Pop’s Culture: What Dad Really Wants for Father’s Day

Survey says: celebrate dad by indulging in the activities he loves most this Father’s Day.

The following is a guest post from our friends at The Home Depot

If you’ve ever been to a ball game or a golf course, you’ve likely experienced first-hand just how passionate the average guy can get about his favorite pastimes and hobbies.

Whether wildly cheering in the stands, carefully researching an obscure collectible or artfully pairing a delectable meal with a fine wine, many fathers turn their leisure activity of choice into an outlet for fun, relaxation and stress relief. With that in in mind, we sought to uncover the latest intel on the activities and pastimes dads enjoy most on Father’s Day. In honor of the occasion, we asked 994 dads of all ages, from across the US, to give us the inside scoop on the hobbies that interest and inspire them most.


What we found is that dads across America engage in a range of activities that are as diverse as they are—from cooking and grilling to gaming, gardening and traveling. What better way to bond with dad for Father’s Day, or any day this summer, than spending time with him doing his favorite hobbies? Read on to discover the top hobbies dads enjoy around the country, accompanied by ideas for how you can enjoy these cherished pastimes together.


The Master of His Kitchen
Tie On Your Apron and Get Cooking with Dad

Still of a hand with barbecue tongs moving food on the barbecue

Of the nearly 1,000 fathers we surveyed, 52% actively grill and barbecue, making it the most popular hobby overall. The dads over 30 are more likely to strike up the grill: Close to 60% of that age group consider grilling a hobby. Likewise, 32% of dads bake (the most active in the baking camp are dads under 40), 26% consider themselves amateur chefs, and 26% are wine connoisseurs. That’s a lot of dads who like to eat, drink and be merry! In fact, Esquire Magazine recently reported that 14% more men cook today than in 1965, and that number appears to still be climbing.


Generally speaking, dads with kids under 18 years of age have more interest in these food and drink categories than dads with adult kids. That makes sense because cooking, grilling and baking are all activities they can enjoy with their children (or at the least share the bounty with them).


Father’s Day for the Fire Tamer

For the grill-happy dad, there is an entire industry based around barbeque and grilling accessories. Any of these items would make for a great way to not only experience Father’s Day with your culinary pop, but also make perfect gifts:

  • Grilling utensils
  • Grill baskets for vegetables and fish (perfectly seared halibut!)
  • Pizza stones for the grill
  • Grill thermometers. Consider a Bluetooth-enabled model that allows the outdoor chef to keep precise track of the cooking process without opening the lid and letting heat escape.
  • If it’s time to up his grill game, a basic, universally loved charcoal option is the standard kettle grill. The kettle grill was made famous by Weber, who also make gas grills ranging from portable, two-burners to elaborate outdoor kitchen systems with six burners, plus additional side burners for sautéing and sauces.

Spend Father’s Day striking up the barbecue with dad, and make it a special event. Show him you learned from the best by taking over the tongs and providing a spread of choice meats and veggies, with a guest list of his most treasured food critics – his kids!

The Explorer          
For Some Dads, Life is All About the Next Travel Adventure

Photo of father and his son at the lavender field
Of dads surveyed, 43% list traveling as a hobby. Of these, 48% travel with friends, while 36% travel with their kids for pleasure.

Interestingly, the respondents who picked travel as a hobby are more likely to describe themselves as adventurous and as having a provider personality than dads who favor other hobby categories. Traveling dads are more likely to live in the suburbs and say that their hobbies help them bond with their kids.

Father’s Day for the Dad On the Go
Maybe a travelling dad in your life is still using a worn out carry-on bag for his weekend getaways? He might appreciate a new smart bag that fits in the overhead, has wheels and also has Bluetooth and GPS so you can track it if it gets lost, or lock and unlock it remotely. Some even come with a USB battery charger so dad can recharge his phone after his flight. Maybe your globe-trotting dad wants more peace of mind when he’s out of town, and could use a home security system that notifies your mobile when someone enters your home.

To honor his hobby this Father’s Day, take to the open road! Plan a day trip or weekend excursion to a favorite family spot, or a destination on the map he’s always wanted to explore. Or be a tourist in your own hometown and hit the area landmarks the locals seem to forget about! Let dad’s wanderlust take over, if just for the day.

The Handyman Extraordinaire
Even Dads Who Can Do Anything Need a Helping Hand

Hands of father and son doing DIY

Although only 13% of the dads we surveyed describe themselves as industrious or handy, a third (33%) have managed to complete a DIY project in their house in the last year. Of that third, 57% say they would attempt a home improvement project like adding a home theater, workshop or storage area.

Dads also enjoy teaching their kids these skills—31% say that DIY projects help them bond with their children.


Nearly two thirds of dads (63%) say they would attempt a new DIY project like creating shelving for brewing equipment or building a work bench, while 29% say they enjoy making outdoor DIY modifications, like creating raised bed gardens, adding a shed for storing hobby gear or creating a new outdoor living space.


Father’s Day for the Do-Anything Dad
The DIY dad always has a tool or gadget on his must-have list. Ask him for his wish list of power tools or materials for the latest project on his list. And what’s a better gift than quality time together doing the things he loves? Offer a hand on his latest home improvement project, or get inspired to welcome summer with these outdoor DIY projects you can do together:

  • Hang a porch swing
  • Build an al fresco seating area around a fire pit
  • Build an outdoor kitchen
  • Lay a stone patio

The True Sportsman
From Hiking to Shooting Hoops, Get Outside with Dad

Father and son playing basketball

Across all 17 traditional sports we listed, 88% of dads participate in at least one, with basketball, baseball/softball and fishing leading the pack. Basketball is the most popular at nearly 29%, but non-traditional sports aren’t left out, with half the dads saying they participate in hobbies that include fantasy sports, target shooting and boxing.

Related to traditional sports, 60% of dads report that they enjoy outdoor adventure sports and hobbies like mountain biking, skiing and horseback riding. But the most popular hobby in this category is camping, with participation by over a third of that group.


Father’s Day for the Active Dad
If you’re shopping for a dad who is active and loves the outdoors, the gift options speak for themselves: Take his equipment to the next level. Keep in mind that of the dads who said they camped, 45% spend over $100 per month on their hobbies! So dad will surely appreciate your contribution.

For example, if dad is a camping enthusiast, make sure he’s outfitted with:

  • A camp stove and fuel
  • A single portable hammock
  • A GPS system to help him navigate the trails
  • Storage bins to help him keep his gear organized and out of the way when not in use

Whether your dad is an avid camper, a tennis pro or a biker, spending Father’s Day doing what he loves is a great excuse to get outside and get moving. Plan the day around dad’s favorite activity: Set up a neighborhood basketball tournament, surprise him with a round of golf with you and his friends, or hit the trails on your bikes.

The Passionate Collector          
Help Dad Enhance His Memorabilia, from Sports Cards to Coins

Dad and his daughter holding euro coins.

Dad and his daughter holding euro coins.

Among dads who list collecting as a hobby, sports cards and memorabilia leads as the most popular category (22%). Of these collecting-prone fathers, 19% favor coins, while comic book collecting came in third at 14%.

Father’s Day for the Collecting Dad
Why not give him a missing piece for his collection? But, be careful if you’re buying memorabilia as a Father’s Day gift, as unscrupulous vendors won’t think twice about selling fraudulent items. If you’re not an expert, you could easily be fooled. To be safe, narrow your search to items that have been authenticated by reputable third-party services, like PSA/DNA or James Smith Authentication. Here are some other gift ideas the collector will love:

  • A display case (buy one, or build a custom version perfect for dad)
  • A frame gallery to display photos, ticket stubs, stamps or other precious papers
  • A subscription to an industry magazine about the collectibles he’s after

Depending on what your dad collects, you can turn it into a themed Father’s Day adventure. Take him to the ballgame in the hopes of catching that foul ball, visit the nearest comic book shop for that hidden gem, or take him to the local antique shop to hunt down a hidden treasure.

The Creative Genius
Creating Art Together Brings Beauty to the Home

Shot of a little girl playing the guitar with her father

Creative hobbies abound for our dear dads, especially in the younger segment of those we surveyed. Indeed, 89% of dads under 30 participate in at least one creative hobby, such as drawing/painting, music, dance, acting or something similarly artistic.

Of all dads in all age groups who enjoy creative hobbies, 25% play a musical instrument (dads under the age of 40 are twice as likely to paly musical instruments than dads over 40), while 21% enjoy drawing and painting. The recent trend of adult coloring books made a surprise appearance with 17% in this group.

Even more than other types of hobbies, creative dads rate their hobby as being important or very important to them.


Father’s Day for the Creative Dad
Musicians’ instruments often have a part that needs constant attention or replacement, and a set of guitar strings, new drum sticks or reeds for your horn-playing dad will always be a welcomed gift. Just make sure you know his preferences on details like string gauge or drum stick size and type of wood. If your dad likes to play the family piano, maybe it’s time for a professional piano tuning service. It’s also a great excuse to get his entertainment area in order. Gift ideas include:

To have a creative Father’s Day experience, tap into the outlet that dad loves most. Check out the latest exhibit at the nearest art museum, take him to a concert of his favorite musician, or even scope out some live music at a small venue in your area.

The Technophile
Send a Strong Signal and Connect with Dad


It may not be surprising that our survey revealed that 77% of all dads dabble in some form of technology as a personal activity. Social media is the most popular online activity among dads, with 48% participating in it, while video gaming is almost as popular among all dads (42% participate).

These tech enthusiasts do often have other hobbies: 85% of dads who view themselves as athletic participated in a tech hobby. And these dads tend to incorporate tech into other hobbies they enjoy: 45% of dads are currently using apps which help with or support their hobbies, and 52% are planning to use or already use virtual reality related to their hobbies.

Father’s Day for the Tech Geek
In almost any aspect of dad’s life, you can find a technological gadget that brings him further into the future. Upgrade his personal device, entertainment area or video game collection:

  • Wireless Bluetooth speakers
  • Wireless accessories for his computer
  • A storage table for his game controllers and consoles

To make Father’s Day memories together, take on a project to “smarten up” your techy dad’s home with him. Help him install a smart temperature control, lighting or security system.

Hobbies Make Dad Happy


How do all these hobbies affect a father and his relationship with his kids? More than 42% said that their hobbies help them bond with their kids, and almost 36% said it helps them teach their kids new skills. While 40% participate in hobbies mostly with their friends and 35% with their wife or significant other, nearly 30% of dads participate in their hobbies most often with their kids. Best of all, these hobbies have a positive effect on their well-being—59% said hobbies relieve stress and help them to unwind, 55% said that hobbies made them feel happy, and 36% said that it kept their mind sharp.

When searching for a gift for the dad in your life, look no further than their hobbies. Whether it’s comic books, cooking or camping that your dad fancies, you can make his Father’s Day a memorable one.

Sam is the Content and Multimedia Specialist for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Weehawken, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

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  1. Alin Perry
    August 21, 2016

    Thanks a lot for this awesome post.

  2. Outdoor Fire Pits
    March 26, 2017

    Awesome post! You’re absolutely right — hobbies definitely make dads happy. Being idle breeds discontent!


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