It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was. – Anne Sexton


Fathers play a significant role in their kids’ lives. They’re essential role models, influence children’s self-esteem and school performance and make great coaches and fun-loving playmates. Once kids have grown and aged, fathers make great friends and confidants and are there to lend a hand.

Father’s Day is just around the corner, so don’t be caught scrambling for the perfect way to show you care. Try some of these ideas to show your dad just how important he is to you.

Video Surprise – Make a “World’s Best Dad” video he’ll treasure for years to come. Put on your brainstorming cap for your own ideas, or try some of these ideas for your video. Share special memories of your dad, sing to him, read him a poem or do skits. Get the whole family involved and conduct interviews with each other, with Dad as the main topic. Don’t forget your props, such as a banner or collection of his prized possessions, including sports trophies or equipment, to add a personal touch. Most importantly, be sure to let him know just how much he means to you.

King for the Day – It isn’t every day your dad gets waited on hand and foot. So offer to be his loyal servant for the day. Bring him coffee and toast in bed; fetch his newspaper; lay out his clothes, bath towel and mat; be host or hostess and serve him beverages and snacks; clean up after him and anything else to give him the royal treatment.

Memories of Dad – Buy a scrapbook, and create a record of memories about you and your dad. Include photos of special outings, events and holidays you’ve had together. Also include other memorabilia such as concert or sporting event ticket stubs, postcards and brochures. Next to each photo or item, describe your memories of those special times with him.

A Man to Remember – Get your creative juices flowing, and write a poem for your dad. You don’t need to be a poet to come up with a few thoughtful words to express how much he means to you. Describe the impact he’s had on your life, how he’s helped shape the person you are today and what he means to you. Then print it on stationery, matte and frame it.

Musical Moment– Take your father to see his favorite band or performing artist, head to a jazz or blues festival or pack up some lawn chairs and enjoy a local concert-in-the-park.

Togetherness Takes Two – Has your dad been putting off the dreaded task of cleaning out his attic, basement or garage? Give him a gift of shelving materials and brackets, wall racks and ceiling hooks and storage crates. Then spend the day helping him to get it organized while catching up on old times.

World’s Greatest – Let your dad know he’s valued 365 days a year! Give him a “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug, t-shirt, book cover, bookmarker, wallet card or other trinket that he’ll see or use regularly.

Sports Buff’s Surprise – Take your dad for a sporting good time. Play a game of golf, tennis or basketball, go fishing or enjoy a paddle around a lake. If being a spectator is more his thing, buy tickets to his favorite sporting event, such as a baseball or soccer game, boxing match or auto race.

Weekend Getaway – Get in touch with nature and each other on a camping trip for two. Either rough it in a tent or rent a mini-cabin at a state park. Spend your weekend hiking, sightseeing, fishing, boating, playing cards and taking it easy together.

Father’s Day Feast– As the old adage goes, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. So treat Dad to a mouth-watering barbecue. Fix him his favorite: steak, ribs, chicken, burgers or chops for starters. Don’t forget the grilled potatoes or squash, garlic bread or rolls, fresh green beans or asparagus, sweet corn, potato salad and, last but not least, his favorite dessert.

Just the Two of Us – Put together a photo collage of you and your father. There are many ways to do this. Find instructions at your nearby craft store and create a decoupage photo collage. Keep it simple with a multi-photo frame, or buy a unique 3D photo collage frame. You can find them at art and craft supply stores and online.

Take a Stroll – Enjoy a peaceful walk in the park or the country together. Better yet, gather your bikes or rollerblades, hit a scenic bike path and enjoy the fresh summer air.

Certificates of Appreciation – Show Dad you appreciate his hard work by returning the favor. Make coupons that say: “In appreciation for all that you do, Dad. Redeem this certificate for a hassle-free car wash by me!” Other favors include sweeping out the garage, mowing the lawn or any other task he usually handles.

Catch a Flick…..or two – Treat your dad to a movie fest. Rent a couple of newly released videos or some of his long-time favorites. Or head to the cinemas for a double feature. Whether you take the movies in at home or the theater, don’t forget the hot, buttered popcorn, candy and soft drinks.

Get in Touch with His Soft Side – Give your dad a book of poetry specially written for fathers. Try one of these:

  • Fathers: A Collection of Poems by David Ray and Judy Ray

  • Father’s: Collected Poems by Ken Koprowski

  • Thoughts to Share With a Wonderful Father: A Collection of Poems by Blue Mountain Arts Collections

A Gift of Giving – Does your dad have a favorite cause or charity, such as the Humane Society, the Nature Conservancy or the American Cancer Society? If so, why not give him a membership or make a donation in his name? Remember, small donations add up and are always appreciated.