With everything parents have been dealing with this last year, we’re guessing you’re overdue to spend some real QT time with your son. 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.
***If some of these things aren’t possible right now, make a bucket list!
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 find some open green space.
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.
5. Schedule some tech-free playtime. Being absolutely present with your kid, even for 20 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.
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? Make it a vacation, and book one of these Airbnbs that are perfect for families!
12. Plan a future vacay for just the two of you.
Wondering where to go? We scouted 48 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.
15. Do a science experiment.
Because no one knows how to invent something out of nothing like a mom and her kid!!
16. Get takeout from somewhere fancy and eat al fresco.
Support a local restaurant by grabbing takeout and hitting the open green field for an outdoor dinner.
17. Watch a virtual symphony or stage performance.
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 as superheroes and run around the house/yard/neighborhood! If it’s good enough for The Incredibles…
20. 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.
21. Plant something.
There’s really nothing like digging in the dirt and watching the fruits of your labor grow in the sunshine.
22. 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
Compassion is a key skill in raising a strong man.
24. Pretend to be spies and create decoder messages for each other.
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.
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.
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.
45. Ask him a question. These simple prompts will help your son feel comfortable opening up and sharing his thoughts.
41. Plan out a walking (and sampling) food tour of your favorite local foodie district. Because every kid should know exactly how the neighborhood delicacies taste.
42. Organize an afternoon of playing jumbo lawn games. Here are our favorites!
43. Chaperone a Boy Scout trip. Dad doesn't always have to be the one on the campout.
44. Go geocaching. What's more fun than an outdoor treasure hunt?
45. Go to a sporting event. Whether it's baseball, tennis, football, golf, basketball or hockey (or anything else!), if he's into it, he'll love being able to watch in person.
— Gabby Cullen, Amber Guetebier & Keiko Zoll
Feature photo: iStock