A Father’s Day Tradition | Gift Ideas for Dad

We have a Father’s Day tradition in my family that I hope to be able to continue for years to come. Each year, the kids and I choose a book for their daddy to read to them. Inside the front cover of the book, we write a note from each of them. Aiden writes his own note, and I help the younger two. I include a print of each child’s hand next to the note. This post contains affiliate links. 

A Father's Day Tradition - Gift Ideas for Dad

Our Father’s Day Tradition – A Book for Dad

For their first Father’s Day (Aiden was 6 months old), I chose the book, Me and My Dad! by Allison Ritchie. It’s a #1 New York Times Bestseller about the adventures of Daddy bear and his son. This book continues to be special to Aiden.
Aiden was 18 months old for the second Father’s Day. He helped me choose My Dad, My Hero by Ethan Long to give to his daddy. With its colorful illustrations, this book reads like a comic book. A little boy lists all of the ways his dad is not a superhero and describes why his dad is his hero. When we first got this book, Aiden requested to read it every night for at least a month. It is adorable and funny. I highly recommend this book.
For their third Father’s Day, we got the book What Dads Can’t Do by Douglas Wood. Reader Michelle suggested it, and I’m happy we purchased it. The book shows all the things dads do, but from a kid’s perspective. Dads can’t cross the street without holding hands. When dads play hide-and-seek they always get found… Dads need kisses before bedtime.
The Emperor’s Egg by Martin Jenkins was Aiden’s choice for their 4th Father’s Day. He was very fond of penguins and liked how the book shows how much the daddy Emperor Penguin cares for his baby. While mom heads off to catch lots of fish, dad holds the egg on his feet for two months keeping it warm. The egg hatches and daddy feeds the penguin chick until mom returns with fish. The book is illustrated by Jane Chapman, who is well known for illustrating the Bear books by Karma Wilson.
For Father’s Day number 5, I chose My Father Knows the Names of Things by Jane Yolen. The father in this book knows the name of lots of things and teaches them to his child. They talk about the names of birds, clouds, planets, insects, plants, dinosaurs, and more. Aiden loves asking his dad questions about all the things around us. This book is perfect for the two of them. Lily was barely two months old, but I made sure to add her handprint to the book as well.

For his 6th Father’s Day, Patrick got 3 book as part of his gift. (You can see the rest of the camping themed gift in this sponsored post.)

Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer – It’s about a father-son camping trip. Little Critter tells the story and makes quite a few mistakes during the trip (a bear eats the fish he was cooking), but they still manage to have a great time.


Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids’ Guide by Lynn Brunelle – From tent pitching, building campfires, and knot tying to recipes, crafts, and nature exploration, this book is full of camping activities for kids.


Moo! by David LaRochelle – Since the first two books were geared more for Aiden and his dad, I needed a book for 1 year old Lily. The board book version of Moo! was perfect. The entire book consists of one word: Moo. Follow the cow as she gets into a bit of trouble with the farmer’s car all the while speaking in moo. It’s such a fun read.

Last year we added Bedtime Blastoff! by Luke Reynolds to our collection. Aiden loved all things space (and still does). This book tells the story of how a little boy delays going to bed by imagining all sorts of adventures. His dad asks, “Bedtime?” and each time the boy responds, “Not yet.” The story ends with the Dad and son asleep in bed dreaming of outer space. Since the story was about a little boy, I chose a second book to include Lily a little better.

Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton is one of those books that you can’t not love. We first checked it out at the library and the whole family enjoyed it. We don’t just read it, we sing it. “OOO Snuggle Puppy of mine. Everything about you is especially fine. I love what you are. I love what you do. Fuzzy little Snuggle Puppy, I love you.” Books by Sandra Boynton top our list of favorite books for babies.

Two years ago, I wrote a post about several new books that would make great Father’s Day gifts. Be sure to check out that list for even more ideas. I’m still looking for new books out this year. The kids and I haven’t found the right one. What suggestions do you have for us?

Other Gift Ideas for Dads

Make one of these silly gifts for dad. Learn how to make a mixed up daddy flip book, a joke book, and a silly hat.

Make a mixed up daddy flip book for Father's Day.

Make a push button light up card.

Push Button Light Up Card

Pair a new book with one of these cool corner bookmarks from Red Ted Art. The Darth Vader one would be especially fitting for Father’s Day.

corner bookmark designs

There are several other books that we own or have read that would be great choices for Father’s Day.

We purchased Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney because Aiden enjoyed reading the library’s copy so much.  Had I thought about, I should have waited for Father’s Day to give them this classic story about how much a little hare loves his daddy.  This is a perfect story to act out the actions as you read.
The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare is another wonderful book by Sam McBratney about Little Nutbrown Hare and his father. If you loved the interaction of the hares in Guess How Much I love You, you’ll love following the hares on four new adventures.
Have you ever been owling? Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is the story of a father who takes his daughter out looking for a Great Horned Owl for the first time. The father tries to call the owl in and the two of them listen and wait. Eventually the owl calls back. Read the story to see how it ends.
The Very Best Daddy of All is an adorable board book that shows how fathers take care of their children by bringing them food, playing with them, and keeping them safe.
Daddy Honk Honk! is a new book for 2017. It’s about an arctic fox who finds a goose egg left behind. The egg hatches and the baby goose thinks the fox is his dad. The fox sets out to help the goose find a proper family. Along the way, he learns some of what it takes to care for a child and he decides to take the baby goose home. The illustrations are just lovely. You will fall in love with the characters. While this one isn’t a good fit for a seasoned parent, it would make a wonderful gift for a first time dad.

When choosing a book for another person to describe them, be sure to read it cover to cover. For example, there was one book I looked at that talked about all of the fun things the dad and son did together, but then it mentioned his dad wasn’t good at camping.  Totally not my husband who is very competent with all things nature and outdoors.  I felt it would be insulting to buy that book. I also try to get books that are different each year. Many of the books are very similar to Me and My Dad!

Your Turn

Now I need your help.  Do you have any favorite children’s books that are perfect for a father to read to his son?  What about those for a father to read to his daughter? I need ideas for the future. Read the comments for wonderful reader suggestions.

Thanks for any recommendations you have!

This post was originally published on May 25, 2012.

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