Can you keep a secret? Then I'll tell you what my kids are doing for their geek dad this Father's Day.
He's an avid digital photographer who shoots hundreds of pictures every month, filling up the hard drive on our home computer. But he enjoys shooting a lot more than organizing, so it's hard for him to find his favorite images when he wants to show off the kids to his friends or family.
So the kids and I have done the work for him. We've spent the past few weeks reviewing thousands of pictures and selecting the ones the kids like the best. And since the kids are doing the choosing, it's not about composition or which pictures look cutest. It's about collecting the pictures that show everything they love about their dad: the pictures of mornings spent making pancakes together, weekend expeditions to the park and the first airplane trip he took them on.
On Father's Day, we'll load the kid-created album onto his iPhone and iPad, putting the pictures on the devices he always has with them. For my geeky husband, a gift that combines gadgets with kid creativity is a match made in heaven.
My own dad was another story. Until just a couple of years ago, his primary computer had a black-and-white monitor and a dial-up modem—hardly the ideal environment for photo sharing. To give him a collection of photos, I got a digital picture frame and preloaded it with a year's worth of images. He loved seeing a rotating display of his grandchildren, especially since he could see them without turning on his ancient computer.
Whether the dad in your life is a geek or a Luddite, technology can help you celebrate this Father's Day—or any day when you want to let Dad know how much he means to you.Gift Giving
For geek dad you can’t go wrong with a gadget, especially one that reminds him of his kids. One that might be new to even a hardened gadget freak is the Jabra Halo is a Bluetooth headset for listening to music or taking calls, which I was lucky enough to receive complimentary from Jabro after my original one broke (I guess they know I am a big fan!). Pair it with a new playlist of the favorite songs that dad has passed along to his kids: in our house that includes U2’s <i>Pride</i> and Simon & Garfunkel’s <i>Feeling Groovy</i>.
A Luddite dad will be thrilled with a gift that says, "I love you enough to unplug." Ask your kids to put down their Game Boys and cell phones long enough to make Dad a personal gift. You can find terrific Father's Day craft projects online. For the younger set, try Kaboose.com
; teens can check out Instructables.com
for nifty DIY projects like bookends made from old vinyl records.Bonding Time
A geek dad will enjoy spending quality time with the kids—if quality time involves a pair of game controllers. Red Dead Redemption is a hot new PlayStation and Xbox game your teens can play with Dad; younger kids can enjoy playing Little Big Planet.
And there's no kinder way to show a Luddite dad your love than with a little tech support. Young kids can use a program like KidPix or the free Tux Paint to make Dad a personalized desktop picture. Older kids can help Dad finally set up his Facebook or Twitter account or teach him how to respond to their text messages. Just think how happy Dad will be when he gets a text that says "HAVING FUN B HOME L8ER" and can respond with his own text saying "ROTFL C U IN 15 MINS."