DIY Father's Day gifts and activities you can pull off for under $10

Updated Oct 12 2015
Father's Day Cake 2009
I'm not a dad, but I would totally NOT turn down a cookie cake. Just saying. Photo by Jim Capaldi.

In case you haven't been paying attention to your calendar dates (or Offbeat Mama, for that matter), Father's Day is this Sunday, June 19th 2011. Whether or not you're co-parenting with a dude, you still may have a Dad-identified figure in the house… so here are a few ways that you can help rock his (or her!) world on Father's Day without spending more than $10.

Give your stay-at-home honey a break

You know how sometimes you absolutely CRAVE finding the time to read that collection of Bukowski poems that's been sitting on your computer desk for a week (ahem)? Well, homeboy's probably got a book or two of his own that he'd love to crack open and really commit to… without having to get up for diaper changes or snack time. If the dude you're thinking of isn't a reader, encourage him to go out and do whatever it is he likes — or stay in and play video games or have that Star Wars marathon he's been talking about. Better yet: get someone to watch the kids, and join in the marathon with him!

Invent games

If your guy is the board-or-outdoor game type, brainstorm with your kid(s) and make up a few games to play together! My husband loved this idea so much he suggested playing lawn games with a hula hoop and our blinky-hat adorned son as the prop. You may not want to go that far (and really? Neither do I), but an inventive set of kiddos could surely dream up something everyone will love. Got a mystery nut in the fam? Make up your own version of Clue. If chess is more his style, create your own board with posters and markers and act as the pieces (à la Wizard's Chess!). The possibilities are endless!

Tattoos and artwork

Want to make an impression? Set up a temporary homemade tattoo stand in your house! If Papi is into tattooing, he'll probably love covering his minions with Sharpie or washable marker tattoos. In turn, kids can give dad a few designs of their own. This idea is also easily transferred to a relative's house — if you plan on visiting other fathers throughout the day, bring your instruments with you! Who says Nana doesn't need a tattoo of an owl on her shoulder?

Another idea: since Sunday newspapers are generally pretty large in size, snag one or two in the morning. Bring them home and let your kids build a bunch of paper boats. While they're doing this, you may want to scope out a few local water sources if you don't have something at your house — you'll want to sail the boats somewhere that you can easily retrieve them. Once the boats are finished, head out and see what "new lands" you guys can discover! The best thing about this idea is you can also do it whenever — it doesn't just have to be a Father's Day thing.

Tell me: how have you guys rocked Father's Day without spending a lot of cash?

  1. My Dad is a total science nerd and one year we went to the park and made baking soda rockets, it was amazing! All learned something and Dad and kids had a blast.

  2. I'm a sappy sister, so I tend towards making books of "thank you" for people I love. Just notes and scribbles about why I'm happy to have them in my life. I'll cut apart magazines, bit of fabric and random scrap paper from around the house to make a scrapbook of "You're awesome!" Since you don't really need to buy anything (aside from glue if you haven't got any,) it's more or less free and it always elicits a smile.

  3. We painted a mmural for dad on the inside of a fence he built last year. Greek columns with vines and shading woo-hoo!

  4. We've invited a bunch of friends & their kids over for a Father's day eve Campout-in-our-yard & BBQ potluck. We'll have a nice big breakfast in honor of all the papas the next morning. No gifts, just fun time playing and hanging out… now if the weather will just cooperate!

  5. fishing!!! All you need is a license and some worms 🙂 My daughter isn't old enough to go worm hunting yet but that was one of my fave dad activities when I was little. So, I am bring the Fathers Day Fishing Trip into my family and boy is it fun!

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