Creative gifts for dad-for his Birthday, Father's Day, Christmas or any day that is special to him

by cherylone

How many times have you spent hours searching for that perfect gift for dad, only to end up with another tie?

Father’s are hard to buy for, because they don’t like the little cutsie teddy bear or basket of perfume. Father’s, like all men, like the rugged, outdoor, rough and tumble lifestyle that shows they are a MAN. So how do you buy for this type of man? Especially since most of them already have the ‘tools of the trade’ so to speak because they are particular about their equipment?

Above Image is Public Domain and can be found at

The first thing you need to do is focus on the kind of father you have.

Moms, you might want to help the younger ones out on this step.

Does he like to fish; does he go boating; does he like to hike; does he like to watch sports on TV; does he play golf; does he…..oh father’s do so many things that they are rarely alike in any way, except of course for one thing--THEY ARE ALL FATHERS

So keep your father’s likes and dislikes in mind, but remember that fathers like things made by their children.  The more heart and soul a child puts into a gift the better the father will like it.  Will he fall all over it and lavish the child with kisses and hugs?  Probably not, most dads don’t do that sissy-girly girl stuff.  But their hearts will sing and their eyes will dance with pride and joy at receiving something specifically from their little Prince or Princess.

While chosing just the right thing to do, keep in mind that dads do not like dancing (except with mom), going to the beach with a bunch of kids, playing at tea or dolls, and, more than likely, your preferred type of music.  Chose his likes, not your own.  Put a little effort into the making (or you'll end up with that tie again).

For special moments like this:

Kids, get involved!
Reason no. 32: Sons and heroes
Father Fly Fishing with His Daughter
Silhouette of Father and Son Fishing at Sunset
Ad AllPosters

Okay, so now we know that kids can give their dads the best gifts.

But, does that mean that if they go buy a tie it will be a great gift because the kids gave it to him?

No, it doesn’t.  You see, anyone can go buy a tie, or a tool, or a golf accessory kit; but not everyone can make a tiny handprint on a t-shirt that is just daddy’s size.  Not everyone can paint a picture of the farm (okay so they say it is the farm even though you might not be able to tell), just for dad.  Not everyone can write a story that will bring a smile to daddy’s face.  The key is make (with their own two hands), not buy!

Art for a t-shirt for dad
Art for a t-shirt for dad
© Cheryl Simonds
More art work for dad
More art work for dad
© Cheryl Simonds
Third example of art work for dad
Third example of art work for dad
© Cheryl Simonds

So now, let's get into the nitty-gritty (I know, I'm aging myself) of things that kids, young and old, can do for dads all over the world.

Small children can't do a lot or make fancy things so you have to stay simple.

For your first idea:

Decorate a t-shirt just for dad:

Supplies:  a white t-shirt in dad’s size; fabric paints of whatever colors dad prefers; a large square of cardboard; waxed paper; paper plate; flat surface.

Instructions #1:  place the t-shirt on the flat surface, front side up; place the cardboard inside the shirt so that it is directly under the area you want to decorate-use waxed paper on the cardboard to prevent the paint from leaking through; pour paints on paper plates in small amounts and have the child decorate the shirt (you can do front and back but each one needs to be dry completely before you do the next one). 

Here are some examples of things you can do:

  • Hand prints
  • Smiley face
  • Heart
  • Names of kids
  • Apples
  • Sailing
  • Fish
  • All of the above

Instructions #2:  You can also print a favorite picture on regular paper.  Coat the paper, picture side up, with a smooth thin layer of plain white glue.  Allow it to sit for about 30 seconds, place the glue covered picture down flat on the t-shirt and smooth into place.  Allow the glue to dry completely and then, using a damp sponge, moisten the paper and carefully pull it off the shirt.  The picture will remain.  This shirt will be washable, but the picture will fade with each wash.

Children of any age can do this one

Create a picture frame of the child's artwork and their picture:

Supplies:  white paper, crayons, 4 set picture frame (or however many you want), pictures of the child(ren).

Instruction #1:  Have each child create a picture, even if it is just scribbling, carefully date the picture in a small corner and write (or have the child write) their name (or you can put that info on the back).

Instruction #2:  Place the drawing into the frame allowing the picture to show in at least one frame (be sure the name and date shows as well).

Instruction #3:  Put the child’s picture in another part of the frame and use a small piece of tape to attach it to the picture so that it doesn’t fall or slide.

Instruction #3:  Put the frame back together.

Have them draw the picture and then attach their photo
Have them draw the picture and then a...
© Cheryl Simonds
Then put the whole thing in the frame.
Then put the whole thing in the frame.
© Cheryl Simonds

You can help your child with this one:

Write up a certificate offering something special.

Write up a Certificate offering to spend some time with dad doing one of his favorite things.  You could make it plain or fancy and you can even give him a list of choices.  The child(ren) can decorate it with their own drawings or things they have cut out of magazines.  Frame the certificate for a real treat so that Dad can hang it up in his office or work room after the Big Event. 

Dad's Certificate
Dad's Certificate
©Cheryl Simonds

Give the kids a chance to make their father's card:

Use card stock or foam sheets for the base and then--

You can give them markers, crayons, stickers of any type, glitter, glue, finger paints, ribbon, tissue paper.  Let them do the creating, just give them a hand now and then to do the hard parts.  Ideas could be:

1}  Trace their hand and let them decorate it.

2}  Have them use different colors of tissue paper to make a picture-put a drop of glue, tear a small piece of colored tissue paper and stick into the glue.

3}  Have them use glitter and glue to swirl color on the paper.

4}  Let them use pictures of just about anything to add to the design.

 5}  Dye sugar or macaroni in a plastic bag with food coloring for additional decorations--place the sugar or macaroni in a large plastic bag.  Drop a few drops of food coloring into the bag.  Shake and squeeze the bag until the food coloring has been absorbed into the sugar or macaroni.

Let them create his card.
Let them create his card.
© Cheryl Simonds
Let their imaginations run wild.
Let their imaginations run wild.
© Cheryl Simonds

Play with cloth dye for a real unique gift.

Tie Dye a white t-shirt using a kit or just wrapping it and rubber banding it in different spots.  Once it is dry, have all the kids sign it with love (use a permanent marker)--for added personality you could put the date and occasion on the back or in a small corner like on the pocket.  Trace out a heart, or transfer a picture of some sort (see t-shirts #2 above for directions), or just let them sign.

eBay can help you get started with this one.

Special treats:

***Have the children bring dad breakfast in bed--of course you might have to make the breakfast, but they can bring the dishes, food, newspaper, drink etc. to him with a tray.

***You could have them wait on him for a meal-be sure to let him know they will be doing it as part of the gift.

***You could have them create the decorations for his party and decorate his special chair

***Let them help with making and decorating the cake, it won't be pretty, but it will be special

***You could have them put on a simple play to show things dad likes to do-have them pretend to fish or come out in hiking gear

***You could have them watch a movie with dad-be sure it is one dad will like

Amazon has great movies to rent for that special night

World's Greatest Dad
Only $9.99
We Bought A Zoo
Only $3.99
Ghost Dad
Only $3.99

Of course, there are so many more things that the child(ren) can do for their dad.

No matter what they do, if it is done by them, it will mean so much more to Dear Old Dad.  Even something as simple as handing him a hand-made card will light-up his heart.  Don’t give Dad a tie or something silly for his special occasion; instead, give him something that will be treasured for years to come.  He might even keep it to show his grandkids just what wonderful gifts his darling Prince(s) and Princess(es) gave him when they were growing up.

Happy creating!

Have you ever made something for your dad?

Updated: 07/11/2012, cherylone
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cherylone on 07/12/2012

You are welcome, katiem2, glad you stopped by.

katiem2 on 07/12/2012

My cousin is about to become a new father, he will be thrilled to get a fathers gift for the first time. Great ideas, thanks :)K

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