Tag Archives: father’s day

Daddy Time

I made up this list a few years ago for a local social service agency and thought I’d share it here in honor of Father’s Day. They’re all pretty simple activities but sometimes it’s nice to have a list to get you thinking.  Obviously, these are things that moms, mentors, grandparents & others can do with kids too!

30 Fun Things Dads can do with kids

1.  Build with legos or other building blocks.
2.  Go to a matinee.
3.  Play basketball.
4.  Make a birdhouse or other woodworking project together.
5.  Have a "dad & me" supper night where kids and dad are in charge of cooking (very little kids can help stir, cut herbs with safety scissors and such).
6.  Go for a walk or bike ride.
7.  Read favorite books from dad’s childhood.
8.  Go rock hunting for fossils and other cool rocks.
9.  Visit a park you haven’t been to before.
10. Go for a drive and talk about life when you were a kid.
11. Go looking for animal tracks.
12. Take a free class together at a home improvement store.
13. Go to a neighborhood ball game.
14. Volunteer together at a nature center, humane society or other organization.
15. Build a fort out of appliance boxes — or for real!
16. Teach the kids something — from how to play golf to how to play guitar to how to make Grandma’s famous spaghetti sauce.
17. Do home improvement & maintenance projects together.  Even cleaning gutters can be fun if you do it with dad.
18. Build or paint models together.
19. Play catch.
20. Go mini golfing.  No course nearby?  Make one in the back yard or living room.
21. Draw or paint, even finger paint.
22. Go hiking.  Carry little ones in a back carrier or by piggy back.
23. Do magic, and then teach the kids how to do almost all of the tricks (save one or two for mysteries).  Libraries and book stores carry lots of magic books.
24. Make paper airplanes.  Forget how?  Look it up online to find lots of great model plans for free.
25. Go boating.
26. Play cards.
27. Go to an arcade and play pinball or other games.
Shoot pool.
Go to some garage sales and look for deals and diversions.
30. Just sit and talk.

Here’s to all the great daddies, grandpas, uncles, stepdads, teachers, coaches, neighbors and friends who are helping make kids’ lives more magical. 

Happy Father’s Day!


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When Kids are Without a Father on Father’s Day

I know what it’s like to grow up without a father.  My parents divorced when I was two and my mother hid me from my father for the rest of his life. 

Once, when I was in fourth grade, she decided that I needed a father figure so she signed me up for a club called FAD — Fathers And Daughters.  She asked if any of the fathers would be willing to "adopt" me for the club and one very nice dad agreed.  I went to the club and shared him with his real daughter during those times.  I even got a T-shirt.  Then, just before the father-daughter ski trip, he told my mother that his daughter was upset that she had to share him with me and that he had to stop.  That was the end of my dad’s club experience.  It was a bit of a let-down!

When you grow up without a father (or father figure) in your life, it’s easy to grow up feeling like an outsider.  When the teacher asks what your father does for a living, when the other kids are bragging or complaining about their fathers and especially when Father’s Day comes around, you can feel like the only kid without a dad (even though that is hardly the case).  You can feel like a puzzle with a piece missing, or like a broken vase that has been put back together with gaps. 

You can also feel like you’re not good enough or your dad would have stayed, lived, found you, fought for you, cared.

Obviously, none of this is true.  Fathers can be absent for many reasons, from mental illness to divorce to prison to death.  Some just can’t handle their responsibility and leave.  Fathers can also be gone for long periods because of things like military service and jobs that require extensive travel. 

It is never children’s fault if their father is gone.  It can still feel true to kids, though, and we need to be aware of that.  It can also be hard this time of year when there is such a focus on dads.

Here are some ways to make Father’s Day easier without a father in the picture.

  • Kids can honor fathers who have passed away by remembering happy memories during the day and honoring Dad by doing things he loved to do.  A friend of mine always makes her late father’s favorite meal for dinner on his birthday to remember him.   Focus on fun memories and activities that Dad would enjoy.  Initiate conversations in case kids would like to talk more about their feelings, but respect their wishes if they’d rather not.
  • If Dad is away but is coming back at some point, kids can celebrate long distance.  Encourage them to start a box of gifts to give him when he gets back.  Let them call, write, email and otherwise communicate with him.  Take pictures of them doing something special at home for Dad or record a video message.
  • Plan something special to do instead on Father’s Day to fill the gap.  Take a trip to the zoo.  Go feed the ducks.  Have a water balloon fight and follow up with ice cream treats. 
  • Resist the urge to bash their father if he’s gone for no good reason.  As much as it may be true, that just makes it harder on children.  They need to have a positive image of their father even when they know he’s imperfect.  Their identities are tied to both parents, and they may still have warm feelings towards Dad even if he hardly deserves it.
  • Encourage kids to celebrate other special men in their lives who fill the father role for them.  Grandfathers, uncles, stepfathers, godfathers and friends of the family can feel even more like fathers than our biological ones.  See if someone special can spend the day with your child or at least reach out on Father’s Day so he knows how special he is to that person.
  • Be sensitive if it is a hard day, and be especially gentle.  Listen to your child’s feelings without correcting her.  Reassure her if she blames herself in some way for her father’s absence.
  • Remind your kids that they’re not alone.  Chances are they have friends who also don’t have fathers in their lives.  Also remind them of how many people they do have in their lives and how loved they are.
  • Don’t make a big deal out of the day if your child doesn’t.  It’s just a Sunday!  There’s a good chance the day will pass without your child even remembering what day it is.  It’s often the week leading up to Father’s Day that is harder, when there are ads on TV and Father’s Day crafts made in clubs and classes.  If that’s not prominent in your child’s world, the whole thing can be a non-issue.

Here’s a discussion at Daughters.com about absent fathers and also how to help when fathers are emotionally distant.

And here’s a thought provoking piece about Father’s Day without a father.

The bottom line is that our children need to be loved, by as many wonderful people as possible.  If their fathers cannot or will not be present we can still help them find caring adults who can fill that role. 

If nothing else, you can always celebrate one of the other holidays that just happens to fall on June 21st this year — Go Skateboarding Day, World Handshake Day (where kids are encouraged to write letters and draw pictures to upload to children who’ll view them around the world), the Summer Solstice and the official start of summer!  Oh yes, and it’s the day before the National Chocolate Eclair Day.  What holiday could beat that one?  😉

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DAD cakes!

Magical Mama Lonni left a comment on the list of presents to make for dads with this tasty idea…

We had fun making a DAD cake one father’s day.
Whip up 1 cake mix and bake it in 2 round cake pans. Cut one in half and you’ll have the 2 Ds. Cut the other to look like A. We put these on a cookie sheet, then frosted and decorated.:o)

I was having trouble visualizing it so I did a google image search and now I see it exactly!  Here’s one from Family Fun

It’s perfect!  The kids would have a blast decorating it (and eating the scraps!).  Thanks Lonni!

If you want to go all out, here’s a few more elaborate cakes from Family Fun (click the image to go to the instructions)….

Personally, I’m partial to the first one and letting the kids have all the fun of prettying it up.  It’s more sentimental AND easier on Mom.  😉

Thanks again, Lonni!

Happy Thursday!

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10 Great Father’s Day Gifts to Make

There’s less than a week till Father’s Day!  If you’re drawing a blank about what the kids can give Daddy (or Grandpa or other special men in their lives), here are some tried and true gifts from our house and and a few on my to-do list.

1.  Twig pencil holder

Here’s an easy gift for kids of any age to make.
You’ll need:

A clean can (soup can size)
Two sturdy rubber bands
An assortment of twigs
Twine or ribbon

Gather up some fairly thin twigs and then have an adult cut them to about an inch taller than your jar (leave some variety in the lengths).  Garden shears are good for cutting them.

Put the rubber bands around the jar, evenly spaced from the top and bottom.  Slide the twigs along the jar, holding them in place with the rubber bands.  Make the twigs level with the bottom of the jar, so they extend a little higher than the top.

Keep adding twigs until the entire jar is covered.  Hide the rubber bands by tying twine or ribbon over them.  Voila!

2.  Handprint Poem

Here’s a simple way to make a really whimsical keepsake.  Print this poem in whatever font you like and leave enough space at the bottom to stamp your child’s handprints with paint.  Frame it when you’re done.

My Hands

Sometimes you get discouraged
    Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
    On furniture and walls

But every day I’m growing
    I’ll be grown up some day
And all those tiny hand prints
    Will surely fade away

So here’s a final hand print
    Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
    When I was very small


3.  Papier Mache Bowl

Magical Mama Susan recommended this project for Dad’s keys and odds and ends.  When we do papier mache we just use watered down glue and it seems to work well, if you don’t have watercolor paste.

4.  Daddy Watercolor Poem

Victoria made this keepsake for her dad a few years ago.  It’s faded from the sun but still brings a smile.  She wrote DADDY going down the side of the page and then made up a poem where each letter started one line.  Then she wrote the poem onto the paper and added some decorations with paint.  We popped it in a dollar store frame.


5.  Coupon Books

This is a simple standard in our house.  The kids like to make them up and we like to get them.  Cut strips of paper, write out little coupons, punch a hole on one end and tie with a string.  Some ideas include helping Daddy with chores, hugs, yard work, making him a snack, afternoon together (fishing, going to the movies, golfing…) and breakfast in bed.

6.  Altered Board Book

This is a really fun project if the kids enjoy things like scrapbooking and art.  Take an old board book and gather up some scrapbook paper (or construction paper or even wrapping paper), adhesives, stickers and pens.  Cover each page with the new papers (or paint them with light colored paint in advance) and have the kids each decorate a few pages.  When we did this, there were just enough pages for each of us to do one DPS (double page spread) or set of 2 pages side by side.  I had the kids list things they loved about Daddy on one page and they did whatever they wanted on the other.  Jack was just learning to talk so I asked him questions and wrote his answers, which made everybody laugh.  Some of the questions were "what does Daddy like to do?" and "What is Daddy good at?".  I also did a DPS about why he’s a great father and wrote a sappy little letter on my page.

7.  Dad and Me Portrait

A simple but sweet project for kids of all ages is to ask them to paint or draw a picture of themselves with Daddy.  Have them title it, sign it and then put it in a frame.  These can be really nice for Dad to put on his wall or desk at work or they can be sweet decorations at home.

8.  Painted Walking Stick

If Dad likes to hike with the kids or needs a little extra support sometimes (like in our house), a walking stick can be a darling present.  Have the kids go off in the woods and help them find a large, straight, sturdy stick that is about the right width and height for Daddy.  Then put out an assortment of permanent paints and paintbrushes and have them go to town decorating it.  I suggest doing this outside!  If you have more than one artist involved, mark off grids with strips of masking tape and give each child a section to decorate and then sign.  Remove the tape when they’re done and you can easily see each section.  If you like, finish it with a coating of varnish.

9.  Handprint Apron

If Daddy likes to cook or barbecue, here’s a fun present.  Buy a plain, light colored apron (craft stores usually carry these cheap) and fabric paints.  Paint each child’s palms with fabric paint and stamp them on the apron, facing down.  Then have the kids write in fabric paint:

World’s Best Father
Hands Down!

You can also use this idea on canvas bags, T-shirts, etc.

10.  Painted Clock

This gift is super simple, affordable, cute and practical all in one.  Simply take a plain clock (available everywhere for a few bucks) with a white paper face.  Pop the clock open as if to set the time and take out the paper face.  Give it to your child and ask her to decorate it for Daddy.  She can use markers, paint or oil pastels (which are brighter and show up better than crayons) to decorate it.  Then put it all back together and you’re done! 

Alternate idea:  Print a photo of Daddy with the kids (or just the kids) large enough to fit in the clock.  Use the paper face as a pattern and trace around it on the photo (avoiding important elements being in the direct middle), then cut out the circle and punch a hole in the middle for the clock hands.  Assemble and you have a photo clock for just a few dollars.


Got any favorite Father’s Day ideas of your own?  Send them in and I’ll share them here.
~ Alicia

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Free Father’s Day Candy Wrappers

Lettering Delights has free printable candy bar wrappers to make daddies some tasty Father’s Day treats.
You have to register to get them but registration is free and no credit card info is required.
Be sure to unclick the sign-up for the newsletter if you’re not interested!
What a sweet idea!  🙂


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Marbled Jars

Here’s a quick craft from the Magical Childhood site that could make a neat Father’s Day gift.  It’s also just a fun craft for a lazy afternoon…  Marbled Jars

They’re super simple to make, they’re a creative way to recycle and even toddlers can produce something really colorful and fun.  Since you’re painting and dribbling INSIDE the jar, it’s far less messy too! 

For smaller kids, just have them dribble the paint in and then put the lids on and move them around to make patterns with the paint  before adding another color.  Older kids can really get creative with painting inside the jar, trying objects inside and etching layers.

We use ours for holding things like pens.  They are especially pretty when the sun can shine through them.

There’s full directions at the site, along with some more photos and ways to expand on the craft.

(I was about to wish you a happy Friday.  Methinks my brain is mush tonight!)
Happy any day!  🙂

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