Best Father Son Activities
Any guy wants more than anything to be a great dad. Even if you don’t think you’re ready for kids yet, you no doubt still have daydreams of playing catch, fishing, changing their first tire, or any of those classic ways to be a great dad with these father son activities you imagine with rose-tinted glasses and overwhelming swells of nostalgia, real or not.
Not all dads are great though. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes fathers are focused more on themselves than providing for their families. The whole went out for a pack of smokes and never returned is a cliche for a reason, after all.
For most dudes (we’d hope), you want to go the other way. You want to get those World’s Best Dad or Father of the Year mugs and feel you’ve earned it. Sure, your son will go through his stages of moodiness, and he’ll likely tell you to stick your advice and opinions elsewhere, but as long as you stick by him and support him through his awkward rebellious (or wannabe rebellious) years, he’ll come back around and be eternally grateful for what you’ve done for him.
What Makes A Great Dad?
Not to get too sentimental, but there are a lot of things we think about our own dads and how they helped us grow into the men we are today. So what makes a great dad? It’s not about them giving you money on tap, it’s not about them taking you cool places, nor is it about them buying whatever toy, video game, or new flame t-shirt (which we all now regret and would rather not think about).
No, but that’s obvious enough. Instead, it’s things that help you grow into a man who will one day be a great dad yourself. While there are no hard and set rules about what exactly makes a great dad, we can all agree there are a few things we’d rather our dads do and we do as dads than others.
This includes helping them build an appreciation for things including both possessions and hard work, it includes teaching about keeping an open mind for new experiences, regardless of how terrifying they could be. He leads by example, and perhaps more importantly than all this; he accepts that his kids may not be as much like him as he may have hoped, but he also realizes that’s okay.
More than anything, though, being a great dad is about spending time with your son, whether at home, on the field, or deep into the wilderness. It’s about doing activities just like these:
Most dads want their son to get into sports. It’s a solid hobby for men, a great conversation topic and an easy way to break the ice during awkward moments or to bond. Even better, it’s a great way to spend time with each other, whether it’s sitting in the den with a bag of potato chips and a beer (one you may sneakily let your son have a few underage sips of if he wants, because you’re cool), or getting out to throw the ol’ pigskin back and forth.
Sports such as basketball, golf, football, soccer, and baseball are all great ways to bond with your kid. Not only will it give you a chance to find common ground, but they can also inspire them to get involved with local teams, and maybe, just maybe, push them towards becoming the pro you could have been it not for your career-ending injury.
Of course, the danger of this is becoming one of those helicopter parents living vicariously through their super-talented son’s accomplishments. There’s a simple way to avoid this, though: DON’T BE LIKE THAT. Unless you want to be the opposite of a great dad. Seriously.
Nurturing a passion for sports will also give your son a competitive spirit but also help build him to build friendships and relationships. If he really gets into it, tactics help promote problem-solving and critical thinking. He should learn this at school anyway, but putting your own spin on important life skills are something he’ll appreciate for years.
And if he ends up supporting your team’s arch-rivals (or any other team, really), there’s always the option to emancipate him. Yeah, that’ll teach him.
You’re likely to spend a lot of time at home with your son, and while sports are great for developing your relationship, it’s not always possible, because if you’ve ever tried getting some practice in wading through 3 feet of snow or along icy roads you know it’s less than enjoyable and mostly impossible.
So you must find something to do at home, instead. Luckily, you can indulge in home hobbies all year-round. These hobbies can range from the practical such as making home maintenance improvements and letting them take a peek at your best tool box and prepare him for when he’s got a house of his own – because only losers call in the handyman for basic repairs – to the more fun, relaxing, and enjoyable.
Playing board games, whether silly games to laze away a Saturday night or more intense and challenging strategy games is a superb way of working together or battling out for house supremacy, while treating yourselves to the coolest, largest, most challenging but also ultimately rewarding construction kit around, because you’re never too old for something like that.
When summer rolls back around and you and your son have enjoyed yourselves at the park kicking a ball about or gone out to the first game of the season, you can come back and treat yourselves by getting the pellet grill out in the sunshine and enjoying some hot seared meat the only way men know how to do: in excess.
Combining the relaxed attitude of summer with the sweet smell of the barbeque is a perfect way to top off a great day with your son. Like any meaningful father and son activity, it promotes teamwork; it stirs conversation (even if it’s just mmms and yeahs about whether the hot dogs look finished), and it ends the day with your stomachs full, which when it comes down to it is the most important thing, isn’t it?
If sports aren’t your thing but an adventure into the great outdoors is, you’re in luck. Your son may not take to sports, and at home, he may enjoy the company of his room more than sitting in the living room watching World War II documentaries with you. And that’s fine. But it’s still a good idea to get him and keep him active, and a wander into the wilderness is an excellent way to do this.
Taking your son on hiking trips can be the genesis for a lifetime of appreciation for all things wooden, rocky, and hilly, even if they take a while to realize how much they love it. On your first trek out, you want to make sure they have the best time possible and you also want to make sure they’re prepared for whatever happens.
A good way to start this is to treat them to their first pair of hiking shoes (they can buy their own next time). This saves much of the issues of unpreparedness and for short hikes, which is probably the way you want to start, it can help ease them into the wonders of hiking. Buying their first pair should also make them appreciative.
You (and hopefully them, too) won’t want to just undertake short hikes forever, though, and you’ll eventually want to graduate to longer, more challenging, more arduous, and ultimately more fun treks. On these adventures, you can bring along your compass and solo camping tent to pitch where you see fit and have long campfire chats about life and whatever else comes to mind.
They may also want to bring a friend with them, which is also perfectly fine, but you may need to invest in a large camping tent to accommodate everyone. While you’re out and about in the forests, you can also take the time to teach them how to set traps, build fires, create shelter, and find their way home, which could be very important if they’re of the more wild variety.
Finally, if you’re not the most talkative of father and son duo, you can find solace in the fact the best part about hiking: there’s no need to talk while you walk, just take in the surroundings and enjoy yourselves, because what matters more than anything is that everybody has fun.
Like Father, Like Son
Above all, being a great dad is about creating memories your son can look back on when he is a dad himself. It’s about teaching him lessons he can take through his life and apply whenever he feels stuck in a decision. Without these teachings, he may struggle to overcome problems many other people would find simple, even as basic as fixing a loose drawer or changing the oil in the car, and we don’t want that to happen, do we?
It sucks you won’t be around for the rest of his life to see him become the man you’ve taught him to be, but while you’re not able to be there, the memories and lessons you’ve given him will stay forever and be passed down to his kids and their kids as a legacy which we think is pretty cool.
- 10 Traits of a Great Father – AskMen
- What parenting lessons can we learn from sports fathers? – Global Sport Matters