Celebrating a first Father’s Day – and acknowledging the wonder and challenges that becoming a parent can bring – is an opportunity to reconnect with your partner and celebrate your other half for embarking on this parenthood journey with you.
Father’s Day can also be a time to acknowledge any men in your life supporting your transition into motherhood, whether it’s your own father, friends, or other father figures in your family’s life.
Given the importance of physical distancing, some favorite activities may not be possible right now, but consider the following options for celebrating the dads who enrich our lives in so many ways. While some are geared towards new dads, we’ve found that many of them work well for veteran dads too. In fact, I've shared some photos of my boys doing a pretty good job celebrating my husband!
Have any other great ideas for fun Father's Day activities? Comment below!
Send him on a sentimental scavenger hunt.
If you’re on an early-morning schedule anyway, why not have a little fun with it? Let Dad sleep in while you strap your baby into the carrier so you can set up. Create a series of clever clues leading to locations throughout the house, culminating in a Father’s Day card and small gift. As you’re doing this, you can have the coffee brewing and a favorite meal like French Toast Casserole or Quiche Lorraine cooking in the oven.
A family day date in the great outdoors is a great way to spend quality time with Dad, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Grab the carrier, sling, or stroller and enjoy the sunshine. Nature offers the perfect chance to reconnect away from the distractions of technology, chores, and errands.
- Hike – If you’re not sure where to go, search online for the nearest “kid-friendly” hiking trails. If you’re a member of a Facebook parent group, you can find more information by asking local parents for suggestions of quiet, lowkey hikes. Bring sunscreen, water, and snacks, and plan for an easy dinner, as you’ll all likely be exhausted by the day’s end.
Bike – For the active dad, a baby bike seat or trailer can be a rewarding splurge. A leisurely bike ride has a way of clearing the mind, particularly if you live in an area with dedicated biking trails.
Fish – National Go Fishing Day is on June 18th each year, but you can celebrate a few days later if the dad in your life is the sort who enjoys a day on the water. Besides, what makes a better dinner than a fresh catch? Make sure you protect your baby from the sun by using a shaded carrier and hat, and stick to smaller streams. Expect to take a few breaks for diaper changes, picnicking, and play.
- Garden – Some of the dads in your lives might find gardening to be relaxing. In fact, one study from the Netherlands found that gardening was better at reducing stress than reading. For your baby, spread out a picnic blanket with toys for tummy time while you and the eco-conscious dad get your hands dirty.
Create a keepsake.
Family art projects can be a fun and relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Purchase and organize the supplies in advance to make the activity effortless. Your baby may be too young to join in, so have a swing or playpen ready, or plan your art project around your baby’s nap schedule.
- Scrapbook – What better way to make use of the thousands of baby photos you’ve taken than putting them in a scrapbook? Get stickers, borders, scrapbook paper, and stamps to give you plenty of creative liberty. Relive some great memories, while creating a keepsake for years to come.
- Shadow box – Using an old dresser drawer or a picture frame, you can assemble highlights of fatherhood. Select photos, ticket stubs, pamphlets, newspaper or magazine clippings, apparel, and other sentimental mementos you’ve collected, and paste or place them in the different compartments. The end result is a cool piece of artwork to hang wherever Dad wants. Search online for great inspiration.
Movie – If you’re tech-savvy, create a movie called A Day in the Life of Daddy & [insert child’s name here]. Film Dad going through a day of diaper changes, feedings, naps, and playtimes to capture a funny and thoughtful snapshot of what life as a new parent is really like.
It doesn’t have to be high production value. You can even do a photo montage. Both you and the dad in your life will love watching the footage with your child when he or she is older.
Start a photoshoot tradition.
Start your own tradition of Father’s Day photoshoots. Looking at how much your baby changes from year to year will delight both you and the dad in your life.
D-A-D – Most craft stores (brick-and-mortar or online) have giant letters you can buy to create a three-photo spread of baby holding up D-A-D. Recreate the scene each year. Lying down on a flat surface usually works best for babies, but search online to find other ideas for the perfect staging.
Babysuiting – One of the latest social media crazes involves dressing up a baby in his or her parent's suit. It’s so funny how you can picture the baby as a grownup when wearing adult clothes. Fathers may just swoon when they see their little babies dressed up like big shots.
Nostalgia – Wistful dads may enjoy recreating with their baby the childhood photos they took with their dads once upon a time. Sift through old albums for ideas – perhaps a push on the backyard tire swing or a trip to a favorite park.
- Generations – If you’re celebrating fathers, grandfathers, and even great-grandfathers this year, create a fun multigenerational photo from a safe distance. Take a picture of your baby holding a framed photo of Dad, then a picture of Dad holding a framed photo of his father, and so on to create a collage that contains at least three generations of fathers. Recruit helper “photographers” if you’re not able to be with the older generations in person.
Throw a Superdad Zoom party.
Since a big backyard barbecue might not be in the cards this year, get everyone together for a Zoom party. If you’re celebrating your own father, your father-in-law, and your grandfather, you may find the Superdad Zoom party a better option than running around town trying to celebrate all the dads from a distance. (It’s also nice being close to home for nursing and naps.) Here are a few tips to make the day go smoothly:
- Make sure everyone knows how to use Zoom before the party to alleviate some of the stress.
- If it's in your budget, send a dad-favorite meal or dessert to the dads you’re inviting. That way, you can all eat “together.”
- Set up fun activities to occupy your baby (and any other kids) and delight the grandparents watching from a distance.
Host a family karaoke night.
All babies love music – and many dads we know do too! With apps like Baby Karaoke or Lullaby Karaoke and games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, you don’t need a fancy karaoke machine for the occasion. (There are, however, plenty of machines on the market to choose from, ranging from $20 to $200.) It doesn’t take much to entertain a new baby – a fake microphone and a few YouTube karaoke tracks will often do!
Grab a quick bite to eat.
Dining out isn’t always easy these days, especially with a newborn, but open-air establishments offer a lower-stress option. It can be as simple as going to a stand for great hot dogs, ice cream, or burritos. Beachside dining is also a fun, safer option, as are cafes with patios. Add in a post-meal stroll (with Dad wearing the baby carrier) for memorable quality time.
Consider getting him what you would want.
Think about what you would want for Mother’s Day. As parents of a newborn or young baby, you might want similar things – whether or not that was true in the past. Check out our Mother’s Day Gift Guide for New Moms for some Father’s Day gift inspiration.
Bonus! Some great Father's Day activities to do with your partner when your first baby’s nearly here
- Make a point of spending time together painting, building the crib, or decorating the nursery.
- Splurge on a nice grill and cook a great meal.
- Gift him a “New Dad” kit – whatever you think that means for the dad in your life. Go sentimental (a sweet frame just waiting for a baby photo) or funny (Advil) – or both!
- Plan a “babymoon” getaway – even if that just means renting an Airbnb for a night.
- Hire a professional photographer and spend the day doing a baby-themed photoshoot. (Many photographers are doing lovely photoshoots from a safe physical distance!)
- Have a movie night with a father-related film like Juno, Knocked Up, Look Who’s Talking, Big Fish, Parenthood, Field of Dreams, To Kill A Mockingbird, or The Pursuit of Happyness. You can even make it a movie marathon!
The urge to plan a special day full of fun activities Dad will love is understandable, but you’ve got a lot on your plate with a new baby in the house – or on the way. You don’t have to surprise the dad in your life with elaborate or expensive plans. Take comfort in knowing that many dads prefer the simple pleasures – quiet cuddle time with their family, a gummy baby smile, or a thoughtful card.
Some dads will appreciate if you come up with the plan and tell them exactly what will happen. For other dads, it may be better to float a few options so they can choose how to spend the day.
With a new baby during the coronavirus pandemic, there may be some hitches in the plan, but keep it light – and remember, you’re doing great!