Top Father's Day Activities For Active Dads
Father’s Day is pretty perfectly timed for active dads. Unlike UK Mother’s Day, which falls before the clocks go forward and is subject to the UK’s changeable early spring weather, mid to late June enjoys long hours of daylight and warmer temperatures, making it ideal for a long bike ride or a day hike to spend some quality time with dad and to celebrate all the things he does for the family.
Dads are notoriously difficult to buy presents for, so if all your 'gifts for dad' searches are proving a bit uninspiring, it may be worth planning some fun activities for his day instead of continuing your fruitless search for perfect gifts.
We've picked ten things you could plan for Father's Day that should be a hit with active dads. Each section includes tips or links to further reading to help you make this Father's Day the best yet - both for you and for dad.
1. Go on a family bike ride (with an optional pub lunch stop) - If your dad loves exploring the world from a bike saddle, why not get everyone together for a family bike ride? If the rest of the family aren't keen cyclists, you could pick a traffic-free scenic route that has a cycle hire shop near the start. Borrowing bikes is quicker, easier, safer and cheaper than buying kit or borrowing it from friends and neighbours. It also gives you the opportunity to pick the brains of the cycle shop staff so that you can tackle biking trails that are suitable for all ability levels in your group and showcase the best of the local area. They may even be able to recommend a nice and conveniently located pub on your route so that you have somewhere to stop for a well-earned lunch.
Prepare for your activity in advance - If you are riding with young children who don't cycle regularly, let them have a few practice sessions before you set off on your main adventure. Even children who seemed to be confident in the saddle a few months ago can be a little wobbly if they haven't cycled for a while and a bit of practice with pedalling, braking, changing gear and steering will make the day itself more enjoyable for everyone. It's also worth reminding them of those all-important cycle safety rules, such as how you will signal them to stop in an emergency and what they should do at a road junction.
Remember to take layers and provisions - Everyone on the bike ride will benefit from taking water bottles, snacks and extra layers to put on if it gets cold. It may seem like a lot of extra stuff to cart around, but trust us, it's worth the hassle!
2. Pick a location you haven’t explored before and go for a walk there - Whether you go for a short stroll at a national beauty spot or take on a day-hike in nearby mountain location or national park, enduring the sweatiness and sore muscles to enjoy a view-to-die-for, a Father's Day walk provides a great opportunity for family bonding and to learn about a new place. If you need a bit of destination inspiration, here is Britain Magazine's rundown of the best Father's Day walks.
3. Get a few families together and set up your own sports day (with special prizes for the dads' race) If the thought of undiluted family time is a bit much and you'd like to share your Father's Day celebrations with your friends and extended family, you could plan a sports day with a series of outdoor games for everyone to enjoy.
The activities can be as simple or ambitious as you like, from classics such as the three-legged race, a tug of war and the egg and spoon to more complex athletic events such as obstacle courses and It's A Knockout style challenges. You could even plan a timed scavenger hunt full of physical challenges that each team must complete as quickly as possible in order to win.
Keep it Simple - Make sure all the activities you choose have really simple rules. You won't have much luck explaining complex games to over-excited kids or parents who may have had a beer or two.
Reward the Winners - Offer prizes for the winners of every race. They don't have to be big or expensive, but kids and grown ups love a prize, whether it's a tiny trophy or a bag of sweets.
4. Play rounders on a local playing field and get fish and chips afterwards - Combine getting the entire family outside to burn off some energy with one of our nation's favourite foods! Rounders has been played in England since Tudor times and has been a school summer sport of choice for what seems like as long. This means that a game of rounders is nostalgic for many mums and dads, but it's good fun for older kids too. All you need is 18 people to make up the two rounders teams, the rounders kit (bat, ball and posts or cones to mark the four bases) and someone kind enough to go to the chip shop at the end to fetch your well-earned takeaway dinner.
5. Go swimming at an outdoor pool - There are about four days every year when going to a lido feel like being on holiday in the south of France at the height of summer. The rest of the time we are being stoic and British and deciding to enjoy ourselves despite the typically inclement national weather patterns. Celebrate one of our most endearing national traits by planning to spend some of Father's Day at a lido. You could hit the jackpot and enjoy a lovely sunny day, or you could be spending time with the family in a lukewarm pool in the dizzle - either way you'll be supporting a local business, getting some exercise and earning your evening indulging in a pizza party or a movie marathon.
6. Send dad out for a morning run/cycle/gym session and make him a surprise Father’s Day lunch for when he gets home - If dad loves nothing more than a serious effort session on his bike, working up a good sweat at the gym or hitting the roads or trails for a long run but the rest of the family is less enthusiastic about it, you could make him think that his Father's Day treat is a lone morning exercise session. You can use the time while he's out of the house to prepare a surprise lunch. He'll come home, having generated a big appetite, to find the table laden with amazing food that you have prepared whilst he was gone. If that doesn't make his special occasion one to treasure then next year you can revert to a thoughtful card full of dad jokes and breakfast in bed!
7. Go camping and have a barbecue - Perfect for an all-out nature enthusiast dad, this idea allows you to appreciate the beauty of nature and cook up a storm on a campfire or portable BBQ. Going to the effort of organising a camping trip (instead of just barbecuing in the back yard) is usually worth it because everyone gets away from their to-do lists and focuses on enjoying quality time as a family. Depending on where you choose to camp, you could also get a family road trip out of it too, which is great fun provided no one falls out over the navigation! If you are new to camping or embarking on it as a family for the first time, read these First Time Camping Tips from Pure Leisure to maximise your chances of creating a picturesque family bonding experience this Father's Day.
8. Get out on the water (fishing, jet skiing, rowing, punting, sailing) - if the father figure in your life is a water sports junkie you could mark his special occasion with a blast of family fun on the jet skis, a scenic fishing trip or a few relaxing hours on the water in a rowing boat. If any of your family members are new to water sports, read these Water Sports Safety Tips to ensure that everyone practices proper water safety.
9. Organise a family golf day - There must be golf-mad dads out there would love to spend Father's Day introducing the family to their favourite sport. Whether you get small children involved by playing a round or two of mini - golf or get older kids trying their hand at the driving range, dad will love sharing his passion for golf with the family. If you are the long-suffering family of a golf enthusiast and you can't quite face the thought of a day playing golf, you could always organise a weekend a hotel that happens to have a golf course (but maybe also a good kids club and a spa, because when the rest of the family is happy, dad's happy, right?) Here is a list of the Top 10 Family Golf Breaks to kickstart your search for the perfect Father's Day golfing experience.
10. Book a family segway experience - if you are looking for something new and fun to experience as a family that doesn't take ages to master, a segway experience could be just what you're after. It's not the most active of pastimes, but it does get the whole family outdoors together and is great if the fitness levels in the family vary and you don't want anyone to get left behind.
In the UK you are only able to ride segways on private land, but there are a lot of companies (including Go Ape, Segway Events and Into The Blue) offering segway experiences, so you should be able to find a venue near you. It's better suited to families with older kids, as the minimum weight requirement to ride a segway is 7 stone. The majority of experiences last between 30 mins and an hour, so you may have to supplement your plans by going for a pub lunch afterwards or going home to a game night to make a full day of it for dad.
Segway image provided by Go Ape Ltd