling Mt. Daddy. Ever since my kids were very young, they've loved climbing all over me and I've never discouraged it. To be frank, there's no greater feeling in the world than a three kid pile-up, although it sometimes feels like I'm being attacked by a gang of tiny thugs trying to take me down in the most adorable way possible.
Slapstick Comedy. I discovered, after once hurting myself for real, that kids love slapstick comedy. The fact that they can't distinguish between real and fake bodily injury doesn't seem to hamper their appreciation at all, but the difference is painfully clear to me. Oh well, anything for a laugh, right?
Costumes. For whatever reason, kids love playing dress-up regardless of their gender and they find it absolutely hilarious when an adult does so. So, I once dressed up as a giant chicken just because I happened to have the thing hanging in my closet. And I've got my eye on my wife's pink tutu as well. Costumes aren't just for Halloween anymore ... at least not when you have kids.
Singing. Look, I'm a terrible singer, but my kids don't know that. So, when I sing a song, or better yet, make up new lyrics to a song they already know, I'm a rock star. In particular, they love my rendition of "Dirty Bottomed Boys," which we sing during diaper changes. It is, of course, sung to the tune of the well-known Queen song with a similar name.
Dancing. Unfortunately, I can't really dance either. I mean, I try, but all my attempts usually devolve into jerky spasms. But it's exactly this lack of skill that my kids really appreciate. At the same time, I'm totally envious of their wild abandon as they shake their butts without a care in the world. I just hope they don't pick up any of my left-footed moves when they get older.
Building a Fort. Fort building is something I loved as a kid, but I've kicked it up a notch with my own children. Our greatest creation ever was made of commandeered cushions from two couches and all the pillows from every bed in the house. It's a good thing we didn't have company that day.
Breaking Stuff. It's an indisputable fact that kids, boys especially, love to break stuff. So rather than have them take their destructive tendencies out on my widescreen TV, we regularly build sky-high towers with blocks from every play set we can find in the house. Our objective? Laying waste to it at the end. I'm not entirely sure why kids love demolishing things, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't find it a little satisfying myself.
Indoor Camping. Plenty of parents have gone camping with their kids, but I'm willing to bet not many have done it in the comfort of their own living room like we have, complete with tent, sleeping bags, air mattress, lantern, flashlights and even s'mores. Yes, camping outdoors is awesome too, but just wait until a kid needs a bathroom.
Shaving Cream Monster Face. I hate to shave, but when I do, I turn it into a game for me and my kids by chasing them through the house and threatening to deliver a sloppy, gloppy shaving cream kiss. Word to the wise, though: keep it to a quick game. That stuff starts to sting if you leave it on too long.
Donald S. Deane is the proud papa of three little boys who provide endless amounts of joy and sleep deprivation. He has held a variety of jobs, including college English teacher, newspaper reporter/editor, internet project manager, dishwasher and dogcatcher. Don has written for AOL TV, Moviefone, TheFW, ScreenCrush, GuySpeed, and Arcade Sushi, among others.
Parenting advice is given as a suggestion only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider.