Fool Proof Father-Son Experiences in 2014

Now that Father’s Day has passed and your family has showered you with the appreciation every dad deserves, it’s time to start planning the next father-son outing to return the favor. Planning unique activities with your kid is about much more than just finding fun things to do. It’s a chance to share valuable bonding experiences and and even pass down skills they can use in the future.

Run an Obstacle Race

If your son is a little older (13+) and you both crave a physical challenge, obstacle racing is one of the fastest growing athletic competitions in America. Obstacle races are typically anywhere between 3-10 miles and are layered with all sorts of challenges like wall climbs, mud pits, water obstacles and more. Some races, like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race, are geared toward battle-hardened veterans who know these races well. Others, like Warrior Dash and Rugged Maniac, are tailored to the more casual competitors who want the fun of a challenge without the risk.

These races are great for fathers and sons because they require teamwork (like helping each other over a wall), encouragement (they can be challenging) and unlike your average 5k, they’re fun. In 2014 there are dozens of obstacle races in every major city and the average entry is about $50.

Find a Classic Barber

Mom may take your son to Great Clips for most of his cuts, but only a dad knows the real difference between a $5.99 cut with a coupon and the expertise of an old barber who’s been cutting hair and giving straight-razor shaves for decades. If your son is right around the age for his first shave, this is the perfect opportunity to show him how it’s really done.

Everything about the classic barber shop is a great environment for a male bonding experience, and the barber makes great conversation as a bonus. Every city will have a crop of local barbers. Use Yelp to look up the ones in your area and see the best reviews.

Fix Up an Old Bike

Remember those old episodes of “Home Improvement?” For a portion of the show, not-so-handyman Tim Taylor fixed up an old hot rod with his three sons, Brad, Randy and Mark. The project was long-winded and not without its setbacks, but in the end it was a great experience for Tim and his sons (even though Tim ended up selling the hot rod to a collector).

Building a hot rod requires tons of knowledge, time and money, but you can actually scale down the project to a small dirt bike or ATV. And the beauty of these do-it-yourself projects is that most, if not all, of the information is available online for free, and every part and accessory you could ever want is available from an online retailer.

Fixing up an old bike will teach your son mechanical skills, patience, experience with tools and, if he wants to ride someday, a new respect for the vehicle. Such a respect could be a life-saving skill later in life.