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Mike: All-Star Bay Area Dad

Mike: All-Star Bay Area Dad

Mike Johnson is the founder of Playground Dad, a website that helps dads spend better time with their kids. Playground Dad is funny, poignant, and inspiring. It’s a rich source of valuable parenting advice for dads who are trying to navigate this crazy digital world with their kids in tow.  Like many of our featured parents, Mike is building an online resource that changes parents’ lives through blog posts. As parents like Mike share their stories and insights, they create opportunities for the online community of parents to feel more connected, understood, and informed. At Camperoo, we think that’s powerful.

We want to help your kids become better kids with the right activities, camps, and experiences. And we want to help families make the most of their time together. Playground Dad’s vision is very much aligned with ours. For this reason, we’d like to feature Mike as our All-Star Parent of the Week and thank him for everything he does to make the lives of dads easier and more enjoyable. Here are some things you should know about Mike, in his own words:

Who I Am

mike and nellie

If I wasn’t married to my lovely wife Nellie, I would be living in my mother’s basement just immersed in Cheetos dust watching an endless loop of Law & Order reruns. I’m lucky I found her. We have 4 amazingly fun, unique and beautiful daughters – ages 12, 7, 5 and 2. We live in Palo Alto, CA.

I am the Managing Partner of a digital media company called Next Impulse Media. We own 4 websites that target the journey of the male 18-45 demographic: The Nosebleeds for college kids, Morning Donuts for young professionals, Next Impulse Sports for guys who love everything about sports, and Playground Dad for, you guessed it, dads. I founded Playground Dad in 2008, and I love working on it and growing our overall business. Our websites get millions of visitors each month, and Next Impulse has created lots of fantastic experiences for me personally. Most importantly, it allows me to spend lots of time with family because family is fully integrated into our business.

Parenting Philosophy

I saw a quote by a 17th century British poet that said: “Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.” That’s how I feel. Raising four human beings that will grow up to be young women is the strangest, most challenging, humbling and beautiful experience that I could ever imagine. My learning through the process is so fluid that I literally have yet to settle on any parenting philosophies. I have ideas. I test them. Some work, some don’t.

Favorite Summer 2013 Memory

We took a trip to San Diego right before school started, and we had a great time. We stumbled upon a fair in San Diego and we all had so much fun. We went on rides together, did bumper cars, and played those silly carnival games. That part of our vacation was totally impromptu, and I think the unplanned nature of it made it really special. We were in San Diego for a week and did lots of cool things, but that particular evening really stood out for me.

Plans for the School Year


Our kids have a solid amount on their plate during the school year. Their time is taken up mostly by dance classes, dance competitions and recitals, soccer games and playdates with their friends.

I think that one of our biggest goals this school year is to make sure that our kids enjoy school and feel safe to really dig in and learn new things. I’ve learned that kids can get very stressed out starting at a young age. We’re trying to make sure that they’re schedules aren’t so jam-packed that school becomes a chore and creates stress for them. We want to make sure they have room to learn.

Reason for Blogging

My favorite aspect of blogging is all of the people I get to meet based on the content. When you post content that resonates with someone and they let you know – that can create a great new relationship. Currently, I’m acutely focused on using Playground Dad as a way to create a new movement of modern fatherhood. You can work hard and be all about your work and business AND be the great, involved father that we all want to be. You can be great at both. We want to create and share the content that helps us all get to where we want to be.

How to Connect

I love connecting with other parents and business folks. You can tweet me at @playgrounddad or email me at mike@next-impulse.com. We also have an awesome new email list for Daily Dad Inspiration that you can subscribe to here: http://playgrounddad.com/get-your-daily-dad-and-parenting-inspiration/

About Brett Hanley

Hi, I'm the Camperoo Blog Editor. When I'm not blogging and tweeting, I enjoy volunteering, writing poetry, and exploring Houston. Passionate about literacy and edtech, I hope to discuss digital learning opportunities with our readers. If I could time travel and go back to camp, I'd go to the Science Camps of America Air and Space Camp. You get a free trip to Jupiter at space camp, right?

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