Happy Father’s Day!

Photo by  Bilyana Boyadjieva

Photo by Bilyana Boyadjieva

Americans celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. What was the inspiration for Father’s Day? Mother’s Day, of course!

Mother’s Day has been shaped by our nation’s history, being named an official day  in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson. Wanting to afford the same recognition to fathers, Sonora Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day. After urging her state to recognize and honor hard working fathers, Washington became the first state to celebrate Father’s Day. In 1972 President Nixon made Father’s Day a federal holiday.

Today’s father is happy to receive flowers and even a gift or two. In fact, they enjoy the fuss! Fathers who for most of the year are happy to step back and let mom take the spotlight enjoy the attention and expressions of appreciation and love from their family.  Celebrating Father’s Day becomes special and meaningful, especially when you consider all that Dads do. Take time this Father’s Day to express gratitude and love to both your own Dad as well as Daddy for how much they contribute to your life:

  • Dads are role models. For girls, Dad is a model of what to look for in a boyfriend/husband. For boys, Dad may represent the protector and supporter of the family.
  • Dads give good advice. Typically logical, Dad offers wise council and a comforting shoulder to lean on.
  • Dads help out. Often doing the most unpopular tasks, Dad steps up to mow the lawn, take out the recycling, walk the dog or unload the dishwasher.  Some are great handymen, and don’t forget Dad’s job as the official spider-catcher!
  • Dads are adventurous. They are up for a good time. If Mom hesitates, Dad will join you on the scariest roller coaster, in the creepiest haunted house, or down the steepest slope – and love every minute of it.
  • Dads are good sports. It may not be his favorite activity to go to the mall or the nail salon, but Dad is willing to go along when he can.
  • Dads are “Rule Relaxers.” When Mom is not home, they might let you eat ice cream for breakfast, stay up an extra hour or play video games.
  • Dads encourage. Nobody thinks you’re smarter, cleverer or more accomplished than your dad. Well, maybe Mom, but it’s a pretty close tie.
  • Dads inspire. Your Dad believes in you. He gives you the confidence to be your own person, to be persistent and to follow your dreams.
  • Dads are fun play partners. Roughhousing and rowdy play are important in the early development of children. It activates many different parts of the body and brain,  such as processing emotions and handling complex motor skills.

To make your Father’s Day celebration fun, here are some fun and easy ideas for gifts, games and a kid-friendly breakfast recipe.

Handmade gifts:

  • Buy two 12 inch “Ds” and one “A” paper mache letters at a craft store and spray paint them a bright color. Dress up the kids and have a little photo shoot in your yard. Have each child hold one of the letters. Print the pictures and put them into a three opening photo frame.
  • Take a picture of Dad holding each of your children’s hands. Zoom in on just the hands. Buy a photo frame with as many openings as you need. Place the pictures of each child holding Daddy’s hand in the openings. A very touching gift!
  • Play dress up with Daddy’s clothes. Select shoes, shirts, hats or other articles that dad often wears and put them on your toddler.  Take some pictures and print them out. Then cut them to the size of 4 5/8” x 5 3/8” and put inside the back of an empty CD case. You can even make a collage with a few pictures by gluing them to a piece of paper and then putting it in the CD case.
  • Select Dad’s favorite bagged candy, such as M&M’s or skittles, in the single serving size.  Take colorful ribbon and wrap tightly around the middle of the bag, making it into a “bowtie.” Have the kids pick out different bags of candy and the ribbon. Fun and easy to do.
  • Don’t forget the most classic Father’s Day gift of all: a homemade card from the kids. Whatever their age, with your help and a little creativity, your children can make a simple card that Dad will cherish. Be sure to date the card.
  • Ready to wrap? Wrap this year’s package with a clever necktie-inspired bow. Look for ribbon that resembles menswear prints like classic stripes and colors in deep shades. Fasten the ribbon onto your package the way you’d tie a standard Windsor knot.  Snip the ends of the ribbon on an angle or into a point.

Game ideas:

Go Fish! This is a great activity for those toddlers who like to get their hands into everything. Take about 10 sticky notes and draw a fish on 6 of them with a crayon. Then lay each individual sticky note down on the floor or on a table with the sticky side up.  You’ll want to show your toddler how to play this game first beforehand: Tell your toddler that you are going fishing and then place your hand on top of one of the sticky notes. It will stick to your palm. Then lift your hand up and turn your hand over to show your toddler the note and the picture of the fish on it. Then say “Wow! I just caught a fish!” Do it again and when you get a blank note, say “No fish there!” Now it’s your toddler’s turn. You can do this again and again until the stickiness of the notes runs out. (Or when your toddler crumbles up the paper!)

Go on a Bear Hunt!  All kids love to build and play with blankets and make “caves.” Use your couch, dining room table or whatever is handy to make a cave. Place pillows inside to make a maze inside the cave. Place teddy bears (or other stuffed animals) inside the cave for your child to find. Tell your child that you are all going on a bear hunt and need to find those bears! If the cave collapses, just let them help you to build it again. As you find the bears, count them and talk about the size, color, or what the bear is wearing.

A special breakfast:

Whether you are planning a picnic, organizing a barbeque party or taking Dad out to his favorite restaurant later in the day, you can start the day out by getting the kids involved in cooking a delicious treat for Dad.  Here is a simple frittata breakfast that the whole family can prepare together.

Frittata Mixture:
6 eggs
¼ cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Frittata Filling:
½ cup bacon crumbles, already cooked (Skip for a veggie version)
2 packages frozen creamed spinach, thawed
2 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Use a nonstick 10-inch skillet with oven-safe handle or cover handle with heavy-duty foil for baking in oven later.
  2. Have the kids crack the eggs in a large bowl. Then hand them the wire whisk to beat eggs. Let them pour in the milk and add a bit of salt and pepper. Set frittata mixture aside.
  3. Using a small plastic grater, have children grate the cheese for the filling. Snip open the plastic bags of creamed spinach and let them pour it into the pan. Next, let them sprinkle the bacon bits.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Pour frittata mixture over filling in skillet; have children sprinkle the cheese. Cook 3 minutes, without stirring, or until egg mixture begins to set around edge. Place skillet in oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes, until frittata is set.
  5. To serve, gently slide frittata out of skillet and onto cutting board or platter. Cut into wedges.

To all the fathers, step-fathers, grand dads, mentors, or any man who has taken a child under their care for the better, thank you for your contribution. Enjoy this day and know that you are celebrated.

Janada Clark, M.A. is a parent educator who has taught at Stanford and throughout our community. She teaches Love and Logic parenting classes at various locations. In addition, she is an instructor at Day One in Palo Alto. For more information, visit www.janadaclark.com. You can also find her on Facebook

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