One Year of Dates with Dad :: A Month-by-Month Activity Guide for Wichita Dads & Kids

One Year of Dates for Wichita Dads
Hello, dads! We see you there ūüôā Pretend for a moment that this is the Wichita Dads Blog. We know you work hard, and you love these kids just as much as we do. We also know that sometimes you need a little more one-on-one time with them sans mommy in order to strengthen those paternal bonds, make lasting¬†memories, and enjoy these precious souls while they still want¬†to spend time with you! Kids crave¬†that extra special time with their dads (grandpas/uncles/father figures), and making an extra effort to let your sons & daughters¬†know that you notice them is so important. Boys want to learn how to be manly, and girls need to know how they should expect to be treated by men; this is your opportunity to do BOTH of those things! Daddy dates are a real crowd-pleaser in our house – sometimes daddy just takes both of the kids to Green Lantern for a trip through the car wash and all the excitement that comes with sitting in the bay watching vehicles roll in and out. Sometimes it’s one-on-one, staying up late and playing XBOX, getting dressed up for dinner or spending the whole day with daddy helping grandpa bring the cows in from the pasture.

Do you see what I’m getting at here? It doesn’t have to be an all-out production. Do things THEY enjoy. Show them things YOU enjoy. Do something NONE of you have ever done before! Left to my own devices, my kids would be raised to think that outdoor activities only include ballet in the park, walks through botanical gardens, and the occasional splash pad. They need their daddy (and grandpas!) to even things out a bit! Hiking, camping, shooting…they probably love that stuff more than “my” stuff ūüôā

So your wife sent this post to you, or you stumbled across it in a Google search. Now what? The calendar¬†below is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a start! Many activities are not limited to the month in which they are listed, but are there for weather/season purposes. Most of them are evenings and weekends to accommodate work schedules. Browse through the whole thing, or just skip to the current month for a few ideas on things to do with kids in Wichita.

{Note}¬†To add¬†dinner to any of the dates below, check our guide¬†to where kids eat free or cheap in Wichita. If you need a little help to get the conversational ball rolling,¬†here’s a printable set of fun questions to take turns asking each other while you eat!

January

Family Resolutions :: Make a big bowl of popcorn, crack open some juice boxes, and brainstorm about your family’s goals for the year. Volunteer more often? Eat more meals at home to help save for a fun family getaway? More talking, less yelling? Find out what’s important to your kids, and let them have a voice in the planning!

Kansas Humane Society :: Read to Rover – A 90-minute class on Saturdays at the Humane Society. Your 1st-5th grader gets to spend time with the animals – including practicing reading out loud to a non-judgemental (furry) listener.

Public Library :: Visit your local library and fill a backpack with books. When you get home, pour the hot chocolate, snuggle up on the couch, and have a book-a-thon.

Laser Quest :: For all your running & shooting needs. Great for those days you want to let them run free but the Kansas winter is too cold Рand always good for a lesson or two in sportsmanship!

February

Wichita Sport Show :: (Formerly the Kansas Sport, Boat & Travel Show) Kids 8 and under are FREE, and 9+ are only $5. Let them work out that energy in bouncy houses, go fishing on real pontoon boats with WSU’s Shocker Bass Team, and crawl around on boats, RVs, golf carts, and more until their little legs drop from exhaustion.

Glow Golf :: Yup, it’s a thing. Glow-in-the-dark golf! Stay warm indoors putting in the dark or do your best Mission Impossible in the laser maze!

Chik-Fil-A :: Daddy/Daughter Date Night – Reservations are required for this event – red carpet, roses, violinists at dinner. They go all out!

Wichita Force :: Snag tickets to opening night & take in a football game at Intrust Arena.

March

The Alley :: Bowling, go carts, laser maze, video arcade Рmake a day of it & hit up the Back Alley for pizza!

Wichita Thunder :: Head downtown for a hockey game & loads of fun from the concessions stand.

Volunteer w/United Way as a Family :: Contact the United Way of the Plains and volunteer as a family over spring break!

April

Keeper of the Plains Lighting/ Troll Hunt :: Skip bedtime, and head to the river to go on a troll hunt and watch the Ring of Fire at the Keeper of the Plains!

Museum of World Treasures :: Family Night at the museum the first Thursday of the month offers extended hours and reduced admission! $5 for 5=, 4 and under free.

Stearman Field :: Have a breakfast date at Stearman Bar & Grill watching planes come and go!

Run/Walk a 5k :: Look at Run Wichita’s calendar of races and pick a 5k or 1-mile fun run to do as a family. Put the littles in the stroller and let bigger kids walk/jog alongside you – prepping for the race together will make regular exercise a family affair & make race¬†day that much more fun!

Botanica Butterfly Festival

Children’s Garden at Botanica

May

Botanica :: Butterfly Festival – Part of the RiverFestival, the first 100 children in attendance get to release a butterfly into the Butterfly House. Butterfly-themed games & other fun.

Mini Road-Trip :: Pack up the cooler and head to Marion Reservoir or El Dorado Lake Рgo hiking, biking, fishing & swimming!

Exploration Place :: Hit up EP for one of their cool traveling exhibits – Right now it’s¬†Goose Bumps (The Science of Fear)

Backyard Camp-out :: Pitch your tent in the back yard and sleep under the stars! If you have a fire pit or chiminea, roast hot dogs and marshmallows – make a star-finder and see how many constellations you can spot!

June

Kansas Aviation Museum :: Play on a Plane Day  (click here to print $1 off coupon) is the one day of the year ALL the planes (even the B-52!!!) are available to tour Рsmaller planes will have cockpits open, too!

Sedgwick County Zoo :: Father’s Day Car Show¬†– busy on Father’s Day? Try a Pajama Party or Sunset Safari earlier¬†in the week!

Botanica ::¬†Father’s Day Kite Festival – Carnival rides, food trucks, a helicopter landing…and oh! Kites! Dads are FREE and everyone else is only $5.

Great Plains Nature Center :: Walk with Wildlife РTake a hike through a 1-mile loop and see over 50 species of animals native to Kansas! Meet Curious George & Barry the Bison or participate in the Kids Fishing Clinic sponsored by the Wichita Eagle.

Tanganyika :: Wild Wednesdays mean FREE admission for kids with each paid adult admission! Go in the evening for live music & hot dogs!

Free Fishing Weekend :: June 6th & 7th you can fish for FREE (w/o a license) in any Kansas¬†public waters! This is a great way to introduce your kids to fishing or find a new favorite spot. Don’t know where to start? Try Sedgwick County Park, Lake Afton, Cheney Lake or El Dorado Lake!

July

Cowtown :: Vintage Baseball Game -the rules were a bit different back in the 1860s, but America’s love of the game has always been the same! See what it was like before Lawrence Dumont and the Wingnuts!

GIVE! :: Hot summer months are just as hard on homeless youth and families as the cold winter months. Take your kids to buy a new pair of tennis shoes in their size and a a few boxes¬†of their favorite pre-packaged snacks. Then go as a family to deliver them to the Wichita Children’s Home for kids seeking shelter from abuse, neglect or homelessness.

Wichita Ice Center :: Beat the heat and hit the ice! Lace up for a public skate – there are lots to choose from!

Splash Pads :: Did you see our Splash Pad Round-Up? Grab a towel and find the nearest splash site – or make it a scavenger hunt and try to find them ALL!

Great Plains Nature Center :: Pass on bedtime stories and RSVP for this FREE event – a 45-minute hike under the light of the Full Moon!

daddy dates carnival

Mulvane Old Settlers Days

August

Cowtown :: Relive the days of Wyatt Earp at Age of the Gunfighter – a day-long gun-slingin’ shoot-em-up adventure for the whole family!

Botanica :: Enjoy some quality time playing life-sized games in the gardens at Family Game Night – every Thursday from June-September.

All-Star Adventures/All-Star Sports :: With locations on the east and west side, dads everywhere can pass along¬†the tradition of crashing go-karts, noisy arcade games, and the love of a good walk spoiled {ahem, that’s golf for you non-geeks}

Mulvane Old Settlers Days Carnival :: Lots of Wichita’s outlying towns have great summer & fall festivals – this is our family’s pick. Old-fashioned carnival rides line the historic main street in downtown Mulvane every summer. We buy tickets, eat fair food, and ride all the rides we can handle before the sun sets or the kids melt down.

Rock River Rapids :: Another suburban gem is this water park in Derby! Make plans to visit before they close for the season on August 12th.

September

$1 Night with the Wichita Wingnuts :: Stop by any KwikShop to snag some vouchers and take in some Monday night baseball for just $1 per person!

Sedgwick County Zoo :: Creature Campout РMake a special date for dinner, a camp-out & breakfast the next day AT THE ZOO! Bring your own tent, flashlight & jammies. Kids must be at least 5 years old and accompanied by an adult 18+. $35 per person, registration required.

Get Some Air :: Spend an afternoon in one of Wichita’s many indoor trampoline/inflatable parks! (Get Air, Jumpy Jump Land, and Urban Air all come to mind)

Kansas State Fair :: Drive to Hutch and spend a day at the Kansas State Fair eating fried everything!

swanson park

Swanson Park Nature Walk

October

Cowtown :: Travel back in time for Hay, Hooves & Halloween

Lowe’s Build & Grow :: Attend a free¬†Build & Grow workshop and build something cool to take home! Registration required; east and west side locations.

Swanson Park :: Take a nature walk in the middle of the city! This is one of the west side’s best kept secrets! Venture off on the side trails and find the deer that live in the woods! They’re not afraid of people and usually hold still for photo ops ūüôā

Pumpkin Patch :: Visit Walter’s Pumpkin Patch, Applejack Pumpkin Patch, Bergmann Corn Maze, or Cox Farm¬†this fall for petting zoos, games, bouncy houses, and rides of the pony, train, and hay variety…and don’t forget to grab a pumpkin while you’re there!

November

Wichita Art Museum :: Saturdays at WAM are always FREE! Slip off your shoes to walk on the Chihuly glass bridge, tour the galleries, and then head downstairs where kids can run, play, touch, and create all they want!

Gingerbread Village @ Exploration Place :: Build your own gingerbread house and take a peek at the creative contestants’ entries into the professional competition!

Volunteer as a Family :: It’s true that this time of year is always overbooked when it comes to volunteers. While non-profits do need more year-round help, this is a great time to show your kids how much they have (while they’re prepping those lists of all the stuff they “need”). Have each child choose a coat and other clothing items in their size or personal toiletries to donate to local shelters (YWCA, Wichita Children’s Home, Youthville) as the weather gets cold – if your kids are older, ask them to help them contribute to the cost. Or sign up as a family to serve OTHER families meals or work in a food bank for an afternoon. If you teach your kids that giving back is important to you, it will be important to them.

Botanica Illuminations

Illuminations at Botanica

December

Bradley Fair Carriage Rides :: Bundle up and enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides around the plaza at Bradley Fair! Friday & Saturday nights for the first 3 weeks in December.

Illuminations @ Botanica :: Hundreds of thousands of lights sparkle throughout the garden’s 17 acres. Music, snacks, displays – it’s definitely worth piling on the layers, skipping out on bedtime, and braving the cold for this winter spectacular!

Exploration Place Movie Dome :: Did you know that EP has it’s own movie dome? You don’t have to pay full museum admission if you just want to catch a flick – showtimes are at 1:00 and 3:00 ¬†daily

Home Depot Workshop :: Have a blast building a make-and-take project! Registration required; east, west, and Hutchinson locations.

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