The importance of a father in his son’s life can’t be understated. The best way to teach your son how to be a good man is to show him. But spending time with your son is so much more than modeling behavior. It’s a bonding experience, stress reliever, and gives each of you an opportunity to talk If you really want to connect with your boy tackle some of these father-son activities and see what happens.
This is an easy one and should be one of the first things you tackle as a dad. Reading to your child has a host of benefits. Obviously, it helps them as they prepare for school but it also allows them to use their imagination and learn empathy.
Ohio State University found that children whose parents read 5 books a day to them entered kindergarten having heard an average of 1.4 million words than children who didn’t read to them. This sets them up to learn to read earlier.
What makes reading such a great father-son activity is that it’s ageless. As your boy gets older you can recommend books to him and even have your own book club.
I think about waking up early with my dad while the rest of the house was asleep. Getting dressed and sneaking out the door before anyone woke up. I think of standing on the bank as the sun was coming up next to him. I remember catching a fish and being too scared to take the hook out of his mouth and my dad doing it. I remember talking and also standing in silence. More than anything I remember feeling like his buddy.
Go to a game
Think about the excitement of going to a game. You’re walking up to the stadium with your ticket in hand. You finally find your seat and buy a hot dog and drink. The great thing about going to a game is that even if your team loses the experience is still a win.
Going camping is a different experience from most other father son activities. Its you two in the great outdoors. There is something primal about it. You experience nature as its intended. Plus there’s a chance to learn things you normally might not. Like how to read a compass, build a fire and the best of all make smores.
Get A Haircut
There aren’t many things better than going to the barbershop. Men don’t tend to spend much time preening themselves. But this is the exception. What’s better than a good haircut? Teach your boy to enjoy some time for himself. Plus the barbershop is an environment all its own. The range of topics discussed at the barbershop is wide and varied. He’ll learn how to participate in small talk and fit in with strangers.
Riding bikes is a great way to get away from it all and get some sun and break a sweat. The U.S. is loaded with great mountain biking trails too.
Grilling is a science. It takes patience. And what’s more manly than cooking meat over an open flame. We have been cooking meat over a fire for a million years, literally. You and your boy are next in the long line of grillers. Pass down what you know. The best thing about grilling is the conversation while you wait.
Show Him How-To Shave
This is a rite of passage. An important moment in a father’s and son’s life. Your boy is becoming a man. Take some time to show him the right way to shave. He’ll think about this often when he shaves and he’ll show his son how to do it too. Also, a boy needs to know he doesn’t need 5 blades for a great shave.
Board games are a great way to be competitive with your son while also having a good time. Start off with Chutes and Ladders then work your way up to checkers and chess.
Video games can get a bad wrap but if playing them is something you or your son are in to then by all means play. Father son activities shouldn’t just be determined by dad. If your boy wants to play then do it.
Finding time to work out can be hard. Bring along your buddy and get some exercise and family time. Sweating together while pushing each other to go harder is a great bonding experience.
Men have been gazing at the stars from the beginning. Travelers and explorers used the night sky to find their way. Even in the age of Google Maps, you can still use the stars.
You can learn a lot about a person by playing golf with them. And I don’t mean how good of a golfer they are. Golf reveals character. It’s a psychological test for 18 holes. If you don’t believe me watch a golfer’s response to shanking a drive into the water or missing a two-foot putt. Start playing with your son early you can model behavior for him. If you lose your head every time you hit a bad shot he will too. But if you stay even keel and have fun he’ll pick up on that as well. Payne Stewart once said that a bad attitude is worse than a bad swing. He’s right. Your playing golf together on a beautiful piece of land. Enjoy it.
Watch A Movie
Share a movie together. You pick one then he does. Watch an old film or a new release. Go to a theater or stay home. It doesn’t matter.
Take A Road Trip
Father and son and the open road. Like with many things in life the destination isn’t as important as the journey. Being stuck in the car for hours together is a great way to connect.
Have A Drink
Getting a drink together is a timeless way for men to catch up and talk.
Father Son Activities (Toddler)
Make A Tape Racetrack
Boys love racecars. Grab some scotch tape and clear some room. It’s cheap and easy. Sit back and watch your boy become Lightning McQueen.
Watch A Movie
Speaking of Lightning Mcqueen……
Play Dress Up
Playing dress-up encourages imagination and leads to laughs. Let’s get silly dad.
Wash The Car
I don’t know if you know this but toddlers are the worst car washers in the world. But that doesn’t matter. Try to not have fun with a toddler, water hose, and soap. Can’t do it.
Feed The Ducks
Go To The Zoo
Kids and zoos go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you’re looking for the perfect father son activity for your toddler this is it. Let him take the lead and follow him wherever he wants to go. Get ready to hear “ooh dad look at this” about a thousand times.
Build Something With Boxes
We get packages nearly every day. Sure you could recycle them, but wouldn’t it be a lot cooler if you made them into a castle ?
These museums are designed to increase the knowledge and curiosity of children. Here’s a list of children’s museums throughout the United States.
Free Father Son Activities
Bring Him Along
This is the easiest one. If you’re running a few errands grab him and go. You can talk about something or nothing. It doesn’t matter.
This is something you can fit in the evening. It’s a great stress reliever. especially after a long day at work and school.
Tell Him About Yourself
Talk to him about anything. You can tell him about your childhood or work or whatever else comes to mind. Within reason, of course. This glimpse into what makes you who you are will help him understand why you do things the way you do.
Ask Him About His Day
Being a kid can be extremely stressful and some need help talking about the stuff that’s bothering him. Be there. Put your phone down. Be present. Build a good line of communication while he’s young and he’ll be more likely to talk to you about what’s on his mind when he gets older.
Teach Him What You Know
Fathers want their sons to be a better man than they are. To do that dads need to teach their sons what they know. This can be anything. How to change a tire or how to start a fire. Dads have accumulated wisdom and knowledge over the years. Be sure to pass it on.
Plant A Tree
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is today.
Find something both of you are passionate about and go help out. Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity are always in need of help. Those are just a couple of the thousands of worthwhile causes you can find. Community service broadens views and increases compassion. It’s a win/win.
Throwing the ball around is a great way to connect. You can have deep conversations or not.
Your son is going to need to learn how to cook. Spend time doing it together. This is a really underrated father son activity because the sooner you can teach him how to cook the sooner you don’t have to cook every meal.
Father Son Building Projects
Building something together is a great way to spend time. Your boy needs to learn his way around tools and how to be safe with them. If he doesn’t that’s on you. Woodworking teaches them to follow plans and how to problem-solve. Plus as the great Ron Swanson says, “people who buy things are suckers.”
Below are some DIY plans for these projects.
Build A Birdhouse
Rubber Band Gun
I hope this post has given you some ideas about how you can spend quality time with your kid. Ultimately it doesn’t matter which of these father son activities you choose. Just make time for something, anything.