Getting dad involved in family fun doesn't have to feel like a chore. Just think about what he likes to do on his time off and incorporate that into your plans. Here are ideas to get you started.


I hate camping. Correction. I used to hate camping. But this is about dad, so I'll save the story for later. If you have a dad in your life who loves the outdoors, grab your gear, find a spot and park it for the weekend. Just pack enough food, supplies and clean underpants, and surprise him with a survival getaway.

Watch a few "Man vs. Wild" episodes to get you in the mood. Buy him a flint from REI, and watch him try to start a fire. (Bring matches just in case, though.) Camp in the backyard if getting away is impossible. As long as there are roasted marshmallows, your kids will be happy. See how you can make outdoor vacations work for you and your kids.


If you've got a grill lover, you've got an easy celebration. Buy some of his favorite meat (probably red stuff; resist the temptation to buy the healthy ground turkey option). Make his favorite artery-clogging potato salad, and have an outdoor cook-a-thon.


If you've got a sport-loving fanatic, there are many ways to get the whole family in on the action.

Go to a Live Game

Grab some affordable bleacher seats and take everyone out to enjoy the game. Some of the best memories I have growing up is watching the Angels play from the cheap seats. I don't even like baseball, but I cheered them on to the World Series. Watching live is an experience.

Watch on TV

If you can't get to a game, make it an event to watch it at home. Whip up some special treats. Grill hot dogs and pop popcorn for a baseball game. Have your kids make fan posters out of butcher paper and hang them up on the walls. Dress in your team colors and play a game on commercial breaks.

If you have younger kids, to keep their attention, play some active games during the commercials. Think of freeze dance or have them jump on a mini trampoline. Have your dad explain the game during breaks for older kids. This will create mini-fanatics, so beware.


Watching the game on television is even more fun with a tailgate gathering. Gather other dads and kids at your house. Then use your patio, driveway, backyard, or front yard as a tailgate party. Mini grills, coolers and friends make watching, even an everyday game, an event. The best part about this is dad can truly enjoy the game, while the kids get to play with others, and you get to enjoy conversation if you aren't much of a fan.

Organize a Ball Game With Other Dads

Every year, our family reunion leads up to an epic game of co-ed flag football. Whether it's football, softball, basketball or bocce ball, your family will have a blast spending time outside in a team activity. Call your neighbors and friends to make it larger teams. Plan a picnic or barbeque around it and spend the whole day at the park. You may even want to make it a regularly scheduled event throughout the summer.

Check out the 7 reasons to get your kids involved in sports.


Grab worms, poles and a picnic, and spend the day with dad at the lake. Bring games to play with the kids while you're waiting for that bite. Frisbees, bikes, and balls are great to keep the restless at bay. Plan for a whole day, and bring food, in case you don't catch anything. Fishing is a great activity that can combine a lot of the other activities at the same time.


If your dad loves music, research which music festivals will be near you this summer. There are a lot of family friendly events. Bring sunscreen if you're going to an outdoor festival.

Movie Night

If your guy loves flicks, grab a few family favorites and have a sit-in. Lighting is everything. Shut the lights off, hang sheets for movie curtains, pop popcorn and enjoy your time.

Video Gaming

If your dad is a gamer, grab a few family friendly games and just indulge his passion. One day won't ruin your kids for going outside. Remember, this is about getting dad involved with his interests. Worried about your kids becoming obsessed? Check out the 7 ways you can keep your kids from becoming video game addicts.

These are fun ideas to try with your dad, but you know your man best. Think about what interests him, and then figure out a way to involve the family. Whether it's surfing, dirt bike riding, or boating, there's an activity out there that will engage your dad in some fun family adventures.