15 Father's Day Gifts for Every Type of Dad (and Every Budget)

iStock/Halfpoint
iStock/Halfpoint

Father’s Day can really sneak up on you. Once May rolls into June, your thoughts turn to sandy beaches, county fairs, or long-overdue vacations. Then it suddenly hits you: Dear Old Dad’s big holiday is coming up—and you still haven’t found that perfect, unique gift for your father (or stepfather, or grandfather, or husband)! Never fear. We’re here to help. On this list of ideas, there’s a little something for every kind of papa, from sports dads to foodie fathers to game-night-loving patriarchs.

1. Matador Travel Accessories; $10 to $13

Having to travel in close proximity to screaming babies or roaring engines is never a pleasant experience. The good news is, you can preemptively spare your father’s eardrums from that kind of cacophonous racket before he embarks on his next vacation or business trip with a nice pair of earplugs. We like this travel kit from Matador, which includes memory foam earplugs rated at a 32 dB noise reduction plus a silicone carrying case that doubles as a zipper pull so Dad doesn't have to worry about misplacing them.

Matador's other travel accessories would also make a great gift for any travel pro: The company's space-saving Flat-Pak bottles squish flat so as not to take up room in dad's suitcase after he's run out of shampoo, while the innovative soap bar case somehow manages to be totally leakproof while still allowing the bar to dry through the fabric.

Buy it: Matador

2. The Sopranos Family Cookbook; $14

The cover of 'The Sopranos Family Cookbook'

Grand Central Publishing, Amazon

This unique cookbook for pop culture geeks boasts a fun mixture of mouthwatering Italian recipes and colorful remarks from Artie Buco, Carmela Soprano, and other characters in the classic HBO series, which turned 20 in 2019. The Sopranos Family Cookbook is sure to be a hit with any dads out there who’ve got a taste for crime drama and/or lasagna.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Crossword Puzzle Coffee Mug; $16


The Unemployed Philosophers Guild, Amazon

Now Dad can enjoy his daily dose of caffeine with a puzzle on the side. The exterior of this ingenious mug from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild doubles as a blank crossword puzzle. Every month, your father can find the clues to a different puzzle online. Then he’ll inscribe the answers onto his favorite new piece of drinkware with a pencil.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Major League Ballparks Scratch-Off Chart; $25

Visiting all 30 major league ballparks is a popular bucket list entry for hardcore fans of America’s pastime. Using this scratch-off chart, your dad can track his progress while he tries to follow suit. And if baseball isn't his sport, fear not—Pop Chart also has scratch-off stadium charts for football fans and basketball arenas.

Buy it: Pop Chart

5. Insulated Beer Bottle Holder; $35

An open beer inside a BottleKeeper stands in the sand next to a surfer in a wetsuit.

BottleKeeper, The Grommet

Koozies are for amateurs. Using this insulated bottle-shaped holster, your dad can keep a 12-ounce bottle of his favorite beer nice and cold for up to two hours straight. Oh, and did we mention that there’s a screw-on cap that’ll let him re-seal the bottle after it’s been opened? As Toby Keith says: Proceed to party.

Buy it: The Grommet

6. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth; $42

The cover of 'Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth'

Bodleian Library, Amazon

If your dad pines for Mirkwood or Hobbiton, he’ll want a copy of this beautiful book. A 416-page tribute to the father of modern fantasy, it’s replete with hundreds of J.R.R. Tolkien’s original sketches, watercolor paintings, and manuscripts. Plus, there’s a wonderful set of essays from archivists, scholars, and mythology experts.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Stanley Master Vacuum Bottle; $56

A black Stanley vacuum-insulated bottle

Stanley, Amazon

Whether your pops prefers iced coffee or steaming hot java, the Stanley Master Vacuum Bottle will have him covered—for days. The 1.4-quart model keeps hot drinks hot for 40 hours on end. As for chillier beverages, it’ll help them stay cold for 35 hours straight, or, if there's ice involved, 160 hours.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Dyna-Glo Compact Bullet Charcoal Smoker; $56

A black barbecue smoker

Dyna-Glow, Walmart

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned barbecue. Using the temperature gauge as a guide, your dad can smoke or grill all manner of delicious entrees on this compact charcoal-based unit. It might not be a bad idea to throw in some nice barbecue tools as a bonus gift.

Buy it: Walmart

9. Holy Stone RC Quadcopter Drone; $70

A Holy Stone RC quadcopter flying above New York City

Holy Stone, Amazon

You’re never too old to enjoy flying remote-controlled gadgets—or to appreciate quality videos. The Holy Stone RC Quadcopter Drone lets dad create the latter by using the former. It’s a win-win.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Eagle Creek Backpack Cargo Hauler; $77

An Eagle Creek cargo backpack

Eagle Creek, Amazon

So your old man’s the kind of guy who likes to roam around. More power to him. Get the man a spacious, 45-liter travel bag with detachable backpack straps, exterior pockets, and a lifetime warranty. The hardy bag is equally suited to wandering through a new city, embarking on a business trip, or throwing in the back of his truck on the way to the campsite.

Buy it: Amazon

11. LifeProof FRE Series Waterproof iPhone Cases; $80 to $100

Might as well admit it: Everyone—dads included—gets their phone wet now and then. Go ahead and give your dad the gift of peace of mind. LifeProof's FRE series protective cases are waterproof and can keep a fully submerged phone safe underwater for up to an hour. They’ll also shield your dad's phone from snow, dirt, and dust. And better yet, when a mobile device is encased in one of these babies, it can withstand getting dropped from heights of up to 6.5 feet. FRE cases are available for most smartphone models in a variety of colors.

Buy it: LifeProof

12. Jenga GIANT Premium Hardwood Game; $118

A 5-foot-tall Jenga tower

Jenga, Amazon

Family game night is a time-honored tradition in many a household. But that doesn’t mean you can’t up the ante. Your pops will get a real kick out of stacking these precision-cut wooden blocks into toddler-sized towers. The starting height is 2 feet, but with a delicate touch, your dad can arrange these Jenga blocks into a 5-foot monstrosity. Sounds like a good time.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Bordo Big Alarm 6000 Key Folding Lock; $200

No cycling dad should be without a good bike lock. Every year, somewhere from 800,000 to 2 million bicycles are stolen across the U.S. To keep his beloved bike from becoming another statistic, your dad can secure it with this quality folding lock. It uses 5-millimeter steel designed to foil any would-be thieves, with a casing system designed to keep his paint job looking pristine. And in the unlikely event that the lock fails, it has a sophisticated alarm system that can alert your dad from afar that his ride is leaving without him.

Buy it: Competitive Cyclist

14. iRobot Roomba 690; $297

Help your dad tackle basic housework in style—all without lifting a finger. The mid-range iRobot Roomba 690 won't break the bank, but still has plenty of high-tech features that will change your dad's life for the better. It boasts Wi-Fi connectivity so he can monitor its progress via smartphone or control it with Google Home or Alexa. It can be pre-scheduled to clean overnight or at specific times during the day, and features virtual wall technology that will allow your dad to block off stairs, doorways, or pet food bowls that might trip the vacuum up. That’ll free him up to kick back and relax while he waits for the floors to get tidy.

Buy it: Amazon or iRobot

15. Fromaggio Automated Home Cheesemaker, $318

Fromaggio's home cheesemaking machine

Fromaggio, Indiegogo

A high-tech cheesemaking device that can fit on Dad’s kitchen counter? Yes, please. This beauty churns out delicious cheddars, mozzarellas, and provolones in as little as 30 minutes. And with Fromaggio’s handy smartphone app, your old man will be able to buy ingredients, find great recipes, and control the device from afar. The high-end countertop gadget won’t hit the market until 2020, but you can pre-order one today—a true cheese connoisseur like your dad will be willing to wait. In the meantime, we recommend you enroll your papa in Murray’s Cheese of the Month Club so he'll never be without gourmet cheese. (Between June 14 and June 16, you can get 10 percent off Murray's monthly cheese clubs with the code DADGIFTS10.)

Buy it: Indiegogo

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

12 Quirky Books for Imaginative Kids

Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster

Though childhood classics like A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh and Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are never truly go out of style, each year brings a new cache of funny and fantastical books that will feed the expanding imaginations of young readers everywhere. From a self-conscious sewer monster who wants to make friends to a gluttonous dinosaur who gobbled up Christmas, this guide has the perfect quirky story for every kind of kid on your holiday gift list.

1. Rumple Buttercup // Matthew Gray Gubler ($9)

This whimsical tale about a self-conscious sewer monster is written and illustrated by Criminal Minds star, and king of quirk, Matthew Gray Gubler. While cute characters and a simple message about embracing your individuality make it a great gift for very young kids, its absurdist humor makes it a laugh-out-loud read for older kids and adults, too.

Buy it: Amazon

2. President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath // Mac Barnett ($8)

president taft is stuck in the bath
Candlewick/Amazon

Mac Barnett’s good-natured retelling of William Howard Taft’s infamous (though unconfirmed) bathtub blunder teaches children two things. One, history is far from a tedious list of names, dates, laws, and battles. And two, even the most stately world leaders have embarrassing moments.

Buy it: Amazon

3. It’s Only Stanley // Jon Agee ($15)

it's only stanley book
Dial Books/Amazon

When strange noises wake the Wimbledon family at night, they assume their dog Stanley is cleaning or fixing something; in reality, Stanley is transforming their house into a rocket ship that will carry them to an alien-inhabited planet. Fans of The Secret Life of Pets and Phineas and Ferb’s Perry the Platypus will love this rhyming read-aloud (and surely wonder what their own pet is up to when they’re not around).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Frankie Sparks and the Big Sled Challenge // Megan Frazer Blakemore ($6)

frankie sparks and the big sled challenge
Aladdin/Amazon

Third-grade inventor Frankie Sparks is back for the third book in her STEM-inspired series, and this time, she’s about to learn that the hardest part about creating a competition-winning sled is less about sled-building and more about team-building. Great for elementary school kids who love to create anything—be it art or architecture—as well as anyone who’s ever had to work on a group project.

Buy it: Amazon

5. The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! // Mo Willems ($10)

the pigeon has to go to school
Hyperion Books/Amazon

Mo Willems’s original pigeon book was Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, a thoroughly riotous, award-winning tale about a pigeon trying to convince readers to let it drive the bus when the bus driver asked them not to. In the latest story, the headstrong pigeon pivots to something it very much does not want to do—go to school. It sends a message about the value of doing things you don’t want to do, but, most importantly, it’s also really funny.

Buy it: Amazon

6. The Glass Town Game // Catherynne M. Valente ($11)

the glass town game
Simon & Schuster/Amazon

Catherynne M. Valente spins a riveting fictional tale from the true story of Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell Brontë’s childhood in a Yorkshire parsonage, where they passed the time dreaming up an intricate fantasy land populated with toy soldiers. In Valente’s novel, the fantasy land comes to life, complete with whale-sized flies, Champagne flutes that play music, and fire-breathing porcelain roosters, and the siblings must use all their wit and imagination to figure out how to get home. It’s a little like Alice in Wonderland meets The Chronicles of Narnia, and perfect for fans of both.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Lambslide // Ann Patchett ($13)

lambslide
HarperCollins/Amazon

The internationally bestselling author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth is just as clever when it comes to writing for kids. In Lambslide, a group of lambs mistakenly hear lambslide instead of landslide and begin a farm-wide campaign for an actual slide for lambs. With quaint illustrations, endearing characters, and an engaging plot, this is the type of book that ends up in the family for generations.

Buy it: Amazon

8. The Book With No Pictures // B.J. Novak ($9)

The Office alum B.J. Novak turns storytime into a full-fledged comedic performance with The Book With No Pictures, a book filled with nonsense words and phrases like blork and blaggity blaggity, which the reader has to read aloud. For parents, it’s a blueprint for embracing their silly side. For kids, it’s a chance to see their parents not seem so parental.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Spencer’s New Pet // Jessie Sima ($14)

spencer's new pet
Simon & Schuster/Amazon

The author of Not Quite Narwhal returns with another adorable story, this time about a boy who must avoid sharp objects in order to protect his balloon-animal pet dog. The mostly black-and-white illustrations (except for the dog, which is red) give Spencer’s New Pet a refreshingly old-fashioned feel, and the tale itself is sweet, evenly paced, and timeless.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Serafina and the Black Cloak // Robert Beatty ($8)

serafina and the black cloak
Disney-Hyperion/Amazon

When children begin disappearing from the Biltmore Estate, Serafina, who secretly lives in the basement, knows the culprit is a mysterious man in a black cloak who prowls the corridors at night. This novel has everything a quality middle-grade fantasy needs, including secret passageways, a forbidden forest, unknown magic, and a scrappy heroine. And the chills and thrills don’t stop at the end—it’s the first in a series of four (so far).

Buy it: Amazon

11. The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas // Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter ($18)

the dinosaur that pooped christmas
Aladdin/Amazon

This jolly, strange story about a ravenous pet dinosaur who gobbles up all of Christmas is hilarious enough on its own—and perhaps even more so when you consider that it was written by British punk rockers Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter from the band McFly.

Buy it: Amazon

12. This Is a Taco! // Andrew Cangelose ($16)

this is a taco
Lion Forge/Amazon

A high-spirited, unique squirrel named Taco provides color commentary on regular squirrel facts in This Is a Taco!, a book that is much more than a factual guide to squirrels. In it, Taco embellishes, acts out, and sometimes completely changes the facts to be truer to his personal experience as a squirrel, which involves being opinionated and eating lots of tacos.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

8 Adorable Products You Can Buy for International Sloth Day

Good Luck Socks/Intelex via Amazon
Good Luck Socks/Intelex via Amazon

It’s that time of the year again, folks—the time when we all collectively lose our chill over a slow-moving, two- or three-toed mammal with an adorable squeak and poop that defies physics. That’s right: International Sloth Day is coming on October 20. Here’s a list of must-have coloring books, onesies, and Christmas sweaters that you can pick up to showcase your love of one of the internet's favorite animals.

1. Cuddly Microwaveable Sloth; $23

Microwavable sloth for International Sloth Day.
Intelex/Amazon

Warm your heart and your body with a plush sloth that doubles as a soothing heating pad. The toy is filled with millet grains and dried French lavender, a combination intended to help you get to sleep easier.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hanging Ceramic Sloth Planter; $19

FattyBee Ceramic Sloth Planter.
FattyBee/Amazon

This flower planter pulls double duty, communicating both your love of sloths and your appreciation for plants. And it makes a tasteful piece of hanging home decor, too.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Sloth Coloring Book; $7

Sloth Coloring Book on Amazon.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform/Amazon

Sloths themselves are already works of art, but you’d be forgiven for wanting a few more sloth-related crafts in your life. Now you can make your own masterpiece with this detailed coloring book. All you'll need are some colored pencils and you'll be ready to go.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Farting Sloth Coloring Book; $7

Sloth Farts Coloring Book on Amazon.
M & L Coloring Books/Amazon

But maybe traditional coloring books aren’t your thing. You’re in luck: Amazon sells a coloring book for the crowd that both loves sloths and laughs a little too much at farts.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Sloth Socks; $14

Sloth Socks on Amazon.
Good Luck Socks/Amazon

These socks are ideal for people who might not want to wear their love of sloths out in the open but are very comfortable showing it off on their ankles.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Sloth Onesie; $60

Tipsy Elves Sloth Onesie on Amazon.
Tipsy Elves/Amazon

No list of sloth-related products would be complete without a cozy onesie, and this one from Tipsy Elves is perfect for either pajamas or a last-minute Halloween costume. This onesie even comes with zippered pockets and cuddly sloth claws!

Buy it: Amazon

7. Sloth-Themed Ugly Christmas Sweater; $45


Tipsy Elves/Amazon

Why not celebrate the upcoming holiday season with this sloth-themed ugly Christmas sweater? You’re sure to be the hit of any holiday pub crawl or office Christmas party.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Sloth Mug; $13


Mika Mugs/Amazon

Really, what says it better than this mug? You just really freaking love sloths, and there’s nothing wrong with that, so be sure to declare your feelings along with your morning cup of coffee.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER