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DIY it or Buy it Father's Day Gifts

Great Father's Day Gift Ideas for Eight Kinds of Dads

Published on: May 25, 2013

For the Playful Dad

"Ask me about my T-rex" shirt

Some dads quietly read the newspaper while shushing their kids with a stern glance, but not this dad.  Playful dads crawl around on the floor making animal sounds while the kids scamper about between fits of giggles. 

"Buy it" Gift

Help the playful dad up his game with this "Ask me about my T-Rex" shirt, which transforms into a dinosaur face when pulled over his head. There are also the Sasquatch,  zombie and ninja versions. 

"DIY it" Gift

Shadow puppet dog

What better way to make the playful dad beam than with a shadow puppet show put on in his honor? A dark room, a flashlight and your hands are all that is needed, but kids can incorporate props, music and paper cutouts to make it more intricate. There are many free online tutorials for making different shadow puppet shapes. 

If shadow puppets are too intricate, A sock puppet show or even a show starring favorite stuffed animals are always an option as well. 

Next: Foodie Dad


For the Foodie Dad

"Foodie dad" knows how to inject a little flavor into even the most bland parts of life. He's the dad who doesn't just marinate his steak, but rubs it with a fine adobo. He bakes not just just bread, but brioche and beignets. 

"Buy it" Gift

What foodie dad wouldn't take delight in serving up Darth Vader with a side of Stormtrooper? Williams Sonoma offers these awesome star fighter pancake molds for any dad who grew up staging light saber fights and using "the force." They also offer similar cookie cutters and cupcake kits in their themed collection


Chalkboard paint coated herb pots

"DIY it" Gift

For the dad who likes incorporating fresh herbs into his cooking, chalkboard paint is an easy way to spice up some bland ceramic pots. Check out the tutorial from Virginia Sweet Pea. Chalkboard paint dries fast and is  forgiving of splotches and brush strokes, so even little ones can help. Kids can even add doodles and fun messages for the pots so dad is reminded of how loved he is while clipping herbs. 


 Next: Techie Dad


For the Techie Dad

"Buy it" Gift

Etsy is rife with unique Ipad covers, from this Lord of The Rings cover, to a Marvel comics themed cover to Seahawks and other sports teams. 

 "DIY it" Gift

 Help dad keep his cords tidy and keep his smart phone off the ground with a charging station by Make It & Love It, which transforms an old shampoo bottle using scraps of fabric and glue. A little creativity goes a long way in this tutorial.


Next: Chill Dad


For the Chill Dad

The chill dad is happy with a cold drink and a lawn chair. He works hard, but craves those restful moments to reboot. 

Matchbox car track shirt

"Buy it" Gift

What better way to relax than with a matchbox car massage?

This brilliant T-shirt turns dad's back into a racetrack. Dad can kick back to the sound of kids making "soothing" engine noises as cars race across his back. 

Soda bottle craft 


"DIY it" Gift

Give dad his own personalized mug to sip from. All you need is a sharpie marker, a white porcelain teacup and some imagination. Check out this easy tutorial from Coupons Are Great. 

Another great idea is this soda bottle craft from Our Daily Obsessions, which transforms a soda bottle into a cute pun for the "World's Best Pop" to drink from. 


Next: Artistic Dad


Comic book father and son art print

For the Artistic Dad

The artistic dad is a creative genius. He's not just a connoisseur of Monet and Van Gogh, but sees the beauty in finger paintings and stick figures.

"Buy it" Gift

Feed dad's love of one-of-a-kind art with a personalized print from Choose from a variety of options, from Warhol-inspired prints to comic-book themed options, as well as a variety of photo manipulations and prints. 




Collaborative painting for dad"DIY it" Gift

What better way to show your love for dad than a collaborative painting made in his honor? A blank canvas and some paint is all that is needed. An abstract piece is especially fun since little ones who may not yet be skilled with a paint brush can still participate. Check out the tutorial from

 Next: Science Geek Dad





 For the Science Geek Dad

According to science geek dad, Old McDonald didn't just have a horse — he had a mammal of the subspecies Equus ferus caballus. Indulge his inner scientist with a gift that lets him explore and observe.

"Buy it" Gift

Help dad explore his inner geologist with a geode kit. Geodes, formed millions of years ago from trapped gas bubbles in the lava of prehistoric volcanoes,  will break open with the tap of a hammer to reveal a hidden mineral treasure. Kids will love to "help."

"DIY it" Gift

Appeal to dad's inner rocket scientist by building a rocket together.  Exploratorium offers a free tutorial on how to build a rocket from a two-liter plastic bottler, vinyl tubing, tape and PVC pipe. 


 Next: Gamer Dad


 For the Gamer Dad

The gamer dad is a winner. He's rolling in hotels with a fat stack of hundreds when the family plays Monopoly and is always on the lookout for a new challenge. 

Buy it Gift

Give gamer dad a fresh challenge by getting him a winner from the Deutscher Spiele Preis list, a prestigious annual award for board games which collects votes from the industry's stores, magazines, professionals and game clubs. If  he prefers games that are family-friendly, another award, the Spiel des Jahres, is generally awarded to family games. 

"DIY it" Gift

Bring gamer dad's favorite board games to life! Blogger Celebrate Every Day with Me  created a life-sized version Candyland called "Daddyland," which included candy bar prizes and treats for dad. Or, send dad on a scavenger hunt to find special presents made just for him, like blogger Whimsical Whimsies did. 



 Next: Treasure Hunting Dad

For the Treasure Hunting Dad

Treasure hunter dad knows that "a penny saved is a penny earned" and can often be found combing the beach for change, sea glass and lost jewelry. While he enjoys the treasures he inevitably comes upon, it's the thrill of the hunt that drives him.

"Buy it" Gift

 Up dad's treasure hunting success with the ultimate treasure hunting tool: a metal detector. What dad can resist the siren call of the metal detector as it "beep beep beeps" over potential treasure? 

"DIY it" Gift

Take dad on a treasure hunter's adventure with geocaching and letterboxing. Both send participants on the hunt for a hidden treasure, using skills like puzzle solving, hiking and navigation. Dad could even bring his metal detector along! 






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