It’s been said that the kind of man a young boy becomes, depends on what his father taught him during moments spent together.
Often ones where fathers aren’t trying to teach their boys anything at all.
Rather, it’s those little pieces of odd wisdom that make a lifelong impression on us.
Time spent bonding teaches us positive principles, instills honest values and virtues, and presents countless life lessons along the way.
It doesn’t mean we must always talk face to face with our sons and share our feelings.
Instead, we must simply help our sons cultivate their own interests and encourage their wandering spirit.
To do so, I’ve put together a list of 40 father son activities that are sure to build a better bond. They’re manly activities and fun too, for both dads and sons. Plus, chances are you might learn a thing or two in the process..
Like the importance of giving back! With that said, let’s get started.
1. Spend a day fishing
Water isn’t the only thing that flows when you’re out on a boat fishing.. So does conversation! It’s the perfect time for a one-on-one experience with your boy to talk about anything that comes to mind. No matter if you’re out on the dock or in the middle of nowhere deep sea fishing. Go fishing and you’ll find out it always seems to spark up some chatter.
Plus when to comes to fishing, what better way to teach the principle of having patience. Put some bait on the hook, cast your line and wait for the catch of the day. Watch your sons eyes glow as he gets a kibble and reels to see the reward of his hard work.
Go a step further and teach your son how fillet a fish the right way. Cook your catch of the day and enjoy a good meal together.
Good places to fish:
– Glenwood Spring, Colorado
– Mountain Home, Arkansas
– Traverse City, Michigan
– Bozeman, Montana
– Minocqua, Wisconsin
– Apalachicola, Florida
– Nantucket, Massachusetts
– Bend, Oregon
– Guntersville, Alabama
– Morehead City, North Carolina
– Missoula, Montana
– Ely, Minnesota
– Page, Arizona
– Driggs, Idaho
– Jasper, Texas
– Tahlequah, Oklahoma
– Beaufort, South Carolina
– Eufaula, Alabama
– Redding, California
– Montauk, New York
– Venice, Louisiana
2. Go on a camping adventure
Not much else is more manly than adventuring the great outdoors and spending time in nature. Take this time to teach your son how to start a fire, setup a tent, use a compass, and countless survival skills. Enjoy the fresh air and scenery, and show your son there is more to the world that an just the modern city life. Rough it in the outdoors for a day, and spend the night studying the patterns of stars in the sky.
Good places to camp:
– Acadia National Park, Maine
– White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
– Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont
– Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania
– Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
– Yosemite National Park, California
– Joshua Tree National Park, California
– Olympic National Park, Washington
– Zion National Park, Utah
– Glacier National Park, Montana
– Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
– Arches National Park, Utah
– Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
3. Play a game of catch
As cliche as it might be considering it’s American’s pastime, there’s nothing quite like the time spent bonding over a game of catch. It does more than just teach young boys not to be afraid of the ball. Because somehow how fathers and sons find themselves trying to balance coordination and communication. With each toss of the ball it, we find ourselves talking about anything and everything with our sons.
4. Build a pinewood derby car
The number one rule of the pinewood derby car races: Have fun. Most fathers will find themselves needing to balance both wanting to win and wanting their sons to have fun. But truth be told, what it’s really about is enjoying the process of teaching your son things like: Cutting sand wood, painting, how aerodynamics and friction works, and much more. These are the types of skills will last a lifetime. Knowing who won or lost the race will be long forgotten down the road.
Below are a few tips on how to ensure a greater chance at victory. Yet keep in mind, I’m mentioning them for a good reason. Use them as an opportunity to teach your son about things like friction and aerodynamics. Encourage them to ask questions and guide them through the process. Never let the thought of winning determine who’s right and who’s right. Let your son be the mastermind and visionary behind this fun project.
How to build the fastest pinewood derby car:
– Make it the maximum weight
– Bake the wood block at 250 degrees to remove moisture and make it lighter.
– Go with an aerodynamic design.
– Raise one wheel 1/16 inch higher than the others. Less friction equals more speed.
– Make the front and rear wheels as far apart as possible.
– Lubricate the wheel well.
– Polish your axles and wheels.
5. Build a model rocket
Let’s face it, if it goes boom, bang or catches on fire, it’s fun for boys. The same is true for adults too! Add in combustion that propels a rocket into space at a modest max of 670 feet per second and things get really interesting. But model rockets are about more than just lighting the fuse and launching off. There’s the process of building the spacecraft, understanding how the engines work, and determining the launch pad angle. All said and done, it’s amazing how much you can learn while having a blast of fun.
A good launching kit: Estes 1469 Tandem-X Launch Set
6. Go to a sporting event
Turn off the T.V and cheer on your favorite team and players in person. Give your son the chance to catch a foul ball, plus score the opportunity to get an autograph from the team after the game. It’s incredible how a simple ballgame hot dog and team jersey can really brighten a boy’s day. This combined with the roar of the crowd from a homerun or touchdown, makes for one exciting moment they won’t ever forget.
– Traditional sports: Baseball, basketball, soccer, football, tennis, hockey.
– The X games for skateboarding, BMX, snowboarding, etc.
– NASCAR, Formula 1, Demolition Derby, Monster Car Shows.
7. Work on the car
When it comes to working on a car, believe it not, some men still don’t know how to change a tire. Now, you don’t have to teach your son to be Henry Ford himself, but a general understanding of the basics is great. Let your son watch as you change the oil or brakes, or even, restore a vintage car back to its glory. Even simple things like detailing a car, and teaching the wash, wax and polish routine can go a long way.
8. Go hunting for dinner
Hunting isn’t just about hitting your target. The privilege of shooting a gun alone, teaches a greater understanding for respect, responsibility and safety. Just by spending time in the woods it makes for great humor and laughter. Like when red squirrels and chipmunks roaming across dry leaves and sound like deer. These moments give both sons and fathers a chance to relax, unwind, and enjoy nature for what it is. Hunting also builds character and teaches the art of patience, endurance and toughness.
9. Take a road trip or vacation
– State of Liberty
– Empire State Building
– Grand Canyon
– Las Vegas Strip
– Niagara Falls
– Times Square
– Waikiki Beach
10. Head down to the barber shop
When it’s hard to find quality time with your son, the barbershop can be a great place to turn to. A trip down to the barber on the weekend makes for some great time spent with the fellas plus a good haircut. And with all kinds of topics being talked about and debated among the gentlemen, it really opens the door to discussions with your son after heading out the door. When uncomfortable subjects like women, relationships, and sex are brought up, fathers get the chance to talk about them early and explain real man situations. Plus, if their lucky, they might get stick of gum from the barber too!
Teach compassion, humbleness, and a better appreciation for what your family has. Volunteering and community service is all about showing our sons how to give back and serve others. From soup kitchens to building homes through Habit for Humanity, they come in contact will all sorts of people, from all walks of life. To a young boy, it is a look into the real world, and how doing the right thing can build a great sense of accomplishment.
12. Hit the golf course or driving range
Imagine if Tiger Woods’ father Earl, never took him out for a round of golf.. Imagination aside, golf is great for teaching patience, the art of practicing, and responsibility. From putting in the hard work to master your drive at the tee, to taking the time to replace divots on the course. Sons learn not only to respect the course, but to also respect themselves. Knowing how to handle frustration and stress while playing the game can go a long way into the other areas of life like relationships, the office, and more.
13. Ski down the slopes
Skiing can be troublesome at first, but with every inch down the slope it puts us closer to the feeling of freedom. As boys learn the ropes and start to travel down tougher courses, it tests more than just their ability, it tests their courage too. Going down the steep snowy mountain shows us what glimpse of what bravery looks like, and what we must do in order to trust ourselves. It’s about self-confidence. And even though sons will fall down on the slopes, fathers can be there to pick them up, brush the snow off, and encourage them to keep going forward. It’s that bit of motivation and encouragement that sticks with us later on in life no matter the obstacle ahead of us, or how many time we fail.
14. Grill out
From sweet BBQ baby back pork ribs to plump juicy steaks hot off the grill, not much tops a good home cooked meal. And when it comes to grilling, there’s a lot for sons to learn from their fathers. Like flipping and keeping the juices in, how to get that smoky flavor with wood chips, the proper way to season with herbs and spices, and quite a bit more.
15. Build a workbench, then start his first tool kit
Chances are your father had a workbench and tool chest, and so did their father and so on. Every boy should have the opportunity to be acquainted with different types of tools. From a vice grip to pliers, screw drivers, sockets, Allen keys, hammers and more. The number of tools out there is almost endless, but knowing the basic ones is priceless. Things like how to saw wood, hammer nails, and use a wrench to undue a bolt, are skills that last for a lifetime. And by having a workbench, it opens the door to experiment, build, and craft with these tools at hand.
16. Go to a car show
An appreciation for hard work. No matter if fresh from the factory with hundreds of hours in precise engineering or restored with hundreds of hours in labor. There is a beauty to cars that virtually all males can respect and admire.
17. Go mountain biking
When a father teaches their son how to ride a bike, it opens to road to new friendships and adventures. Boys will travel far from home learning the rules of responsibility and the road. Race around the neighborhood with friends and develop a sense of compassion for when someone falls down. From the first scraped knee, it teaches us to be self-reliant, independent, and get right back up and push forwards. A few encouraging words from dad, and it’s like that scraped knee never even happened.
If it’s raining, snowing, or just extremely hot outside consider this.. Spend a day at bowling alley knocking over some pins with your son. It makes for great father son bonding time that’s both fun and challenging. Teach them about the different bowling ball sizes, ways to throw the ball, and how the game works. From our younger years to when we’re elders, the sound of a strike can be soothing.
Gardening isn’t just a good activity for letting sons play in the dirt, it’s also good for the soul. Believe it or not, but it can actually boost your mental and physical health, plus your mood too. Plant vegetables, fruits, bushes, trees, or anything alongside your son. You’ll both witness how hard work and patience can be rewarding. Plus, it’s a great primer for teaching how to landscape, nature living things, and take care of the yard. You might start with planting grass seed and one day find yourself teaching your son how to operate the lawnmower.
20. Woodworking or leatherworking
Create a leather wallet, coasters, or carve out a wooden sling shot. Leather and wood working will give any son a chance to understand what craftsmanship really about.
Somethings to craft:
– Wood birdhouse
– Wood storage box or treasure chest
– Wood tool box
– Leather belt
– Leather wallet
A good starter woodworking kit: Xacto X5175 Deluxe Woodcarving Set
A good starter leather working kit: Tandy Leather Factory Basic Leather Craft Set
21. Take a mixed martial arts class together
Burn some calories and take a mixed martial arts class together. Show your son the ropes of self-defense, responsibility, and confidence. Teach them to be strong, use their noggin to outsmart bigger competitors, and how to release stress in a positive manner.
22. Build and race Gopeds
Both fathers and sons alike will learn a lot from their first Goped. From understanding how two-stroke motors work, to the interesting methods of maximizing their power with expansion pipes, air filters, reed-intakes, sprockets, compression head kits, porting, and more.
And with tons of accessories from decks to tires, engines, brakes and more, it opens the door to using tools. Spend time working on them together and collecting parts.
After building, take a cruise down the road together and enjoy one of life’s best-kept secrets. Have races around the neighborhood. In terms of fun, they are absolutely addicting.
23. Cook something
Introduce your son to the healthy wonders of home cooked meals. Because chances are he’ll find himself cooking for a special lady in the future.
As an indoor and outdoor sport, archery serves a good foundation for teaching sportsmanship, respect and self-discipline. Plus with 40 arrows drawn at 25 pounds each, that’s around 1,000 pounds of force towards promoting a better physical health. In fact, outdoor courses often will have you and your son roaming around a 5-mile adventure through the woods. But just like hitting the target, archery really is about learning how to set small goals and accomplish them one by one.
25. Skateboard or rollerskate
Skateboards and rollerblades are a great activity to boost your son’s independent nature. And with a little cheering on from dad nearby, you’ll give your son a major confidence boost. (Yes, even just by watching) It’s easy to spend some time bonding down at the local skate park or even in the driveway too. Take a weekend to build ramps and rails together out of plywood and metal bars from the local home improvement store. You can even go to the X-games to watch the pros, or play a skateboard video game at home together.
27. Go to the library and read books
No matter if your son enjoys reading or not, just about every boy loves to roam around the library. Even as an adult I’m still fascinated by the endless number of books to choose from.. Let them wander around and gather a collection of their own books. Sit down in a private area together and enjoy a good read of a book, local newspaper or magazine.
28. Play video games
Turn on the gaming console and hop on the couch for hours of fun! You don’t have to play violent games like grand theft auto to have fun, instead even simple games like virtual bowling can be a blast. And chances are, your son will teach you a thing to two.
29. Tour a museum or art gallery
Museums and art galleries can be a great way to bond and expand your son’s mind. Taking insights from around the world will both you and them a new perspective on the world.
– The Walters Art Museum – Baltimore, Maryland
– National Museum of the United States Air Force – Dayton, Ohio
– Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, New York
– Los Angles County Museum of Art – Los Angeles, California
– Museum of Fine Arts – Boston, Massachusetts
– Museum of Fine Arts – Houston, Texas
– Smithsonian American Art Museum – Washington, D.C.
– Neue Gallerie – New York, New York
– New Bedford Whaling Museum – New Bedford, Massachusetts
– Louisville Slugger Museum – Louisville, Kentucky
30. Play board games
You don’t have to be bored to play board games. While watching T.V. or a movie grab a deck of cards and play a round with your son. From UNO to Monopoly, the number of one-on-one games are endless.
Good board games to play:
– The Game of Life
– Settlers of Catan
31. Play outdoor sports
– Rock climbing
32. Go to a concert
Adventure on a real-world treasure hunt navigating the great outdoors with your son. Use teamwork to follow the coordinates from your GPS, uncover clues, and reach the final destination.
34. Rope Knots
Rope knots to learn together:
– Overhand Knot
– Figure-Eight Knot
– Square (Reef) Knot
– Sheet (Becket) Bend
– Clove Hitch
– Timber Hitch
– Taut-Line Hitch
35. Astronomy and telescopes
For the best astronomy experience:
– Your own backyard
– Mauna Kea Observatory — Hawaii, USA
– Very Large Array — Socorro, New Mexico, USA
– Cerro Paranal — Atacama Desert, Chile
– Kitt Peak National Observatory — Arizona, USA
– Griffith Observatory — Los Angeles, CA, USA
– Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory — Florence, Italy
– Teide National Park — Island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
– Hayden Planetarium — New York City, USA
36. Collect things
– Baseball cards
– Coins and currency
– Sports figures
– Rocks, fossils and minerals
– Ticket stubs
– Model cars, planes and boats
– Bottle caps
37. Go swimming
38. Race RC cars around the track
39. Home-brew root beer
40. Tour an aquarium or zoo
Good aquariums and zoos to tour:
– Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, GA
– Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL
– Aquarium of the Pacific, Longbeach, CA
– New England Aquarium, Boston, MA
– Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, SC
– Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco, CA
– Newport Aquarium, Cincinnati, OH
– Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, LA
– Downtown Aquarium, Houston, TX
– Memphis Zoo, Memphis, Tennessee
– St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri
– Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago Illinois
– Houston Zoo, Houston, Texas
– Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati, Ohio
– San Deigo Zoo, San Diego, California
– Zoo Miami, Miami, Florida
– Denver Zoo, Denver Colorado