Ideas for Thoughtful Gift-Giving for Dad

Happy Father’s Day!

Reibman Hall Children’s Center Staff: Karen Klein, Sally Jeffreys, Lisa Scott and Denise Madzik,

Father’s Day honors fatherhood and paternal bonds as well as the influence of fathers in society. In the United States, Father’s Day was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd in 1910 following the first successful promotion of Mother’s Day in 1908. Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June, as proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson beginning in 1966. 

It is important to recognize that this celebration (whether it be Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, etc.) is to honor a positive and significant person in a child’s life.  “Every child deserves a champion:  An adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.”  - Rita Pierson, Educator.

Being inclusive of all families is critical during these joyous occasions.  Families come in many different configurations (separated or divorced parents, blended families, two moms, two dads, partners, stepparents, foster and adoptive families), all worth celebrating!  At Reibman Hall Children’s Center, teachers make sure materials, photos, books, and teacher language ensures all children’s family structures are represented and valued. 

Ideas for Thoughtful Gift-Giving for Dad or that Special Person

Things to Do:

  • Write a song about Dad (or that special person), sing it and record it.
  • Breakfast in bed / make lunch / barbeque for Dad with his favorite foods.
  • Movie night / game night with Dad’s favorites.
  • Dad’s Choice Day – meals, activities.
  • Create a scavenger hunt for Dad to find his gift (could even be outside of home, i.e. bike ride, car ride to various locations).
  • Gift a new tool to Dad with a plan of making a project together using the tool (i.e. birdhouse)

Things to Make:

  • The most authentic way to guide a child to express appreciation during a holiday or birthday is to encourage them to draw a picture of the special person, or of something the special person would like to have or likes to do. Listening carefully while the child completes the work, and then using the child's dictation as the narrative for the project, supports meaningful and respectful interactions with young children about the people who are special to them. It can also be special to include a photo of the child completing the process. Families can choose to frame the child's work in a simple frame to highlight the child's effort and give it weight/value when displayed.
  • Parents, grandparents, or any "special person" are rarely disappointed with a genuine piece of artwork and accompanying quote or quip to provide the recipient with some insight into the child's perspective. Including the date the child completed or gifted the work is also a nice touch when looking back on memorable times.
  • A recipe to make salt dough for making a paperweight, rock, ornament, or other special sculpture that can be colored with food coloring during the mixing or either paint or markers when dry.
    • Things you will need:
      • 2 cups all-purpose bleached flour
      • 1 cup salt
      • 1 cup warm water
      • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil (optional)
    • Steps:

1. Add flour to large mixing bowl

2. Add salt

3. Pour water over the dry ingredients. Stir the mixture until it is well combined.

4. If the dough is sticky, add cooking oil.

5. Mold the dough / roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to make ornaments (use a straw to make a hole for yarn or string).

6. Flip your sculpture every 24 hours. The drying process will take 3 – 4 days depending on the humidity.

  • An acrostic with your special someone’s name spelled in the poem.
    • Example:
      • D---Dear
      • A---Adorable
      • D---Delightful. My Dad is all these things and more.
    • Or
      • P---Pleasant
      • O---Old
      • P---Playful
      • P---Patient
      • Y---Young at Heart – “I love it when my Poppy plays ponies with me.” 
  • A letter to (a person of significance in my life)

Dearest ___________________,

How can I explain how much your love means to me?

The way you hold me and comfort me when I fall,

The way you are there to make me the most delicious peanut butter sandwiches.

The times you know just which stuffed animal I need to hold today.

The way you showed me which screwdriver to use, or your special recipe for the best pancakes.

In other words, I thank you for always being there to lift me up and to give me the best hugs.

Love, __________

  • Paint/write messages on the bottoms of child/children’s feet, take a photo and frame the photo.
  • Personalized grill apron - decorate with fabric markers/paint.
  • Popsicle sticks/tongue depressors/wooden paint stirrers

- Paint the sticks

- Create a frame or glue the sticks edge to edge to create a plaque or canvas and attach (glue/hot glue) a small clip or small clothespin to hold a photo

- Write messages on each individual stick-e.g. 10 Reasons I Love You

  • Decorate/Paint a large mason jar. Bake cookies and put in jar.  The jar can then be repurposed to hold pens/pencils, tools, etc.
  • Decorate an empty paint can (two different sizes available at Home Depot or Lowes)-fill with some of Dad’s favorites.
  • Create a storybook about Dad-complete with words and illustrations, laminate front and back pages and have it bound at Staples.

Kindness and loving gift-giving can happen any time for any reason!  Please think of what makes sense for your family.  Think of the child’s perspective:  Is there someone special in the child’s life they want to honor?  Is there more than one special person who the child wants to honor?  Does it make more sense to have a “family day,” spending quality time together?  People might be surprised to learn what is meaningful to children... it may be the pancakes that they share for breakfast during/after a sleepover or the storytelling ritual they share. For young children and their special person, it is all about their loving relationship and the special memories they share.


Northampton Community College's Children's Centers are licensed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and are rated four-star facilities through the state of Pennsylvania's Keystone STARS program and are also accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Learn more here.