Fathers’ Day - what ELSE can you do for Dad on a budget?

Fathers’ Day - what ELSE can you do for Dad on a budget?

On Father’s Day we all make a special effort but, year after year, don’t you get tired of seeing the same old suggestions? Don’t worry, there’s some good news. These great ideas cost less than £1 and each one puts a new spin on ‘something special for Dad’ that you won’t find anywhere else…

  • Everyone says ‘wash the car for Dad’. That’s a bit old hat. There’s one free and easy way to make this far more exciting – especially to slightly older children for whom the novelty of soap-suds and buckets of cold water may have worn off. Prepare a ‘Dad’s Mix Tape’ on an MP3 player. Blindfold Dad, take him out to the car. He can listen to his favourite tunes while the car gets a hot wash – and you may be surprised how many 80s or 90s hits the children know too. ‘Sing-a-Long-a-Suds’ – much more fun!

  • Even though it’s a lovely idea, hot pots and pans means it’s not practical to let very young children make a breakfast. However, by the time they’re old enough to understand the concept of Fathers’ Day, they’re usually old enough to butter pieces of toast. What’s more, they’re probably old enough to help Dad get dressed. At this age (around 3 to 4 years old), that’s a special event – helping Dad to get his socks on, choosing a shirt for Dad, making sure he doesn’t put his trousers on backwards… even helping Dad to brush his hair.

  • Primary school children are reading and writing well, so it’s quite traditional to see Fathers’ Day cards coming home. Try this for a change. With just one sheet of A4 paper, you can ask children to write 12 or even 16 small notes to their father. Start each one with ‘Daddy I love you because…’ or ‘Dad, you’re the greatest because…’ and get them to fill in the rest. Make it special. Tell them it’s private, between them and their Dad, and then let them hide the notes in and around the house.

  • It’s summer time, so older children could be encouraged to chip in and help Dad by doing some gardening chores. The lawn needs mowing, the drive needs clearing of weeds, and there are always waste-bins that need washing. How about this, though: instead of just weeding the garden, how about setting up a specials breakfast for Dad outside if it’s a nice day? You wouldn’t need tables or chairs, a picnic blanket would serve just as well. And if it’s raining? A ‘Dad’s Gardening Gift’ is ideal.

  • Tradition dictates it’s the thought that counts – but actions really can speak louder than words sometimes. Homemade Fathers’ Days cards really are inexpensive to make. But (as long as you’re sure Dad is game for a laugh) why not add in some outrageous Dad Tokens? For younger children, perhaps suggest a Dad Token that lets him be the one to decide which pudding you have (or indeed, if you eat pudding before your main course). For older children, it’s a veto on TV programmes – even if he’s outnumbered, Dad can use a Dad Token if there’s something he’d like to watch. 

Finally, don’t forget the power of a simple gesture. Remind your children that gifts and surprises don’t have to be big and expensive to be valued. Talk to them about the memories you have of your own parents. Remember work as well as play, and encourage them to simply show Dad’s he’s appreciated, every single day.

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