The Geeky Parent Guide is a semi-monthly editorial series by Fanbase Press Contributor (and father of two) Travis Lakata that will help parents and other caregivers to safely and positively navigate various avenues of pop culture with their children.
Baking with the kids is something I thoroughly enjoy, and despite the struggles we’ve all felt the past year and a half, this one thing has brought me a lot of joy. It’s exhausting, because I’m trying to relinquish a bit of control while not being a major helicopter parent as my kids take over with whatever baked goods we’re concocting.
What If…? is a wonderfully fun series on Disney+ that examines the possibilities of life in the Marvel universe, how every choice impacts the outcomes we’ve come to know, and how the characters we love might be different in some way. Is this series appropriate for kids similar in age to my own? As my own kids are ages 7 and 9, the answer is probably not, especially since What If…? is rated as TV-14. Some ratings don’t always have to be adhered to so strictly, but in this case, I would avoid the series for parents with kids near my own kids’ ages.
The Halloween season is a perfect opportunity for kids and parents to share fun experiences. Halloween brings about fun movies, special TV episodes from favorite series, and one of the biggest components which I’ll share with you today: costumes!
As a parent, it is becoming more apparent that I need to hold onto these early years. They might not appreciate dear, old dad as they approach their pre-teen and teenage years. I’m not saying it’s inevitable and I hope we avoid those “leave me alone” moments, but I want to take advantage of every single time when my kids want me to do something.
After last Halloween, they asked me if I would dress up as a particular Scooby-Doo character. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Sure, whatever you want.” The Mystery Incorporated member they wanted me to dress as? Velma. It’s one of those things where I only want them to have fun, and especially know that I want to spend time with them, too, even if it’s to dress up as one of their favorite Scooby-Doo characters.
Dressing Up as Scooby-Doo Characters and Letting My Kids Take Pictures
My kids changed their minds on who they wanted to see me dress up as, with Daphne taking the lead in the past few months. This means I had to seek help with getting into this Halloween costume. I borrowed a purple skirt and sweater from my wife to dawn the Daphne look, while my daughter let me borrow her green scarf and purple headband. I used a neck gaiter for hair, because I need all of the help I can to cover every inch of balding action I have going on. On top of that, I rummaged through my own clothes to see who else I could dress up as, because I knew it would only make my kids’ day.
I put together a collection of other clothing items to also become Shaggy and Fred. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an orange sweater and red skirt to make my initial kids’ dreams come true. Though, it does help that my son does have a mini-Scooby stuffed animal to lighten the load of how many characters I transform into. Trust me, if your kids ask you to dress up – they will be thrilled with your decision to join them in whatever they want. It’s okay for them to see us in things that are out of character, while showing them it’s okay to be lighthearted and have fun.
Also, my kids love being able to borrow my phone and take pictures. This is a great way to let them have some responsibility, while they tell me where to stand or direct what scene I’m taking part in for the camera. In these three photos, I’m acting scared like Shaggy, trying to avoid Scooby as he licks my face, and setting a trap like Fred; and, yes, they asked me to hide behind a fan. It was a fun day of playing dress-up, and now, they want me to dress up more often. If anything, they loved being in control as they set scenes and their creativity took over!
Geeky Parent Guide Costume Challenge
This was a silly and fun experience for me and my kiddos. They were excited when I shouted, “Scooby-Doo, where are you?” from the bedroom to let them know it was happening. As a parent, it’s all I can do to try and make them happy, and they were over-the-moon happy and giggling during each of my outfit changes.
So, geeky parents out there, I challenge any and all parents to ask their kids what they’d like to see them dressed up as. They might surprise you with their answers, or it just might not be feasible. My kids’ choice for me was made possible by working with items we already had in our house; and if you see the pictures of our home, it’s not spotless in the least – #parentlife.
Ask your kids what they want you to be for Halloween and just say, “Okay.” Your kids will be super excited and you will enjoy seeing them light up with joy. If you can’t make it work, because you don’t have the items or you’re on a budget like our family, then ask your kids what else you can be. It’s a great way to have an open conversation about trying to be responsible with money, while also letting them know you’re interested in what they want to do. It’s a wonderful feeling to have these conversations with our kids, because hopefully this will translate to them finding it easier to communicate about more challenging issues as they get older.
If you are able to take on this Halloween costume challenge, tag us on social media and share your pictures with us. You can use the hashtag, “#gpgCostumeChallenge” and tag us on Facebook and Twitter. I’d love to see everyone’s fun experiences and what your kids think of when they imagine their parents dressing up in costume. If you have fun, maybe it will even become a tradition where you do it again year after year.
To get a full look at their most expansive scene they directed, check out their pictures of me capturing a monster in a “net.” Both Adelaide and Marshall worked together and they set the scene while I was getting changed, so they truly were in charge of this activity.
Until next time, friends, happy parenting and happy geeking.
“[Wonder Woman] has come to represent the possibility and potential of life without war, hate or violence, and she is a beacon of hope to all who find themselves in need. She stands as an equal among the most powerful Super Heroes, with a sense of purpose to protect the world from injustice in all forms." – DC Comics
We’ve reached a second year of homeschooling in our household. It’s a geeky parent’s delight, if I’m being honest. It’s a challenging endeavor to find ways to keep my kids engaged during the learning process, especially when they’re experiencing the “end of summertime” blues. It’s not easy for kids to switch gears when they’ve had a couple months off.
I hope my kids will want to watch Star Wars Rebels one day. Obviously, to fully appreciate this amazing series, they will need to watch many more stories within the Star Wars universe to get the full picture of this galaxy far, far away. Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 is masterfully done, heart wrenching, and full proof that messages within stories matter to its audience. It’s why I love storytelling and why I hope my kids will be able to enjoy and take something away from a cast of characters who are more than a rebel crew – they’re family.
When the summer temperatures near the 100 F mark or higher, sometimes, it’s the perfect opportunity to get back to the basics when it comes to family fun. I want to share with you what my family did on a couple of days scattered over the course of a few weeks, and how we let creativity defeat the heat. Our kids love playing outside, but when the temps are that high, we try to avoid sustained play, if any at all.
The Bad Batch has many parental themes that I did not imagine when I initially started watching this season: from looking out for little ones; being a role model; and listening to what children have to say. These are all vital components of parenthood. If you were to imagine what’s been coined, “The Dad Batch,” it’s safe to say this wonderful animated series is a crossover between Star Wars and Three Men and a Baby (or Three Men and a Little Lady).
I try to provide activities that I know my kids will enjoy, and with a summer that’s already reducing outside time because of extreme heat, I’m trying to find some productive use of that time. Science experiments, STEM activities, or really anything that’s hands-on usually garners a lot of interest from my 7 and 8-year-old kiddos; however, like this past week, things don’t always go as planned. But that’s okay. Parenthood is all about adapting and “reading the room” when it comes to our kids, and sometimes that means letting them make the call.
Family movie time is so much more than one to two hours of sitting in the same room with your kids. When they’re still wanting snuggles like my kids (ages 7 and 8), they love sitting next to or against me or my wife. Not only that, fictional worlds are a wonderful way to connect with our kids, especially when it comes to animated films. We watched Raya and the Last Dragon on Disney+ this week, and it was definitely worth the wait.