Make Dad’s Father's Day Gift a Personal One from a Child

by Kas Winters, Mother of Family Ideas™ Father's Day

As the oldest of five children, I remember how often my dad got ties for Father's Day, so when I had children, we came up with some different gift ideas.

(My dad wore a tie to work everyday, but my husband didn’t, so ties weren’t a necessity.)

These activities provided something fun for the kids to do.

They used their imaginations, and had the satisfaction of giving something they made all by themselves.

Dad always enjoyed his one-of-a-kind gifts for his special day.

Here are just a few of the creative things we did:

Yummy treats

The dad in our family has a special love for chocolate chip cookies, so some years we baked a batch of his favorites.These were welcomed and enjoyed with great enthusiasm.

One year we pressed the cookie dough onto a pizza pan and baked one enormous cookie for him. The kids had a grand time decorating it with tubes of frosting for their #1 Dad. (The baking time will be different, so test for doneness.)

Around Fathers’ Day, you can also purchase these oversize cookies and let a child do the decorating.

Handprint Tee's

T-shirts were another project for dad and grandpa. Our favorite had handprints of each kid or grandkid. It was quite a treasure!

Most children love to paint. Make sure you put a barrier such as a piece of cardboard covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil inside the shirt so the paint doesn’t bleed through to the back side of the shirt.

Homemade Pencil/Pen holder

pencil holder for dadSince most dads use pencils and pens, we made a number of pencil holders over the years and many are still in use. (Our now-adult kids range in age from 25 to 38, so these proved to be long-lasting and useful gifts!)

When our children were young, they painted and decorated empty cans. Sometimes they put stickers on them or glued interesting pieces of “stuff” to them.

One time we glued craft sticks to cans to make these holders.

(Most soup cans today have pull-off lids that leave smooth edges which are safer than the sharp edges of the old ones.)

When ours were old enough to use power tools, they cut and stained wooden blocks and drilled holes in them to hold writing instruments.

Some were plain and others had a clip clothespin glued to the top to hold a little pad of paper. One of these has a permanent location on dad’s workbench in the garage. It’s still in use after all these years.

Custom placemats

A big piece of paper, construction paper, or poster board can be changed into a personal placemat for dad to use for Fathers’ Day dinner. A child can draw on it with crayons or markers, paint something, use rubber stamps, or cut shapes or designs from paper and glue them on the placemat. If you want to keep this treasure, you can take it to a local copy shop and have them laminate it for you for a fee, or cover it with clear ConTact® paper so it can be used again.

Kids' Arts & Crafts

You can supply random materials and let children decide what to make! Making and giving gifts that are entirely their own creation teaches a very special lesson. Examples of materials include: recyclable containers, paper plates and cups, glue, pieces of cardboard, pieces of paper (white, colored paper, or other), old magazines, craft sticks, toothpicks, paint, colored markers, wood scraps, clip clothespins, paper bags, buttons, pipe cleaners, pieces of fabric or felt, aluminum foil, drinking straws, used greeting cards, scissors, paint brushes, and other interesting “stuff” you have around that might lend itself to fun. Kids can be quite creative when they aren’t given instructions and dad will appreciate their one-of-a-kind special gifts. Children can also make their own Father's Day greeting cards. Supply paper, crayons or markers, and watch the magic happen.

Gift of time

The best part of celebrating dad’s special day is spending time with him. Make it special. Go to a park or other enjoyable place, share a favorite meal and let kids help with cooking, re-tell family stories, make up your own silly stories, look at family photos. Make it a time to honor dad and show him how much he is loved and appreciated.

If there is no father present to celebrate the day, share a positive memory or story of dad with children.

Find more ideas for Father’s Day gifts and activities:

More ideas for keeping kids busy in a positive way:


Kas Winters, the Mother of Family Ideas™ provides resources to help families thrive. An author and public speaker, this grandmother creates books, offers hundreds of family activity articles on her website,, and does workshops for parents and children. Kas is passionate about helping children develop a positive self-image, providing hands-on experiences to give them confidence, and building strong supportive relationships. Her basic philosophy is: children learn best when they think they are having fun. Discover more than 5,000 activities for toddlers through teens to keep them busy while helping them become successful and happy adults in her book, "Motherlode." Jump-start children's imaginations with unstructured materials and possibilities. Encourage creative play that builds skills, confidence, and relationships with active fun, the arts, science, literature, life skills, and hands-on experiences. Ideas use everyday materials, usually free, which help make parenting easy. Winters has written, illustrated and/or published almost 100 books for families and writes family articles for magazines. As the "Family Activities Expert" for, Kas posts articles and answers questions related to this topic.

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