no spend father's day ideas
iStock

Once you have kids, it suddenly seems like the number of holidays to celebrate nearly doubles along with your family size. Just planning for Mother's Day and Father's Day--even if they're a month apart--can get expensive. It might feel like you're shelling out cash for gifts, decorations and school events every other month. Eventually, it might start to feel a bit like you're buying gifts and spending money just for the sake of saying you did.

More from MamásLatinas: 30 Father's Day cake ideas to get inspired

I'm here to tell you that it is OK to break the cycle! Showing love and appreciation for your partner on Father's Day--or any other holiday--does not have to be about how much money you spend or elaborate gifts. In fact, it's probably a good opportunity to instill in your children the ideal that love cannot be bought and that sometimes the best way to show someone you care has nothing at all to do with money.

There are so many fun, no-spend ways to celebrate Father's Day and help your children thank their papi for everything he does (and of course, for you to thank your own father). Free Father's Day celebration ideas and gifts might just take a bit more planning and creativity, but there are lots of fantastic options. Keep reading to find out 30 of our favorites.

Help your kids tap into their artistic sides. 1

Help your kids tap into their artistic sides.

iStock

My husband, who likes to draw, absolutely adores every bit of artwork my kids make. He would hang onto every doodle and scribble if I let him. For Father's Day, help your kids pick some of their favorite pieces--including new ones--to make a handmade art book for dad.

Advertisement

Make a digital collage. 2

Make a digital collage.

iStock

Photo albums are fun, but these days most people don't actually flip through them often. Instead, use free online software to create a digital family photo collage that you and your kids can embellish with phrases, graphics, and captions. It can either include photos from many years or just the previous year.

Advertisement

Make a "thank you" list. 3

Make a

iStock

As parents it's easy to feel under-appreciated. Make sure your partner knows how thankful you and the kids are by writing thank-you lists--either one together or a separate one from each family member--and presenting him with them on Father's Day.

You do the grilling! 4

You do the grilling!

iStock

If your man is always on grill duty, give him the day off and take charge of the barbecue yourself. Grill up his favorite meats and have the kids help with yummy sides and dessert while he enjoys a cold drink and some lawn games with loved ones.

Advertisement

Prepare a themed meal. 5

Prepare a themed meal.

iStock

This Father's Day, theme an entire meal around dad's favorite food. If he's a spice-lover, make all spicy dishes. If he adores sweets, have dessert for dinner. Or, if he loves bacon whip up these amazing bacon-based Father's Day recipes.

Advertisement

Bust out the old DVD collection. 6

Bust out the old DVD collection.

iStock

Hunt down dad's old DVDs of his favorite family-friendly movies and help him introduce your kids to them with a Father's Day family movie night. Let the kids stay up late, pop some popcorn, cuddle on the couch and enjoy!

Advertisement

Make a mixtape. 7

Make a mixtape.

iStock

OK, maybe not an actual tape, but work with your kids to make a playlist that will have personal meaning to their father. Include his favorite songs, songs the kids love to listen to with him, songs that make everyone happy, etc. Make sure everyone in the family picks out at least one of the tracks!

Have a family jam session. 8

Have a family jam session.

iStock

If the dad in your life is at all musical, he'll love the idea of a family jam session. Even if he doesn't own any instruments, your kids probably do--you could even make some. Give everyone an instrument and rock out together in honor of dad.

Advertisement

Direct the kids in a play. 9

Direct the kids in a play.

iStock

Help your kids plan a special play to perform for dad on Father's Day. Make costumes, design a set, write a script ... the whole nine. You might even make the entire play about dad and your family.

Ditch the devices and have a family game night. 10

Ditch the devices and have a family game night.

iStock

Spending quality time together can be a challenge especially as kids get older. For Father's Day, have everyone put away their devices and enjoy a fun family game night, complete with tasty snacks and comfy clothes.

Advertisement

Give dad a day off. 11

Give dad a day off.

iStock

Between work all week and chores all weekend, dad might be yearning for a day to just chill and enjoy his kids. For Father's Day, consider taking care of a few things on his "honey-do list" so that he can relax with the family without worrying about sacrificing time to get things done.

Go camping. 12

Go camping.

iStock

Skip the campsite fees and go camping right in your own backyard! If you already own a tent, you can literally have the full camping experience in your backyard without spending anything. Just set up your tent in the yard, build a bonfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over (or use the grill) and enjoy some family time on Father's Day.

Advertisement

Visit a local museum. 13

Visit a local museum.

iStock

If you want to get out of the house on Father's Day, but not spend a bunch of money, do some research and see if there are any small, local museums that offer free admission. Check with local historical societies and universities; many have excellent museums that are free to visit. For instance, in our area we have a free geology museum and a few wonderful nature centers that are completely free to access.

Go hiking. 14

Go hiking.

iStock

If your man is a nature lover, plan a hiking trip to celebrate Father's Day. Many county and state parks are free to visit and feature beautiful, well-marked hiking trails. Pack a picnic lunch of all of his favorite foods, gear up, and explore the woods.

Advertisement

Or go biking. 15

Or go biking.

iStock

If hiking is too far away or too strenuous, you could also plan a family bike ride at a park or even just around your own neighborhood, ending with a nice picnic lunch.

Write him love letters. 16

Write him love letters.

iStock

Gift dad a set of handwritten letters from everyone in the family. Help your kids compose sweet love letters to their father that you can present to him all at once. If your children are too little to write their own letters, have them dictate to you how they fell about papi and what they want to say to him on Father's Day.

Advertisement

Craft a poem. 17

Craft a poem.

iStock

You can get a bit more creative and sit down with your kids to craft a special poem dedicated to dad. Grab and old picture frame from around the house--or make one--and present it to him with a bow.

Or get even more imaginative. 18

Or get even more imaginative.

iStock

If your kids are even more imaginative, you might even be able to collaborate to write a short story starring dad.

Advertisement

Pamper him. 19

Pamper him.

iStock

Even if they don't always admit it, men like being pampered just as much as anyone else. Treat your man to an at-home spa day on Father's Day. Just get all of your best bath and body products out, set them up nicely and give him some time to actually enjoy them. Then you can recruit the kids to give him a foot or neck rub!

Serve him breakfast in bed. 20

Serve him breakfast in bed.

iStock

Similarly, moms aren't the only ones who enjoy breakfast in bed! Cook up his favorites and bring them up to bed for him enjoy with a nice hot cup of coffee, surrounded by his favorite people.

Advertisement

On that note ... why not let him sleep in? 21

On that note ... why not let him sleep in?

iStock

An hour or two of extra rest on Father's Day is sure to be appreciated especially if daddy is usually the one who gets up early with the kids.

Wash and detail his car. 22

Wash and detail his car.

iStock

Save him the trip and the money by getting your kids to wash and detail dad's car just in time for Father's Day. If you have toddlers, they'll really love helping out with this one!

Advertisement

Take a scenic drive. 23

Take a scenic drive.

iStock

Well, I guess technically you'll have to shell out gas money for this one. There's a reason going out for a drive has long been a favorite pastime: It's a great opportunity to see beautiful scenery, to clear the head, and to get some quality family time in. You might even pack a picnic and stop at a park or lookout point to stretch the legs.

Play his favorite sport with him. 24

Play his favorite sport with him.

iStock

Gather everyone--yes, everyone!--to join dad in a round of his favorite sport. Even if you or one of your kids isn't the sporty type, it's just one game and dad is sure to get a kick out of everyone joining in.

Advertisement

Bake him something homemade. 25

Bake him something homemade.

iStock

What dad isn't a cookie monster? Treat dad to a big batch of fresh homemade cookies on Father's Day. And really, if cookies aren't his thing, whip up whatever is, just make sure it's homemade with love.

Invite his dad friends over. 26

Invite his dad friends over.

iStock

As parents, we don't always get to see our friends as often as we would like. For Father's Day, invite your partner's dad friends over so they can all celebrate together as families.

Advertisement

Or gift him some guy time. 27

Or gift him some guy time.

iStock

You could also invite his friends over and then skedaddle with the kids for a couple of hours so he can enjoy some stress-free guy time. Leave behind snacks and ask his guests to bring drinks.

Hand over the remote. 28

Hand over the remote.

iStock

Give dad all-day control of the television. Yup, that means no Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood or Teen Titans on Father's Day. Dad gets to watch whatever he wants--whether it's sports or action flicks--all day, no complaints.

Advertisement

Let them play video games. 29

Let them play video games.

iStock

Most dads have to give up previously coveted video game time once they have kids. On Father's Day, give him the freedom to resume his former ways and play video games with the kids with no time limit. Yes, we mean it!

Put the kids to bed early. 30

Put the kids to bed early.

iStock

Maybe all he really wants for Father's Day is some one-on-one time with you. Put the kids to bed early, break out the bubbly (or whisky) and spend some time reconnecting as a couple.

Advertisement

Pin It! 31

Pin It!

Pin these creative idea to your Pinterest boards to celebrate the Father's Day without spending a dime!