The 25 Best Father-Son Activities for Making Memories and Bonding

From camping to comedy shows

father-son-activities: Three generations of men in a family walk together through the woods. It's a grandfather, a father and a son from left to right. The grandfather and father are both white and the son has a tan complexion. They are all wearing autumnal flannels and jackets. The grandfather and son wear beanies. The grandfather holds a pair of binoculars. The grandfather's flannel is brown plaid and his hat is black. The dad wears a green jacket and a yellow top underneath and the young son wears a red plaid shirt with a light denim jacket over top and an orange beanie.
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The father-son bond is truly unique but just like any relationship, it takes work to make it special. Fortunately, we have a whole host of genuinely fun and sweet father-son activities that ensure meaningful bonding moments between dads and boys, whether you’re looking for a way to connect with your old man or something to do with your own kid. Read on and put in the quality time so you can reap the reward.

10 Father-Son Trip Ideas for Some Serious Bonding

1. Playing Video Games

Fire up the Nintendo or PlayStation console for some friendly competition or go head to head at Minecraft. The fun and exciting play boasts appeal that spans generations, so it’s a great way to bond.

2. Camping

Dads can relive their Boy Scout days while roughing it in the Great Outdoors with their sons. Set up the base camp, explore the hiking trails and then retire beside the campfire for a father-son chat.

3. Indoor Rock Climbing

For a mild adrenaline rush and an endorphin-boosting workout, indoor rock climbing can’t be beat. It’s also a great way to get active together in any season and might just run into a shared hobby.

4. Collecting Cards

“When my stepson got into Pokemon, I was so excited,” says Sean from New York, adding that “I had completely forgotten all about it. Collecting cards with him is totally our thing now and it makes me feel like a kid again, too.” Whether it’s Pokemon cards or baseball cards, this hobby has a nostalgic quality that’s just plain sweet and has stood the test of time for good reason.

father-son-activities: A father and son, both white, sit on a dock on a river while fishing. The father wears a light shirt and red plaid flannel and the son wears an olive t-shirt. They both have on orange baseball caps.
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5. Fishing

Here, a quintessential father-son activity. Sit on the dock together or take a boat out on a nearby body of water for some leisurely conversation, quality time and the possibility of reeling in a whopper.

6. Playing Chess

For the more intellectual father-son duo, chess is an amazing hobby to pick up. Enjoy a battle of the wits whilst teaching your child about strategic thinking and good sportsmanship with an ancient board game that never gets old.

7. Lego Projects

If the child in question is into Legos, stop stepping on them (because, ouch!) and start building with them instead. Lego projects run the gamut from basic to seriously intricate and impressive, so it’s an easy way to share a teamwork experience, plus a finished product that’s sure to inspire pride in both parties. “My 4-year-old son is really into Legos and so am I,” says father-of-two Daniel from New Jersey. “At first he needed a lot of help to build stuff, but now he’s really confident and we can play together for hours. It’s something fun for us to do, for sure, but it’s also a great way to talk about what’s on his mind these days.”

8. Join a Fantasy Football League

Fantasy + sports is a winning combination, and one parent we spoke to who was already into the hobby can attest to it. When sharing his experience of fantasy football as a father-son bonding activity, Dan of New York says: “For one thing, I enjoy having a single member of my family who’s interested in my fantasy football team. Second of all, hearing my son’s questions and seeing his enthusiasm makes me both thrilled to share this with him and aware of how silly the whole thing is, which is good for my perspective.”

9. Surprise Mom With a Gift

If you’re going to give mom a little break while you spend some QT with your son, why not brainstorm some way to surprise her and make her feel appreciated? Dads win brownie points, sons learn about kindness and moms get a ‘just because’ gift that brings happiness. In other words, everyone wins.

father-son-activities: A father and son together over a carpenter work bench. The father wears a navy top and jeans as well as a tool belt. The son wears a burgundy top and white pants. The father and son are both Black. They are working on a project that requires measurements and writing. They are working in what looks like a driveway in a neighborhood.
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10. Build Something

A shared DIY project might be the perfect way to connect with your son. It’s a hands-on activity that takes teamwork and teaches new practical skills. Build a birdhouse, or a treehouse if you’re ambitious—either way, the project is sure to bring you closer.

11. Go to a Concert

Research shows that music promotes bonding and seeing it live is always a memorable experience. Score some tickets to see a band that both parties like and you’ll have a father-son date for the scrapbooks.

12. Take a Hike

If a camping trip is too much of a commitment, try a hike instead. Find a nearby nature preserve or other scenic spot with hiking trails where father and son can enjoy some active time together; then, finish it off with a picnic lunch when you reach the summit (or just the end of the road).

13. Go to a Sporting Event

Nothing brings people together quite like rooting for the home team, and it’s decidedly more fun to do so when you’re witnessing the action from the stadium rather than a screen.

14. Do a Science Experiment

This one is particularly good for the elementary school crowd, since it promises to pique a child’s interest in the sciences and provides hands-on entertainment that often benefits from adult supervision. If you think your child would enjoy setting off a volcano eruption, making ice cream or learning about density with a DIY lava lamp, you can find those and other cool ideas here.

father-son-activities: A father and son are dressed in martial arts outfits. The son has an orange belt and the father has a black belt. The father has a beard and wears sunglasses. They are both white with brunette hair. The background is a number of tree branches and the photo is taken from below them.
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15. Take a Martial Arts Class

Learn the art of self-defense with your little one for a non-violent approach to fighting that imparts culture and teaches discipline. According to research, there are many benefits to this hobby for children, including improved self-confidence and diminished aggression, so it’s a pretty productive form of exercise on multiple levels.

16. Read Comic Books Together

Here, another nostalgic pastime that might speak to both father and son, and one that can evolve into a shared collecting hobby as well. Best of all, comic books are excellent for stirring the imagination, encouraging creativity and promoting literacy among kids who would otherwise be reluctant to read.

17. Play Laser Tag

This throwback activity appeals to adults and kids alike. It’s also stuck around for quite a long time—namely because it’s seriously fun. Plus, the teamwork required is great for bonding. If you can get a group of fathers and sons to join, the more, the merrier.

18. Go Bowling

Bowling is one of the friendliest and least competitive sports around, so it’s a great experience to share with a child. Sigmund from Illinois agrees: “I always loved bowling. When I introduced my son to it and he enjoyed it too, I felt so proud that we could share a hobby together. We even joined a league.”

19. Go to an Arcade

It’s a bit like playing video games, except it’s a livelier and more memorable experience than, say, sitting on the living room couch, and there are prizes involved too. Bottom line: Arcades are fun for all and definitely a top choice if you want to enjoy some gaming time with your kid.

20. Go Birdwatching

This one is great for fathers and sons who aren’t, well, very talkative. It’s a serene experience that will allow the duo to quietly enjoy a shared love of nature while spending time together looking at the fascinating avian life that the local park or nature preserve has to offer.

21. Practice a Sport Together

New Jersey dad Daniel tells us that one of his favorite ways to spend one-on-one time with his son is to practice soccer together: “My son isn’t very competitive and mostly likes to run around with his arms going in a windmill, but I don’t mind. I enjoy being active with him and it’s a great way to spend time together while burning off some energy.”

father-son-activities: A white father and son stand together next to a barbecue grill. There are pieces of meat on the grill and smoke in the frame. They stand in a backyard next to firewood. The father wears a dark top and jeans and the son wears and orange top.
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22. Barbeque Together

Grill masters with slightly older kids might consider sharing their passion for firing up the barbie. You can experiment with brining and dry-rubbing, along with a host of other cooking techniques that I can’t speak to, but Grill Dad certainly can.

23. Learn an Instrument Together

There’s possibly nothing sweeter than a father and son covering a favorite song after investing in some guitar lessons together. If you’ve perfected the chords and can sing the notes, post the video on YouTube, please. Hearts will melt.

24. See a Comedy Show

News to no one: laughter brings people closer. In fact, science says that people who laugh together like each other more. And, yes, stand-up acts are a bit of a gamble and sometimes miss the mark, but even when amateur hour doesn’t deliver the laughs, the father-son date will still be a memorable one.

25. Do a Puzzle Together

We suggest opting for a 1,000 piece puzzle or higher. The big ones are a slow grind, a commitment, which means shared activity can continue over a period of days or weeks, and be enjoyed in small doses whenever dad has a little time to spare.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Other Ways Can You Build a Strong Father-Son Bond?

Interestingly enough, a 2018 study published in Parenting: Science and Practice indicates that father-son bonding is something that benefits from healthy multi-generational dynamics. Don’t despair, though, if your Boomer parent wasn’t quite as attentive as you would’ve hoped.

While it does stand to reason that making peace with grandpa’s shortcomings might benefit your own brood, it might be helpful to know that the most important thing when forging a positive and enduring relationship with a male member of your own family is simply active involvement. That could look like participating in one of the many hobbies or activities listed above, or simply taking the time to put down your phone and help him with mundane tasks like homework. Bottom line: The more present dads are, the better their relationships will be with their sons.

How Can Your Father-Son Bond Stay Strong Over Time?

Per the above study, keeping a healthy dynamic with your own dad can be beneficial to your relationship with your own kid. Beyond that, being involved yourself with one of the many enjoyable activities we’ve suggested (or whatever floats your boat) is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a strong father-son bond over time.

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Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...