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Father’s Day is pretty great. Since I became a dad I’ve been on the receiving end of 4 of them. I know that on that one day of the year my chances of sleeping in skyrocket to an atmospheric 17%. Breakfast in bed is assured, and I’m undoubtedly going to have a favorite dinner made after a day of relaxing. All of this sounds perfect. I not only get a day to bask in slothfulness, but I get rewarded with cake at the end of it!

This year, however, I’ve decided to take Father’s Day on an all-new trajectory. Instead of having my kids and my wife celebrate my innate awesomeness, I’m going to show my two little kiddos (ages 3 and 5) how great of a dad I can be. I’m going to turn Father’s Day into an extravaganza of fatherhood that my kids will hopefully remember for a long time to come. My three goals will be to 1- spend a minimum amount of money. 2- disconnect from computer/cell phone/distractions for the day 3- be entirely focused on giving the kids a fun day. Everything I plan can be done in some variation by all of you father’s out there. Let’s turn this into a Father’s Day movement!

Wake Up- I’m usually up before my children. On most days this is the only time I have for myself. I stalk around my house with Ninja-like silence in order to avoid waking them so that I can have some coffee in peace. This Father’s Day will be different though. I’ll be waking them up with a bubble party!! This is a very simple way to ensure that they wake up happy while snapping their little brains into high alert. Nothing captures and holds a kids’ attention like bubbles do and it will get them ready for the surprise breakfast.

Bubbles- $1

Breakfast- Now it’s time to combine two things my kids love. Trains and the beach. So, before these kiddos eat breakfast, I’m getting them dressed and hopping on the train to have a picnic breakfast on the shore (one stop away from us). Following breakfast we’ll build sandcastles, play in the obscenely frigid water, collect sea shells and stay until lunch. If you don’t have a train, improvise. A bus ride, stop by a firehouse, ride along with the garbage man…. You’ll think of something. No beach…. Just try eating in your backyard or at a park!

Train Ride: $10.00 round trip (They don’t charge for kids! Amazing!)

Afternoon Fortress:  Is anything more awesome than a blanket fort? Don’t rush to check Wikipedia, because the answer is no. Nothing is more awesome. Before Father’s Day I’ll be raiding the linen bins of friends and family members for unused sheets and broomsticks. Our fort will only be matched in size and scope by the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China or perhaps the legendary Big Dig of Boston. Then comes the destruction of the fort. It’s almost as much fun as building and playing in it, but accomplished in 1/378th of the time.

Fort Materials and Labor: $0.00

Dance Party With The Kids- Now what?? Obviously it’s time for a dance party. My daughter has a playlist that’s composed of all of the hits from Beauty and The Beast, The Fresh Beat Band and Tangled. I’m not one to brag, but no one can match my moves when I’m dancing to Part Of Your World from The Little Mermaid.

Dance Party With Kids: Some dignity. Otherwise, $0.00

Balloon Interlude: Balloons are great because you can blow them up and then play with them while literally lying down. I’ll get a package of them, blow them up with the kids and then lie on my back and hit them up into the air, trying to get them away from the kids. Their job is to make sure it doesn’t hit the ground. We can do this for hours. They love it, I’m relaxed and everyone wins!

Bag of balloons: $1.39

Bike Ride/Hike/Park-  I have one  of those trailer things on my bike that both kids can get into. They love sitting back there and going for rides. And why wouldn’t they? I’m doing all of the work! Well on Father’s Day I’m going to ride over to a trailhead near my house and I’ll take the kids on a short hike near sunset. The hike is only about a half a mile; a distance that’s just enough to wear them out and just shy of the point where I become a human pack mule with one on my shoulders and the other in my arms. If you don’t have a place to hike, head to a park. Remember to be super active. All of the focus should be on them.

Bike Ride/ Hike/ Park- $0.00

Pancake Dinner- The only thing comparable in awesomeness to blanket forts is having pancakes for dinner. They’re easy to make and my kids love “helping” me make them. Their help usually consists of mixing the batter with their clothing and dropping eggshells into the mix. Makes for a delicious crunch! I’ll follow this up with a “make your own yogurt” desert. If you’d rather they had cake and ice cream, go for it! I’d just prefer that they didn’t rebound with a manic sugar rush just as we’re coming into the final stretch of the day.

Pancake Mix, Eggs, Fruit, Yogurt: $11.40

Bedtime!- A quick brush of the teeth, a bubble bath and a pirate/ princess story, acted out and told with gusto, are the final touches. My kids will be out cold. If all goes well I’ll have completed an epic day for the kids all while spending less than $25. The way I’ll feel truly appreciated is by knowing that in one day I pitched a Dad “no hitter”. Knowing that from the moment they wake until the second they fall asleep my kids had a fantastic Father’s Day is all the thanks I’ll need. We’ll have plenty of other days where we can relax and do what we want to do, but while my two little kiddos still see me as a Superman, I need to show them that it wouldn’t be a Father’s Day without them.