mother son bucket list

Mother Son Bucket List

 It’s easy to fall into a mindset of just going through the motions. It’s easy to go through the days without really seeing or caring or experiencing. It’s easy to just get to the next day without focusing on the moments it takes to get there.

As parents, how do we get out of this habit?  How do we make the most of the time we have with our kids?  To help me do this I created a Mother Son Bucket List.

Moms, I want to encourage you to create a bucket list with your son.  Fill your days together with plans, with dreams, and with adventure!  Find things you both love and are passionate about, then chase recklessly after those dreams!

To help get you started, here are my ideas:

  1. Go rock climbing (real or facility).
  2. Plan a fishing trip.
  3. Wake him up in the middle of the night and go to an all-night diner for breakfast.
  4. Plant a tree or grow vegetables in the backyard.
  5. Make a model airplane.
  6. Visit a history museum.
  7. Paint his room.
  8. Build a bird house.
  9. Take surfing lessons.
  10. Teach him how to be a gentleman and how to treat a woman.
  11. Take a spontaneous weekend road trip.
  12. Go canoeing.
  13. Go camping.
  14. Create a paper mache volcano and blow it up.
  15. Memorize a book of the Bible together.
  16. Go on a missions trip.
  17. Run a 5k together.
  18. Adopt and train a dog from a local animal shelter.
  19. Buy him his first suit.
  20. Visit a college in every city you ever visit together.
  21. Go to one professional game for every sport you can think of.
  22. Look through old black and white photos of your relatives.
  23. Serve at a soup kitchen or shelter together.
  24. Stay in a cabin on a lake for a week.
  25. Babysit someone’s children for a weekend.
  26. Go horseback riding.
  27. Go snorkeling in the ocean.
  28. Go snowskiing/snowboarding.
  29. Go waterskiing/wakeboarding.
  30. Fly a kite.
  31. Try archery.
  32. Go zip lining.
  33. Read a classic together: The Lord of the Rings, Tom Sawyer, etc.
  34. Make your own pizza from scratch.
  35. Create your own barbecue specialty.
  36. Create your own kitchen sink cookie recipe.
  37. Start an investment account.
  38. Watch the entire Star Wars collection.
  39. Teach him to iron and sew on buttons.
  40. Take a trip to where his favorite movie was filmed.
  41. Take your father and your son somewhere special.
  42. Do something your son has always wanted to do.
  43. Camp in a tent in the backyard—or a state park.  (from Rebecca Gonzalez)
  44. Watch a meteor shower. (from Glenna Jackson)
  45. Visit local, state, or national historical sites. (from Amy)
  46. Visit older family members and ask about their younger years. (from Amy)
  47. Do something nice for neighbors and be anonymous. (Patty F.)
  48. Build a giant toothpick sculpture. (from Heather)
  49. Go out for special dessert. (from Heather)
  50. Learn a skill together. (from Miriam)
  51. Build a blanket fort. (from Miriam)
  52. Go to a concert together. (from Denise)
  53. Go [ice]-skating together. (from Leah)
  54. Go roller-skating. (from Leah)
  55. Build a gingerbread house. (from Leah)
  56. Build a kite. (from Leah)
  57. Make food-colored snowmen. (from Leah)
  58. Cook often together. (from Leah)
  59. Play video games together. (Brenna S)
  60. Paint together and frame your artwork in the house. (Julieann F)

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This list is just a start.  What have I missed?  Tell me below and I will add it on!

Additional Bucket Lists:

Mother-Daughter Bucket List

Father-Son Bucket List

Father-Daughter Bucket List

Marriage Bucket List

Husband and Wife Bucket List

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  • Sbbuky

    Teach him how to dance! Love all the others!

  • Rebecca Gonzalez

    Camp in a tent in the backyard- or a state park- I’ve done both with my boys!

    • That is sure to create a few great memories! I am adding it to the list — Thank you!

  • Aimee

    Thank you for this great list. This is my Christmas gift for my kids this year. WE will work on it for 2014.

    • Great idea to work on it together and great present–time with your kids! You are such a smart, multi-tasking-goals mom!

  • Ryan Van Houten

    Do you have similar posts for fathers?

  • Heather

    Build an inukshuk together.
    Go out for special dessert.
    Build a giant toothpick sculpture.
    Visit an art gallery or art air together.

  • Amy

    Visit local, state, or national historical sites.
    Visit older family members and ask about their younger years.
    Plan your family vacation together.

  • Glenna Jackson

    Watch a meteor shower. Learn Bible verses.

    • Kari

      we just did this together last night! I woke him up (it was his first day of school) & told him I was going outside to watch if he’d like to join me. a few minutes later, I was laying in the backyard with my 16 yr old, watching the meteors shoot across the sky. it was definitely a moment (without any words) I will cherish, and I think he will too!

  • Tammy

    What about ideas for a mom to do with her college age son?

    • Sandra

      A little late on the reply but I just did this with my 28 year old son. He lives 6 hours away so i wanted to come up with something we could mail and share. I bought an empty journal and on every other page a wrote a question and asked him his thoughts. Another page I asked him to share his thoughts, ideas, goals etc. A simple paragraph would do. Ex. What was the best Christmas gift you received. What will your first child look like. What do you think of green jello? Sometimes the answers are hysterical, some are tear jerkers. Then he started asking me things….ex. At what age did you start wearing skinny jeans and why?….

    • I have made three trips to see my son at college so far. He is a freshman. One was to go to a football game for fun and to meet his new friends. One was to give him a break from the normal college chaos. I brought his dog up and rented a hotel room and we just hung out in between him having to fulfill some college responsibilities that kept him from coming home that weekend. The other time I drove up there just for dinner to provide encouragement. It was a 5 hour round trip but worth it. He vented, I listened, we planned some study solutions, had dinner and by the time I left the world was looking better. It was after midnight and I was tired by the time I got home but I would do it again tomorrow.

  • Tammy H

    I really needed this! My son is glued to video games. Thank you for this!

  • Rebecca Greathouse

    Add on some things for mothers and married sons (with or without children).

  • Miriam

    Learn a skill together. Be it knot tying, a language, orienteering, or cooking. Also the simple things like spending a Saturday building a blanket fort and reading too him in it. Love the article found it on Pinterest.

  • Geralyn

    When my son was little – we watched the whole Ann of a Green Gables series together. He is 21 now ,and we still quote lines from those movies!

  • Nicole Salerno

    Great ideas..

  • pinkpixie808

    Go to a salon together (get hair cut and color, mani pedi.etc.) yes boys enjoy this too, no shame.

  • EJL

    Take him to a National Park…there’s different types for every type of kid. Historical, recreational, etc. I have three boys and we drag them everywhere with us. Also, mine love science museums which are pretty much everywhere now too. Both Baltimore and Philadelphia have great ones.
    With four kids, we know its easy to drop the ball with the day to the day shuffle of chores, homework, sports. So once a month, two of our kids get one on one time with one of their parents. They don’t compete with siblings or with shop talk. Its just dinner and movie or mini-golf or the arcade so its relatively cheap but they love it.

  • Carieberry

    Play hotwheels on the floor with him & build an airport, garage, racetrack with blocks & drive thru them while making car/truck sounds! 🙂

  • WildSunflower

    I know this is an older posting now, but I just read it and felt strongly about sharing. As I read the Bucket List, I was struck by how much of the list reads just like a common TO DO list. There is very little conveyed emotion about the task. Instead of “Paint his room,” it would be more inclusive to say “Teach him how to paint” or “Use his ideas to help redecorate his room.” I was also struck by how many of your tasks are incredibly expensive! Yes, some are free, or low cost… but the others? Surfing lessons? Mission trip? Take a trip to where his favorite movie was filmed? I’d understand if this was really a “Bucket List” to complete over a l-o-n-g period of time… but you preface this listing as a springboard of ideas, challenging us to all fill each day with an adventure and to make the most of the time we have with our children. Children just want our time and attention. They want to be included and not ignored. When you have to repair something in the house, show him how to do it with you. When you are cooking, teach him your favorite recipes. When you are driving somewhere new, teach him how to map it out and look for chances to teach along the way (ie, historical markers, famous places) or plan a fun stop into the trip (ie, a nearby park, an ice cream parlor). You don’t have to empty your wallets to fill your children’s hearts. Sometimes it is the fun you have together while making up a silly song in the car on the way to an expensive vacation that is remembered more fondly and more clearly than the expensive vacation itself.

    • Hello!

      I think her list is great. You obviously don’t have to do everything on the list. These are just ideas, not scripture.

    • Hi WildSunflower, Some of these things are expensive and with 5 kids I can appreciate your concern. This list was never intended to be one child’s list but rather lots of ideas to choose from for your child’s list. Most of the ideas are intentionally free or low cost. As for the mission trip–very expensive but do not discount it. Our children have been on all kinds of trips as far away as Africa. Most trips have fundraising opportunities and or scholarships. And letters asking for support are a huge help. We have found that family and friends consider it a privilege to contribute to missions by sending our strong, healthy children to work for others–building, digging wells, running sports/VBS camps. We in turn have supported so many other kids, too. The opportunity to see and serve others in desperate situations is an invaluable experience. My children have been so impacted by missions that my oldest, now a bank recruiter, spent a week of her vacation from work to go work on water filtration in the Dominican Republic.

      • Nj mom

        It’s also worth noting that mission work does not necessitate an expensive trip. We’ve done a lot of mission work with both kids over the last 12 years and much of it has been local. Clearing the yard of a homebound senior. Home repair for a neighbor impacted by Hurricane Sandy. well as numerous other storm relief efforts. Drives to collect items for a int’l missionary. Teaching children to serve does not need to equate a large dollar investment unless you want it to.

      • Aimee Kuelling

        I love the list… especially as inspiration. Maybe, WildSunflower isn’t clear on what a bucket list is to all people. For me, it’s a list what will include some lofty goals along with every day memories (like making pizza from scratch, cooking, learning how to care for ourselves and our home). For the others, it provides direction… like when deciding on a family vacation– you might consider a place where a movie you have all enjoyed together was filmed… it takes an activity you did together relaxing at home and brings it to life. Yes, there is a cost.. that too is a part of the lesson.. learning to afford, budget and save for what we decide is important. Thank you!

      • Jesus Loves You!

        I LOVE THE LIST as well – as a teacher and a mom, you take the things on the list that you love and you add to it or take from it – the things that are free or expensive – we all can choose what we wish to do with our children – thank you for the wonderful suggestions and thank you to Wild Sunflower for her suggestions as well – she could be a little more polite – that’s a HUGE thing we need to teach our children and they learn it more by our actions and what we model for them daily – the lOVE of JESUS!!

    • Tressy Siers

      I’m assuming the activities are together…ie…”Paint his room…together, Fly a kite…together”…As far as a mission trip is concerned we can do mission trips in our our town…neighborhood or volunteer together at a soup kitchen, or summer church camp. I’m not sure about the “favorite movie location”…but I’m sure if we lived within a couple of hours from a movie location we’d probably go see it. =)
      Also a bucket list is assumed to be over a period of time…not done in a month. Just some ideas…Hope this helps.
      I LOVE the list <3

  • jenssons

    Instead of pick out and buy a about go to a shelter and adopt.

    • We did that! My son and I, her name is Katie and she is his dog!

  • Rescueheart

    i don’t like how it says pick out BUY a puppy. There are to many animals dying in shelters – how about adopt a puppy or even better (in case they aren’t dog people) volunteer at a shelter for a day, walking, bathing & playing with the dogs.

    • Hi, my Katie (puppy) is adopted from our shelter. I still had to buy her. Our shelter charges $150 plus we opted for a few other things. Total out the door was over $200. The $150 covered shots and spaying. Is your shelter free?

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  • Denise

    Introduce them to “your music”. My husband and I took our boys to Bruce Springsteen concert. What a great bonding moment>

  • All about the boy

    I agree with Hello! When I read “paint his room”. I instantly invisioned picking out the colors together as well as the design, and shopping for the finishing touches all within a budget, thus also teaching him about budgeting.

  • Melanie

    What an awesome list! Not sure if someone mentioned it , but “volunteer together for a cause the he picks” . Although I didn’t choose the location, my mom and I would go and volunteer at a food bank when I was 8 or 9. I can remember wanting to be the best helper there, and how happy the people were when they left with the boxes of food. There are so many volunteer opportunities, although some may be age restrictive . I plan on doing this with my son, often.

  • Andrea Trudden

    I have always loved the idea to make a silly memory: Wake him up with a bucket of water balloons and a note stating you are ready and waiting. I can’t wait until my little man is older so I can do this as I feel it will be one memory that will last a lifetime 🙂

  • Amy

    I like your creative cooking ideas! In families where kids usually don’t help in the kitchen, i think it’s also important to teach them to cook at least 3 or 4 of their favorite dinners and some other basics. (you would be suprised at how many college age kids can’t even scramble an egg!). I’ve still got the little collection of family recipes that was given to me when i left for college. My mom taught me and over the years I can say cooking is one of my favorite activities, and more importantly, one of the reasons I am not a junk food addict 🙂

  • KimMarie

    Just reading this post now too. How awesome that you included mothers and sons. So often it is always mothers and daughters, very important yes, but there is something so special about the mother/son relationship that this is a wonderful way to preserve it as they get older and to make some great memories, before the years fly by…

  • baseballmom74

    Go to a ballpark and run the bases.

  • theclayrhino

    teach him how to do laundry. how to use power tools. how to change a diaper. how to make paper mache. start a collection.

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  • Joy

    Be sure to always tell him what a miracle he is!

  • I have 5 sons. Throw your hair in a pony tail and Teach them to build a fire, fix a toilet, dance, sew a button, write a poem, attend comicon together in costume. Embrace their passions and find a away to spend time sharing an adventure. Do your hair, throw on a gown and take them to a fancy restaurant and show:)

  • DaughterofGod

    I love this list and want to do every single one of them with my kids…. but how come the mother – daughter list does not include adventures just like these? It’s just as important to show our daughters that they can be doctors, vets, meteorologists, engineers, and chefs—that, girls can do anything now. Or, at least that she can go rock climbing, horseback riding, or surfing, etc too. I wish that my mother or father spent more time teaching me how to sew, visit national historical sites, go on mission trips, and invest my finances; these are valuable skills that girls also need to know before they get married. I also noticed that the girls’ lists don’t include studying a book of the Bible together?

  • penthius

    i love your list – thank you for the ideas!
    here are my ideas …………..
    DO Geo-caching together!
    Mow the lawn together (cut the grass) or an elderly neighbours lawn!
    Make a funny mini movie together – dress up , role play etc , son acts, mum records than reverse it!

  • Leah E Larocque

    Go skating together and go roller skating, build a gingerbread house – build a kite- make food-coloured snowmen and cook together often

  • Robin

    i am inclined to agree with wildSunflower – A bucket list is not about what you can GIVE materially, give of yourself in every moment. Teach the son or daughter to be respectful and self-respecting – teach them to make their bed, pick up after themselves and to do for their elders FIRST – then you might want to reward honourable behaviour with some rock climbing!!!

  • Lostnletart

    Geocaching is a great family activity with lots of quality time.

  • slstorm

    Wow – I’ve done almost half of these with my kids already and they are 8 and 12 years old! 🙂

  • Tabatha

    Tell him about the embarrassing things that happened to you at his age.

  • Starfish

    Tell them how much you love them every single day !
    I tell my son daily even though he’s graduated college and moved. We get together and shop and do lunch on a Saturday every now and then. We’ve been doing this since he was young. We shop for him and buy something he really wants. I’ve told him its like going out with a girlfriend . We talk and catch up and laugh …… Just good quality time together and I listen to all his plans and dreams. This is very important to me. I never had this luxury !!

  • debra

    Go Biking together

  • debra

    Cook pancakes together

  • debra

    Teach him to love and respect himself as well as others

  • debra

    Take him Dancing!

  • debra

    Go play some Billiard together

  • debra

    Go sing some Karaoke together!

  • Jeana G.

    Have a date night with a movie and dinner at least once a month!

  • Anita Burke

    Always carve a jack o’ lantern for Halloween, dye Easter eggs, trim the Christmas tree together, collect seashells,

  • Cheri

    Bake a cake together, have a spontaneous dance party together, play a game of chase together, make up your own lyrics to a familiar tune and put on a “show” together.

  • Angie

    Take him on his first date.

  • browngal

    Shine torches into trees at night to see what animals you can see

    • Very creative–just don’t scream at the possums 🙂

  • Julieann Fox

    Paint together and frame your artwork

  • Tklep

    How about change “buy” a puppy to “adopt a puppy from your local shelter.” Save a life, don’t pay for one.

  • Jenn Athena

    Excellent. Done over half already.

  • Brenna Sniatecki

    Play video games together! Be it Mario Kart or Halo, it doesn’t matter if you’re terrible–that’s half the fun for him. 😉

  • Son of Mother

    I think you should add going to a consert. With the growing music industry, that’s probably a big thing.

  • Christine Pretorius

    Climb a tree together
    plant flowers together
    Go on road trips together
    pray together
    Bath baby sister or brother together
    Supertube together
    Clean up a garage together

    • What is supertube?

      • Christine Pretorius

        water slide

  • Julie

    I’ve gotta add or rather suggest a change, instead of picking out and buying a puppy, it should say go to an animal shelter and pick a puppy or young dog or even an older dog to take home and train. They need homes and to be trained too! Teach him to want to help those worse off rather than help support the ones only doing it for financial gain!

  • Patty Flisher

    Plant a tree together, definitely cook together, do something nice for neighbors and be anonymous (this one has been fun!)?