Fun Father’s Day Activities To Do With The Kids While Social Distancing

Father’s Day will be here before you know it and this year with Covid-19 will be unlike any other.

So why not forgo the gifts and try some fun and memorable Father’s Day Activities that will also promote hands on learning for the kids!

It can be really hard to come up with something to do for Father’s Day, especially when the kids are young (and you can’t really go anywhere).

It ends up being “mom” who buys a gift for “dad”.

Instead of buying something just for the sake of buying something because that’s what the media bombards you with (unless you know there is something that he really wants), why not plan a fun activity that dad and the kids will both enjoy.

3 Gifts For Father’s Day That Come From The Heart!

These activities should not cost you an arm and a leg.

And, they happen to be full of learning opportunities for your child as well!

Have a Picnic

Either have a picnic in your backyard, on your balcony or drive/walk to a nearby park.

If it happens to be raining, move the picnic indoors but make sure you are sitting on the floor or else it will just feel like any other meal.

Most kids love the idea of having a picnic and getting to eat while sitting on the floor!

Use the “setting up” of the picnic to encourage new vocabulary and language development.

Make sure your child helps you think of what is needed for the picnic.

Here are a few ideas:

♥ plates, napkins, cups, utensils

♥ a blanket or tablecloth

♥ food (sandwiches are probably the most simple to prepare and your child should be able to help somewhat depending on his age).

♥ drinks (water bottles work well).  I have created water bottle labels that you can print and glue/tape onto your own bottles just for Father’s Day.

If your child is able to print, let her print her own name beside “Love”.  Download the labels here: Fathers Day Water Bottle Labels

Language Development Opportunities:

♥ Label all of the items you will be packing

♥ Ask questions such as “what do we need for our picnic?”, “what do you think Dad wants to eat?”, “what should we sit on when we are at the ____?”, “where should we go for our picnic?”, etc.

Tailor the questions to your child’s language level.  If these are too broad, make them more specific, for example: “what will we put our food on?”, “what should we bring to drink?”, “should we bring a blanket or table cloth?”, etc

♥ Narrate the steps involved in preparing the meal (e.g. sandwiches) -> First we need the bread, next we need to spread butter on the bread, then we need to add the meat, etc.

If your child is able to follow instructions, ask her to tell you what steps are involved in making a sandwich.

♥ You Might Also Like: Why Mom Was Right About Family Mealtimes! ♥

Go On A Fishing Trip

Kids, and (most) dad’s love fishing!  Get creative with this one.

If there is a pond, river, stream, or lake nearby, get your fishing gear together and head there.

Make sure to prepare your child that you may not actually catch anything.


If you don’t have fishing rods, and don’t want to buy any, why not make your own?

All you need are some sticks (or purchase doweling – cylindrical pieces of wood – from your local hardware store).

You will also need to get some fishing line, hooks and bait (my family has discovered that lunch meat works well as bait if you don’t have anything else).

Tie the fishing line around the stick and then add the hook.

My kids and their dad have actually caught a few fish this way!

No Water, No Problem

Now, if there isn’t any water around (with fish), it’s time to get really creative!  Bring the pond to your home.

Fill the bathtub with water and throw in some toy fish.

You may already have a toy fishing set in your child’s bath toy collection.

If not, here is an example of what I am talking about.
Munchkin Magnetic Fishing Bath Toy

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If you don’t want to use water, you can still go fishing (can you tell that I am making it really hard for you to come up with excuses not to go fishing).

All you need to do is draw fish of different shapes and sizes onto colored paper and cut them out.

If you aren’t creative, a quick google search will bring up many pictures of fish you can print off and cut out.

You will need to either find sticks or some doweling and make your own fishing rod.

The easiest way to do this is to tie/glue a magnet to a string that is then tied onto the stick.  Then attach paper clips to the paper fish.

Cast your “rod” and catch a fish as the magnet sticks to the paper clip!

There is also the option of felt fishing sets.

Perhaps you could also incorporate a picnic into your fishing trip!

Language Development Opportunities:

♥ Label the items and vocabulary used for a fishing trip, such as: fishing rod, hook, bait, fishing line, cast, reel in, splash, worms, etc.

♥ Talk about fish – where do they live, what do they like to eat, what size fish might you catch…

♥ Make up stories – come up with creative stories about some crazy fish that might live in the water.


Go On A Camping Trip

I know, not everyone is into camping.  But, I have some ideas for even the non-campers!

If you and your family are campers, then you know what to do!  Get your gear together and head out for the night or weekend to a favorite campsite.

If the weather isn’t looking great or your family isn’t the camping type (or perhaps there are still stay at home restrictions where you live), set up a tent in your basement/living room/backyard.

If you are indoors, you won’t get to experience a campfire, but you could always pretend.

If you don’t have a tent, check out the this tent selection for lots of great deals!  Or make a fort out of sheets for indoor camping!

Gather some sticks and cut out some flames with orange, red and yellow paper.   Position the “flames” in between the sticks.  Then put a marshmallow at the end of a stick and pretend you are roasting it.

Dad and child(ren) (and mom if she wants) can actually sleep in the indoor or backyard tent for the night, or you can just pretend to go to sleep after the campfire has ended.

8 pretend camping toys

Language Development Opportunities:

The language opportunities with this activity are endless.

If you are going camping for a night or weekend to an actual campground, you can talk about so many things (what you see outside, what you need to bring along on the trip, what food you will eat, steps involved in setting up the tent, etc).

Here are some ways to facilitate speech & language development.

♥ Focus on camping vocabulary (e.g. tent, fire, sleeping bag, hiking, sticks, marshmallows, flashlight, etc)

♥ Ask questions: “where will we sleep?”, “how will we stay warm?”, “what will we eat?”, “how will we see at night when it is dark out?”

♥ Collect some nature items to make a craft later on.  For example, find some leaves and dry them.  Then place the dried leaves in between pieces of cling wrap or wax paper.  Mount the cling wrap onto a Popsicle stick frame (if you      aren’t sure how to make one, google “popsicle stick frame” and you will get many results).

There are many crafts you can make with items found in nature.

Check out 32 Awesome Things To Make With Nature for some ideas (these are crafts for both adults and kids!).

♥ Make sure to talk about what you are doing when you are working on your craft.  Again, label all the key vocabulary words and ask your child questions about what supplies might be needed.

You can also incorporate a picnic and fishing into your camping trip!

Happy Father’s Day!

What are some of your favorite activities to do with your children on Father’s Day?  Please share in the comments below.

Fathers day gift ideas that are activities to do with the children and dad

30 Comments

  1. Philebur

    Thanks for sharing these great Father’s Day activities.  I would love to do something like this with my 2 kids.  Father’s Day should be more about bonding than just handing over a bunch of kids.  My kids would love to go fishing (in the bathtub) and have a picnic in our backyard.  It will be so much fun for them!

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Glad you liked the ideas!

      Reply
  2. edahnewton1

    Thanks for a great article!  I love that you are encouraging simple activities that are great for father and child bonding!  I’m looking forward to having a backyard picnic with my kids.  They love this kind of stuff and I never thought of incorporating it into a Father’s Day celebration.  It also never occurred to me that there is so much learning happening too.  Thanks for pointing that out!

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      You’re welcome!  Backyard picnics are always a hit at my house too.  Especially when the kids were younger.  Depending on the age of your children, they could also be involved in some of the food prep that will be needed for the picnic.  I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day this year!

      Reply
  3. Derrick

    This article gives great ideas for a Happy Father’s Day with the little ones. These ideas are very creative and really get the children involved and thinking. An excellent way to allow the children to feel a part of things and gets their minds to thinking. I really like how your ideas get the entire family involved in the activities. I am going to suggest to my wife that we should do something simple like this with the kids.  I like what you are doing. Great job!

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks Derrick!  Glad you like the ideas I’ve suggested. 

      Reply
  4. Arif

    Hi Tanya,

    Your professional knowledge resembles in your article. In the last two-three months, I’ve become so used to spending time with my daughters due to the lockdown that I completely forgot about the word “Change”. Your experience and details in your post has given me something to cheer my daughters this father’s day. Especially, the idea around fishing is something that I definitely want to try, not outside of course.

    I was also thinking about how to educate our kids and make them stronger mentally and physically during these testing times. This is a learning curve for all of us and I personally feel we need to guide our children about survival in their own language. I wish if you can write something on this topic.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks for your comment Arif!  I’m glad you enjoyed the article.  I will definitely give your article suggestion some thought!  I hope you have a wonderful father’s day with your family.  Enjoy the indoor “fishing”!

      Reply
  5. Christine

    These are great ideas to celebrate father’s day. I am sure my kids will love to get involved in these activities.

    We love to go for a picnic. This time I think we will have it at our backyard.

    It is so true that every time I let my kids involved in preparing certain activities, they asked lots of questions and they follow instructions, which help them in language development.

    Thank you for sharing the great information.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks for your comment Christine.  It seems like a Father’s Day picnic might be a common activity this year.

      Reply
  6. Shell

    Hi Tanya

    I think a picnic is a great activity to do anytime – and who says they have to be done outdoors? I love that fact that all of your activities provide opportunities for developing language and learning, and best of all, because everyone will be having so much fun, the kids won’t even realise they’re learning! That’s a result all around, I’d say!

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      I agree!  Thanks for leaving a comment!

      Reply
  7. Darnell Yeldon

    Great information considering what the world is going through right now.  I love how simple the ideas are that you share but they are also very meaningful.  I would love to do some of these things with my kids!  I would never have thought that these activities are also learning experiences for children.  Thanks for pointing out all the ways that kids are learning while having a great family bonding experience!

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks Darnell!  Children are always learning, but parents often don’t realize just how much and that learning doesn’t always need to be explicit.  Wishing you a great Father’s Day with your kids.

      Reply
  8. Imelda

    I like the idea of creating something different for Fathers Day which will be probably so much more meaningful. Picnics are brilliant and are so easy. I think the idea of adding labels to develop language a great idea. I moved into a new apartment that had no furniture and my nieces and nephews thoroughly enjoyed having a picnic in the front room. Even adults love picnics as they appear to be such a great adventure.

    Go on a fishing trip and go on a camping trip are other great ideas which can help with the children’s mind development. Right now the more we can have fun with our children the better.

    Great ideas

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks for your comment Imelda! I agree, a picnic is simple and a lot of fun for kids.

      Reply
  9. Ally

    Hi! I love the idea of having a picnic. I haven’t done it since my youngest son was born. Now that the weather is warmer we will have to try it. We have them indoors all the time but outside brings yet another layer of opportunity to develop more vocabulary!

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      A picnic is such as simple idea but often overlooked! It’s so much fun for kids and a great way for them to bond with Dad on Father’s Day. And if you can get outside, even better. You are so right about the opportunities for language development and vocabulary building increasing outdoors. There are so many things you can talk and learn about in nature.

      Reply
  10. Vicky

    I loved your article on Father’s Day activities. I think it is so great to get a gift from the heart than store bought items. It helps to make such wonderful memories. Your article is so well laid out and easy to follow too! Thank you for the information you have provided – now that I am a new grandma, your links also make it easier to quickly get to item ideas without having to search without a recommendation.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks for your comment Vicky. When children are really young gifts from the heart are perfect for Father’s Day, or any occasion. Simply having the kids spend a fun filled day with Dad can be one of the greatest gifts since many families seem to be so busy these days.

      Reply
  11. Chris

    Hi Tanya, what a refreshing site. Really nicely laid out. Love your article on the best leaerning toys to buy to help kids learn. I’ve looked at a lot of the toys and will certainly make a purchase for my niece. Really informative article and has helped with my decision making with a birthday coming up.

    I also love the simplicity of the Father’s Day activities you discussed. These ideas are great ways for fathers to bond with their young children.

    Chris

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for taking the time to look around the site. I am happy to hear that you have found the information helpful!

      I tried to keep the ideas for Fathers Day very simple because they are meant to be done with young children who most likely don’t understand the holiday.

      Reply
  12. Kristian

    My 1 year old son would love that bath time fishing toy. It looks like a lot of fun.

    Do you know if it is suitable for someone of his age or whether there are small parts to worry about. I always find it hard to judge these things from photos.

    Also, do you know if you can buy it in the UK?

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi Kristian,

      I don’t see any issues with your one year old using a fishing set such as the one in the article. Most toys like this are recommended for kids 18 months and up, but I assume you would be supervising your son, especially if he is in the bath.

      I wasn’t able to find the exact toy in the UK, but I did find this one which is similar except that it isn’t magnetic so it could be slightly challenging. Or there is this magnetic one, but it is a bit pricier.

      Reply
  13. Keye

    This father’s day activity checklist is really helpful this coming fathers day. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Thanks. I am glad that you found my ideas for Father’s Day Activities helpful!

      Reply
  14. Emily

    hi
    what a terrific post! As a former child psychologist who worked in schools, thank you! Creativity and developing language and reasoning skills is so important! Conversations with kids, asking them what they think, asking them some questions, introducing vocabulary words, that’s what I would recommend to parents 🙂 Integrating them in fun activities is for sure the way to go. Makes it informal and creates just fun moments to learn.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi Emily,

      I couldn’t agree with you more, hence why I have started this website. I want people to know how important it is to play with their children. Sitting them in front of a TV (even if the show is “educational”) is not the same as learning through play, especially when the child is under the age of 2 (I would even go so far as saying 3). I also encourage my children to play on their own. Play does not always have to be adult led. They need to learn how to occupy themselves. Did you see some of the cool cardbaord creations my kids have come up with? If not, check it out https://seemeandliz.com/children-playing-with-cardboard

      Reply
  15. Hope

    Great creative ideas to make Father’s day more fun. Camping and fishing are activities that scream Dad. Awesome website.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi Hope. Thanks for reading the post. I know I always struggle to come up with things to do on Fathers Day. My kids are just now getting to the age where they want to buy their dad a gift. But when they are younger, just spending time doing things together that you may not normally do are better than most gifts you can buy.

      Reply

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