There are lots of great Father’s Day gifts you can buy, but let’s focus on the more important stuff – thoughtful gifts that cost absolutely zilch! Most of these are intended to be things you can help the kids to do for their dads, but no reason why many of them can’t be transferred to your own dad too!
1. Breakfast in bed
Who doesn’t love breakfast in bed, particularly made and delivered by your own kids? A tray with a big mug of his favourite tea or coffee, his favourite brekkie and a couple of flowers grabbed from the garden… Smaller children can still easily enjoy making it all themselves switching the tea/coffee for juice, and a bowl of cereal instead of anything cooked.
2. Printable coupon book
These lovely printables from Botanical Paperworks can be filled out yourselves, so you can choose things that will be especially appreciated by your particular dad. There’s also a space for a name on each one, so each book can have different coupons from different children in the family too.
3. Cook him dinner
Let the kids cook dinner for Dad – they may well enjoy making it more than Dad enjoys eating it, but it’s the thought that counts! The BBC Good Food website has some great kid-friendly recipes. If you can’t face tackling a full meal, kids love baking cupcakes & this recipe from Annabel Karmel is super-simple and can be decorated with icing, sprinkles or just throw on whatever sweets you have lying around.
4. Handprint or footprint art
There are loads of great ideas for easy art using painted hands or feet. Either keep it loose or frame in an inexpensive frame from IKEA/Poundland or similar. A few of my fave hand/foot-print ideas: Monsters, Dinosaur, Lion, Owls, Elephants.
5. Be Dad’s ‘servant’ for an hour / morning / afternoon / day
Let him put his feet up and order you around for a while. Cups of tea… the papers… the remote control… run him a bath… give him a foot massage (if dad’s gnarly feet are approachable)… he’s the boss!
6. Film night with popcorn and pizza
Grab some popcorn and Dad’s favourite pizzas and curl up under a blanket on the sofa together to watch a film you’ll all enjoy. Personal family favourites for us are: the Star Wars series, The Goonies, Labyrinth, the Harry Potter series, The Witches, the Madagascar movies, Indiana Jones films (although I still can’t bring myself to watch parts of the Temple of Doom!), The Hunger Games trilogy, Home Alone, Mary Poppins, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Elf, E.T, the Shrek movies, Spirited Away, Chicken Run, Edward Scissorhands, Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Stand By Me, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox, Coraline, Turner & Hooch, Big, the Toy Story series, the Lego movies, Neverending Story and the BFG (NB. obviously depending on the age of the kids, not all of these listed above are suitable for younger ones!)
7. Father’s Day Name poem
Make an acrostic poem from Dad’s name – using each letter of his name as the first letter of a word or sentence to describe him (example below for Adam!)
Always talking about surfing
8. Reasons I love Dad list
Self-explanatory! A list of all the reasons Dad is ace.
9. Homemade story about Dad
Make Dad the superhero in a story written by the kids. If they are struggling to think of a plot for the story, these printable story prompt cards are a great way to spark their imagination and give them something to get them off the blocks.
10. Wash Dad’s car
What kid doesn’t love getting soaking wet and chucking water and soap suds around? A bonus if they can actually clean Dad’s car in the process.
11. Decorate a chair so Dad has a throne for the day
Grab one of the chairs in the house and let the kids go nuts decorating it and making it into a ‘throne’ for him to sit on for the day. Tinsel, silver foil, cardboard, glitter, pipe cleaners… whatever is to hand that will make his ‘throne’ extra special!
12. Homemade card
Homemade cards are always the best and far better than shop-bought ones. Here are some great ideas that aren’t too taxing – also the handprint and footprint art ideas (number 4 above) can easily be used on the cover of a card too.
13. Create a website about your dad
There are some great free simple website creators around such as Wix and Weebly – fill Dad’s website with pictures, photos, quotes, stories, habits, all the things you love about him… whatever you like – then send him the link on Father’s Day!
14. A lie in
The stuff all parents dream of.
15. Make a playlist
Make a compilation of songs that remind you of Dad in some way – a mixture of his favourite songs, ones that were playing during good times you’ve had together, or ones with titles/lyrics that are relevant to him in some way… Then you can then pop them all on a CD or his iPod or MP3 player.
16. Make a treasure hunt
Obviously these can be as simple or elaborate as you like, but at its simplest, just hide a bottle of Dad’s favourite beer or his favourite chocolate bar somewhere in the house, the work backwards location-wise with the clues for as long as the kids are interested! Make your own clues from scratch if you and the kids are feeling especially creative, or if you get stuck, here are some ready-made riddles, and this is a great resource for ideas for making clues.
17. Photo collage
Make a photo collage for him. If you fancy doing it totally DIY, print off lots of pictures of the family, then glue them onto a sheet or sheets of paper, slightly overlapping the pictures so that no background shows through. You could keep it the standard rectangular shape of the paper, or you could cut the paper into letters spelling DAD and stick the photos on to those, or cut the paper into a heart shape… Or if you prefer, you can do it all digitally.
Get the little ones making Dad’s favourite sandwiches, pack a lovely picnic basket and head out somewhere nice to eat together in the great outdoors.
19. Make a family video
Make short clips of each member of the family saying what they love best about Dad and their favourite memory they share with him. To keep it simple, you can just film it all on your phone or tablet, then create a video with iMovie (there are various alternatives to iMovie for both iPhone and Android)
20. Hourly hugs
A massive bear hug, on the hour, every hour.
So there we have it! Lots of lovely gifts and not a penny spent!
Do you have any other suggestions for free gifts for Father’s Day? We’d love to hear them.