As the weeks at home drag on and on, each day starts to blend into the next. Stress builds as we try to stay productive and find some kind of order and routine in the crazy situation we’ve landed in. If we’re honest, our kids can feel like an interruption to our day’s agenda, rather than priceless gifts to cherish. Are you tired and distracted? Is your patience wearing thin? Do you wonder how to break through the boring and create special moments with your daughter? Today, we’re offering you 7 daddy-daughter dates for these days at home. With a little creativity and a few moments of time, you can capture some joy and make memories that last for always.
But spending quality time with your daughter is about much more than having fun. Each time you set aside your work and your screens to offer the gift of undivided attention, you gain so much more. You gain your girl’s trust, her smile, and her heart. You earn a voice to speak into her life. Conditions are set to share your faith. You become her safe space to confide her dreams, fears, and hurts. With every daddy-daughter date as she grows up, you grow the love between you. God bless you and your daughter today!
7 Daddy-Daughter Dates for These Days at Home
1. Shadow Fun
Desk lamp or bright flashlight
Thick paper, scissors
Assorted household items
Once it is fully dark for the evening, place the desk lamp or flashlight so that it shines on a bare wall. Use your imaginations to make shadow puppets with your hands or by cutting characters out of paper. Team up to act out a fairy tale with your shadow puppets, or let your daughter create a story and perform it for you.
See if you can make your shadows overlap on the wall. Can her shadow fit inside of yours? See if your shadows can shake hands without your hands actually touching. By tilting or moving the light, can you make your shadows change size and shape? Can you pose to make life-sized shadows of the letters of the alphabet?
Play “guess the shadow” by taking turns holding up various items in front of the light. Can you tell if it’s a shadow of a toothbrush? A candle? Eyeglasses? A teapot? A plant? See how tricky you can make it for each other!
Tape a piece of black paper to the wall and have your daughter stand in front of it. Position her so that she’s standing sideways, with the shadow of her profile centered on the paper. Take a white crayon or chalk and carefully trace the outline of her profile on the paper. Remove the paper from the wall, cut around the outline of her silhouette, and paste it to a piece of white or colored paper. Write her name and the date on the back and save the special keepsake you’ve created.
A shadow is formed when someone or something is blocking the light. It’s interesting how a little object can cast a huge shadow. Has your daughter ever been frightened of a shadow at night that was really something small and harmless?
Sometimes we get spooked by “shadows” when problems seem bigger than they really are. We can forget to take our troubles to God, who can bring them down to size by his promises to love and care for us.
Let’s remember God’s instruction to “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6–7).
Dear Father, Thank you for your great love for us. You care about every one of our worries and troubles. Thank you for your promise to watch over us and get us through hard times. Give us courage to face the things that make us afraid. Grow our faith in you so that we can have peace in our hearts no matter what “shadows” we face. Amen.
2. We All Scream for Ice Cream
One pint-sized food storage bag
One gallon-sized food storage bag
1 cup half-and-half
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Kosher salt or rock salt
In the pint-sized food storage bag, have your daughter carefully pour one cup of half-and-half, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Seal the bag tightly. Fill the gallon-sized bag half full of ice and sprinkle about ½ cup of salt over the ice. Place the smaller bag into the gallon-sized bag and seal securely. Take turns shaking and rolling the bags for about five minutes until the mixture has thickened into ice cream.
Remove the smaller bags from the larger one of ice, rinse off the salty water, and cut off a lower corner of the small bag. Squeeze the ice cream from the bag into bowls and enjoy!
It’s fascinating watching a sloppy bag of cream and sugar transform into a thick, delicious dessert. Sometimes we’re a lot like that—when life “shakes us up,” it changes us! Unexpected events, whether exciting or upsetting, force us to change our perspective and face how not in control we are of our lives. The great thing is that God promises to use every surprise and tough situation to grow our faith and make us more like Jesus.
God promises that not only can we survive hard situations, we can thrive! James 1:2–4 reminds us:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
God uses our trials to build our trust and make us “grow up” in him—that’s something to be excited about! James continues by saying, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (v. 12). Wow. Such awesome promises. No wonder we can have joy in tough times!
Dear Lord, Thank you for allowing challenges to come our way. If everything was easy all the time, we would never learn to trust and depend on you. We would never discover how to hang in there and grow. The chance to stand the test and receive your crown of life would pass us by. Fill us with joy and excitement about the work you’re doing in us as we are tested. Thank you for your love! Amen.
3. Prayer Mail
Blank note cards or index cards
Make a list together of several people you can lift up to God in prayer. Think of neighbors, friends, your pastor, your daughter’s school teachers and classmates, church friends, or family members who live nearby. Make a note card for each one. On the front of each card write, “We prayed for you today!” On the inside or the back of each card, work together to copy Isaiah 40:31:
But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Have your daughter decorate the cards with stickers or her own drawings. Then gather the cards together and get ready for your prayer drive!
Drive together to the house of one of your friends or family members. Pull over and park the car. Spend a few moments praying for that special person. Ask for God’s protection and healing, that their studies or work would be successful, and that they would have peace and joy in their homes. Thank God for making each person a part of your life, and name the ways they have been a blessing to you. When you’re finished praying, place a piece of tape on a card and have your daughter attach it to the person’s door. Try to be anonymous as you do so—imagine what a fun surprise it will be for that person to discover they’ve been lifted up in prayer by a secret someone!
Travel from place to place until you’ve prayed for each person on your list and left a card for them. When you return to your own house, take a moment to pray for each other and the loved ones you share your home with.
The Bible tells us that we should never stop praying for each other!
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18)
God cares about each person that you care about. He created each one and put them in your life as part of his plan. One way we can love our friends and family is to give them to God in prayer. It’s exciting to see the way he listens to us and moves through the prayers of his people!
Dear Lord, Thank you so much for our friends and family—you have put so much of your love into our lives through them. Please encourage them today by the cards we delivered and the prayers we offered up. If anyone is tired, give them strength. If someone is sick, please give them healing. If they are worried, give them your peace. If they are celebrating, give them hearts that praise you! Thank you for watching over each and every one of us. We love you! Amen.
4. Animal Pancakes
Empty ketchup or squeeze bottle
Team up with your daughter to prepare pancake batter using the recipe on the container of pancake mix. Heat a skillet to medium heat on the stove. Fill an empty, washed ketchup bottle with pancake batter and place the cap on top. Use the bottle to squeeze batter onto your hot skillet in the shape of various animals. A larger circle of batter with two circles at the top for ears makes a fun mouse or bear. Try various combinations of ovals and circles to make different animals, or spell out the letters of your daughter’s name. Let her choose an animal for you to attempt, and if it doesn’t turn out well it can be an “alien”!
Let your daughter use chocolate chips to create faces on her animal pancakes. Pour on some syrup and enjoy breakfast together.
The animal pancake that ended up on your plate may not have matched the original idea you had in mind. Creating a recognizable creature from liquid batter is a challenge! It takes a combination of the right temperature, just the right consistency of batter, and the dexterity of the cook to get the perfect pancake.
God had everything he needed when it came to creating people—he had power and perfection! It’s amazing that he had us in mind before he even created the world:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:14–16)
God imagined us, created us, led us to salvation, and has a future planned for us as well. Praise him!
Dear God, Thank you for being our creator. It’s so exciting to know that we are not an accident—you love us so much that you planned every detail of who we are and what our future holds. Please help us live for you, “holy and blameless” until we see you face-to-face. Amen!
Two plastic grocery sacks or trash bags
String, cut into eight eighteen-inch pieces
Two rubber bands
Two small plastic animals or dolls
Let’s make parachutes! Cut a square from each plastic bag, about a foot or so across. Cut a small hole into each corner of your squares. Tie a length of string to each of the corners of the bag. Gather the ends of the strings and knot them together. Use a rubber band to attach a small plastic toy to the knotted part of the string.
Without tangling the strings, carefully fold the parachute into a small bundle. Lightly wrap the string and toy around it. Toss your parachute into the air, and as the string unwinds the parachute will open and float to the ground.
Dad to Dad: Make sure safety comes first with this daddy-daughter date! Even though it’s fun to drop parachutes from a high point, do not allow your daughter to lean out over a railing or windowsill or climb where there is any danger of falling.
You would never jump out of an airplane without a parachute! Instead, you would put your trust in that chute in your pack to keep you from harm as you fell toward the earth. That’s just like life—we would not want to face the future and its unknowns without knowing we’re under the watchful care of God.
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)
The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23–24)
God is ready and able to help us in any situation. Talk to him about everything going on in your life today—he wants to share his strength and love with you as you lean on him.
Dear Father, Thank you for being there for us every single day. Thank you for your promise to keep us from falling. With you we can keep on going even when things are difficult. Teach us to depend on you—with you we’ll never fall! Amen.
6. Your Daughter’s World
Decorative gift for your daughter’s room
Mini-picnic, such as fruit and crackers
For this daddy-daughter date, prepare to enter a strange and unfamiliar world—your daughter’s room! Ask your daughter to prepare for your visit ahead of time. She can arrange all of the stuffed animals and dolls she’d like you to meet, and gather together the most recent drawings or crafts she’s made. Perhaps she has a scrapbook, photo album, or school yearbook she’d like to look through with you. Make sure she has a favorite collection ready to show off, whether it’s glass figurines, china dolls, hats, or a sticker album.
When she’s ready for your visit, arrive at her bedroom door with a wrapped gift and snacks in hand. Knock politely and allow her to show you in! Sit on the floor and enjoy the window into her world. Ask questions about her toys, such as where she received them and what she likes about them. Take time to admire her artwork—be specific about what catches your eye in each one. If she has pictures of friends, take time to learn their names and hear her stories about them. Ooh and aah over her collections. Brainstorm about how you could add to her collection in the near future.
When your daughter has shared all of her special treasures with you, thank her for letting you visit. Enjoy your snack together and present her with the gift for her room.
Romans 15:7 tells us that just like Christ has made us welcome, we should welcome one another into our lives. Today your daughter invited you into her room. She showed you her prized possessions—the things that reflect her unique personality and interests. Christ has also made us welcome. He made a way for us to have a home in heaven with him forever. Whenever you share your home or belongings with others, you are loving as Christ loves.
Dear Lord, Thank you for making us welcome in the family of God. Thank you for the home you are preparing for us in heaven. We understand that you know us inside and out, and that our home in heaven will be perfect for us in every way. Please help us to be openhearted and willing to share our home and what we have with others. Use our home as a blessing to all who come here. Thank you for my daughter and her willingness to share her room with me today. Help us to love each other as you love us, always. Amen.
7. Bless Mom’s Heart
Mom’s favorite juice, coffee, or tea
Muffins or bagels
Flower in a vase
Paper and markers or crayons
Choose a morning and dedicate it to blessing Mom with your daughter. Get up together early in the morning and make Mom a special card. List the things that you love about her, and thank her for all she does for your family.
Prepare Mom’s favorite juice, coffee, or tea, and put together a simple breakfast for her. Place the breakfast, card, and flower on a tray and treat her to breakfast in bed.
After breakfast, spend some time with your daughter serving Mom in creative ways. Take a trash bag and vacuum and clean out her car. Take her chore list and do some housekeeping so she can relax. Shop online for a thoughtful gift, like a candle or a set of scented bath items, a pretty pen or calendar for her purse, or a bag of freshly ground gourmet coffee. Maybe there’s a honey-do project you’ve been putting off for a while that your daughter could help you with.
However you spend your time, keep Mom in the center of your thoughts and conversation. Use the time to talk about why Mom is special to each of you. Brainstorm together about ways you can be a blessing to her every single day.
A mother’s life centers around the well-being of her family. She juggles countless details to keep the household running and make sure each person in the family is cared for. Sometimes she runs out of time or energy to take care of herself. Recognizing her loving efforts and taking the time to lighten her load, even for one day, means so much to a busy mom!
Read Proverbs 31:10–31 with your daughter. Take note of the ways that Mom compares to the wife and mother in the passage. Does she get up early to make school lunches? Does she juggle a career on top of managing the household? Does she encourage each of you with her words? Today you took the time to “arise and call her blessed” (v. 28)!
Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of Mom! She loves us so much, in so many ways. We see your love for us through her words and the way she takes care of us. Please teach us how to encourage her each day. Help us to be faithful to care for her just like she is always there for us. Bless her in every way. Amen!