dad week

The Best Virtual Gifts (From Guitar Lessons to Wine Tastings) for Every Type of Dad

Fender Play offers video lessons for acoustic and electric guitar, as well as bass and ukulele. Photo: Fender Play

You may have noticed some posts from our friends at the Strategist on the Cut. They’ll be dropping in every now and again, sharing their expertise on the basics you don’t have time to research and the weird and wonderful things you don’t yet know you need.

Even though pandemic-related stresses on shipping and delivery systems have eased with most of the country in some phase of reopening, it would be understandable if you’d rather not leave the fate of a Father’s Day gift up to chance. Thankfully, the past months of living and working at home have led to a renaissance of sorts in immersive digital classes and experiences that can be delivered with the click of a button — making them a great option for gifts that require no shipping and, therefore, can also be given at the last minute.

Some of these offerings are one on one, allowing for a truly tailored experience, while others are group classes that still take place in the privacy of dad’s home due to their do-it-anywhere nature. A few even include supplies (like wine or cheese) that make the experiences even more immersive. Below, we’ve rounded up 16 giftable digital experiences for every type of dad, from the home chef looking to expand his repertoire to the dad who wants to perfect his golf swing.

For the dad whose favorite hobby involves strings

From $50

Even if it has been years since he broke out his guitar, Fender Play’s step-by-step video lessons can help dad start playing his favorite songs in no time at all. Lessons are available for acoustic and electric guitars, as well as for bass and the ukulele. After a 14-day free trial, plans start at $10 a month or, if paid upfront, $90 for a year (that’s about $8 a month, plus an annual membership comes with 10 percent off all Fender gear for its duration).

For the dad whose favorite hobby involves swings

If dad’s worried about how any time away from his golf club has negatively affected his form, you can book South Carolina–based golf coach Jonathan Yarwood to give him some feedback on his swing through a bespoke video created just for him. All dad has to do is record footage of his swing, according to provided guidelines, then send it to Yarwood. A single lesson costs $50, while $299 gets you a six-month membership that includes two lessons per month, a longterm-improvement plan, and access to a so-called members’ lounge.

For the DIY dad

From $159

After staring at his couch for three months, we wouldn’t blame him if he’s craving change. One way he can get a head start on his interior-decorating plans is through a virtual service like Modsy, which connects customers to interior designers that create plans based on their tastes and preferences. Packages start at $89, and all of them include personalized designs, shoppable 3-D renderings of the exact room in question (that include bird’s eye- and 360-degree views of said room), and access to Modsy’s online interior-design tool so he can futz around on his own.

For the dad who wants to learn a new hobby

From $36

Maybe your dad isn’t as interested in brushing up on an old hobby as he is in discovering a new one. If so, he might appreciate the more low-commitment classes at Skillshare, which can be as short as 28 minutes long, like this class on drawing everything taught by artist Shantell Martin. Gift subscriptions start at $36 for three months and give dad full access to thousands of classes, which cover everything from how to use Photoshop to the basics of e-commerce to a class on writing creative nonfiction led by acclaimed journalist Susan Orlean.

For the dad who misses his college days for the electives

Photo: retailer

At the Greatest Courses Plus, which streams thousands of lessons on courses on hundreds of subjects, dad is sure to find just about anything he might be interested in, from a course on the science of cooking to how music and math relate to travel photography taught by a National Geographic photographer. After a free 14-day trial, membership plans start at $10 a month (billed every three months) and offer unlimited streaming of the platform’s classes.

For the dad who misses his college days for the core curriculum

From $39
Photo: retailer

While the Greatest Courses partners with organizations like National Geographic, the Smithsonian, and the Mayo Clinic, Coursera collaborates with top universities and companies like Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, and IBM to bring on-demand academic lessons to his screen. Priced as low as $39 (with most costing closer to $49), courses are typically four to six weeks long and include homework exercises, discussion forums, quizzes, projects, and a certificate of completion. Many courses, like the Science of Well Being taught by a Yale psychology professor, are also free to enroll in, but free courses will not leave dad with certificates of completion. (There’s also the option to enroll in Coursera Plus for $399 a year, which gives him unlimited access to over 3,000 courses, specializations, and professional certificates.) If dad needs some help wading through all the classes, he can head here for more recommendations.

For the dad who will only take classes led by certain instructors

If dad’s the type to only sign up for a class that’s led by someone he considers capable of leading it, he might like the lessons from MasterClass, which are all taught by famous people with bold-faced names who excel in their given subject matter. For $180, he gets an annual membership with access to all of the platform’s 82 classes, so he can bop between a class on comedy taught by Steve Martin, the art of negotiation by Chris Voss, and a gardening class taught by Ron Finley — all of which come recommended by MasterClass students.

For the dad who wants to be a better colleague at work

Photo: LinkedIn

If you think dad would rather spend his time learning how to develop his current career rather than the basics to start a new one, consider a subscription to LinkedIn Learning, which offers courses on negotiation skills, impromptu speaking, servant leadership, and strategic thinking. Memberships start at $30 a month, or $20 a month if you sign up for a year upfront, and offer access to more than 16,000 courses and online tutorials in business, technology, and creativity, all of which are taught by industry experts, according to the program.

For the dad who just learned what terroir means

Just because dad might not be able to visit his favorite winery this summer doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the same sort of intimate tasting experience he might have on a vineyard. Priority Wine’s virtual tastings promise “no crowded Zoom calls with people you don’t know,” and allow dad to choose bottles from nine participating wineries in Napa Valley, Oregon, and Virginia. To book, you just choose a package of wines to order directly from a vineyard, then schedule a tasting where he can sip through his selections once they arrive. There are some 25 tasting packages to choose from, all of which are priced differently. Durst Winery in Lodi, California, for instance, offers a four-bottle tasting of “award winning” red and white wines for $108, while the Oregon-based Brandborg offers an even more affordable three-bottle tasting package of aromatic whites for just $57.

For the dad who just learned what a bloomy rind is

For the dad who’s a cheesehead (but not necessarily the Green Bay Packer kind), a tasting package from New York City’s Murray’s Cheeses will be more his speed. The iconic shop offers virtual tastings via Eventbrite that cover everything from French cheese pairings to meat-and-cheese pairings to cocktail-and-cheese pairings. Murray’s also offers a couple of Father’s Dayspecific events that you should sign up for sooner rather than later, as they tend to fill up fast. Once you place your order through Eventbrite, a shipment of cheeses for the class will be sent to dad prior to the date. Then, on the day of, all he needs to do is tune in via the provided link.

For the dad who wants to learn a new language (and make a new friend)

From $6

There are plenty of language-learning apps out there, but there’s something about learning face-to-face — even if done virtually — that can be more helpful than just words alone on a screen. At least that’s what folks who’ve learned languages using Italki have told us of the service, which connects prospective students with more than 10,000 native-speaker teachers for private language lessons in over 130 languages. If dad wanted to learn Italian before the big family trip that will now happen next year, this would be a way for him to do that — and potentially make a new friend (and someone to visit) in the process. He can use filters to find available tutors based on location and what other languages they speak, then choose his instructor based on schedule and rate, which starts as low as $6 per hour.

For the dad who needs a lot of motivation to work out

Photo: FYT

As with a private language tutor, having a personal trainer can make all the difference if dad is committed to the idea of working out, but struggling with the execution. Fyt, which connects people with local personal trainers, now offers virtual one-on-one training sessions with instructors — so if dad’s getting tired of relying on YouTube workout videos or coming up with his own regimen, he can let someone else encourage him — or yell at him — to get that extra rep in. Packages start at $119 for four sessions, but Strategist readers can get $50 off their first purchase for virtual (or in-person) subscriptions with the code STRAT50.

For the dad who needs a little motivation to work out

Maybe dad doesn’t need someone barking at him to finish a workout, just an easy way to find a class he’ll know he’ll like without having to try various studios or free-trial periods. Enter: Obé Fitness, which offers more than 4,000 on-demand and 100 live weekly classes across multiple practices, including yoga, pilates, cardio boxing, HIIT, and more. Each class is 28 minutes long and requires no equipment beyond a mat, though if he wants more of a challenge, he can incorporate resistance bands, weights, and sliders.

For the dad who’s Peloton-curious

Perhaps your dad knows the exact workout regimen he wants but feels a certain kind of way about spending thousands of dollars on the Peloton bike or treadmill that grants him access to the company’s classes. This membership will allow him to work out with the brand’s trainers, who lead classes on the Peloton app that require none of its pricey gear. The classes, which can be streamed on demand from a phone, tablet, or TV, are broken into more than ten different disciplines, including outdoor running, strength training, yoga, cycling, and bootcamp. Monthly memberships start at $13/month, after a 30-day free-trial period.

For the dad who wants to learn a new recipe (or two)

Even if dad can’t travel this summer, the Chef & the Dish’s one-on-one virtual cooking classes will still allow him to take a culinary adventure from the comfort of his own kitchen. Led by chefs from Spain, Japan, Thailand, Hungary, Italy, Brazil, Turkey, Vietnam, and the U.S., the classes will give dad an opportunity to whip up an authentic regional dish made under the guidance of a local-to-that-country teacher. Classes are held via Skype and cost $299 for a two and a half-hour cooking session (for two people) that typically yields three courses. The cost also includes a shopping list (that he’ll have to shop for himself) as well as access to a personal kitchen assistant to help him get set up and answer any questions in advance of the class. If dad wants to include more than two people in the lesson, you can add up to two more (for a total of four) for $50 a person.

For the dad who’s always looking for his next adventure

If culinary adventures are just one of the many your fun-loving dad likes to take, he might prefer one of the virtual excursions offered by Airbnb Experiences. In addition to cooking classes, the program offers all manner of tours and lessons hosted by people from all over the world. The options are plentiful, including touring a farm in New Zealand, exploring the rocky shores of the Cape Coast in South Africa, or visiting the Vatican. Each class has a limit on how many people can join and is priced per person; some, like an Argentine wine class, go for as low as $1 a head (though most range from $7 to $35 a person). That means dad can participate on his own, or you could book any of them as a group affair and invite some of his friends and family to make new memories with him.

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The Best Virtual Gifts for Every Type of Dad