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50 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Activities That Will Make the Day Extra Special

Updated: May 28, 2024

These are some of the best Mother's Day activities for moms and mother figures alike

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Fun Mother’s Day activities for mom’s special day

When we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May, it’s thanks to U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, who signed a measure in 1914 officially establishing the holiday. Since then, Mother’s Day gifts have been the focus of most Mother’s Day ideas. But as great as gifts are, nothing beats coming up with fun Mother’s Day activities and spending time together.

Maybe that looks like Mother’s Day brunch or Mother’s Day movies on repeat from morning till night. No matter how you choose to honor the special moms, grandmas and like-a-mom ladies in your life, know that it’s sure to be deeply appreciated. So, keep reading for some of the best Mother’s Day activities to make Mom’s day extra special and full of love.

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mother and daughter listening to music
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Make a mom-focused playlist

Collaborate on a modern-day mixtape, complete with plenty of mom songs. You’ll spend quality time together while you build the playlist, but don’t stop there. Let the tunes play while you tackle one of the other Mother’s Day activities on this list.

artwork workplace with creative accessories, art tools for painting
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Craft to your heart’s content

Ever since you brought home a hand-painted (and most likely lopsided) mug for mom in first grade, DIY Mother’s Day gifts have held a special place in her heart. This year, let her in on the crafting fun. Prep for the big day by stocking up on crafting supplies, or turn items you have around the house—card stock, stickers, craft sticks, pipe cleaners and more—into works of art.

Mother looking her newborn child
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Lend a helping hand

Don’t limit your Mother’s Day activities to the woman who gave you birth. You know plenty of other moms, many of whom deserve a celebration. At the top of your list should be women with newborns. And there’s no better gift than offering to watch the baby for the afternoon so she can get a massage, go to the movies or simply snooze for the first time all week.

Online Yoga Class
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Take a yoga class

Here’s one of the best Mother’s Day activities for the workout-loving mom. Listing the physical and mental benefits of yoga would take all of Mother’s Day. Suffice it to say, there are a lot. Show your mom you care about her health by reserving spots in a local class or streaming online. It’s a refreshing way to start the holiday.

Adult son and senior mom sing a song while relaxed sitting on couch
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Sing your heart out

Mom has always been a star in your eyes, but let her shine for the rest of the world by taking her to a karaoke bar, where she can belt out her favorite tunes. Grab that mic and join in!

Front view portrait of mature mother with adult daughter outdoors at home, gardening.
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Work in the garden

Plant-enthusiast moms will love Mother’s Day activities that involve greenery. Talk about perfect timing to get some pretty plants in the ground! Instead of buying a bouquet of Mother’s Day flowers, bring some potted plants for mom—think pansies, petunias or any others you love—and work alongside her in the garden.

Flowers and mothers day card
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Write a heartfelt card

Shoot mom a quick text? Easy. Write a heartfelt note? Maybe not so easy. Here’s a novel Mother’s Day idea: Put as much effort into filling out her card as you would when shopping for a gift. Start with a printable Mother’s Day card, then tell her how you truly feel. If you’re stumped for what to say, let a heartwarming mother’s day quote or poem jump-start your creative process.

mothers day gift basket
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Give her a basket of love

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite Mother’s Day activity: presents. You can’t go wrong with a gift basket that combines all her favorite things. Is she the ultimate foodie? Pack a container with gourmet bites. Got a gardener on your hands? Fill the basket with gardening gloves, seeds and cute tools she can use when planting bulbs or herbs. Or go with a premade basket that makes shopping a cinch.

Senior woman and adult daughter laughing on porch
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Laugh till you cry

A good laugh has lots of short- and long-term health benefits, according to the experts. Tap into the benefits together by sharing funny mom jokes, then cue up your favorite comedy to watch together.

Mother and adult son sitting in garden
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Share stories

Mom stories never fail to inspire. Grab some grub, then spend the afternoon swapping stories. She’ll tell you about your birth, and you can reminisce about the day she became your superhero. Let these tales strengthen your bond—and make you laugh.

Keeping up with technology
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Call your grandma

The love between a grandmother and a grandchild is the stuff of legend, so of course, a phone call is in order. Don’t rush it; let her chat your ear off about motherhood, what your parent was like as a kid and the ways things have changed through the years.

Closeup of unrecognizable person writing on clipboard
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Share poetry

When you can’t quite put into words what Mom means to you, borrow special sentiments from someone else. You can add a Mother’s Day poem to your card, but if you really want to wow her, set up a poetry reading. You and your siblings can each pick a piece that expresses how you feel about Mom, then read them to her after brunch. Bonus: Buy her a poetry book to go along with the theme.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
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Take her out to a ball game

Dads get all the attention when it comes to live sports, but plenty of moms want to root, root, root for the home team too. So grab some tickets and take her to see your local team play ball. Get sentimental by stuffing the tickets in an on-theme card.

group of young riders on horseback heading towards the beach
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Take a horseback ride

She’s a mother, so when it comes to spending time with you, she’s always chomping at the bit. (Sorry, we had to.) Give her what she wants and enjoy the great outdoors by booking a horseback riding day trip. Not only is it fun to saddle up, but horseback riding also has health benefits that’ll help you keep her around for years to come.

Mother and daughter on a shopping trip.
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Shop till you drop

Here’s a fun Mother’s Day activity for shopaholic moms: Give her the gift of retail therapy. Take her shopping so she gets exactly what she wants. Bonus: You’ll spend time together in the process.

Directly above view of breakfast served in a restaurant
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Cook her breakfast for dinner

Mother’s Day brunch is a tradition, but restaurants are packed and there’s often a wait. Put a spin on things by whipping up all her brunch favorites for dinner. An irresistible a.m. meal cooked by someone else? Yes, please. Pancakes, waffles, French toast, a custom omelet—there are so many ways to end a lovely day. Sweeten the deal by cleaning the kitchen after.

picnic on blanket with food at summer sunny day
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Pack a picnic

Fresh air and blue skies elevate even the simplest of sandwiches. As a fun Mother’s Day activity, whip up Mom’s favorite treats and take her to a quiet spot with a fantastic view. Tuck a few mother-son and mother-daughter quotes into the basket so she can read them over lunch.

mother and daughter watching home movies on a tv
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Watch home movies

Remind Mom of all the fun you’ve had by watching videos from your childhood. You’ll laugh over the silly antics. You’ll cry at the sweet moments. And you’ll want to create even more memories the minute the watch party ends.

Mother and daughter strolling on the beach at sunset
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Get away for the weekend

Your mom is one of a kind. Show her you know it by taking her on a one-of-a-kind mother-daughter weekend trip.

Professional nail care. African american woman client chooses gel polish in hands of master in rubber gloves in modern salon with equipment for manicure
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Nail it

Considering all she does for the family, Mom deserves a little rest and relaxation, don’t you think? Reward her by making an appointment for manis and pedis at a salon or spa, or go the DIY route. The pretty results will remind her of the fun day you had together.

Wooden board with black and white play stones, game of go
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Play a board game

Busting out a board game is an old-school way to spend some quality time together. Challenge Mom to a game of chess, checkers, backgammon or another one of her faves. Or buy her a new board game, then put it to use.

Reading irish book
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Read a book together

She spends most of the week caring for others, so let your mom totally chill on Mother’s Day. Sure, she could curl up alone with a good book, but you can turn her literary pursuits into a celebration by picking a book a couple weeks before the holiday. (We suggest one of these mother-daughter books.) You’ll each read it, then discuss it on Mother’s Day. The mini book club will do more than enrich your mind; it’ll let you spend time with each other.

Hispanic woman and adult daughter playing pickleball
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Play pickleball

This fun, friendly racket sport, described as a cross between tennis, badminton and ping-pong, has been growing in popularity over the past decade. Athletic moms will love trying their hand at a new game—and showing you they’ve still got it.

Family with two kids on their Holidays in California near the ocean
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Recreate a photo from yesteryear

You know that snapshot from your childhood your mom loves to show off (or laugh at)? Put a new spin on the old setup by recreating the photo with your older selves. Be sure to print it out later and frame it; your mother will want to hang them as a then-and-now pair.

Mother and daughter bicycle along empty road, sea
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Take a bike ride

Going for a spin will put a smile on her face. Bonus points if the bike has a basket or bell! Make a day of it by hitting a nearby cycling trail that showcases the best of spring.

Senior and young woman buying vegetables on outdoor martket, talking.
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Stroll a farmer’s market

Mother’s Day activities don’t have to be fancy or complex. Here’s one that will let your mom enjoy the spring day and the literal fruits of your adventure. Take in the cheerful feel and colorful displays of a local farmers market, then head home to snack on fresh fruit or incorporate from-the-farm veggies into a dinner you cook for Mom.

Mature Woman Looking At Sculpture In Historical Museum
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Visit a museum

She showed you how to tie your shoes and taught you about the birds and the bees, and there’s a good chance she guided you through your favorite museums as a kid. Return the favor by spending the day at her favorite museum, pointing out priceless classics, discussing modern art or gawking at the dinosaurs you were so taken with years ago.

Two Women Toasting
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Raise a glass

Thoughtful toasts need not be reserved for weddings. Speaking from the heart and sharing feelings can make any occasion feel special. So this Mother’s Day, start the meal by toasting your mom in all her selfless, caring glory. Not sure what to say? Incorporate a cute Mother’s Day greeting.

Hispanic Mother and Son Eating Pizza Outdoors
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Have a pizza party

Take a break from ordering in and instead set up a pizza-making station with topping options like cheese, pepperoni, green peppers, olives, broccoli and more. You’ll all have fun while crafting your pies, and Mom can get plenty of those vegetables she was always piling on your plate.

Family cleaning trash in the forest
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Give back

Volunteering to help in your community is a win all around when it comes to Mother’s Day activities. Strengthen your shared bond by spending time giving to others.

Young man performing on stage for an audience
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Take her to a comedy show

Your mom loves to laugh, and while these mom memes will probably do the trick, she deserves something bigger and full of belly laughs. This Mother’s Day weekend, find a live comedy show in your area. It’s a bonding experience and a great mood booster.

Fun in quarantine
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Do a puzzle

For a Mother’s Day idea that’ll keep the family engaged for hours, put together a jigsaw puzzle. Even better, make a custom puzzle from a family photo, which she’ll only see once the pieces have all been slotted into place.

Man and woman dancing next to wall
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Dance it out

You know the saying: When in doubt, dance it out. Pull up Mom’s favorite playlist, then pump up the volume. If your mother really loves to let loose, take her out for a night of country line dancing.

Woman and her daughter in the aquarium.
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Visit the zoo

When you were little, you loved going to the zoo to see the animals. Recapture the memory with your mom by taking a day trip to a local zoo or aquarium. End the afternoon by giggling together over these hilarious things moms have said.

Two people climbed on mountain cliff
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Go on a hike

Outdoorsy moms will love spending the day with their children while conquering mountains big and small. So hit a trail and go exploring. Be sure to prep like a mother, packing food and drinks to keep everyone fueled and hydrated.

Family hiking in jungle.
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Wander a botanical garden

If Mom likes flowers, give her thousands of them. Smell the sweet, clean air and enjoy the calming green scene at a nearby botanical garden.

Young brunette woman creating her Feng Shue wish map using scissors
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Make vision boards

Creating a collage of images and words that represent your hopes and dreams is a fun way to fuel positive feelings about the future. And it’s a great starting point for getting to know your mom a bit better, not as the woman you thought she was when you were a kid, but as the woman she is and wants to become. Does she dream of starting a successful woman-owned business? Does she yearn to travel and explore the world? Take some time this Mother’s Day to help Mom figure out how (and when) to achieve her goals.

mother with daughters on photo shoots in Studio
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Have a family photo shoot

Selfies are a hoot, but a few pro-caliber photos is a treat now and then. Hiring a photographer for a mini-session and light editing need not break the bank. Ask friends for local recommendations, then get everyone together for a family photo shoot and create images your mom will treasure for years to come.

Close-Up Of Tarot Cards With Candles On Table
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Tarot together

Tarot cards have been around for centuries, and a deck can provide hours of fascinating insight and truths about your higher self. Grab a tarot deck, gather the family and refer to a tarot instruction book (or YouTube) to conduct readings for Mom and everyone else. If you have the cash, you can hire a pro to do a reading for your mom and the rest of her clan.

Bucket List
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Make a bucket list

You and your mom each have personal bucket lists, but join forces on Mother’s Day to create a list of things to do together before life gets in the way. Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write down to-dos big and small, from touring a nearby brewery to taking a European vacation.

Vines in a vineyard in Alentejo region, Portugal, at sunset
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Take a wine tour

This is one of those Mother’s Day activities that’s perfect for wine enthusiasts. Book a wine tour with mom and sample the region’s best vinos while taking in scenic views. Or make a weekend trip out of it—there are plenty of Finger Lakes wineries, Long Island wineries and Napa wineries to enjoy, after all!

Senior woman and her adult granddaughter sitting at kitchen table doing manicure
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Have a DIY spa day

You don’t have to leave the house to pamper mom. Set up a DIY spa day as a fun Mother’s Day activity and spoil her with a facial, foot soak and moisturizing hair mask. She’ll feel relaxed and revitalized in no time.

Womens use smartphone to find what they are interested in outdoors. Searching information data on internet, networking concept. Friends watching videos on a smartphone
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Plan a scavenger hunt

This is one of those Mother’s Day activities she’ll remember for years to come. Plan a mom-themed scavenger hunt, complete with clues that tie into her hobbies or favorite things. She’ll have a blast collecting small prizes and eventually finding the big one (her Mother’s Day gift).

Close-up Happy Asian family daughter enjoy see older mother drawing painting colorful artwork on canvas spend time together in living room at home on weekend.
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Paint and sip at home

Combine art and wine in beautiful fashion with a special Mother’s Day–themed paint-and-sip for mom. And no, you don’t have to be the next Picasso to host!

Shot of a man holding a remote control while watching TV
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Have a movie marathon

Grab the popcorn and get to streaming! Watch three movies for this movie marathon idea: Your mom’s pick, your pick and a feel-good movie you’ve both never seen before.

Woman decorates freshly baked cupcakes with cream
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Bake a new dessert together

This is the perfect Mother’s Day activity for the mother-child duo who crave the sweeter things in life. Pick a new dessert you both haven’t tried yet and bake it, swapping stories and laughs along the way. Then, indulge in your hard work!

mother and adult daughter having coffee in kitchen
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Get to know mom better

Sure, she’s your mom—but how much do you really know about her? Strengthen your bond by asking your mom interesting questions about her life, values, hobbies and more. Not sure where to start?

Man and his senior mom looking through family photos together
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Go through old photos together

There’s nothing like reminiscing with mom. Grab an old photo album (or two), flip through the pages and let mom share those funny mom stories throughout the years.

Ice cream cone. Ice cream with waffle cones. Waffle cone being held by a girl. Colorful cereal toppings for vibrance. perfect for hot summer days or winter.
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Go out for ice cream

Spring is in full swing by the time Mother’s Day rolls around, which means the weather is (hopefully) sunny and on the warmer side. Celebrate mom with a few scoops of her favorite ice cream at your local shop. Grab a seat and talk about nothing and everything while enjoying the scrumptious treat.

Asian chinese family playing bonding inside camping tent at backyard of their house staycation weekend activities
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Camp in the backyard

This is one of those close-to-home Mother’s Day activities that still incorporates the great outdoors (or, in this case, the great backyard). You and mom can grab a tent, some sleeping bags and lots of s’more ingredients and spend the night swapping stories as you camp by the fire. You get all the fun of camping and all the comfort of having a real bathroom nearby—what more could you ask for?

Additional reporting by Kelly Kuehn.

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