The golden rule of gift-giving is to give what the recipient will enjoy. Thus, I used to get my dad golf paraphernalia for Father’s Day but I never played golf. Despite my good intentions, that lack of knowledge kind of made each golf gift impersonal.
We try not to be too extravagant with gifts her but that said, I think there is no harm in teaching kids to be a little bit more thoughtful when it comes to gift giving. It is an awesome social skill. What could be better than a kid getting Dad a super-fun brain game that shouts, null Here is a list of top ten gift ideas that family members can give to the dads in their life with each with a special message that shows how we feel about them. Many of these are so affordable and siblings can also pool their resources but sometimes Mom will have to chip in.
Gifts That Say My Dad is Very Creative- I like my kids to be a little cunning with their Dad. If they could, they’d make him play Monopoly with them everyday. But Dad is tired and if he is going to play with his kids, it is nice to give him something that he could really enjoy. Be wary though, these products can’t hide that the gift giver wants to spend more time with their dad.
- Make: it – Soldering Starter Kit – ($69.99) We have all been looking to our schools to put more emphasis on STEM subjects but what about at home? Are we ever committed to spending time at home to learning how things work? The good news is that it is now easier than ever to understand how things work because we can make them ourselves! One way to learn is by soldering. When you solder, dads and even the kids can fix things around the house or better yet, make something fun. My son just made a blinking nightlight that can turn on by itself at night by soldering on wires and resistors all by himself at the Makerspace at NYSCI. Dad lead the way of the STEM learning at home with his new soldering kit, co-branded by two of my favorite stores: RadioShack and Maker Shed.
- Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects – ($20) This has everything a great DIY book should have. The text is clear and concise, the photos are not just for show but rather they are part of the instruction and take up just as much space in the book as the written directions do. Most impressive is the introduction. “Say yes to mistakes,” writes the author Mark Frauenfelder, the founding editor-in-chief of MAKE and now editor-in-chief of Cool Tools. Frauenfelder shares in his book, null I lost my timidity and started making skateboards, musical instruments, wooden puzzles, and electronic toys.” My little one bought this for his dad this Father’s Day. His dad will love making the lunchbox guitar.
Zometool Design 5 – ($79.99) The Design 5 kit is a toy that grown-ups may enjoy more than the kids. The colors are just in black and white but it functions just like the color-coordinated Zometools that can make those breath-taking 3D geometrical structures. Like its colorful counterparts, the possibilities are endless but the new Zometool Design collection has a much more sophisticated look so that Dad or the children can create something that Dad can proudly hang on the wall in his office. Why hang up a painting when you can create new wall art every month with Zometool Design 5 and then Dad can show his colleagues how deep a thinker he really is! Be one of the first to catch this brand-new video available for this blog readers first! Prepare to have your mind blown at 1:12.
Gifts That Say My Dad is A Big Thinker- These three games below are extremely well-designed which will make as excellent gifts to adorn any coffee table or executive desk. More importantly, the play really takes your brain for a major workout. Thus, Dad will instantly guess that his kids know a good game when they see one and that they cared to get him the very best.
- Gobblet- ($29.99) Even though I’m the professional game tester in the family, my husband still manages to play more games with our kids than I do. Most recently, he and my son went crazy over Gobblet, a strategy game that encourages players to think ahead and visualize all the traps you can set against your opponent. The game really works on fine-tuning one’s visual memory but it also works on something that makes Blue Orange Games really stand out to me. Gobblet’s setup naturally demonstrates to players the value of having good manners, a quality that is often found in truly classic games. Having good manners and paying attention to the sensitivities of others allows for everyone to have a good time. Teaching good manners is sometimes more on the mom but in this game play both dads and moms have support in teaching this essential skill.
- Quadrillion – ($29.99) This is one of the best logic puzzles ever invented. Period. Four magnetic grids are snapped together in different configurations and Dad will find it challenging to make sure all of the pieces can fill the spaces on the puzzle board. The most amazing part about this is that it is so easy to create your own game that Dad may just turn around to challenge his little one to solve a puzzle he’s devised just for her! The challenge can go both ways as kids can challenge Dad to solve their own puzzle. What makes this all possible is the cutting edge design of the magnetic puzzle grids. Use less grids and the puzzle is easier to create so everyone gets to sit in the driver’s seat. That gives all the players more chances to connect with dear ol’ Dad.
Laser Maze – ($24.99) Hands down, this is THE game for sharpening executive functioning skills (one’s ability to organize, strategize, initiate, and self-regulate as needed so that one may complete his task.) We work on these skills in childhood but they still challenge us as adults, especially in the workplace. It is good for any Dad to take a quiet moment, survey the situation, and make the appropriate moves to solve this awesome brain-training puzzle that sold out last year before the Christmas rush barely even began! Why the fuss? Oh, did I mention there were lasers to bouncing off mirrors so players could hit their target? If a child gets this puzzle for his dad, he’s kind of asking, “Can I have that after you’re done?”
Gifts that Say My Dad is Very Cool- Desk toys do more than massage brains to help Dad think outside of the box. They have the tendency to relax whoever enters his office as that person is able to fidget with this desk toys while bringing up an important discussion. Moreover, I can’t find a more fitting present than toys for a kid to give to his Dad. Kids are toy experts and toys are excellent symbols of children. As these toys sit on Dad’s desk they are apt to trigger his thoughts about his kids, every time he plays with them.
- Z Windups- ($3.95 – $19.99) Z Windups are not your ordinary cheap wind-up toy. Each of these toys are products of higher level mechanical design and many of them are encased in translucent plastic so you can see how the gears work together! The toy soldier waves his arms and also does splits. Spacy’s Alien Ship does not roll off the desk when it gets to the edge. My favorite is the Skippy the Sock Monkey because he can jump rope while moving about in circles. When Dad gets these for Father’s Day, there is no question he will buy himself the Morph- a car that rolls itself into a walking dog and then folds back into car mode and keeps on driving! Don’t believe me? Watch this video. They’ll be available right after Father’s Day.
- Slinky – ($12.99 for 3 Pack) You can’t go wrong with Slinky. It is well made and the gold and silver colors are awesome for dads. Metal Slinkys are also now available in brighter colors like orange, purple, chartreuse, and turquoise. I can’t help but think that things like Slinky at the office desk is just as powerful as a family photo, if not more. When you pick up a Slinky, you are turning your brain on because you are touching it with both hands and moving it around. Hopefully it will also remind Dad that there is a little one waiting to play with him when he gets home. Lastly, if Mom wants to splurge, there is a gold-plated Slinky selling for a mere $149.99.
- Phantom Thinking Putty with Blacklight Keychain - ($14.99) Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld is really crazy. How can they make a putty that changes color by you flashing a tiny UV light on it. It’s amazing but more importantly, it is really fun. We used to show off our latest smartphone to our friends but now that has gotten old. What drops jaws these days are mind-blowing science toys like this one. The black light comes on a keychain inside the tin which Dad will love attaching to his keys. The putty is also one of those desk toys that can help Dad think of his next big idea.
- That Guy! Use Me Laptop Toolkit – ($14.99) I just love That Guy! Kids buying their dad a cleaning kit from an office supply store is not fun but desktop tools from That Guy! are a whole different story. This is actually a laptop toolkit that is great for kids and grown-ups alike. This silly face is just what Dad needs to get through the day. Kids like to look at it to cheer them on through grueling hours of homework. Hopefully Dad will think of his little ones as he cleans his keyboard. Maybe they can do it for Dad at the next Bring Your Child to Work Day- my kids love those days.
Note: Every product has been personally tested by Toys Are Tools’ testers. Products were submitted to facilitate a review. Some were also purchased by the writer. Reviews are never promised.
More best toy tips from Jenn at Toys Are Tools.