50 Thoughtful Father’s Day Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

Gifts that come from the heart don’t have to cost you a dime, and the memories you and your family make will be priceless. This Father’s Day, give Dad a gift that’s truly from the heart instead of the store, and he’s sure to appreciate the thought and love you put into his invaluable gift.

kids photo collage

1. Kids’ Photo Collage

Collect some of Dad’s favorite photos of the kids, or take some brand new ones with the whole family. Kids can create a fun photo collage that captures all their favorite memories with Dad.

2. Family Desktop Picture

Replace the wallpaper on Dad’s computer, smart phone, or tablet with a smiling family photo. It’ll be a neat surprise that reminds him how much he’s loved when he first turns his electronics on for the day.

3. Organize His Sock Drawer

Staying organized isn’t always a top priority for busy dads. This Father’s Day, help make Dad’s life a little easier by organizing his sock drawer, his T-shirts, or his shoes. It’s a small but thoughtful gesture that makes a big difference in his busy life.

4. Chore Takeover

There are always chores to be done, and never enough time to do them all. On Father’s Day, have the kids take over some of Dad’s usual chores, such as washing the dishes or walking the dog, so that he can relax and enjoy his day off.

father's day poem

5. Father’s Day Name Poem

“F” is for “Fantastic,” “A” is for “Awesome,” etc. Have each of the kids create a Father’s Day name poem for Dad. You can use “Father,” “Papa,” or his name for the poem.

6. Mending Clothes

Busy moms and dads don’t always have time to fix pockets, missing buttons, hems, and socks, so the unwearable clothing can pile up. Take some time this Father’s Day to make any necessary at-home fixes and alternations to Dad’s clothing.

7. Breakfast in Bed

Whip up a hearty breakfast while Dad sleeps in. There’s no better way for him to start the day than with breakfast in bed.

8. Handprint Art

Kids can get creative with craft materials from around the house, and handprint art is always a fun option. Paint your kids’ hands to have them stamp their handprints on paper or cardstock. Have the kids write a loving message to Dad underneath their prints.

9. Homemade Chore Coupons

Homemade chore coupons are a fun gift item that’s always well-received. Make up a batch of coupons Dad can redeem for a break from various chores. It’s a thoughtful Father’s Day gift that extends beyond the holiday.

family board game night

10. Family Board Game Night

Pull out some board games from the closet and have a fun family game night. It’s a fun and free way for the family to spend some time together.

11. Movie Night

Pop some popcorn, grab some snacks, and gather together for a movie night in the comfort of the living room.

12. Organize the Workbench

Dad has tons of tools and supplies, and it’s easy to get everything all jumbled up when he’s working on a project. This Father’s Day, help him organize his workbench, so that working is more efficient and more fun for him the next time.

Is he handy? Take a look at our list of the best father’s day gifts for handy dads.

13. Help in the Garden

If all the lawn and garden care usually falls on Dad, give him a hand by taking over his yard work duties for the day. He’ll appreciate the extra time to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

14. I Love You Because…

Dad knows you love him, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded. Write down all the reasons (or the top 10) you and the kids love Dad. Present him with your lists on Father’s Day.


try out his favorite hobby

15. Try Out His Favorite Hobby

Busy dads don’t have a ton of time to engage in their favorite hobbies. Make his hobby a priority on Father’s Day. He’ll appreciate the opportunity to do what he loves, and he’ll especially enjoy teaching the family all about what he’s up to as he works.

16. Backyard Beach Party

When Dad is in the outdoors, it’s usually because there are outside chores to do. This Father’s Day, give Dad his day in the sun by turning the back patio or deck into a beach getaway. You don’t need sand or ocean water, though; a comfy lawn chair and some cold refreshments will do.

17. “Good for One” Favor Tickets

Think up some fun favors for Dad (a hug, a back rub, a cold soda from the fridge, etc.) and make up some “favor tickets” to give Dad on Father’s Day. He can cash in his tickets on his special day and throughout the year.

18. The Gift of Time

Sometimes, the best gift Dad could ask for is some time with his family. When everyone in the family has such busy lifestyles, the gift of time is the most precious gift there is, and he’ll appreciate the effort everyone makes to spend some time as a family on Father’s Day.

19. Backyard Bistro

Turn the back patio into a backyard bistro by adding candlelight and music. Serve him a home-cooked meal to be enjoyed under the stars.

dad hug

20. Free Hugs

Actions speak louder than words, so show Dad how much you care by showering him with hugs on Father’s Day. And make sure he knows that hugs are in no short supply; a stack of “good for one free hug” tickets is a sweet and thoughtful gift.

21. Read Together

With a busy lifestyle, sometimes there’s nothing better than drinking a fresh cup of coffee while enjoying a good book, a magazine, or today’s paper. Set aside some time this Father’s Day for Dad to have some quiet, stress-free reading time.

22. Homemade Cookies

Bake a fresh batch of cookies for Dad to enjoy during the day on Father’s Day and throughout the rest of the week.

23. Homemade Meal

Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, surprise Dad with his favorite homemade meal for Father’s Day. He’ll appreciate knowing that you’re aware of his favorite dishes, and it’ll mean a lot that you put some extra thought into making his day more special.

Does he like to cook & eat? Take a look at our list of 51 Gifts for Dads That Love to Cook, Grill & Drink.

24. Stay Cool at the Pool

If your gym or community has a pool that’s free for members, or if there are free local beaches in your area, have some fun while staying cool in the water.

quiet time

25. Quiet Time

Moments of peace and quiet are such a rarity for Dad in the hustle and bustle of today’s busy world. This Father’s Day, let everyone take a deep breath and then have some quiet time for reading, relaxing, or meditating. You can still make it family time, just with the volume turned down.

26. Get Other Dads Together for a Game

Celebrate all your favorite dads by inviting friends, family, neighbors, and other dads you know for a pickup game in the backyard. Dad will enjoy the chance to hang out and catch up with other fathers in the neighborhood.

27. Go for a Drive

You can go on a road trip in your own neighborhood. Pack up a picnic for the family and set out on the open road. Make a stop or two at some of Dad’s favorite local parks or other settings to enjoy some free family time.

28. Volunteer Day

Having a good father in your kids’ life is a blessing, so give something back to those less fortunate this Father’s Day. Have the family sign up for some volunteer work of Dad’s choosing on or around Father’s Day.

29. Listen to Dad’s Story

When was the last time the kids heard a story from Dad? Ask about Dad’s past, his family, his life growing up, his school memories, and his overall story. He’ll appreciate the interest, and it’ll be a fun opportunity for him to share some life lessons and family history with the kids.

father's day car wash

30. Car Wash

Guys take pride in their cars, but being there for the family doesn’t always leave enough time to care for their cars the way they wants to. This Father’s Day, surprise Dad by hand washing his car.

31. Lend an Ear

When Mom runs the household, Dad doesn’t always speak up about what’s on his mind around the house. This Father’s Day, show Dad you care about his input by encouraging him to share any concerns, bothers, or suggestions he has about anything that goes on around the house.

32. Father’s Day Throne

Make sure Dad feels like the king of his castle by treating his favorite chair like a king’s throne. Dad will enjoy being waited on by his loyal servants (the kids, of course) as he rules over his domain for the day.


33. Homemade Card

The best gifts don’t need to come from the store. Use craft items from around the house to create a homemade Father’s Day card with the kids.

34. Dad’s Dream

When life gets in the way, busy dads have to put other plans on hold. Show him that his dreams and goals are important to you: ask him about his “someday” plans—going on a cruise, writing a novel, etc.—and talk about what the family can do to help make it happen.

walk in the park

35. Father’s Day Walk in the Park

All Dad wants on Father’s Day is to relax and spend time with his family. A Father’s Day walk in the park is the perfect way to enjoy the peace of the outdoors, while getting in some stress-free quality time with Mom and the kids.

36. Spruce Up the Man Cave

On Father’s Day, surprise Dad by cleaning and sprucing up his home office, workbench, or man cave. He’ll appreciate the gesture, and he’s sure to enjoy his day even more as a result of your extra efforts.

37. Spare Change Fund

Have the kids help turn over cushions, dig around in junk drawers, and scavenge the glove compartment looking for loose change. Put everything you find into a jar and present it to Dad on Father’s Day. He can choose a treat to enjoy with the money you find.

38. Dad Mix CD

You and the kids can look through your music collection and make a playlist of all the songs that remind you of Dad. Combine your lists to make a mix c.d. that Dad can listen to in the car, at the office, and at home.

39. Clean His Car

Toting the kids around can take a toll on Dad’s car. Have the kids help clean out and vacuum his car for Father’s Day. This is a great gift idea for the kids, because it’s heartfelt and sweet and it doesn’t cost a dime.

family dinner

40. Family Dinner

When kids and families have lots of different commitments and extra-curriculars during the week, it can be tough to get everyone together for a sit-down dinner. Have everyone in the family make a commitment to Dad on Father’s Day, and enjoy a wonderful family dinner together.

41. Father’s Day Poem

Have the kids write a heartfelt poem (it doesn’t have to rhyme) about how much they love their dad. This is a sweet gift that doesn’t cost any money, but means the world to any father on his special day.

42. World’s Best Dad Award

The world’s best dad deserves to be rewarded all year long. Create a fun crown or medal showing off the “#1 Dad” status, and present Dad with his award on Father’s Day. It’s a wonderful gift he’ll be proud to display all year.

43. Card Games

Get the family together for some good old-fashioned fun this Father’s Day. Card games are a free yet fun activity for the whole family, and Dad is sure to cherish the memories for years to come.

44. Recharge Dad’s Batteries

Before Dad wakes up on Father’s Day, plug in all his gadgets—his iPhone, iPad, laptop, and other devices—so that all his electronics have fully charged batteries when he wakes up. That’s one less thing for him to worry about on his special day.

soccer with dad

45. Sports Day

Sporty dads love sharing their passion for sports with the kids. Encourage the whole family to spend some time outdoors learning about and playing Dad’s favorite sport.

46. Play Video Games

Many dads have to give up their favorite video games in the interest of taking care of the kids. On Father’s Day, pull out the old game systems and fire up Dad’s favorite game. He’ll have a blast revisiting old memories and making new ones as he plays with the kids.

47. Manly Spa Day

Spa gifts aren’t just for Mom. Stressed out dads deserve a little pampering, too. Light some candles, draw a bath, and pour a glass of his favorite wine. He’ll love an excuse to take a load off and relax in a warm bubble bath.

48. A Few of Dad’s Favorite Things

Put a Dad-friendly spin on the typical gift basket by gathering all of his favorite things and wrapping them in a Father’s Day gift basket. Great options include Dad’s favorite snacks, sodas, movies, and more.

49. Father’s Day Picnic

Enjoy the beautiful spring weather while celebrating Father’s Day with a family picnic. Pack up Dad’s favorite snacks, drinks, and picnic fare, and head out to his favorite park, lakeside getaway, or even the backyard for a peaceful family picnic.

50. TV Remote Dibs

If your family always fights over who gets the remote, give Dad a break and let him have dibs on the TV remote on Father’s Day. He can sit back, relax, and watch whatever he chooses all day long. As an added bonus, kids can be on snack patrol.

50 Thoughtful Father's Day Gifts- that don't cost a dime.

The best Father’s Day gifts don’t have to cost very much. In fact, they don’t have to cost anything at all. A Father’s Day gift from the heart won’t cost you a dime, but the memories Dad gets to share with the family will make it the most cherished gift of all.