card castles with dad

Card Castles with Dad by Ken Carfagno

Building Card Castles and building relationships…

Picture this. It’s the second grade and math class is in full swing. Each kid scratching their head or tapping their #2 pencil on the desktop as the teacher talks arithmetic. But there’s something amiss. Two kids are in the back of the room, building card castles. Are they in trouble? How could they be? They’re playing while the rest of the class is working.

Hello Dads! I was one of those kids. It wasn’t a perfect system, but what else could the teacher do? The wicked smart Chinese boy and, yours truly, literally finished ALL of the math work before the others started. So the teacher excused us to the back to build card castles.

Dadnamic Connection: Build Card Castles

Have you already perfected the art of card castle construction as a 2nd grader? I’ll pause for dramatic effect… [Jeopardy music plays…]

Okay, good. To anyone who said NO… Ouch, I’m so sorry! You’re never too old to start. It’s simple. Lean and lay. Got it, if not – Google it!

Grab your son and get cards. Now build! The winner is the master builder with the largest and tallest card castle.

Conversation Starter: The Difficulty of Fatherhood

Have you ever been given less instructions for an activity than that? It was on purpose. Dads, this is the perfect segway to a meaningful conversation with your son. That’s what Dadnamics is all about!

Great connection leads to great conversation.

Most Dads aren’t given instructions to this “fatherhood” thing, just like I did to YOU a minute ago! Let’s try the card castles again, but this time with the conversation of fatherhood.

Be Sticky!

When you lean two cards together, did you notice that they slide? As an experiment, try to build a simple triangle with two cards on a hard-surface floor, carpet, or rubber surface. As you and your son try, tell him that the “stickier” the surface, the better the castle. Explain that being a Dad is hard, but the first step is to decide to stick around.

No matter what.

The Right Base…

Now that you’re sticky, let’s build the right base. You can align your triangle pieces or construct them in a circular pattern before you start laying down the “first floor”. There are other methods too, but which will prove most durable? As you’re trying this out with your boy, explain to him…

“Son, the base is really, really important to building a STRONG castle, just like being a good Dad. It represents what you believe and what you place your trust in.”

Counting Cards?

I never told you how many cards to use. Ha! You probably got one deck and split them up. But isn’t that limiting? What if you had 10 decks each? Ask your son about the instructions.

“How many cards were we supposed to use?”

He’ll say, “I don’t know.”

Good. Use that to talk with him more about fatherhood. Being the best Dad requires lots of cards. The more cards, the bigger you can build. Share that the “cards” are resources like books, podcasts, conferences, churches, etc.

Copy That

Search “best card castles” and see what you can mimic.

“Being a Dad is difficult and we need to find those doing it well, and copy them. That’s called finding a mentor. My mentor is __________.”

Hopefully, you have one. No worries. Get one if you don’t!

More Time…

Ask your son, “What was the time limit for this activity?”

He’ll say again, “I don’t know.”

Wrap up this vital conversation on the difficulty of fatherhood like this.

“Son, the more time we invest together into our card castle, the stronger it will become. It’s the same with being a Dad. We have to spend time together.”

Now pause while your son beams back at you.

Hope you enjoyed Card Castles with Dad by Ken Carfagno.  For all his links and resources, please check them out below.

Free Resources:


The Dads Edge Book

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Connect with Ken Carfagno, Founder of Dadnamics and Author of the Arctic Land experience:

Skype: ken.carfagno
Arctic Land book:
Dadnamics Live! Blog:

Social Media


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