This Father’s Day, you could get Dad another watch, bottle of cologne, or sassy grilling apron that says “I Like Pig Butts and I Cannot Lie.” And he would love it. After all, he’s your Dad, your Pops, your Papua New Guinea.
But if you really want to give him the warm fuzzies, harness the power of nostalgia. We rounded up six surefire ways to max out the bonding with grownup versions of the kids’ activities you used to enjoy together.
If You Used to Play Hide and Seek Together
Then Take Dad To Play Laser Tag or Paintball
If wedging yourself out of sight behind tight spaces or simply running around brings up fond memories, try taking your dad to a laser-tag or paintball arena. These places are littered with obstacles you can crouch behind, and this time, your dad will be hiding from the enemy right beside you (knee injuries permitting). These might sound like kids’ activities, but it’s not uncommon to see adults playing, especially the tactical mission-based games that might require you and your Dad to battle a horde of zombies or re-enact a military battle.
If You Used to Build Forts Together
Then Take Dad To a Woodworking, Welding, or Pottery Class
Building a fort with your father as an adult sounds extremely fun, until you remember that someone has to put away all of the couch cushions and fold up the sheets and blankets. A hands-on crafting class is a great alternative, giving you both a chance build something and then leave the cleanup to the studio. These are particularly good activities if you or your dad finds working with your hands to be soothing, or as metalworker Steve Christena put it, “meditational.”
If You Used to Watch Movies Together
Then Take Dad To a Movie Theater
When you were a little kid, your money likely came from Grandma on your birthday or from the bank when they approved your business loan for a lemonade stand. Needless to say, Dad probably funded your movie dates together. But now you’re an adult and have your own steady income, so treat Dad to movie tickets.
And since you’re buying, you can probably even swing an R-rated flick and beer. For more adult fun, take him to an art-house-style theater that serves cocktails and craft beers, such as the Brew & View in Chicago or the Downtown Independent in LA. Many national chains now serve adult beverages, too, including AMC.
If You Used to Make Play-Doh Food Together
Then Take Dad To a Cooking Class
Instead of cranking out purple and orange noodles in the Play-Doh spaghetti maker, try an actual pasta-making class alongside your pop. Drinking BYOB wine is often encouraged, and at the end of most cooking classes, participants get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Pick a class that teaches you how to cook unfamiliar dishes from a different culture if you want to prove to your dad that your tastes have matured past chicken fingers and Bagel Bites. (Tip: read our guide to choosing the right cooking class if you're still stumped.)
If You Used to Play with Toy Cars Together
Then Take Dad To Drive a Stock Car
Your dad used to play toy cars with you, and then when you were a teen, he taught you how to drive. But he would never let you floor the gas pedal in the Toyota Camry “just to see how fast this baby can go.”
Luckily, he should have no problem with either of you putting the pedal to the metal during a stock-car racing experience, which puts you in the driver seat for several laps around an actual racetrack. Race against your father or get him a ride-along experience with a professional driver, who can deftly handle the track’s curves at top speeds.
If You Used to Play Mini Golf Together
Then Take Dad To a Golf Course
You used to play mini golf with him on family vacations, and you’ve given your dad new golf clubs for his birthday, but have you ever played a round with him? Surprise Pops with a golf outing for two, complete with a golf cart and maybe even some range balls. And don’t worry, once you get on the green, you can rely on your mini-golf skills from there.