12 Simply Sweet Ways to Play With Pop

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He carries kidlets on his shoulders with ease, builds with LEGO till dawn, and kisses boo-boos away like magic. And as far as your sidekick is concerned, tall buildings don’t have anything on dad. Whether he wears a cape, tinkers in a lab, or finds adventure in the great outdoors, we’ve found amazing activities and projects for your superman to try with his pint-sized crusader. Up, up and away!

Chincoteague, Va

1. Go for a Ride. Whether your little pedal pusher rides a tricycle, balance bike, or kicked her training wheels to the curb a long time ago, she and dad can embark on a wheely cool adventure anytime. Grab a helmet, water bottle, and pack a picnic in the saddlebags before hitting the streets or trails in your ‘hood. Then bike to a picturesque picnic spot (you earned it!) to rest and refuel before taking the scenic route back. Ride on!

dadreadingbooks_paulhamilton_fathersdayactivities_fathersday2016_redtricyclephoto: Paul Hamilton via flickr

2. Let Dad Direct. It’s time for dad’s directorial debut. You’ll need to find a few of your most-loved kids’ books—the ones with the worn out covers and wrinkly soft pages—and use them to put on a play; your brightest shinning stars can act out the lead roles (costumes encouraged!) and dad will narrate the unfolding drama on stage. Lights, camera, action!

Constellation-Geoboards-BABBLE-DABBLE-DO-Readyphoto: Babble Dabble Do

3. Chart the Stars. Blast off with this sweet constellation board designed by Ana at Babble Dabble Do. She’s charted the steps dad and his posse need to follow in order to make this simply stellar project that can easily be put together in an afternoon; you can use it to find constellations overhead that night. 

Color experiment from Elise's schoolphoto: Allison Sutcliffe

4. Practice Mad Science. Have your lead scientist (dad) and his little lab assistant (the kidlet) set up a curious experiment: Use food coloring to turn cups of water yellow, red, and blue, then drape folded paper towels between the primary pairs that when mixed, produce orange, green, and purple. What happens when you leave the cups out overnight poses a colorful question for little scientists to ponder.

origami-monster-bookmark_ctbakerintheacres_fathersday2016 (1)photo: Claudia Baker via CTBaker in the Acres

5. Get Crafty. Because snuggling up with the big guy to read before bed time is a family staple, these cute monster bookmarks make a perfect accessory. Your tot can craft one for dad to use on his favorite bed time story while pop makes one for his little reader. Another reading buddy is always a good thing! 


6. Just Make It. Hit the hardware store and scavenge scraps in the garage to construct this rad maker-dad Kiddie Car Wash project from A Few Short Cuts. He builds and mini-makers play the day away. Your weekend is made. 

Dad and boy pointing Virginia St Parks Flickr CCphoto: Virginia State Parks via Flickr

7. Seek Hidden Treasure. Level up dad’s hiking chops when you hit the trail in search of a geocache find. All you need to locate these hidden treasures is an app, goodies to “exchange,” and a sense of adventure to carry you through. Lead on!

pollockpainting_sergioferia_flickr_thingstodowithdad_fathersday2016_redtricyclephoto: Sergio Feria via flickr

8. Paint Like Pollock. Dad and his petite Picassos will love the process that goes into making koosh ball art as much as they love the final frame-worthy product. It’s like splatter paint on steroids. To make it, hang large sheets of craft paper on the garage door (or another flat surface). Then dip squishy balls (think: koosh balls, squidgy balls, and nubby sensory balls) into washable paint, and pitch them (splat!) onto the paper like you’re striking out a pinch hitter. A true mess-terpiece!

Lego Planter Scott Lewis on Flickrphoto: Scott Lewis on flickr

9. Go Green. If dad’s got a green thumb, he and his little garden gnomes will love building LEGO planters they can use to start an herb garden. All it takes is Emmet-worthy master builder skills, nutrient-rich potting soil and herb starts to make this garden grow. Add in sunshine with regular watering and the master gardener and his sidekick will be harvesting their crop in no time.

flyatkite_haroldheindelltejada_flickr_dadactivities_fathersday2016_redtricyclephoto: Harold Tejada via flickr

10. Fly High. Make like Mr. Banks and take dad out to fly a kite, up to the highest height. Find wide, open spaces in a city park or at a nearby beach on a windy day. Then, help dad carve serious curves on wind waves with a trick kite, or take it easy and unroll your old school tail kite up into the breeze. Let’s go fly a kite!

small friendly cork boats from websitephoto: Small + Friendly

11. Sail Away. Host a family regatta in your backyard, pitting cork boats constructed by dad and his mini crew against each other. Carla over at Small + Friendly has everything your little sailors need to know to hit the high seas and win the race!

BBQchicken_JohnLiu_activitieswithdad_fathersday2016_redtricyclephoto: John Liu via flickr

12. Grill Out. Cook up a plan with pop to make this delish BBQ chicken recipe that soaks up flavorful spices in a homemade brine before hitting the grill. Extra points if the master chef and his sous chef make the BBQ sauce from scratch too!

Do you plan to try any of these activities with dad? Tell us about it in a comment.

—Allison Sutcliffe