Toddlers who play and learn with their dad with warmth and encouragement tend to have better math and reading skills in elementary/primary school. Good academic performance is not the only benefit of playing early with your father, according to Jennifer St George, a senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle, it's also positive for a child's emotional balance, social adjustment and mental health.

Even more interesting, the quality of play and the father's degree of involvement are more important than the specific activities themselves. Another study revealed that the frequency and quality of dads' play and teaching with their two-year-old have more influence in their children's math and reading results in the fifth grade than playing with mom, the child's gender, and the level of involvement their parents have in early education.

Another research found that fathers playing and reading with their two to four-year-olds boosts their children's abilities in math and language when they reach eight to 10 years old - but only when dads are really involved and are creating warm interactions. High-quality "rough-and-tumble" play for children this age - such as tickling or chasing for example - resulted in better attention and emotion regulation, higher cognitive and language skills, as well as stronger literacy skills into fifth grade.

Picture: Alan & John (