Plan a special day packed with activities such as barbecuing, woodworking, camping, and more.

By Alexandra Churchill
Updated June 04, 2020
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Father's Day is a day set aside just for dads; a day to recognize them and all they do for their children. While you may have already bought him that silk tie or a new kitchen essential, why not add to the special day with some quality time together? This Father's Day, try taking the time to whip up a barbecue buffet, take a class together (online or in-person), or even plan to take part in an activity he's been talking about for years but hasn't found the time to do. At the end of the day, the gift of your time will leave a lasting memory. Ahead explore some of our favorite activities that will have you and dad spending invaluable time together.

Get Grilling

Fire up the grill and fill up the table with all of his favorite bites. Think: pork ribs, meat kabobs, and fresh veggies. It's also nice to add a few new twists to the menu to surprise his palate: quinoa feta burgers, tequila shrimp, and even grilled pineapple with coconut sorbet. You could also go the classic cookout route and grill some hamburgers and hotdogs. Bring out all the toppings he loves—onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and relish—plus some creative new add-ons that are sure to make his list of favorites. The burgers themselves can be meatless or vegetarian, and are best served over the grill for that smoky, charcoal flavor.

Take Him Out to the Ball Game

If Dad is a sports fanatic, then you already know that his idea of heaven is acres of rolling green hills. Or maybe it's a diamond field. Or a football stadium. Or a hockey rink. (You get the picture.) Whatever he loves—as an athlete or aficionado—spend an afternoon partaking in his favorite game. You'll get extra points for baking a batch of sports-themed cupcakes!

Sign Up for a Class Together

Expand your knowledge by taking a class that piques both of your interests. After all, there's always something new to learn. Help him pick up a new hobby, craft, or skill with an adult learning class that you take together or online and carve out time to discuss what you're learning over a video or phone call. Let him choose the topic. He might surprise you.

Spend Quality Time Building Something

No contest: Dad is the original DIYer. He taught you how to hammer in a nail, install a shelf, and how to change a flat tire. (Not to mention, he fielded all of your frantic "I don't know what I'm doing" phone calls from your local hardware store.) For today, he picks the project, you provide all of the materials and tools. He'll love the extra hours of time with you—plus, he'll be left with something that you two created together.

Make-Your-Own Milkshake Bar

Clink spoons and tap into childhood nostalgia—both his and yours—by whipping up a milkshake that tops any of the ones he had at retro diners. Start with a basic milkshake recipe, then "shake" things up with wonderfully wacky add-ons: dripping chocolate sauce, toasted marshmallows, and crumbled graham crackers.

Go Fishing

As a kid, no summer day was better spent than the ones where you enjoyed hours casting lines with Dad. And admittedly, not much has changed since then. Treat him to an early morning or late afternoon of fishing. After, chow down on a seafood smorgasbord of your own making (with whatever's caught by the master fisherman himself or fresh from the market.)

Try Camping

And by the "Great Outdoors," we really mean your backyard (or inside with a fort if the weather doesn't cooperate). Set up a makeshift tent, light a few lanterns, and swap stories with a flashlight. To make it feel just like old times with Dad, make a crunchy campfire dessert that will bring out your inner summer camp kid.

Test Your Dad Trivia

Pop quiz! What did Dad want to be when he grew up? If you don't know the answer, now's your chance to learn. Stack up a list of tricky trivia questions—all related to Dad—on index cards and make a game out of it. The winner gets an extra day of one-on-one time with Dad. This is fun for the whole family, especially younger kids.

Attend a Local Car Show

After all, wasn't he the one who taught you how to drive one? If Dad is a car buff, this idea will really rev up his engines: take him out for a trip to the local auto show. There, you can both admire row upon row of vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles; plus you can swap stories of what it was like for him to drive his first car or laugh over your own early driving days.

Hunt Down the Perfect Pint

Dad knows there's nothing better than a tall cold one at the end of a long day. As an alternative to the decidedly formal wine-tasting, try a more casual beer-tasting. You can tour the local breweries for ample taste-testing opportunities or host a get-together of your own. Designating it as a bring your own beer bash means more flavors. And don't forget to cook up some gastropub-worthy grub: think beer-battered onion rings and beer-battered fish and chips.

Cross Something Off of His Bucket List

Maybe he had rockstar aspirations for his high school band back in the day. Or maybe he wanted to grow up to be a race car driver. Or maybe he always wanted to fly a helicopter. Tap into his favorite childhood memories and arrange for a choose-your-own-adventure experience gift; it will remind him that dreams (still can) come true.

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