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Stir Crazy

These ideas have been rewritten and modified but most have been taken from: 

  • How to Be Your Daughter’s Daddy – Dan Bolin 

  • How to Be Your Little Man’s Dad – Dan Bolin and Ken Sutterfield 

  • How to Be Your Wife’s Best Friend – Dan Bolin and John Trent 

  • How to Be Your Husband’s Best Friend – Cay Bolin and Cindy Trent 

Dear Parent,

These are tough times. At home. Dangers lurking outside. Schools closed. Chapped hands. Rationed toilet paper. Missed paychecks. Too much time. Too few ideas. Kids need things to do.


This can drive you STIR CRAZY!


Almost 30 years ago I compiled a list of 365 things for dads to do with their daughters. The result was the little book, How to Be Your Daughter’s Daddy. Later Ken Sutterfield and I created another 365 ideas for dads and sons. That book was entitled, How to Be Your Little Man’s Dad. John Trent and I teamed up to make a list of 365 things for husbands to do to express love for their wives. That one was called, How to Be Your Wife’s Best Friend. Then our wives, Cay Bolin and Cindy Trent, wrote, How to Be Your Husband’s Best Friend with an additional 365 ideas.

I’ve culled through these little books, rewritten, updated, and modified numerous ideas, and want to share them with you - and anyone looking to get through one more day with children at home. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll make available five ideas from these books. You can get them in a variety of ways:

  • SUBSCRIBE and I’ll e-mail you the ideas every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning

  • Social Media – like the Refueling in Flight page on Facebook.


  • Please feel free to share these with your friends. Remember, the days go slow, but the years go fast. View these challenging days as gifts and use them wisely.

Psalm 127:4 says, Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Those arrows will soon be shot away from you to make an impact elsewhere. Sending them with power and on the right trajectory requires an intentional investment of time and training. Make lemonade out of lemons. Use these days wisely to invest in the next generation.


Dan Bolin

  • Look through a toy catalogue and everyone tells which toys they like the most – and why 

  • Teach your kids to tie a tie 

  • Don’t use the dishwasher – wash, dry, and put away the dishes together 

  • Have everyone share about the most important person they have met (outside of your family). 

  • Research together and learn the details of the Last Supper and Easter morning.



  • Make a poster-board collage of your family’s story using pictures from old magazines and catalogues

  • Have a miniature marshmallow roast using a candle, toothpicks and miniature marshmallows 

  • Have a five-minute sock war – 10 rolls of socks each 

  • Work together to assemble a model airplane, boat, or car 

  • Pretend you won $10,000,000. Decide what you would do with the fortune 


  • Design next year’s family Christmas card 

  • Make admiral’s hats out of newspaper 

  • Tell them stories about something that happened to you when you were their ages 

  • Teach them to play checkers or chess 

  • If they are old enough, have the kids plan, cook, and clean-up one meal while parents takes a break 


  • As a family, look through your high school annuals and tell about interesting events and friends 

  • Play 20-Questions. One person thinks of a person, place, or thing. Everyone else asks questions that must be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. 20 questions maximum per item 

  • Read aloud stories of heroes and talk about the life qualities you each admire 

  • Have each family member write notes to all the others telling what they like about them  

  • Learn the meaning behind each person’s name. 


  • Look up a new word in a dictionary or on-line. See who can use it in a sentence. 

  • Use a globe or map to discover where friends live, where world events are happening or where they want to live someday 

  • Camp out in the living room – tent and all 

  • Stay up late watching old westerns with you 

  • Practice a family fire-drill – make sure everyone knows what to do in case of a real fire 


  • Learn the names of all your children’s dolls and stuffed animals.  

  • Write a family newspaper (complete with your family’s headline news, sports, weather, and cartoons). Then send it to family and friends. 

  • Teach them to spin a basketball (or any ball) on their fingers. 

  • Learn to count to 10 in a new language (or several new languages) 

  • Teach the kids to polish and shine their shoes (and hire them to polish yours)