Creative Father’s Day gifts you can actually afford

Lauren Fox, Managing Editor

Dads are notoriously hard to shop for. June 19 is Father’s Day this year, and the deadline to find the right gift for your father figure is approaching.

“I’ve given up now. I’ll cook him something maybe,” said one respondent to Spinnaker’s Instagram poll asking students what they plan to get their father on their special day. 

While prices for gifts may be higher than they were in the past, there is no need to give up on looking for a gift your dad will enjoy. Spinnaker has compiled a list of creative (and affordable) Father’s Day gifts that any parent can enjoy. Each gift idea has one thing in common — they allow for ways for you to spend time with your parent. 

Board Game ($10-$30)

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Play a board game! 

A game like Chess, Scrabble or Jenga is a way to have some fun one-on-one time this Father’s Day. If you want to include the rest of the family, consider games like Monopoly, Clue or Risk. If your dad likes to gamble, a poker set may be the way to go.

A variety of games exist to match your father’s interests. You can play Catan if your dad likes a strategy game or Cranium if he’s into trivia. Many of these games can be found at thrift stores for discounted prices.

Fermentation kit ($25-$100)

The cliche Father’s Day gift usually relates to beer. The thing is, some dads really like beer. With a fermentation kit, you can make beer with your dad, so he gets the enjoyment of spending time with you and also drinking.

If beer doesn’t fall within your dad’s interests, you don’t have to rule out this gift idea just yet. Fermentation kits also allow you to make homemade kombucha or kimchi.


Depending on what you want to make, these kits can fall between $25-$150. The cheaper kits are usually for making fermented vegetables, which the whole family can enjoy, no matter the consumer’s age.

Seeds and soil ($10-$20)

The sunny warm weather is perfect for growing tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, cilantro and various flowers. Starting a garden with your father is a great way to spend time together and have a tasty reward a few months down the road.

The best part of this gift idea is that it’s inexpensive and eco-friendly. If you don’t want to pay for seeds, go to the grocery store and snack on a pepper or a strawberry. When you’re finished, stick the seeds in some dirt and watch them sprout a few days later.

This gift idea will require a bit of research. Think about which fruits and veggies your father figure likes and learn about the soil needed, germination time, the best season for growing and the required sunlight of the plant you want to grow. 

If you don’t have a yard to make a garden, consider recycling old containers to make pots. Just make sure to poke some holes in the containers to allow for proper drainage.

Telescope ($60-$100)

How often do you get a close look at the stars? A telescope is a gift that could encourage you and your dad to try something new.

black and white tiles spell out "AMAZING DAD" on a table
(Edward Howell/Unsplash)

Telescopes can be found online in a variety of price ranges depending on the type you want to get. Even a cheap telescope can give you and your dad a great excuse to spend time together gazing at the stars. With the help of apps like Night Sky, you can even learn which stars and constellations you are looking at. 

The educational aspect of this gift idea may interest your father and help him to pick up a new hobby if he seems to be stuck in a boring routine. Since the stars you can see at night change throughout the year, this gift will offer new experiences year-round. 

Consider something more portable like binoculars if you think a telescope may be too bulky or hard to set up. These also let you see the stars a bit better than you can with the naked eye.

Projector ($50-$100)

Are you using your parents’ password for their streaming service? If so, a projector might be an excellent way to enjoy the platforms they pay for together. Projectors can turn your living room into a movie theater whenever you like.

Some projectors can be pricey, but stores like Walmart offer portable projectors for as little as $50. This gift idea is great for movie-loving parents.

When looking for a projector, make sure you have an HDMI cable handy if you don’t purchase one that connects with Bluetooth. 

Portable stove and marshmallows ($25-$100)

For the outdoorsy dad, a portable stove may be the way to go. Many inexpensive stove tops made for camping are wood-burning and easy to use- just gather some twigs and enjoy the flame. 

Even if you don’t go camping, a portable stove top can allow you to make smores with your family, so really, it’s a treat for everyone. 

If you don’t want to pay for a stove top (or you don’t think it will be used frequently enough), you can adapt this idea by building a small fire pit if you have some outdoor space to do so responsibly. Taking the time to dig a small hole and gather firewood is a cheap way to spend some quality time with your parent. If you choose to do this, make sure to follow fire-safety guidelines.

A trip to the springs ($5-$15 for entry)

Florida is full of unique freshwater springs that make for a great day trip. If you decide to take your dad on Father’s Day, you may face a large crowd. This gift idea is best if you plan ahead and arrive early to make the most of the trip.

Spots like Ichetucknee Springs or Silver Springs are less than 100 miles from Jacksonville, so you won’t have to spend too much on gas. Taking your father on a day trip to one of Florida’s natural wonders is a great way to spend time together and enjoy some local nature.

If you want to spend longer than a day on a spring excursion, many state parks around the springs offer camping grounds. Many of the springs also offer activities such as kayaking, tubing and even horseback riding.

Respondents to Spinnaker’s Instagram poll also said they will do things like make a homemade scrapbook for their dad or take him out for a steak dinner. There are countless ways to show your father you care about them but the one that will remain stagnant is the one that lets them spend time with you.


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