20 Creative Ways to Celebrate Father's Day This Year

Jess Richardson | Apr 17, 2019 Food & Party
20 Creative Ways to Celebrate Father's Day This Year
Image: iStock

family sushi night
iStock

There's such a classic routine for Mother's Day, but not so much for Father's Day, right? Maybe as a culture, we're way cooler acknowledging that women need pampering ... but guys are tough and never need a moment of love, self-care, and relaxation (except maybe in the form of some fly fishing). But that's not reality, is it? 

Dads deserve love and care, too, and Father's Day gives us an excuse to plan something special for the man, whether he's the kind of dude who can get really into exploring the great outdoors or he's more interested in creative pursuits and some good museum time. Some of these ideas take more planning than others, but they're all relatively inexpensive, and many are absolutely free or under $10 -- perfect for families who want to spend time together on a budget.

That said, it's also totally cool if Father's Day has become a great excuse for mom to get some chill time while dad takes the kids out and does activities with them. To this end, we strongly recommend gifts to help give mom some alone time in the house. They're fun, they'll be beloved, and they're totally going to win the mom who gifts them at least an afternoon all to herself, which ... also sounds pretty darn good, I'm not going to lie. 

And if big gifts or tons of planning ahead seems like more work than it needs to be for Father's Day this year, I recommend just ... offensive Father's Day cards. No, nobody should actually give one of these to him, but ... they're worth checking out. Or, of course, go ahead and do him the most major solid possible and build him an awesome outdoor barbecue area. This definitely won't be going over budget. Nope, uh-uh, not at all. 

  • Set Up a DIY Sushi Night

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    DIY Sushi Night
    iStock

    One of my favorite memories of my father growing up were our special DIY sushi nights. He'd go to the best fish shop in town, explain what we were up to, and get the best, freshest cuts of tuna, yellowtail, and salmon. That night, we'd practice rolling sushi rolls together. It didn't always look perfect (OK, it never looked perfect) but it was special.

  • A Picnic at a Local Park

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    Picnic At A Local Park
    iStock

    Holding a picnic at a local park will appeal to dads who like to spend time outdoors. Either pack a picnic basket full of his favorite sandwiches or bring a small grill for burgers and hot dogs. An afternoon doesn't have to be fancy to be meaningful! 

  • Build & Play With a Drone Together

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    Build And Play With A Drone Together
    Radioshack

    One of the best memories we can build with our kids involves making something new and then playing with it together -- and what's cooler than making a drone? It used to be model airplanes, but now this is definitely the ticket.

    DIY Drone Kit ($39, RadioShack)

  • Build an Epic Couch Fort

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    Compose an Epic Couch Fort
    iStock

    If Father's Day happens to be a rainy day this year, that doesn't mean inside fun can't be had. Get everything ready for putting together an absolutely epic couch fort -- including couch fort snacks -- and enjoy this classic family activity. 

  • Host a Neighborhood Soccer Game

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    Host a Neighborhood Soccer Game
    iStock

    Just because it's the family's Father's Day doesn't mean the events have to be exclusive. Put together a fun Father's Day soccer game for the whole neighborhood to enjoy, and everyone's family wins. 

  • Hit the Arcade

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    Hit The Arcade
    iStock

    Another option for a rainy Father's Day, hitting the arcade as a family is a chance to do some serious bonding (and develop some new hand-eye coordination skills, too). Get into Dance Dance Revolution, pinball, and other classic -- and new -- games.

  • Go on a Hiking Day Trip

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    Go on a Hiking Day Trip
    iStock

    Get closer to nature (and each other) with a little hiking day trip. It's super fun to explore the outdoors together, and there are opportunities to discover new birds, plants, and animals -- as well as just enjoying gorgeous views. 

  • Make Puppets & Put On a Play Together

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    Make Puppets And Put On A Play Together
    iStock

    Not every dad is super sportsy/outdoorsy -- so we've thought about artsy and creative dads, too. We love the idea of gathering all the materials needed to make some cute, inexpensive DIY puppets and putting on a play together. 

  • Celebrate With Fireworks

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    Discover The Whole Family's Inner Pyromaniacs With Fireworks
    iStock

    Look, we'd be lying if we said we didn't love a (controlled) fire. Setting off some fireworks is a banging way to celebrate Father's Day, as long as it's legal in the area. A fireworks show really builds those family memories.

  • Head to a Little League Baseball Game

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    Head to a Little League Baseball Game
    iStock

    Parents and kids of all ages can get into a Little League baseball game. I love the Major Leagues, too, but it's so much more expensive, going with the whole family can be a real strain on the wallet -- whereas Little League games are extremely affordable, and just as fun.

  • Visit a Museum Together

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    Visit a Museum Together
    iStock

    Whether dad is super into the arts or this is a fun learning experience for everyone in the family, visiting a museum is an educational way to spend any afternoon -- and especially cool for a Father's Day bonding activity. 

  • Learn & Teach Survival Skills

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    Learn And Teach Survival Skills
    iStock

    Whether or not dad knows everything about wilderness survival skills, learning some basic skills, like how to build a fire without a lighter, purifying water, navigating with a compass, and learning the basics of camp cooking are cool skills everyone should have -- and they help build those family bonds.

  • Go Geocaching

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    Go Geocaching
    iStock

    Geocaching is a cool outdoor activity where participants use GPS to find hidden "treasures" -- usually little plastic containers full of small toys. Bring new small toys to replace for the ones that end up being taken!

  • Plan a Road Trip

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    Plan A Road Trip
    iStock

    Whether the road trip actually gets taken on Father's Day weekend, planning a place to go -- and  activities both on the way and once the family gets there -- is a cool way to spend some time together.

  • Make Him Brunch

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    Make Him Brunch
    iStock

    Sure, brunch feels like more of a Mother's Day thing, but gender is a construct, and dads like to eat bacon and drink Champagne in the morning, too, right? Make brunch a dad thing this Father's Day.

  • Play Mini Golf Together

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    Play Mini Golf Together
    iStock

    No matter how athletic (or not) the family is, mini golf is meant to be fun for everyone. And even better, there are a ton of wheelchair-accessible mini golf courses these days, so they work for every family.  

  • Build a Kite

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    Build a Kite
    iStock

    So classic, and for a reason -- learning a skill together while making something that can then be played with in the park or backyard. It's inexpensive, fun, and about as all-American as apple pie. What's not to love? 

  • DIY Spa Day

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    DIY Spa Day
    iStock

    OK, putting together a little DIY spa day may be just as much fun for the rest of the family as it is for dad, but what's wrong with that? Dads deserve pampering, too, and rarely take the time to really #treatthemselves. 

  • Plan a Prank Together

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    Plan a Prank Together
    iStock

    There's nothing as fun as being mischievous together, is there? Concocting some harmless pranks together to play on schoolmates or grandparents can help build the "skills" kids bring with them to camp and beyond. This goes even for something as cute as the old balloon-in-the-pillow prank.

  • Go Camping

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    Go Camping
    iStock

    Camping with dad is the kind of cool memory kids look back on with joy (...and some annoyance at all the mosquito bites -- but they were worth it!). Go swimming in a swimming hole, sleep under the stars ... and do it together as a family. 

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