With Father’s Day just around the corner, there are plenty of ideas out there for treating the dad in your life. From lunch at a restaurant or a day at the go-kart track, to visiting the zoo, most of these activities cost money. But, when all’s said and done, Father’s Day is about spending time as a family and showing your appreciation for Dad – not spending wads of cash.
If you’re on a budget, or even just trying to save some money after the petrol increase, try these bonding activities.
Cook a meal
Instead of going out for a meal, get the kids involved and prepare a special lunch or dinner for Dad at home. Depending on their age, children can help with simpler parts of the preparation process, such as tossing the salad or setting the table, which will give you some helping hands and make them feel included. Create a sense of occasion with a festive table setting: gather flowers from your garden into vases, light candles, use special crockery and cutlery, and put some music on. Dad will feel special and it will be more personal and memorable (not to mention cheaper) than going out to eat.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of outdoor activities that cost next to nothing – dads usually enjoy these the most. Play a cricket game at your local school ground or sports field, take a bike ride through your neighbourhood park, or go for a walk in the forest or on the beach. If you’d prefer to keep the kids contained at home, a game of cricket, croquet, boules or soccer in the garden can be just as fun and the whole family can get involved.
Get your kids to make their own presents for Dad rather than buying them. Buy plain coffee mugs and have your children draw pictures or write messages on them, decorate photo frames with paint or coloured markers, or create “coupon jars”, where your kids fill a jar with reward coupons for dad. These could be redeemed for things like breakfast in bed, raking the leaves in the garden or giving him a two-hour nap on the weekend.
Help Dad around the house
Get your kids involved with participating in Dad’s normal chores around the house. Dad may need to supervise, but it will be a welcome gift to get some extra hands doing the things he normally has to do himself – whether it’s washing the car, oiling creaky hinges or cleaning the pool.
Put on a concert
Few things are more heart-warming to a parent than seeing their young kids on stage, which makes a concert one of the most endearing Father’s Day gifts a dad can get. Help your kids plan a surprise concert for dad, like a talent show where each child does something different, such as singing, dancing or performing a magic trick. Help your kids source props around the house and create costumes with old clothes and accessories.
Hold a movie night
Choose a fun movie that your kids and dad will both love, and make a movie night of it. Make popcorn, put the lights down and snuggle up in the lounge together. Best of all, since you’ll be in your own home, it’s easy to whisk your kids off to bed if they fall asleep before it finishes!
It may be a cliché, but the best things in life really are free. Making Dad feel loved and appreciated isn’t about spending money – it’s about spending quality time with him and bonding with him in the process. Plus, keeping things simple and budget friendly means less stress and more laughter for everyone.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day.