Things to Do with Dad


Water Pistols

Have a sunny day water fight with your dad. Rinse out two plastic containers for dishwashing detergent. Fill the containers with water and replace the caps. Then go outside, stand back to back with dad, slowly take three paces forward, turn around, and squirt!

One-Board Bookends

You will need: 3/4″ x 5 5/8″ x 2′ pine board, sandpaper, wood rasp, 2″ finish nails, thin 3″ flathead wood screws, coping saw or jigsaw, hammer, drill, and drill bit slightly smaller in diameter than wood screws.

Cut out the legs for both ends, using a coping saw or jigsaw and by following the dotted lines on the diagram. Once the pieces are cut out, remove the nails and smooth with wood rasp. Using a sanding block, medium grade sandpaper, and then fine sandpaper, smooth all surfaces.

Attach ends with wood screws. It’s easier if you predrill the holes. After final sanding, give bookends a coat of stain-wax. If you intend to paint them, use undercoat first.

Miniature Golf

Use an old doormat to tee off. Mark off fairway boundaries with sticks. Make obstacles using materials like cardboard boxes, pipes, cinder blocks, wood planks, or croquet wickets. Designate certain areas either as a sand trap or a water hazard. Empty tin cans turned on their sides can be used for holes. Write the number of each hole on a paper flag that you have attached to a stick. Find a putter and a golf ball or use a broom and rubber ball to play.

As you go through the course, count the number of times you hit the ball before getting it into the hole. If your ball enters one of the hazard areas, add two penalty points to your score. Remember, the lowest score wins.

Silly Snacks

Surprise your dad with a creature that’s fun to eat! Put your creature together, using toothpicks and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Try to pick fruits and vegetables that will taste good together.

Hanging Garden

Cut the top two inches off a large carrot, leaving any stalks or shoots attached. Stand the cut end on some absorbent cotton in a saucer of water. Put it in the sun and keep the cotton moist until the shoots have begun to sprout. Then hollow a small bowl out of the cut end and push a toothpick through the sides of the bowl (see illustration). Tie a thread to each end of the toothpick and hang in a sunny window. Keep the bowl filled with water. Now you and your dad can watch your tiny hanging garden grow.

Tin Can Wind Chime

Make Dad a wind chime to hand on the porch or patio. Collect four or five colorful tin cans and punch a hole in the bottom of each one with a nail and hammer. Tie a knot in the end of a piece of string and pull string through the hole so that the knot is on the inside of the can. Tie the other end of the string to a coat hanger. Repeat for each can.

If you are using soda pop cans, punch a hole in the top of the can next to the tab opening. Put the string in the punched hole and bring it out through the tab opening. Tie a knot in the end of the string, then attach the other end to a hanger. Beans, small rocks, or tacks can be put in the pop cans to make different tones as the wind blows them against each other.

Memory Map

How well do you and your dad know the neighborhood you live in? Sit down with him and from memory draw a plan of the route you take to go to school, church or work. Put in the streets, houses, trees, stores, and other landmarks. Now take a walk or drive along the route. Did you remember everything?

Soap Sculpture

Do you want to make an inexpensive gift for your dad that can be recycled? Make a soap sculpture that he can either save or use in the bath. Make a simple drawing on a bar of soft soap. Gradually cut away the background with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Cut carefully and slowly—mistakes and fingers are hard to repair. When you’ve finished the carving, smooth the surface by dipping the soap into warm water and then lightly rubbing it with your fingers or a damp watercolor brush. For use in the shower, hang the carving on heavy braided string.