Father’s Day Gifts You Can Make With Your Toddler

Father’s day was on the weekend so I can finally post this. Alan loved his surprise and I am so excited to share this fun, messy activity with you and your toddlers. Here I outline two Father’s Day gifts you can make with your toddler.

Our son is 18 months old, so I couldn’t just take him to the shop to pick something out. Also, we are currently in lockdown so we haven’t been able to go anywhere on the day. Alan has been working long hours lately and so I wanted to make the day super special for him, to show our appreciation.

Jax is at home full time at the moment so unfortunately, Alan won’t be receiving a thoughtful arts and crafts gift from daycare. I didn’t want him to miss out due to the lockdown, especially because I got my little gifts from Jaxon for Mother’s Day this year which I was so chuffed to receive.

mothers day gifts fro Jaxon
The handmade card and photo ornament from Jaxon’s daycare for Mother’s Day.

I decided to put on my creative cap and this is how it went!

Father’s Day Gifts You Can Make With Your Toddler

Canvas Hand Print Art

What you will need:

  • Paints
  • Art smock
  • Table
  • Paint brushes
  • Baby wipes
  • Patience

I didn’t have the ability to go out and buy what I needed from the craft supply store so I really had to use my imagination.

For the paints and brushes I had some left over from a colourful paint by numbers I had completed (hello isolation boredom)

paint by numbers
If you haven’t tried paint by numbers you should!

We hadn’t done any painting at home prior to this. I had been happy to leave the mess to the childcare and up until this point we had stuck to washable crayons and textas. So when it came to an Art Smock I decided that an old polo of Alan’s would do the trick! I rummaged in his closet and found an old shirt, branded from a previous job and thought, ‘he won’t miss this, surely’

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So we had our art smock!

This turned out to really add to the experience because I will be able to show Alan the photos of Jax doing his Father’s Day craft in his daddy’s shirt.

Now I had all my supplies I had to find a place to do this potentially disastrous activity. I thought about outside but we just got a new swing set and the distraction would be too high for Jax to be able to sit still on the grass.

Then I looked at my glass coffee table. Then I thought about cleaning paint off it… nope. I needed a table cloth but looking through my linen closet there weren’t any that I was willing to part with for the sake of art.

I thought about a plastic party table cloth but I wanted something more reusable. I knew that if this activity went well we would be doing more painting in the future (Christmas cards!!).

Then it hit me! I ran into the nursery and pulled out a spare cot mattress protector. I have way too many after overpreparing for Jaxon’s arrival a couple of years ago so decided that I may as well put them to good use. 

I lay it over the table and it fit perfectly. This was great because it is a waterproof protector so has a plastic bottom, meaning no seeping through of paint to the table. It also meant one less piece of single use plastic in the rubbish.

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While I was getting everything set up Jax pulled his plastic IKEA chair over and we were ready!

A spare mattress protector over the coffee table and dads old shirt for an art smock = ready to paint!

Preparing the Canvas

In order to have the word DAD clean on the canvas I had to prep this before we set to painting.

I jumped onto my laptop and created a word document. I typed the word DAD in bold and printed it. You can use whatever font you like but I decided on a plain bold font, you will see why shortly.

Next, I cut out the letters and placed them on the canvas. Note that if you don’t have a canvas you can totally use cardstock (I just happened to have a spare in my craft box). I traced the letters with a pen. Note you will want to use a biro or similar to make the next step easier.

Once I had the letters traced in place I grabbed some electrical tape. You can use masking tape if that’s all you have. You just want to use something that will peel off the surface without ripping it.

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Once the letters were fully covered (but I could still see the outline from my pen) I grabbed a Stanley knife and trimmed the tape, until just the letters written in tape was left.

Here’s how it looked:

I used a simple font that would be easy to tape.

Now for the painting!

I used a paint brush to apply the paint in a thin layer to Jaxon’s hand. He was actually quite patient with this and didn’t run all over the house getting paint on everything (yay!)

I showed him once or twice how to print with his hand and then he was good to go.

We are in the middle of learning to name colours so this was a great learning activity for him as well. We would sing each colour as I applied it to his hands.

After each colour I used baby wipes to clean his hands to stop the paint from drying up and caking.

Finishing the Canvas Print

I set the canvas aside to dry for an hour. We then pulled off the tape to reveal the word DAD and set it aside to dry overnight. Note, it is easier to pull the tape off when still a little wet as depending on what kind of paint you use, it may crack if pulling the tape off when fully dried.

*Store somewhere that your significant other won’t find them – I decided on the laundry haha

Once the canvas was done we were right in the thick of the activity and were not ready to stop so I grabbed a piece of cardstock and an envelope to decorate.

The final result and the envelope for the fathers day canvas

Hand Print Card – I Love You This Much

I got Jax to do 2 more prints, guiding his hands where to go. This is what we used for the card we made.

Other supplies you will need for hand print card:

  • Coloured paper
  • Cardstock
  • Double sided stickytape (or glue)
  • Marker

Finishing the Card:

To finish the card I took a strip of cardstock and folded it back and forth until it fit between the two hands.

Once the painted hands were dry we turned the page over and applied double-sided sticky tape, attaching it to a piece of yellow paper
(Jaxon’s favourite colour at the moment).

Using the marker I added the wording and we were almost done!

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I got Jax to help me decorate the front of the card with stickers – his favourite thing right now.

Into the envelope it went until Father’s Day.

Last year for father’s day I went a little overboard (hello stay at home mum with WAY too much time on my hands) and got Alan a bag of stuff.

This year I told myself I would go easy and stick to just a few token gifts.

Given the year we have had, and how hard he has been working I decided that he should be spoiled this year as well. Hopefully I’m not creating an expectation haha

Some other less-mess ideas of what is going into Alan’s Father’s Day gift bag:

  • Luxury pillows & silk pillow cases to match
  • Whisky glasses
  • Photo collage
  • Books for bedtime – I couldn’t go past this Spot Loves His Dad book by Eric Hill – Spot is a childhood favourite of mine!

Final Thoughts

I have to say that I am really proud of us for conquering the “fear of the messy activity.”

As a borderline OCD kind of mama I was very apprehensive going into this but wanting to do something really special for my husband got me through it.

I have to say I am most impressed with the idea to use a mattress protector as a table cloth and the old shirt as an art smock.

If we weren’t in lockdown I probably would have gone and bought these items but now we will always use these, saving money and up/re-cycling!

Have you attempted any messy activities at home with your toddler? Let me know in the comments below!

Much Love, Veronika Xx

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