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There’s something extremely special about the relationship between a father and son. The bonds created when a child and his dad spend time together last a lifetime, and help develop and shape the adult they’ll grow into. From their first moments of life, sons are shaped by their fathers in emotional, physical and cognitive ways. They learn how to treat the women in their lives, how to bounce back after failure, how to lead, and how to love. Therefore it’s incredibly important to foster those relationships and encourage both fathers and sons to spend more time together by making time for father and son activities in their lives.
But planning activities or coming up with ideas isn’t always easy, even for the most creative. So we’ve put together a great list of ideas, guaranteed to foster any father-son relationship.
Share the Love of a Sport
There aren’t many people that don’t love some sort of sport – whether football and baseball, swimming, or tennis. Sports bond so many together all around the world. So it’s no surprise that over 21.4% of men play sports or exercise daily. It’s good for you, AND enjoyable – a win-win.
It’s no surprise either, with so many options for father and son activities, that many dads share in sports to bond with their sons. Whether outdoor, golfing a round of 18, or indoor, picking up a round of putt-putt golf, there’s something for every dad and child, of every age and capability. Just simply throwing the football around outside on a nice day is the perfect way to bond. If a pair is looking for scheduled, longer-term bonding, signing up to play in a father-son league, or for the braver dads, coaching their son can be a great bonding experience too. And don’t forget running – it’s free!
Not into a specific sport? Try learning a new one together. Raquetball, tennis, even ping pong in the basement are all great games for pairs to learn. What could be more special than that?
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Indoor Extreme Sports
For the more adventurous pair, extreme sports may top the list of coolest father and son activities. Have a child (or dad) with a need for speed? Pull-on a helmet, buckle up, and push the pedal to the metal with Indoor Go-Carts. Be on the same team or go head-to-head for a little friendly competition with cars that go up to 50mph!
Really enjoy the high-rise adrenaline rush? Maybe indoor rock-climbing is the way to go. Together, learn to support and trust each other as (depending on the child’s age) each person takes turns as a “belayer” (person who holds the rope of the climber), or use the help of one of the employees. Some facilities now offer auto-belaying, giving fathers and sons the opportunity to race to the top together, or just not worry about the technical side. It’s the perfect opportunity for encouragement and teamwork, helping one another plan the route of attack up the wall.
Skydiving is the ultimate extreme sport for those who love the adventure, but it also comes with a lot of risks. Indoor Skydiving gives you the unique feel of free-falling without the actual… you know… falling. iFly offers indoor skydiving for ages 3-103 where you fly gently on a cushion of controlled air. Regardless of age, size, and experience, all divers suit up, get a crash course in how the instructor will guide you into the tunnel, and take turns having the experience of a lifetime.
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Outdoor Extreme Sports
If the weather allows, there’s plenty of outdoor father and son activities that go to the extreme too. From paintballing to dirtbike riding, there’s tons of fun and adventure to be had.
Find a local dirt track and get on some ATVs. This extreme vehicle is perfect for younger kids as it’s easier to drive and handle with 4 wheels than a dirtbike (2 wheels).
If the dad has experiences with horses but doesn’t live on a farm anymore, or the child has a strong interest in trying it out, sign up for horseback riding classes.
Maybe white-water rafting is more their style. There are plenty of tours that take groups down rivers of all experience, some of which include lunch. Or, if you live near one, check out a self-contained white-water rafting facility.
Who doesn’t enjoy movies? It may not be the ideal way to connect DURING the movie, but watching a movie together can still be the perfect bonding experience. Choose a movie that is age-appropriate and that both parties would be interested to watch. Or, create a long-term bonding tradition by watching a series of movies over a period of time (Star Wars, Iron Man, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc.), grab a bowl of popcorn (or other favorite snacks), and sit back and relax. Afterward, a father and son can share favorite parts and look forward to the next flick.
Don’t have the time to kill on a movie trilogy? Stick to a TV series on Netflix or Amazon Prime, or catch the weekly episode on primetime TV. Make it a reoccurring meeting for the dad and son and they’ll be bonding in no time.
Get-to-Know-You Outdoor Activities
When someone thinks of a bonding father and son activities, experiences like fishing, hiking, and camping are the first to come to mind. Why? It gives plenty of downtime, quiet, and togetherness that naturally leads to talking and communication. Sure, a child may not open up right away and divulge their deepest feelings, but that’s OK. It’s about giving the opportunity and enjoying each other’s company which fosters stronger relationships.
A hike doesn’t have to be rigorous. Want to start easy? Go for a walk around a neighborhood together, or event at the local state park. Some hikes are even completely flat and don’t need any special equipment – only some comfortable shoes! Dad’s can create a game-like experience by making it a team scavenger hunt. Just make a list of items to find on the walk or hike – like a butterfly, a squirrel, and a pinecone – and the child can check off each item found.
Camping doesn’t have to be a big event either. A tent in the living room or backyard is perfect (even make one out of blankets and pillows!) and spend some time mock-camping. Have s’mores (microwaves work too!), campfire stories, learn about the stars – whatever father and son activities interest both parties. It’s about the time spent together.
READ MORE: 9 Father’s Day Gifts for the Expectant Dad
Take on a Long-Term Project
Pick a project, any project, for just dad and his son to complete. Refurbish an old car, build a tree-house, design a robot – it doesn’t matter what project is created, it’s the skills learned, and the time spent together that means the most. In the end, the child will have something to be proud of, and a memory that will last a lifetime.
Attend a Conference, Show, or Amusement Park
Who doesn’t love a fun outing for a day? Car or dinosaur show coming to town? Hunting & Fishing Expo on the calendar? Warming up enough to attend an amusement park. Make it a point to attend just as a father and son. Go all out and order fun food, take pictures and buy souvenirs the child can keep to remember how much fun was had that day.
Take a Class
With so many businesses popping up in cities everywhere offering education classes, finding father and son activities that interest both of them is pretty easy to do. From cooking to 3D printing, learning how to use power tools, and living the American Ninja Warrior dream, there’s something for everyone.
Maybe starting a garden is more your thing? Take a child to a children’s gardening class to get the ins and outs of nature at their level, then come home and start one together. Have a child who loves salsa? Great! Grow tomatoes, cilantro, onions, peppers, and garlic so you’ll have fresh salsa all summer long!
Join a Group
There are great groups like Boy Scouts available for fathers and sons who want to be prepared for any adventure life throws their way, but there are also some unique and fun groups available too.
LEGO groups, for builders and enthusiasts, are something a lot of dads and sons can get into. Share your builds, join competitions, and camaraderie with others who share the same love. And of course, for plenty of general father and son activities, there are just plain simple Father & Sons groups available for those wanting to bond with their son in the same way.
READ MORE: Cool Father’s Day Gifts Dad Will Love
Haven’t found a group that works? Start a group! That’s something for which both a son and father can both be proud.
A dad shouldn’t be afraid to show his own interests, but remember to choose something based on the personality of the child. Listen to the child. They may be uncomfortable or scared to try something new or afraid to do something too extreme. Picking father and son activities that both will enjoy, is part of the whole bonding experience.
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Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics,