Need a little mother-son bonding time? One of the easiest ways to make it happen is to set aside a few hours at a time for just the two of you. We asked moms of boys everywhere to share their favorite ideas, and from a Sugar Rush-inspired baking session to planting a garden and playing LEGO, there’s tons of ground to cover! Keep reading to see them all.

1. Go fishing. Grab a pole, and hit the local pond. It’s a quiet sport that’ll keep you present and in the moment.

2. Pack a picnic and hit the local playground.

3. Play a new board game or a card game. 

4. Start a journal. There are plenty of diaries and journals for girls, but boys need a place to write down their thoughts too. Encourage him by writing in it with him. We especially love this one from Wee Society.

photo: Thiago Cerqueira on Unsplash

5. Establish a tech-free playtime (put your phone away). Being absolutely present with your kid, even for 15 minutes, is one of the most valuable ways to bond.

6. Run a race.
Whether it’s a 5k or a 1-mile fun run, train with your son and show him what moms (and women) can do!

7. Attend a rally for a cause you care about. It’s important to teach your son how to be a good citizen.

8. Bake something.
Not a seasoned baker yourself? Try one of these easy kits that make you look like a cake boss, even when you’re not.

9. Read with him.
Especially books that show strong female role models, like Astronaut Annie, Girl on the Run and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls.

photo: Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

10. Have a good cry. Boys are often encouraged to hide their feelings and “man up.” Letting your son know it’s okay to have emotions will set him up to be a more empathetic adult.

11. Go surfing.
Spend an afternoon catching waves with your kid. Don’t live near the beach? Check out our top beaches to visit with kids and make a trip out of it.

12. Take a vaycay, just the two of you.
Wondering where to go? We scouted 20 epic spots to see before the kids get too old.

13. Go geocaching together. You know your inner pirate will be stoked to follow a map and find treasure.

14. Put on a puppet show together. It’s fun to be someone else for a while. 

photo: Shelley Massey

15. Do science experiments.
Because no one knows how to invent something out of nothing like a mom and her kid!!

16. Dine out somewhere fancy.
There’s that themed restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Here’s your opportunity.

17. Go to a play, the opera and the symphony!
Sharing this experience with your son will help him appreciate the theatrical arts later in life.

18. Have an up-close encounter with animals (reptiles, giraffes, starfish etc.) at your local zoo. We can’t deny that a visit to the zoo is a favorite for everyone involved.

19. Dress up like superheroes and run around the house/yard/neighborhood! If it’s good enough for The Incredibles…

photo: Cindi via Flickr

20. Plant something.
There’s really nothing like digging in the dirt and watching the fruits of your labor grow in the sunshine.

21. Make art/take a clay class.
Art isn’t just for girls, it’s for everyone! Schedule a class and get ready to get messy

22. Volunteer.
Compassion is a key skill in raising a strong man.

24. Do laundry together.
He needs to pitch in and help as a member of the family, plus it’ll save you the inevitable “my clothes are pink” phone call one day.

25. Pretend to be spies and create decoder messages for each other. 

photo: iStock

26. Practice random acts of kindness.
Because it’s awesome.

27. Play ninjas/dinosaurs/Star Wars/house
Whatever he’s into, he’ll love that you’re into it too.

28. Make a “lunch” out of free samples of a shopping trip to Whole Foods or Costco. Hey, those samples worth their weight in gold!

29. Do a big puzzle together that can be framed in his room when it’s done. It’ll keep everyone busy for hours! That’s gotta be some kind of record. 

30. Make a surprise craft together for your partner. Do something sweet for the other person who loves him as much as you do. 

photo: Steven Yeh via Flickr

31. Go on a hike together.
Because nothing goes better with bonding than the Great Outdoors.

32. Go through old family photos together and talk about your family history. To go forward, it’s important to know where you’ve come from. 

33. Have a knock-knock joke battle. You’re in luck because we’ve got the best jokes for kids right here.

34. Have a water balloon fight in the warmer months. Don’t want to deal with the broken bits of balloons after it’s all over? Try our favorite water games, instead

35. Go to a museum together. Pick a museum, any museum! From dinosaurs to cars to local history, there’s something for everyone.

photo: iStock

36. Go through old clothes or toys together to donate to charity.
This is another great way to build compassion in kids.

37. Cook a meal together. If it goes well, do it once a week.

38. Go beachcombing for crabs and other beach critters together. Whether you live nearby, or if it’s an annual trek, collecting stuff on the beach is a must.

39. Get Chinese dim sum or Spanish tapas together. You can both try new foods together in perfectly-sized portions.

40. Have a water balloon fight in the warmer months. Don’t want to deal with the broken bits of balloons after it’s all over? Try our favorite water games, instead.

photo: V.T. Polywoda via Flickr

41. Take a walking (and sampling) food tour of your favorite local foodie district. Because every kid should know exactly how the neighborhood delicacies taste. 

42. Go on a ghost tour together. For a nightmare-free experience, check out our kid-friendly haunted houses

43. Chaperone a Boy Scout trip. Dad doesn’t always have to be the one on the campout. 

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44. Sit down for family dinner. That meal you just cooked? Keep the connection going by eating it together.

45. Ask him a question. These simple prompts will help your son feel comfortable opening up and sharing his thoughts.

— Gabby Cullen, Amber Guetebier & Keiko Zoll

 

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Feature photo: iStock

35 Things Every Mother & Son Need to Do Together