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I was recently reading “The Dangerous Book for Boys” by Gonn and Hal Iggulden.  The contents included (but were not limited to): the greatest paper airplane in the world, how to play stickball, building a tree-house, dinosaurs, fishing, making a go-cart, spiders, juggling, making a paper hat/water-bomb, skipping stones, coin tricks, marbles, tree climbing, and pirates. 

As I read I was waiting for the “pay-off,” some deeply meaningful philosophical “ah-ha!” moment where everything would be tied together for me in a neat little package that I could take with me.  I eventually had to accept the fact that the “lecture” I was waiting for was not going to be delivered by the authors of “The Dangerous Book for Boys: The perfect book for every boy from 8 to 80.” 

Nope, the authors were too smart for that.  Instead, they let children who read the book (like my 7 year old son) discover the wonder of new concepts, while they let adults who read the book (like me) discover the wonder of vaguely familiar old concepts.  I had become too engrossed in day to day responsibilities and lost some of my ability to have fun (and thereby more fully connect with my kids). 

In short order, I gathered up my kids, made a sword from some scraps in the shed and then went on a kayak ride, where we stormed the high seas, just like every good pirate should.   

Here is a (very incomplete) checklist of some great things for “Maximum Strength Parents” to do with their children:


___Catch Lightening Bugs

___Climb Trees


___Connect the Dots 


___Have Fun with Numbers


___Tell Jokes (e.g., Knock-Knock…; Why Did the Chicken…?)


___Spin until you fall down

___Play “Rock, Scissor, Paper”

___Have a Staring Contest – The first to blink loses

___Go “Camping” overnight on your living room floor

___Jump in a puddle and splash each other

___Yell in a Megaphone

___Play Basketball (with Socks and a Hamper)

___Make a Paper Airplane

___Give Horse Back Rides (on your back)


___Do Mazes

___Play Ring-Around-the-Rosie

___Ride a Bike

___Build a Go-Cart

___Build a Tree-House, a cardboard-house, or a house from couch pillows

___Do Puzzles

___Have a Tea Party

___Play Tic-Tac-Toe

___Try some Tongue Twisters

___Do Word Search Puzzles


___And 1,000 other activities