Freeze Frame! Or, The Doodaddy Redemption

by doodaddy on May 3, 2007

Today was Dads of Mystery day again at the playground — that’s the dads’ group I’ve written about a few times. As usual, some were ZOPs (“zoned-out parents”), talking on their phones or exclusively with one other and not engaging their kids. Amazingly, one dad even managed to read the newspaper while pushing the swing. I didn’t know whether to be appalled or impressed.

Perhaps I’m mellowing out, though, because I took note of many dads playing pretty well with their kids. I think I may have even redeemed myself with one of the leaders who, I’ve heard through the grapevine, thinks I’m, well, aloof.

I was playing a game called “Freeze Frame” with his just-turned-four-year old daughter. I used to be a naturalist, and my old trail games have been bouncing around my head because I just posted about a bunch of cool nature activities over at GNM Parents. Here’s a thumbnail version of Freeze Frame, extracted from that post:

As you’re walking along, if you notice a particularly obvious color in nature, shout “Freeze!” and “Close your eyes!” When the child’s eyes are closed, say, “Without opening your eyes, point at something orange!” Give your child a few seconds and then ask them to open their eyes to see if they were right. Laugh, rinse, repeat.

There’s a fuller description at the original post, plus two other observation activities.

Anyway, this little four-year old loves the game and asks me to play it every time we’re at the playground. And every time, I’ve suggested that she play it with her dad, too, but she says she doesn’t want to. I get the feeling he’s not a goofy-play dad. Today, though, I wouldn’t take no for an answer, and so I played it with her dad. Daughter was over the moon about it. Here I was, another dad, making her dad close his eyes and point at colors! As soon as she saw I could do it, I think she got the idea that she could, too!

More importantly, though, I think the dad got excited about a toy-free way to engage his daughter. Maybe I’m reading into his expression, but he seemed lit up about it in a way I hadn’t seen before. At least, I hope, it’ll help him understand me as a little more than just some jughead who doesn’t want to mix. Not that I’m gung-ho about joining the group (I think maybe CrankMama is right, and most playgroups are a bad idea).

At least, though, the Dads of Mystery and I seem to be getting closer to figuring each other out.

This entry is 55% female.

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tagged as in goofiness,nature,oddparents,playground,stay-at-home dad,teaching,zoned-out parents ·

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann Marie May 3, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Totally awesome!!! Want to train my waterman?


Ann Marie May 3, 2007 at 5:03 pm

PS the posts are messed up.. they are posting one word per line.. interesting. Good thing it was a short one.


doodaddy May 3, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Hey, Ann, no training necessary — these are easy-peasy games. Sorry about the post problems… it looks OK on my browser, I wonder what the problem is… hmm…. Well, maybe it’ll fix itself. That’s what I usually hope for with these things!


aimee/greeblemonkey May 3, 2007 at 9:38 pm

Or *maybe* he just thought you were insane!

Just kidding!!!

And that game sounds awesome. Totally incorporating it into the bag of tricks.


doodaddy May 4, 2007 at 12:21 am

You may be kidding, but I don’t think you’re that far off, actually. Seems to be the usual response — people don’t quite know what to do with me! (‘Course, neither do I…)

Glad you like the game… I’ve got a million of ’em!



twinbabiesdad May 7, 2007 at 11:50 am

I facilitate a dads group and one of the guys is really interested in connecting his kids to nature. I’ll totally be shareing this game with him.


doodaddy May 8, 2007 at 1:22 am

Glad you liked it! Don’t forget to check out the original at GNM Parents — I wrote up three activities and plan to do another three every other week or so.


Annie May 16, 2007 at 11:25 am

I really need to check out GNM parents then! I run out of ideas so fast when we’re outside and both my toddler and I get cheesed off pretty quickly!


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