50 Awesome Mother's Day Activities You Can Even Pull Off Last Minute

There’s no denying it: moms are pretty special. From deftly managing grocery store tantrums to juggling after-school activities, grocery shopping and somehow keeping track of everyone’s belongings (all while often balancing their professional life, too), it’s clear Mom deserves to be celebrated. However, if your old tradition of going to a prix-fixe brunch no longer interests your mom, you're going to have to get a little more creative and plan an out-of-the-box celebration this year. So, we’ve composed this list of 50 Mother’s Day activities she's sure to love.

There are plenty to choose from, whether you’re looking for something to do after that Mother’s Day brunch in your backyard or searching for something to complement that Mother’s Day gift you got her. For the moms who love the great outdoors, why not do some gardening or hiking together? Or if your mom is more of a homebody, there are a ton of things she can get into in the comfort of her own home—from painting to taking a cooking class. (And here's another great idea: send this list to your partner…you know, just in case they need some ideas.)

The 63 Best Mother's Day Gifts for Every Type of Mom

best mother's day activities: mother and daughter try on shoes at department store
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1. Indulge in Some Retail Therapy

Every mom has “a thing.” Whether it’s antiquing, ceramic frogs or cheesecake, treat your mom to an afternoon at the thrift store or flea market. If she’d rather stay at home, show her some cool sites that offer things she might like online.

best mothers day activities movie night
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2. Throw a Movie Night Extravaganza

A lot of film studios are still releasing their roster of flicks to rent earlier than expected, so why not bring that movie magic into your home? Or pick one of these heartwarming movies that celebrates parenthood. Heck, you could even make it a double-feature. Just make sure to let mom choose the films and the snacks.

best mothers day activities manicure
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3. Give Her a Mani-Pedi

There’s nothing like a little pampering to encourage mother-daughter bonding. Here's how to give her the best at-home pedicure plus the secret to shaping your nails. If you know that manicuring is just not your best talent, then by all means, head to your nearest nail salon and let the pros handle it.

best mothers day activities face mask
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4. Or a Face Mask

Here are some DIY face masks you can make, using things you already have at home. However, if you want to give mom a deep, pore cleansing facial, then a day at the spa is definitely the way to go.

best mother's day activities: woman takes pictures of sculptures in an art gallery
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5. Check Out an Art Gallery or a Museum

You know who would die to see that new Cezanne exhibit? Your mother. Look around for a gallery or museum your favorite lady might enjoy and spend the day admiring some art. P.S. venues such as the Brooklyn Museum in New York often host performances as well, so be sure to snag tickets in advance.

best mother's day activities: mom and daughter look at fish in aquarium
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6. Or an Aquarium

Looking for something fun to do with your mom and her grandkids? Head to the nearest aquarium with your family and spend the day rubbing elbows with whales, seals, octopuses and the like.

best mothers day activities crafts
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7. Get Crafty

Jewelry, tote bags, candles...there’s a DIY project that has your mom’s name all over it. Make something together or gift her one of these art subscription boxes and let her creative juices flow. (Either way, the finished product will be so much better than that macaroni necklace you made her in the first grade.)

best mothers day activities sip and paint
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8. Host Your Own Sip and Paint Class

Pop a bottle of vino, pick a subject (like the fruit bowl on your kitchen counter or your dad lounging on the sofa) and start painting. You can always head to an actual sip and paint if your inner Rembrandt needs to be coaxed out by an instructor.

best mother's day activities: two women sit on a bench at a winery drinking wine
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9. Go Wine Tasting

Honestly, is it even Mother’s Day if no one’s a little tipsy? Go to a winery and spend the day imbibing. Make it a girl’s day and invite another mother-daughter. Odds are, you’ll walk away with plenty of vino knowledge….and possibly some very interesting stories.

best mothers day activities workout class
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10. Take a Workout Class

The mother-daughter duo that sweats together, um, makes a Jen Aniston-inspired post-workout smoothie together? Stretch it out with a yoga class, get your heart rate up with something more intense like a spin class or simply go to the gym together to work out those biceps.

best mothers day activities breakfast in bed
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11. Breakfast in Bed

From baked tiramisu French toast to asparagus and brie puffed pastry with thyme honey, here are 59 elegant Mother's Day brunch ideas that will make her morning.

best mothers day activities gardening
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12. Garden Together

There are tons of benefits of gardening—from boosting your mood to lowering blood pressure. Order supplies online beforehand and then spend the day potting, planting and pruning. You can get started with a few of these 20 blooms for your spring/summer garden.

best mothers day activities picnic
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13. Host a Picnic

Pack an alfresco feast (think: cheese, fruit and sandwiches) and pick out a prime spot in your backyard or nearest park for a relaxing and delicious afternoon.

best mothers day activities game night
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14. Have a Family Game Night

Whether you're into party games, card games or board games, we've got you covered.

best mother's day activities: mom holds baby on the top of a mountain
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15. Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Elevate the experience by visiting a national park or low-key swimming hole…or just head to your closest park or trail for a few hours out in nature together.

best mothers day activities cooking class
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16. Take a Cooking Class

She may have taught you everything you know in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be excited to learn something new. In person or online, there are tons of cooking classes to check out for mom’s special day.

best mother's day activities: three generations of women look at family photo album
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17. Organize Your Family Photo Album

Your mom is always trying to get everyone together for a family snap. Do the work for her this year and print out all those family photos you have on your phone (use an online service like Shutterfly) and put them in an album. Aren't you thoughtful?

best mother's day activities: asian mom and preschooler sit at kitchen table on a video call
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18. Give Her a Celebrity Shout-Out

Maybe she's obsessed with Esther the Wonder Pig or in love with Below Deck's Captain Lee (sorry, Dad). Give her a personalized message from her favorite celeb via Cameo and she'll remember this Mother's Day for years to come.

best mother's day activities: mother and daughter hug at a surprise party
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19. Throw a Surprise Party

We’re sure Mom will appreciate all the effort you went through to gather her nearest and dearest together. So yes, you really need to convince your sister to fly all the way across the country. (We’re sure an epic brunch will sweeten the deal.)

best mothers day activities baking
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20. Make Something Sweet Together

Sachertorte chocolate apricot cake with dark chocolate ganache? Don't mind if we do. That and 60 more Mother's Day dessert ideas right this way.

best mothers day activities tarrot card
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21. Give Her a Tarot Card Reading

Help her answer a specific question in her life or make a decision she's been grappling with by giving her a quick glimpse into the future, thanks to the power of the cards. Here's everything you need to know about tarot for beginners.

best mothers day activities puzzle
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22. Solve a Puzzle

One afternoon of family fun coming right up. Here are five of our favorites. For an extra special twist, you can order a custom puzzle that depicts a treasured family photo.

best mothers day activities karaoke
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23. Turn Your Living Room Into a Karaoke Bar

Channel your inner Celine Dion and belt out some classics. Keep it low-key with a Spotify playlist and some spatulas for microphones or go all out with an at-home karaoke system and these 70 karaoke songs that’ll absolutely bring down the house. Feeling a little jazzy? Hit up a real karaoke bar instead.

best mothers day activities scavenger hunt
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24. Set Up a Scavenger Hunt She’ll Love

This one’s great for getting the kids involved. Create a list of activities to do (think: organize all the books in the shelf or record a video of you singing a song about mom) and then split the family up into teams. The winners get first pick at the ice cream sundae bar.

best mothers day activities photoshoot
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25. Plan a Photoshoot at Home

What better way to make your mom feel special than giving her a reason to get glammed up in the comfort of her own home? There are so many creative ways to do a photoshoot at home without having to buy expensive materials (You can utilize your backyard, choose a colorful shower curtain or even get crafty with your bedsheets).

best mothers day activities tea party
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26. Host a Tea Party

Maybe your mom isn’t so much of a wine drinker, but she still loves the fancier things in life. Make haste and host a tea party filled with an assortment of some of the finest teas out there. Up the ante with some homemade scones fit for a queen.

best mother's day activities: woman sits at table holding book, talking to a book club group
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27. Start or Join a Book Club

Perhaps there’s series of books you and your mom were both fond of back in the day and you just haven’t had the chance to revisit them (hello, The Thorn Birds). Well, consider this Mother’s Day an opportunity to find those pieces of literature that connected you and start your very own mother-daughter book club, join one of these online book clubs, or find one that has in-person meetings.

best mothers day activities video call
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28. Host a Virtual Brunch

Restrictions may be lifted, but that doesn’t mean virtual events no longer have value. If your mom’s nearest and dearest are faraway, you can totally organize a virtual brunch with some of those people. Bonus points if you put the whole thing together as a surprise.

best mother's day activities: two women stand in front of a barbecue grill
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29. Plan a Small Backyard Barbecue

Weather permitting, throw a mini-bash for your mom and send the message that nothing says, “I love you,” like a platter of delicious meats. Here are some BBQ menu ideas to get you started and sides to boot.

best mother's day activities: mom and young daughter knit together
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30. Try Knitting or Sewing

Maybe she’s a needle pro. Maybe both of you failed home ec. Either way, for a quieter day at home and some quality bonding time, why not try your hand at something crafy? Experiment with knitting, crocheting or sewing, and see what you can accomplish together.

best mothers day activities haircut
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31. Give Her That at-Home Salon Treatment

If you’ve honed your haircutting skills over the course of the pandemic, treat your mom to one. You can give her a simple trim or check out these highly recommended blow dryers if you’re looking to give her hair some new bounce. For the natural mamas out there, you can offer up these natural hairstyles and see which she’ll go for.

best mothers day activities charcuterie board
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32. Make a Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie boards are all the rage, so why not put your favorite lady onto one of the latest trends. The best part is, there is a wide variety of boards you can make depending on her taste. If she’s not into meats and cheeses, well, you can create a fruicuterie board packed with her favorite fruit. If she has a sweet tooth, you can create a board whose main stars are decadent chocolates. Either way, nom nom.

best mother's day activities: two kids pile on their mom in their pajamas
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33. Throw a Pajama Party

The best part about throwing a pajama party is that you can do it no matter what age you are and no matter where you fall in the mother-daughter scenario. Take things up a notch by giving it a theme like Mean Girls or 70’s disco night, or keep it simple by buying your mom a special PJ set.

best mothers day activities home movie
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35. Create a Home Video

Making memories is important now more than ever. Capture your favorite lady in a setting of her choice and get her to reveal some things you may not already know about her (like if she ever got grounded as a kid or what surprised her the most about being a mom).

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35. Go Camping

Take advantage now, before the summer heat sets in. Here are 22 camping spots around the country to check out.

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36. Head to the Farmer’s Market

The idea of possibly starting a garden didn’t win her over. It’s OK. That’s why there are farmer’s markets. An afternoon picking out fresh produce and snacking on some artisan cheese is an afternoon well spent if you ask us.

best mothers day activities concert
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37. Attend a Concert

Whether your pick is Taylor Swift (we’re jealous you snagged tix) or an indie-pop act, there’s nothing like a night out dancing with Mom.

best mother's day activities: two people arrange a flower bouquet
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38. Take a Flower Arranging Class

The bouquet you get her every year always takes her breath away. Give her the joy of making her own this Mother’s Day. Notable flower companies such as 1-800-flowers offer workshops you can do right at home.

best mother's day activities: woman takes a selfie in a hot air balloon basket
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39. Do One of Her Bucket List Activities

Whether it’s hot air ballooning, getting a tattoo or taking a cool trip, pick out an activity she’s always wanted to do and go along with her. Some things are better executed with a supportive buddy next to you.

best mothers day activities letter
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40. Write Her a Letter

Moms do so much for us, and while we can never truly repay them for all they sacrifice, telling them how much they mean to us is always a great start.

best mothers day activities pottery
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41. Take a Pottery Class

If painting isn’t exactly your forte, maybe it’s time to channel your inner Rodin. Book a pottery class for you and Mom, and you’re sure to tote home a treasured creation. But should you wish to avoid the wheel, there are plenty of studios that let you paint pre-sculpted pieces, from mugs to décor, that they’ll then fire in the kiln for you.

best mother's day activities: mother and daughter smell perfume in a store
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42. Find Her Signature Scent

Even if she already has one, going to a department store or specialty boutique to smell all the perfumes isn’t a bad way to spend Mother’s Day afternoon. Who knows? She may discover her new favorite scent.

best mother's day activities: family plays croquet in the backyard

43. Break Out the Lawn Games

You planned high tea, but to make the experience truly complete, you’ll need some lawn games to while the afternoon away. From croquet to pétanque, giant Connect 4 and good old cornhole, these are easy games whole family can play.

best mothers day activities pizza party
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44. Throw a Pizza Party

Not a big home cook? No sweat. You can still throw the best pizza party Mom has ever seen. (We’ve got a roundup of the best store-bought pizza crusts right here.) Swap the usual ingredients for more elevated ones: think burrata and fresh mozzarella, homemade pesto, prosciutto, arugula and homemade sauce. Presto.

best mother's day activities: mother carries daughter on shoulders at the beach
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45. Have a Beach Day

Pack a picnic, umbrella and plenty of SPF for a sun-drenched day on the sand. Whether she wants to boogie board and take a surfing lesson or lounge with a magazine, nothing says “relax” quite like this (especially if someone else is watching after the kids).

best mother's day activities: woman dances near a lake holding her phone, she is wearing earbuds

46. Make a Playlist

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a Mother’s Day card that encapsulates all the right feels. So, consider creating a playlist for her instead. Load it up with her favorite songs; songs you both love and perhaps listened to in the car together; and some of your own trusty tunes that you think express how you feel about her. You’ve got a guaranteed, original hit.

best mother's day activities: mom and child make scrapbook
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47. Scrapbook

Grab an instant camera, take Mom on an adventure (like a wine tasting, concert, beach day or high tea date) and make sure to take plenty of snaps. Then, when you get home, put them all in a scrapbook so she can remember the day you spent together. (Bonus points: you can do it every year, either as a new page in the book or a new book entirely.)

best mothers day activities massage
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48. Schedule a Massage

Who doesn’t love a little spa day? From a swanky afternoon at a five-star hotel to booking an in-home massage therapist, you can’t go wrong gifting a massage.

best mother's day activities: broadway signs at night in nyc
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49. Go See a Theater Performance

Whether you’re in the Big Apple or live near a thriving theater scene, jazz up the typical Mother’s Day activity with a live performance. From musicals to plays, operas and ballets, whatever you choose, it’s sure to be memorable.

best mothers day activities sleep in
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50. Let Her Hit Snooze

Honestly, what more could Mom want? Give her the ultimate gift of sleeping in—followed by breakfast in bed, of course.

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...

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Resident Hufflepuff, Beyonce historian, self-proclaimed tea sommelier

Steph is a native of Zimbabwe who is both enamored and genuinely baffled by the concept of silent letters. From 2020 to 2022, she served as Associate Editor at PureWow covering...