by Judy Mullican
Happy Father’s Day! Let’s give a cheer for all the fantastic fathers who make a difference in children’s lives! Research has shown time after time that children benefit from having loving fathers who are involved in their lives. You can read more about it here.
If you work in child care, you are probably planning some activities related to Father’s Day. Be sure to keep in mind each child’s situation. Some children’s fathers may be deceased, and other children may not have regular contact with their fathers. Due to a variety of circumstances, some children may have more than one father figure in their lives. Some children may come from families that prefer not to celebrate holidays for religious, cultural, or personal reasons. Try to find out as much as you can about each child’s family situation so you can plan accordingly. For example, you may want to have enough supplies for some children to create more than one card or gift. You may want to invite father substitutes to any special events.
Here are some different ways to celebrate Father’s Day or honor fathers at any time. You can adapt them as needed so they work well with your children.
Pretending to Be Fathers: Provide a variety of props the children can use as they pretend to be fathers. Be sure to include props related to different aspects of fathers’ lives, such as jobs, household chores, and recreation. Learning about the children’s families will help you make meaningful choices. For example, if you know that several fathers enjoy fishing, toy fishing sets would be perfect. On the other hand, if no one’s father likes to go fishing, fishing props would not make a lot of sense. The children’s families can be a great resource for information and props. As the children play, they can help each other learn that there are many different ways to be great fathers.
Handy T-Shirt: The children can surprise their dads with personalized T-shirts. Purchase and wash plain white men’s T-shirts. (Check ahead to see what sizes you’ll need.) Slide a piece of cardboard inside each shirt. Provide assorted colors of fabric paint. The children may want to choose their own favorite colors, the colors of their fathers’ favorite sports teams, or other meaningful colors. Coat the children’s hands with the fabric paint and invite them to make handprints on the shirts. Present the T-shirts to the dads with cards that say, “You’re the best dad ever—hands down!” (Be sure to protect the children’s clothing since fabric paints are permanent.)
Father’s Day Cards and Artwork: Fathers are usually very proud of cards and crafts made by their children! If you use FunShine Express ®, you’ll find that the Buttercups curriculum includes materials to make a bookmark in a gift bag. The Fireflies curriculum includes materials to make a Father’s Day picture easel. You can also provide any art materials you have on hand and invite the children to design their own cards or artwork.
Books about Fathers: You can also check with your local librarian for recommendations.
- I Love You Daddy by Jillian Harker
- My Dad Loves Me! by Marianne Richmond
- Me and My Day by Alison Ritchie
- The Night Before Father’s Day by Natasha Wing
Father’s Day Picnic: Plan a picnic and invite guests to attend. (Talk with each child about which guests to invite .) The children can help prepare sandwiches, fruit salad, lemonade, or other dishes. If you have an ice cream maker, homemade ice cream would be a fantastic addition.
After the meal, have a sing along. You may want to include the song below.
Sung to “This Old Man”
Father’s Day! Father’s Day!
It’s Father’s Day; hurray, hurray!
Give a hug to Dad and tell him that you care!
Tell him that you’re glad he’s there.
Have a fantastic Father’s Day!