From Baby Dolls to Hula Hoops

dolls to hula hoopsOne night, as my 12-year-old daughter was getting ready to go to sleep, I noticed her dolls piled in the corner.

I grabbed two of them and sat on the edge of her bed.

“Do you want to play?” I asked. My daughter rolled her eyes and sighed.

“I’m too old for dolls,” she said. “Those are for babies.”

I was saddened by her words. I remember how we used to play with dolls when she was younger. We created amazing scenarios fueled by our imaginations. More importantly, we spent precious time together.

As I looked at the dolls and at my daughter, I realized that my little girl was growing up and there was nothing I could do to stop it. As much as I wanted to hang on to those childhood memories, I knew that it was time to let go and create new memories.

If you’re the parent of a tween, you know how difficult they can be. Sometimes they behave like adults and seek independence. Other times, they revert back to the terrible twos. These personality swings can make it hard to connect with a tween, but it’s important to make the effort.

After our doll episode, I decided to come up with new ways to play with my daughter, and I found the solution in a hula-hoop.

My daughter is a world-class hula-hooper. Given sufficient time, she could break any existing hula-hoop record. Even with my limited skills, I like to challenge her to a hula-hoop contest. I awkwardly shake my hips in an attempt to keep the hula-hoop around my waist for more than 10 seconds. My daughter cannot contain her laughter as the hula-hoop quickly slides down my legs. She tries to offer some coaching. But I’m a hopeless case.

“Here’s how it’s done, Daddy,” she says as she performs incredible feats with the hula-hoop.

I enjoy our hula-hoop challenges because they not only give us opportunities to have fun together, but they also allow us to create new memories.

My daughter may be too old to play with dolls, but I’m glad to know that she’s not too old to play with daddy.

Stay Strong,

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Question: Do you still play with your older kids? In what ways?

Originally published on Let’s Play. Visit the site for more fun play ideas for families.

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at