Father’s Day comes around, how do you spend this special time? Some dads are generally easy to please if they have full bellies and a baseball game, but aside from loading him with gifts and breakfast in bed, there’s another way to celebrate the man of the house: have some real family fun. Put together a few games to add an interesting spin to this holiday, making it memorable and possibly creating a new tradition for your family.
Let’s admit it, anything involving a competition tends to trigger Dad’s testosterone — oops. I meant to say pique their interest. But the difference is, this time, instead of being the kind of dad who feigns loss, they won’t feel bad about beating the kids. And to add a little more sauce to your fun rivalry, have a prize ready for the one who wins the most games.
With this list,
you can show dad a good time at the kitchen table, in the backyard, or even on the basketball court, so don’t feel stuck. You can switch it up. While some of these activities may require a bit of prep time, they won’t disappoint. And chances are that all of those fun things you usually do on Father’s Day — fishing, a park picnic, hitting up a museum — don’t compare to a silly game with his favorite people. 1 Who knows Dad the best?
Have dad make a list of his favorite things. Everyone gets a chance to write down what they think the correct answer is. Dad is totally the judge and jury on this one, and he gets to choose the reward for getting it correct or the consequence of a wrong answer. He can do something like have you bite a lemon for the wrong answer or pass out M&M’s for the right ones. It’s his call.
How good are you at acting it out? If dad is pretty good, you might want to be on his charade team. Create categories like popular movies, songs, or animals. Each person pulls one and acts it out — trying to get their team to guess the answer. This is a fun way of pulling everyone together and having a good laugh with dad on his day.
3 Yoga pose challenge
It’s time to find your center and go up against dad in the Yoga Pose Challenge. You can Google some yoga positions or pull up a quick beginners video on YouTube. If dad hasn’t been working on his downward dog or warrior pose, he might just get beat by the limber kiddos. Whoever falls first loses.
Father’s Day is an excellent time to pull out this oldie but goodie. And the new Twister games give the spinner the option to make up their own call. For example, instead of saying put your right hand on the blue circle, you’d say put your right hand on your stomach or your left foot in the air. So it’s Twister… but with a twist.
This is a game of strategy and finesse, and that alone will fuel everyone’s competitive side. Each player takes a turn removing a wooden block from the bottom of the tower without touching the other blocks. If you successfully dislodge your block, carefully place it on top and hope the new position doesn’t make the wood tower topple. Try not to hold your breath the whole time.
6 Water fight
There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned water fight! Dad will love hearing the screams and giggles (when he’s not running for his
dry life)! If you don’t have or want to use water guns, feel free to use water balloons, a water hose, or even spray bottles. 7 Play HORSE kate_sept2004/E+/Getty Images
If dad considers himself an NBA all-star who missed his chance at the draft, then he’s ready to lace up and win this hoop competition. Playing HORSE is simple, and you can always bend the rules
found here to fit your family. 8 Foot race
A good foot race is in order when the kids think they can
best dad in all things physical! He’ll be ready to show that he ain’t too shabby, and his knees can still come through for him. 9 Cornhole
This may be the traditional backyard BBQ game, but that’s why dad will love it so much. Good thing he won’t be held up by flipping the meat on the grill this time. Even the littlest toddlers can
understand the concept of cornhole, and they’ll love trying their own toss of the bag. 10 Sequence Sequence is a board game favorite with families. It involves the board, playing cards, chips, and up to three teams of two people. Be the first to get five chips in a row and you and your partner win. 11 Speak out: kids vs. parents Who spit on me? Sorry, but you’ll get used to it happening with Speak Out, so back up a bit when it’s not your turn. The game consists of four adult mouthpieces and six for kids. Each player grabs a card and tries to communicate the phrase on it to see if they can be understood. 12 Play a card game
We’ve been doing this with our kids since they were 5. Use a regular deck of cards and create your game. One way we chose was to create a spread of three or more of the same suit (spades, diamonds, etc) or the same number. Let dad get to choose what the wild card is, and have fun trying to win!
If you want something more classic, there are so many options for
family-friendly card games. Consider it educational! Don’t forget to make some card snacks. 13 The marshmallow game
This one is simple, but will have everyone giggling. Print a list of phrases and pour a bowl of large marshmallows. Each family member takes a turn going to the front and after stuffing their mouth with marshmallows, tries to say the phrase. The person who can get the family to guess the most phrases wins!
14 Scavenger hunt for his favorites
In this activity, you can make a short list of dad’s favorite things to purchase. But here’s the best part. Hide them around the house and create a list of clues to randomly find that will lead him to his treasures. The more clever your clues, the more fun it will be to watch him figure it out!
15 Checkers tournament
For the intellectual dad whose family doesn’t might not all grasp chess yet, he’ll be glad to do a checkers takeover. If you want to make it interesting, add a timer to crank up the pressure a bit for each player. Keep switching — the loser gets up and the next person takes a seat to challenge the champion.
16 Pudding eating race
Does dad have a favorite pudding or jello? If not, use applesauce or something equally soft. Whoever finishes first wins! This will be messy, but so worth the laughs. Especially for the toddler and preschool set.
17 Ping pong tournament
We all got really good at ping pong during quarantine. If you have a ping pong table, this holiday is the perfect time to use it! The family can take turns letting dad teach his winning moves or trying to beat him. But even if he loses, it’s his day, so let him hold on to his paddle and keep trying.
18 Putt putt golf
Since the world is opening up a bit, here's a game for your golf lover. A round or two of putt putt golf will give him the chance to show off his skills for his fam! And you get to cheer him on.
19 Obstacle course
This may take some staying up at night if you want it to be a surprise. But making a homemade obstacle course for dad give the kids a chance to get creative and come up with different challenges that he has to tackle to win. Time everyone to see who does it the fastest. And then repeat!
20 Hide & flag
I made this up, but hear me out. It’s a mix of
hide and seek, and flag football. And you can take this game anywhere in the house or yard. The challenge is making sure those flags aren’t seen even though you may think you’re well hidden. 21 Guess that mush
If you can convince dad to put on a blindfold and taste test unidentifiable mush, then you’ll get to make some of the funniest memories. Line up a few foods that you’ve smashed up, and the family can take turns trying to decide what it is. Some delicious, and some not so tasty.
Please take a video, because you’ll want to remember the faces you all make.
22 Who do they love more?
Please don’t quote me on the name of this game, but there’s a TikTok trend where the parents stand in front of the kids, and then they run in opposite directions to see who the kid(s) “love more.” Of course, your children aren’t aware of what’s happening; they just see you take off!
This game is a competition between parents, and it’s even funnier if you add your dog in the mix. Do it several times to see if dad wins the top score.
23 Family kickball
OK, pull out dad’s favorite sneaks and water bottle to take a drive to your favorite park. If you have extended family close by, this would be a cool competition and would make a great tradition!
24 Music in the driveway
Getting a few neighbors on board with this one would be fun. After you’ve all celebrated individually, pull out your lawn chairs, maybe have a small grill with hot dogs and turn the music up. Other neighbors can do the same and you can even have some distanced visits.
25 Movie time: Croods style
If you’ve ever seen
, you’d know they sleep with everyone piled on top of the dad. End this day with his favorite family movie and him being surrounded (or topped) by those he loves most. The Croods
Filling dad’s special day with fun, giggles, and lots of competition will leave a trail of memories for your family, and he will relish every opportunity to show off for the people he loves the most. So it’s OK to give in and let him win a time or two. Consider it par for the course.
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This article was originally published on
May 2, 2021