Graduations, birthdays, and holiday celebrations look a little different this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. OK, a lot different. Virtual events have filled the gaps, of course, but it can be hard to muster joy when you’re forced to celebrate at home.
Still, the dear old Dad in your life deserves to be celebrated on Father’s Day, which means you might want to try to up the ante this year. Sure, breakfast in bed is great, but why not get creative and try a new activity that’ll make it a day to remember?
To celebrate this season, here are seven inventive ways to fete Pop on Father’s Day.
1. Have an inflatable pool party
Try this idea for dads who are missing out on a trip to the beach or a day at the community pool.
Kick back and stay cool with a large, inflatable pool ($45, Target), some music blasting from the house, and a cooler of cold drinks.
“Some pools are even small enough to fit on a balcony or the patio,” says Drew Henryof Design Dudes.
2. Bring the backyard barbecue to you
Burgers and brats on the grill are the classic go-to meal for Father’s Day, but you can take it to the next level by ordering an expertly cooked meal to go—and supporting a local restaurant.
Do some research to see which local barbecue restaurants are open for pickup or delivery. Some restaurants and catering companies are also offering meal kits in a box.
“Get a barbecue box delivered to your home with all of his favorites: ribs, steak, and sides like potato salad, slaw, and corn on the cob,” says Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs Catering.
Correale’s company just launched a variety of to-go boxes ranging from original barbecue favorites to special surf and turf combos.
“Ordering something that’s mostly pre-made means all you have to do is fire up the grill and enjoy a celebratory meal,” she says.
3. Take part in Dad’s hobby
Does your pop love bird-watching or stargazing? A gift that dovetails with these activities is great, but joining him in the fun makes it even better.
Ask Dad to describe his favorite winged pals or point out Orion’s Belt after dinner. You could add an art component to these activities by drawing the birds or constellations you spy.
4. Arrange a natural scavenger hunt
Put your backyard to good use, and come up with a list of things to find. Give every family member a paper bag and have them pair up and scatter to seek out items like an acorn, dandelion, small twig, smooth pebble, piece of moss, or a live bug.
You could also list tree or flower types—such as maple, elm, azalea, ivy, rhododendron, and roses—and give each team a smartphone to document them.
5. Make up goofy challenges
Correale suggests creating games using things you already have at home (e.g., pass the water using paper cups or a DIY ring toss).
Or you could challenge your family members to a marshmallow race using straws. Put a marshmallow on the table, and then inhale through a straw placed right on it. The goal is to keep the sweet attached to the straw with your own breath while you circle the picnic table three times.
6. Use the waffle iron in a new way
Truth: Dad really does want some special meal on his special day. Put that waffle iron to use in an unexpected way by making something other than traditional waffles. Grilled cheese sandwich or quesadillas? Yup, you can make ’em in the iron—and the divots are great for holding condiments like ketchup or salsa.
You can also press frozen hash browns and drape them with smoked salmon and sour cream. Or, if your dad has a sweet tooth, cook up waffle-style brownies or cookies with pre-made dough and top them with ice cream, whipped cream, and sprinkles.
7. Run an obstacle course
The sillier the better! Pull out items like patio pillows, ride-on toys, and a baseball bat, and then challenge your family to complete the course. Spin around with your head on the bat, jump the pillows, wheel the tricycle down the driveway, and hit a target with a ball or Frisbee. The fastest, most accurate player wins.
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