We have four kids, and it is really hard to make sure that each one of them gets some special one-on-one time with us that’s more than just homework help or music practice. One thing we have done to give each kid some special attention is take them on a special date with just one parent. Sometimes it is something that takes planning, and other times it’s a quick at-home activity. But whatever it is, we make sure that we set aside time just for that child and focus on them.
Now, according to fancy scientific research, it seems that boys bond “shoulder-to-shoulder” while girls bond “face-to-face.” This means that typically guys bond with each other by doing something – playing sports, watching a game, fishing, all of those things that men like to go out and do. They might talk, they might not, but it doesn’t matter because they are spending time together doing something.
On the other hand, we ladies enjoy having coffee with our girlfriends, going out for dinner or dessert, or doing other activities where we can talk and engage socially. This obviously leads to a dilemma when I want to spend some quality mother-son bonding time. I want to do things that involve talking. I want to know what he’s learning at school, hear about his friends, discuss his likes and dislikes. Basically, I want to chat and have coffee with him like he’s one of my other mom friends, because this is how I bond. But really, I should be doing things that help him to bond. Because let’s face it, no matter what we do I am going to feel connected to him because he’s my son. If I want him to feel important and closer to me, then I need to interact with him in a way that he can relate to.
So, I have compiled a list of ten ideas for a mother-son date that get us out and doing things. Some shoulder-to-shoulder bonding, if you will!
Free Mother-Son Date Ideas
Sports practice at a local park
Grab the equipment for your son’s favorite sport and head to the park. Several local parks have soccer goals, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, or even a skate park. Spend some time practicing drills with him, or just playing for fun. Even if you don’t feel qualified to act as his coach, your son will enjoy showing you his skills, or maybe even beating you in a little one-on-one.
Pull out your tent or borrow one from a friend, and set it up in the backyard. You can go as simple as reading books in the tent together for an hour, to cooking dinner on the grill and roasting marshmallows over your fire pit. And if sleeping outside isn’t your thing, just setting up the tent and playing in it together during the day will make your son feel like the two of you are hanging out in a fort. What boys don’t like forts?!
Paint a landscape
Secretly I’ve always thought it would be cool to set up an easel somewhere and just spend a few hours painting an awesome landscape. I have neither the time nor the talent to actually do this, but if your son enjoys art this could be a great bonding activity. Since matching easels may not be accessible, you could bring clipboards and folding chairs, or maybe a card table, and set yourselves up somewhere fun. Maybe you even want to sit in your front yard and focus on your favorite tree or your house! Paint, draw, color, or use fingerpaint with your littlest ones — just have fun being creative together.
Visit the library
Go beyond attending story time and take your son to pick out some special books. This is a great way to make your date extend beyond just one day too! Once you choose your books, find a cozy corner in the library to read or check them out and head to a nearby park bench. A great way to extend your date beyond just one day is to make these your special books that only you and your son get to read together. He can bring you one when he is needing some extra love and attention, and you can find a corner in your house to read and connect.
Play a board game
This is an easy date that can be done when siblings are sleeping, doing homework, or off at practice. Choose your son’s favorite board game and make sure he knows that this is special mom and son time. Sit down to play together, and ignore everything going on around you. This includes phones, emails, dirty dishes, and maybe even crying babies!
Boys love to build! Depending on the age and interests of your son, there are several options here. You could build your very own Lego creation, attend a free kids workshop at Home Depot, find some scrap wood and show him how to nail it together, or even dive into your recycling bin and use your trash to build something new.
Inexpensive Mother-Son Date Ideas
My son seriously loves mini golf. And shockingly, he is actually getting pretty good! Smuggler’s Cove, Fish Hole, and Lunar Miniature Golf are all great local options. Aim to get a par on each hole, or make it interesting by adding your own challenges. Did you know that it is just as hard to hit at least three objects on the way to the hole as it is to hit none? Yeah me neither.
Even if your son isn’t a huge baseball fan, it’s always fun to go to the batting cages! Some local batting cages are Big League Experience, Extra Innings, and Pop’s Golf and Batting Center. Watch him show his stuff, and then let him watch you! Even if batting is a little out of your comfort zone, you son will love seeing you try!
Attend a sporting event
February marks the beginning of Spring Training, and we are in a great location to see all kinds of baseball games! With the Pirates in Bradenton and the Orioles in Sarasota, you can take your son to see a variety of teams without the big ticket prices or crowds. And once the regular season starts you can cheer on our local minor league teams – The Sarasota Reds and the Bradenton Marauders! Both teams offer free tickets and family friendly games throughout the season, so be on the lookout for those opportunities. Check out this blog from a fellow Sarasota Moms Blog contributor that focuses on the many baseball options in the area.
Go out for ice cream
It is my personal opinion that ice cream should be a part of every mother-son date. After some quality shoulder-to-shoulder bonding time, you can sit down and share some ice cream together to wrap up your date. And if you’re lucky, your son just might engage you in some face-to-face conversation!
Have a great idea for a Mother-Son Date? Share it with us in the comments!