Father’s Day can be a creative opportunity to celebrate the prominent male figures in children’s lives. It can also be a source of panic for nurseries on how to ensure inclusivity on this specific day. We’re here to help! We have collated a mixture of Father’s Day crafts, gifts and things to do on Father’s Day in the build-up to 19th June 2022.
When trying to be inclusive, some educational settings can become concerned with excluding certain families: children without a father in the home. Originating in America, Father’s Day was thought to have been introduced around 1910. Comparatively, Mother’s Day was officially recognised in 1972.
Father’s Day is a time-old tradition to appreciate and celebrate those father figures in our lives. Whether they are grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles, brothers, or family friends. Positive support is vital for stability when faced with adversity, any opportunity to highlight the people who love us in our lives should be championed.
The traditional methods of recognising this special day in nurseries often include creative tasks and gift making. Something personalised to mark their age and development to be appreciated by the family members can easily be tied into sensory play and mark-making activities.
When choosing a creative gift, it is important to be mindful of resource waste; recycled materials are ideal to turn into a personalised masterpiece. Some nurseries and schools are beginning to link celebrations further than gift creation but towards the role-play involved in the responsibility of being a father figure. Some examples may be recognising the responsibilities parents have for caring for others, cooking and nurturing, and cleaning around the house.
Families are diverse; there may be a variety of family structures within your nursery. Discussion with the parents themselves may be the most effective method for ensuring all are included in the celebrations. This shows that awareness of inclusion and appreciation of different family structures are essential in your setting.
The fundamental principle behind Mother’s and Father’s Day is to show those around us how we appreciate and love them. Simple adjustments to wording from ‘I love you, Daddy’ to ‘I love you’ can include all. This can also be applied to those children who thrive at home in a single-mother family, and bereaved children and families.
It can be challenging to think of new and exciting craft ideas, so we have done it for you:
Using a template found online for the shape of an adult foot or shoe tread, paint some non-toxic, washable paint onto the child’s foot. Then, carefully place it on top of the adult’s foot or shoe template. You can add an extra message to make your families smile; ‘Following in my Daddy’s footsteps and being kind’.
Using air-drying clay, roll a small ball of clay into a circular shape, similar to a teacup coaster. The children can place their hands in paint to carefully transfer it to the clay. You can add optional additional decoration or varnish glaze.
Try pairing different colour mixes with sensory play for this next gift idea, using the inspiration of barbequing. You will need a simple, black semi-circle with lines for the barbeque legs and some non-toxic, washable paint. Giving the look of flames, you can sponge or paint sections of yellow, orange, and red paint on both of their hands. The child will carefully place handprints on top of the barbeque. Optional messages can be added for ‘Dad’s cooking partner’ can be written nearby.
Using rocks and pebbles found locally, or you can buy a set online in the correct shapes, your children can decorate a paperweight for their Dads. If they are nearing school-starting age, they may be able to use decorative pens. An example of some pens to purchase can be found here. If they are younger and slightly less dexterous, a hand print with their name written nearby can be a lovely keepsake for the family.
For those keen gardeners, a small packet of seeds with an appreciative message of ‘You help me grow’ can be a great and relatively cheap idea for a crafty gift.
Sticking with the footprint theme, using a print on card and then laminated with a tassel can double as a fabulous bookmark. With small feet being a perfect size!
So many crafting projects can be made from recyclable, everyday materials. For example, use an old plastic or polystyrene cup and some loose parts (beads, pasta or pom poms) to make a recycled wind chime. Or turn a used, plastic milk bottle into a face, with the handle for the nose and bottle tops for the eyes, personalising to create an abstract portrait of Dad.
This craft activity needs only paper or card and patience to cut around hand prints. First, draw around both child’s hands onto a piece of card. Once they are cut out, this can be excellent fine motor skill practice for your more advanced children. They will then stick the concertina strip in between the hands and trace over the phrase ‘This is how much I love you.’
A paper plate and some yellow paint are all needed for this next activity. This activity encourages creative mark-making using different painting instruments. Encourage them to practise with sponges, feathers, hands, fingers, and paintbrushes. Once dry, you can help them trace ‘You are my sunshine, Dad.’
Folding card or paper into concertina fans can be a tremendous mental and dexterity workout for your older children. They can decorate with as many sequins, glitter and stickers as you feel brave enough to share! Should be: The phrase ‘Dad, you are fan-tastic’ can be traced onto the fan.
A heart shape template can be a great place to start experimenting with collage. Provide the children with different colours, textures, and sizes of materials to stick onto the heart shape. For an extra challenge, you can leave the template on the A4 piece of paper for the additional task to stay within the lines.
Paper plates are perfect for creating rosettes for ‘The Best Dad’ award. Add on some extra ribbons on the bottom, and a personalised picture printed in the middle to make it truly heart-warming.
Cards can be a keepsake that can be cherished and looked after for years. You can decide as a nursery team a specific card style you will make your ‘traditional’ type. This will begin to build an expectation for those who have several children who may pass through the nursery. You can tailor the cards to reflect the developmental level of the child: moving from mark-making, handprint and footprint stamps, to utilising their first drawings.
Using masking tape on card to make shapes or letters can be a way to create messy play cards with a little more structure.
Not all Dads wear ties, but if they do a tie and shirt card personalised through creative finger paint play can be a great card-making activity.
Let’s take finger and hand print painting back to prehistoric times! Using a simple template or drawing of a dinosaur, toddlers can easily create a dinosaur card for their ‘roarsome’ Dad.
Another nice idea to share with your families to try at home is an activity jar. This is a gift for the Dads that costs very little money (just a recycled jar and some paper). Below are some excellent ideas to share on your social media platforms for dad-child activities to enjoy together:
Don’t forget to share pictures of your thoughtful craft-making, plus these ideas for home activities, with your families via your communication platform this Father’s Day!