Father's Day: fun things to do with Dad
Fathers' Day can be problematic for some. What to buy for Dad? Gifts for dad can be a heavy hit on the allowance if Dad is a "tool guy", or a BBQ enthusiast, even with Mom to help out. One thing that almost all dad's do enjoy, though, is spending time with their kids, working on a fun activity.
One of the perks working as classroom coordinator for a large Arts & Crafts chain was devising special activities for special occasions - Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter - every occasion was the chance to encourage some "family activities". Watching the twice weekly Moms 'n' Tots, and the Saturday morning Kids' Clubs, each with its share of dads as the attending parent, had shown me what fun the kids and the dads had together working on craft activities.
These crafts were our top crafting activities to do with dads:
Hand-Painted Flower Pots: Many dads enjoy gardening, and what better way to let your dad know how much you like spending time with him than to paint him a great flower pot and include a packet of seeds? That way, you can enjoy making the gift, and then you can spend time together planting the seeds, and watching your potted mini-garden grow.
You will need:
- clay flower pot - 6" to 8" size
- acrylic paints (the kind in the small bottles are best fro this application)
- small paper plates
- spray sealer
- a small container of clean water for painting
- 1" foam paint brushes - one for each color
- small, inexpensive brushes for decorating
- paper towels or paint rags
- Ask an adult to spray the inside of the flower pot with the spray sealer - it will take two - three coats to seal properly - let dry between coat. Once the pot is dry, you can paint the outside.
- Pour about a silver dollar size puddle of paint in the middle of the paper plate. Use a different plate for each color.
- Apply the paint to the outside of the pot, using the foam brushes - one brush for each color. You can make the rim one color and the rest of the pot another color. Different colored stripes always look nice, and they can run up and down, or around the pot, whichever you prefer. Remember to use a new brush for each new color.
- Allow the paint to dry.
- Decorate the flower pot using the small brushes. To use a different color, wash the brush and dry it on a paper towel. Then dip the brush in a new color. Remember to clean the brush every time you change colors.
You can decorate your flower pot with painted flowers, polka-dots, stripes - anything you can imagine that your dad would enjoy.
Stepping Stones for Your Garden
*WARNING* Clean-up should be done out of doors with a garden hose or basin of water. Washing your hands or tools in your sink can clog the pipes.
Whatever the size and style of decoration, these cement stepping stones were always popular. Engraved with the date and child's name, they make a wonderful keepsake to remind us of a fun time spent creating together.
Many kits are available, but it's simple to create your own, homemade version with any fine cement, a tin-foil pie plate, and some paint, buttons, shiny stones, and any other decorative touched you may be inspired to add.
As well, to achieve that smooth, glassy finish, many kits suggest you work upside down (and backwards), as the pattern will be reversed when the set stone is removed from the mold. This works well for older children, but the little ones really love to see the pattern take shape as they work. I find though, that when the stones are created either for or with Dad, the results are lovely, regardless of the method.
You will need:
- several heavy-duty tinfoil pie plates, at least 12" or larger, if available
- fine cement - pre-mixed is best, but buy the finest mix available
- clean water, and a plastic pail for mixing - I like to use recycled ice cream pails. The four gallon size works well and is readily available. Of course, you have to eat the ice-cream first, which is another fun activity.
- a paint-mixing stick for mixing the cement
- decorative elements - these can include buttons, polished stones, beads, colored glass tiles, plastic shapes and letters, and paint (optional - the stepping stones look fabulous either way)
- a Popsicle stick or an old pen (preferably one that doesn't work before you use it in this project) for inscribing the stone with names and the date of your craft project
- spray sealer - to be applied out-doors, and by an adult
- Mix cement according to instructions on the bag, in an amount you will use for several stones - it's always more fun to make more than one
- Pour the mixture into the pie plates and gently level it with the side of the painting stick - tap the pan to release any trapped air
- Let the mixture "set-up" a bit before beginning to work - no more than 15 minutes or so - you can choose your decorative elements while it is setting up, and plan out your pattern or picture
- Once you have planned how the finished stone will look, begin by gently pressing your decorative elements into the cement - take care to push them in gently, so as not to bury them completely, but just set them in flush with the surface
- Set the first stone aside and go on to the next, working as before
- You can also gently press plastic letters into the cement to spell words, or write or print you name and the date with the old pen - the impressions this leaves can be decorated with brightly colored paint once the stepping stones are completely dry - if the cement doesn't hold the impressions, let the stepping stones set up a bit more and try again
- After you're finished decorating the stepping stones, set them aside to dry completely - the stones should be dry enough to remove from the pie plates in about 8 hours, and completely cured in a day
- Once the stones are completely cured, they may be painted with acrylic paints. Then, an adult should spray them with several coats of waterproofing, following the directions on the can - the waterproof sealer for acrylic paints works brilliantly for this.
Top-Down Method (for older children):
- Once you have planned how the finished stone will look, begin by gently placing your decorative elements upside down on the bottom of the pie plate - a loop of masking tape with the sticky side out can be used to temporarily hold your design elements in place, or you can fasten a piece of clear Mac-Tac to the bottom of the pie-plate, sticky side up, to hold everything securely
- After your design is completed, mix the cement according to instructions on the bag, and carefully pour the cement into the pie plate, taking care not to disturb your design
- Set the stepping stone aside to "set-up"
- Once the cement has cured enough to hold an impression, in about an hour, you can also gently press plastic letters into the cement to spell words, or write or print you name and the date with the old pen - the impressions this leaves can be decorated with brightly colored paint once the stepping stones are completely dry - if the cement doesn't hold the impressions, let the stepping stones set up a bit more and try again
- Set the completed stepping stones aside to dry completely - the stones should be dry enough to remove from the pie plates in about 8 hours, and completely cured in a day
- Once the stones are completely cured, they may be painted with acrylic paints. Then, an adult should spray them with several coats of waterproofing, following the directions on the can
More fun Father's Day activities
One of our favorites has always been a family BBQ. If you have a fire-pit, even better - Father's Day is a great excuse for a wienie roast (hot dogs, to some of you)!
Another top, fun-filled activity is kite flying. This can be quite an art form, but nothing is more fun than biking out to a big field or windy hill, and spending the afternoon sending your colorful kite soaring above the countryside.
© 2010 Elle Fredine, All rights reserved
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