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20 Father-Son Outings to Increase Connection
The relationship between a father and a son is important. Father’s help sons to realize what they are capable of. They are supposed to encourage and challenge their son’s to be the men God created them to be. Currently our society is pushing for a more feminized and emasculated man. As a christian mental health therapist, I see the negative ramifications of that push. Boys are being stripped of their innate desire to protect and defend, to seek justice, and to be a bit wild. I completely agree that men should also know and understand emotions. Men also can enjoy fine arts, crafts and cooking but you’re not going to find any of that on this list. This list is meant to be masculine!
Fishing is a great activity for fathers and sons to do together. There are many different types and ways of fishing depending upon what you are interested in or in the mood for. Fishing can be as active as you want or as relaxed. It can be a competition of who catches the most fish or the biggest. Going fishing also allows time in nature and the ability to connect. Added bonus would be for fathers to get your son his own fishing pole and starter tackle box.
Take an archery class
Archery takes concentration, strength, and finesse. It teaches the principal of remaining calm and steady even under pressure which would be a great father-son outing. And let’s be honest, what guy doesn’t like Kevin Costner’s version of Robin Hood?
Getting to spend the night in the woods is an amazing experience. And I’m not talking about camping in a camper (glamping). I mean sleeping in a tent, cooking on a little camp stove, and roasting marshmallows over a fire (that you started without lighter fluid). The experience of actual camping helps to reinforce a capability of survival. This father-son outing would be challenging if neither have gone camping before. But it would absolutely create memories and increase connection!
Watch a western
Westerns were all about the good guy versus the bad guy. And the good guy always won! Take any little boy and that is the theme of his play. Westerns reinforce and encourage goodness, strength, and honor. Anything with John Wayne is a good place to start if you have never seen a western. The Searchers, The Comancheros, True Grit, Rio Bravo, How the West was Won, El Dorado, North to Alaska, etc. John Wayne also had some pretty great quotes, “Words are what men live by…words they say and mean.”
Take a rock climbing course
Rock climbing is about strength, precision, and critical thinking. This would be a great father-son outing to encourage and challenge each other. It provides direct results. Did you make it to the top? If not, what can you learn to do it better next time?
Hiking is another activity that takes you out in nature. It is about navigating the journey, enjoying your surroundings, and finding success in reaching your destination. Hiking would allow fathers and sons the opportunity to spend uninterrupted time together, share in the experience, and get pushed physically and mentally. Ensure that you have proper gear and have researched the area to know what potential wildlife you could run into. It is also important to have a predetermined destination so you know the distance and can gauge your pace before losing daylight.
Guys like to race and they like to go fast. Go-carts is an easy and fun outing for fathers and sons to do both. An added bonus is you would get to race each other. A son would want nothing more than to beat his dad. And dads want to maintain their status as stronger and faster. On your mark, get set, go!
Yes, I’m stereotyping, my list is meant to be masculine, remember. Most often when there is a grill-out, the grill is manned by a man. Grilling well is actually a fine art! Every man who grills has is own style and recipes. So teaching sons to grill is then getting to hand down the family tradition.
Build a pinewood derby car
A pinewood derby car is taking a block of wood and sanding it down to make your own unique car. Many places sell kits so you have all of the parts you will need. The process of making and creating a car would be a great way to increase connection between fathers and sons. The bonus is getting to see how fast the derby car can go once it’s completed. And then finding ways to better the design for the current car or the next one!
Go kayaking or canoeing
Kayaking and canoeing are like hiking with the addition of getting to maneuver the water. They are fun and challenging. Just like hiking, ensure that you have researched the water you will be traveling so you aren’t surprised by small or large rapids. Many places along rivers rent kayaks and canoes during certain times of the year. If you are going to invest, these are the kayaks and canoe we have. Life vests are also a must!
Fathers and sons like to compete and challenge each other. Laser-tag is a fun way to see who is faster and more strategic. You may be able to compete against each other or team up against a different duo. Most cities have laser-tag facilities so there shouldn’t be much traveling to engage in this activity.
Bike-riding is also a great way for fathers and sons to spend time together. You can choose the distance and the terrain depending upon each of your skill. Try for a distance that is just a bit outside of your typical treks or terrain that is a little more challenging. It may not be the best if both are more difficult but there is benefit to completing a difficult activity together. Don’t forget the water. And it may be wise to have a spare tire tube for each of your bikes just in case you get a flat!
Attend a college or pro sporting event
Most guys are sports fans. They may debate the type of sport. Or whether pro or college is better, but most guys have a sport that they find interesting to watch. There is still enjoyment and comrade to attending a sporting event even if you aren’t a sports fan at all. Getting to be a part of the crowd and cheer for a common goal is a positive experience for fathers and sons to participate in. (Go Big Red!)
Build a fort
Boys love forts! It doesn’t even matter the materials used or how permanent it will be. Building a fort is fun and even better when dads join in. It could be a pillow and blanket fort in the basement. Or a snow fort in the middle of winter. You could make a small fort in a nearby woods or go all out with a tree house. The point is to build and create a space for the two of you to hangout for a while. It could even be a ‘no girls allowed’ space for a little while or forever!
Geocaching is the ultimate treasure hunt! Essentially, geocaching is the use of longitudinal and lateral coordinates with a handheld GPS to find a location that someone else has hidden the cache. Sometimes the caches are large boxes hidden in the bushes or other times they are micro-caches hidden in plain sight. Once you find the cache you sign the slip of paper that you completed the task and then you can keep track online of all of the locations you have found. Geocaching is a great father-son outing to learn direction, spend time outside, and enjoy each other’s company with a shared task!
Tour a firehouse and/or police station
Firemen and policemen risk their lives for the protection of others. That alone is reason to shake their hands and thank them for their service to your community. Most little boys at sometime or an other have dreams of being one of these two professions. This experience would allow sons to see the humble heroism of everyday men doing a job just because they know it’s right and good to help other people.
Go to a rodeo or bull-riding event
Bull-riding is about skill, strategy, and a whole lot of guts. Getting on the back of a bull doesn’t hurt them but it sure makes them mad and they let the rider know it. A rider then has to stay on the bull for eight seconds for the ride to officially count. There is definitely risk and many bull riders have gotten hurt in the process. But bull-riding would be an adrenaline filled outing for a father and son to experience.
Go to a history museum
Most people either love history and find it fascinating or they find it incredibly dull. I firmly believe the enjoyment in learning history is all about how the teacher presents the information. My husband loves history and the result is a passion for teaching it. Subsequently, my son also is really enjoying history. A history museum can then be a playground for the mind! Take the time to learn something new or view the information through a fresh set of eyes. You and your son may get your interests piqued even if history isn’t usually your thing.
Chess is an excellent game of strategy and critical thinking. It teaches you to think ahead and even take a hit for a better position down the road. Fathers take the time to teach your sons the game and use it as a way to make parallels to life situations. If chess isn’t your thing, there are many other games for critical thinking.
Take a boxing class
Boxing is more than just punching your opponent in the face. It teaches body awareness, strength, agility, and confidence. Boxing as a father-son outing would be a great way to increase connection even if that means you get to hit each other!
It it with my greatest intention that the list above can be a jumping off point for fathers and sons to increase connection while encouraging and challenging each other. Please check out my other similar lists: 20 Mother-Daughter Dates, 20 Mother-Son Dates, 20 Father-Daughter Dates.