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50 Mother's Day activities to celebrate your mom in style

All the activities you need for kids, adults and the entire family in honor of Mother's Day.

Mother's Day is one of the most beloved holidays of the year.

While the moms in our lives deserve recognition 24/7, 365, the second Sunday in May is set aside to remind them that when it comes to bringing the magic, they show up. Each and every time.

From giving hugs when we need them to doling out useful Mom Advice, moms are our one-and-only, which is why honoring them is so important.

To help, we've collected a list of Mother's Day activities to show your mom, stepmom, grandmother, aunt, wife, daughter, friend or anyone else who's made an impact on your life just how much they matter to you.

Among them are thoughtful suggestions like creating a time capsule full of treasured memories, crafting matching t-shirts, tracing your family tree or planning a spa day so she can kick back and relax.

There are also ideas for the kids, big and small, as well as activities that include the whole family like going to the zoo or hosting a special Mother's Day brunch.

Choose from one of our suggestions or use them to inspire your own Mother's Day celebration. Either way, what likely matters most to the special woman in your life is time with you, which is truly the best gift of all.

Brunch in bed (or anywhere else)

Delicious breakfast on a light table.
Serve her brunch in bed or take her out to eat.tbralnina / Getty Images/iStockphoto

We all know Mom will be up and awake long before anyone else, which certainly can make breakfast in bed a bit of a challenge. Why not make it brunch in bed instead? At this point in the day, she’ll have all her chores done (not that she should be doing them on Mother’s Day anyway), so she’ll have plenty of time to indulge in a leisurely meal of her choice. If going out is more her speed, make reservations at her favorite restaurant.

Attend a concert

Whether your mom loves Joan Jett or Mozart, plan a musical outing. Pick up tickets to see her favorite band or attend a local concert or performance together. When you're done, create a playlist of all the tunes you listened to to ensure that the memory of your shared experience is preserved forever.

Volunteer together

Mother and daughter volunteer to serve hungry food bank clients
Spend an afternoon volunteering together with the entire family.SDI Productions / Getty Images

Spend quality time with your mom or other special person this Mother's Day by volunteering or donating your time to a worthy cause. Whether you volunteer at a food bank, animal shelter, make care packages for the military at home or other activity, you'll enjoy time together and bond over doing something meaningful for someone else.

Take a class together

Does your mom like to hike, box, or make pasta from scratch? Whatever her preferred pastime, consider signing up to do a class together. It can be in-person, or, if you live miles apart, you can both join online instead. It doesn't have to be a shared interest —your agreed-upon class can be doing completely new, like learning a language, painting or photography.

Visit friends or relatives

Is there a close friend or relative you haven't seen in a while? Use Mother's Day as an excuse to arrange a drop-by or meetup. After all, there's never a bad time to get together with loved ones. Even if it's just a virtual date, talk to attendees ahead of time, then coordinate a plan for your long-overdue catch-up.

Get a tarot or astrology reading

Curious to know what the stars have planned for you or your mom? Whether you're a skeptic or believer, booking a reading with an astrologer or tarot-card reader is a fun way to spend time together. And, who knows, you just might be surprised by what you learn.

Prepare a special dessert

Woman decorating chocolate sponge cake
Whip up something sweet together for a gift she'll remember.ilbusca / Getty Images

Whether she loves ice cream or apple pie, make your mom a special dessert in honor of Mother’s Day. Tackle a tough one like Baked Alaska or a chocolate soufflé. Not a cook? Not to worry, she’ll be just as happy if you take her out for ice cream.

Host a scavenger hunt

If Mom has an adventurous spirit, plan a scavenger hunt. Print out a treasure map or clues for her to find. Have the kids or the whole family join in on the game. Hide trinkets, gifts or make it a competition to see who can find a list of household items first, and have prizes on hand for the winner.

Make plans for next Mother's Day

Whether you're spending this Mother's Day together or are separated by miles this year, there's no time like the present to make plans for the next Mother's Day. Start planning now for a special bucket list trip or book a reservation for that restaurant she's been wanting to try.

Start a new tradition

Whether it's watching a favorite movie or making a beloved family recipe, establish an annual Mother's Day tradition. Invite everyone to participate or offer suggestions on what to do. Then, carry it out each and every year. It'll be something to look forward to and help create lasting memories.

Try a new hobby

mom and daughter knitting
Attempting a new hobby together can boost your bond.Getty Images

Whether it’s knitting, rock climbing or starting a family book club, Mother’s Day is a great time to try a new hobby together. Whatever the skill or endeavor, it’s better attempted as a team of two (or more) than alone. Even if you end up knitting a sock instead of a scarf, the memories you make will be worth it.

Make custom Mother's Day t-shirts

Show her that you are totally Team Mom by making a special t-shirt to wear in honor of Mother's Day. Surprise her and have the family all wear matching t's with her photograph or a funny saying written on them. Or, include her in on the fun. Make tie-dye t-shirts together or other commemorative shirt that'll be a treasured keepsake after the holiday is over.

Create a time capsule

Preserve the moment forever by creating a time capsule in honor of Mother's Day. Add sentimental items, handwritten letters, photos, craft projects or anything else you can think of to document this time in your life and, of course, your mom's.

Make a gratitude jar

You can always just tell your mom all the things you're thankful for, but putting them down on paper means that she'll have them forever. Write or print off all the reasons you appreciate your mom or other special lady in your life. Fold them up and tuck them into a jar or any other container you see fit. Have her read them all in one shot or spread it out over days or weeks.

Fly a kite

mother and daughter flying at kite at beach
Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

Since Mother's Day falls in May, head outdoors and go old-school by flying a kite. If it's been awhile, you may have forgotten what a fun activity it is. Better yet, it's something everyone in the family can participate in.

Host a movie marathon

Get a list of your mom's favorite movies and settle in for a film festival that pays homage to whatever genre she loves best. Whether it's a line-up of thrillers, rom coms, weepers or comedies, she's bound to love a day (or evening) rewatching old movies. Don't forget the popcorn and Junior Mints.

Plan a getaway

Level up your Mother's Day plans this year by taking your mom someplace special. While a day trip is always fun, an overnight or two is even better. Pamper her at a fancy hotel, plan a family camping trip or go all out and book a cruise. Given that she works so hard every day of the year, a vacation might be just the gift she's been waiting for.

Indulge in afternoon tea

Shot of a young woman having coffee with her relative on the sofa at home
Adene Sanchez / Getty Images

Head to your local tea parlor or serve scones, finger sandwiches, tiny treats and tea right at home. Or if you want to include something hot in your spread, take a note from the Scottish and opt for high tea instead.

Treat her to a spa day

When's the last time your mom enjoyed some quality R & R? Exactly. Sign her up for the full spa treatment or pick something that targets a specific need, like a pedicure or deep tissue massage. Treat yourself to a treatment, so you can be there to watch her stress melt away.

Go to the zoo or aquarium

If your mom is an animal-lover, plan an outing at the zoo, local aquarium or nature preserve. In fact, make an entire day of it. Find other local landmarks nearby or a restaurant to enjoy a meal together. Better yet, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the day.

Go shopping

Enjoy the day browsing through her favorite stores and offer to pay for that one-of-a-kind item she falls in love with (if you're able to, of course). Throw in lunch or dinner and, voila, you’ve just planned the perfect day.

Cook something together

Pick up the ingredients necessary for a joint food venture, then spend the day working on it together. Homemade pesto? Chocolate chip cookies? Jars of blueberry jam? Whatever you settle on, make enough for both of you to bring some home and share with the rest of the family.

Visit a botanical garden

Orchid or Moth Orchid flower.
Remind Mom to stop and smell the roses this Mother's Day.Getty Images

Find serenity among the blooms by taking your mom to a botanical garden or nature conservancy. Just about every state in the U.S. has one (or more) and it's a lovely way to spend time together, especially if she's a gardener.

Offer to do a chore (or two)

One of the best things you can do for your mom on Mother’s Day is to do something she doesn’t want to do. Because there’s no greater gift than your time, which, if we’re being honest right now, is the one thing she probably wishes she had more of.

Go on a nature walk

Candid Portrait of Female Friends Hiking in Jezersko Valley
Hit the trails with your #1 hiking buddy.AzmanJaka / Getty Images

Whether it's a stroll or meander, get outside and enjoy a day doing something in the great outdoors. It doesn't have to be high-octane. In fact, just sitting in the backyard or a local park and listening to the sound of the birds is a peaceful way to enjoy the day. If she's an adventurer, pack a picnic and take a hike.

Plan a surprise

Surprises are sweet. And while not everyone is a fan, your mom certainly won’t mind if you show up with tickets to see her favorite sport, Broadway show or an unexpected visit from a long-distance loved one.

Trace your family tree

Cheerful three generation family. Grandmother, mother, and daughter.
Trace your family tree to learn more about your family history.Ippei Naoi / Getty Images

It's never been easier to learn about past relatives and family members. Discover where you came from on a genealogy site or simply by looking at old photos, and asking her to share stories about her parents, siblings and other important people in her life.

Go to a flea market or farmers market

Depending on your mom’s preference, take her to a flea or farmer’s market, antiques show or art festival. Do your homework ahead of time to find out what events are being held on Mother’s Day weekend, then plan your shopping date.

Sing karaoke

Family singing karaoke laughing and enjoying all together in the living room of his house.
Pass her the mic and listen to her belt it out.Getty Images

Belt out show tunes, Taylor Swift, Guns 'N Roses or any other music your mom loves by planning a karaoke date. Take her to a club or rent a machine and invite the family to come along so everyone can get in on the act. Taking video of this momentous occasion is mandatory.

Redecorate a room

Is she tired of looking at the same-old, same-old? Help your mom spruce up her least favorite space. Take her shopping for new throw pillows, paint for the bathroom or, if the budget is tight, rearrange the furniture for a fresh new perspective that doesn’t cost a dime.

Make a cookbook

Track down your family's most treasured recipes and put them all in one place.
Track down your family's most treasured recipes and put them all in one place.Jamie Grill / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

Recipes are how families pass on traditions. Don't let yours get lost in the shuffle of life. Spend the day learning about your family's special meals. When you're through, preserve them all in a cookbook either through an online service or simply make one of your own.

Play trivia

Get to know the person behind the parent by asking your mom trivia questions about her childhood, life, interests and just about everything else. Follow it up with a game of regular trivia questions and answers on everything from movies to music and get the whole family in on the fun.

Visit a winery or take a food tour

If Mom loves sipping vino, find a local winery and go for a tasting or the whole afternoon. Otherwise, search around for a local food tour. Many larger cities and vacation destinations offer them. Who knows? You just might discover something new about your local cuisine.

Pot flowers or garden

Plant some flowers this Mother's Day, then watch them bloom in all the years to follow.
Plant some flowers this Mother's Day, then watch them bloom in all the years to follow.Jag Images / Getty Images

Instead of buying Mom a bouquet or having flowers delivered, head over to the garden center and let her pick out some blooms of her choice. Grab some pots, soil, gardening gloves and anything else you might need, then pot or plant them together.

Make a signature Mother's Day cocktail

Make her favorite drink mom-tastic by customizing it just for her. After all, who deserves a signature cocktail or mocktail more than your mother? Whether it's a fresh lavender spritzer or classic margarita, show your Mother's Day spirit (pun intended) with a drink all her own.

Take a boat cruise

No need to book a vacation to enjoy a cruise on Mother’s Day. Every state has some kind of scenic waterway, river or lake, many of which offer daily boat cruises lasting an hour or two, which is just the right amount of time to take in the sights together.

Organize a family portrait

Portrait of happy family sitting at table
Because Mom knows that a picture's worth a thousand words. Getty Images

Getting the entire family together is no easy feat. If you can manage it, then preserve the moment by asking a neighbor, friend or passerby to snap a few pictures of the whole crew. Share your favorites with the group or post on social media with a sweet Mother's Day caption.

Organize a virtual celebration

If everyone is scattered in different locations, coordinate a virtual Mother's Day celebration. Text or email loved ones ahead of time, then schedule a time to meet. Take this moment to catch up, share memories, play games or plan your next in-person adventure.

Play her favorite board or card game

family playing board game
Tanya Constantine / Getty Images

Cribbage, Spades, Monopoly, Backgammon — the options are endless. If you don't know how to play, ask her to teach you. Not only is it a great way to spend uninterrupted time together, but it'll fire up some friendly (and welcome) competition.

Pick out matching sets of anything

Everything's better in two, so make it your mission to find matching necklaces, t-shirts, garden gnomes or whatever else you think of to share as a pair. No matter what you settle on, it's sure to — wait for it — double the Mother's Day fun.

Dine al fresco

Why eat in when you can take her out? Outside, that is. The Europeans have the right idea because dining al fresco levels everything up a notch and makes any meal feel extra special. While you can always head to a nearby restaurant, you can enjoy a home-cooked meal outside with a portable speaker and twinkle lights.

Take a local field trip

The more time we give the more we get back
A new adventure awaits in your own backyard.pixdeluxe / Getty Images stock

Sometimes we overlook the destinations closest to home. Head to a local spot that's yet to be discovered to see your area in a whole new way. It's a fun adventure — sans the long commute.

Make a playlist

You've probably listened to a thousand songs together over the years, but that doesn't mean you know which ones are her favorite. Find out which tunes she loved as a child, a teen and now. Make a playlist, then listen to it together.

Plan a cultural outing

Mother's Day Activities
Visit a museum or art gallery for Mother's Day.benkrut / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Does she appreciate art? Love the theatre? Enjoy wandering through exhibits at a museum? Whatever cultural activity she enjoys doing in her free time, make a date to do it with her. The only thing better than doing something you love is doing it with someone you love.

Paint a picture or make pottery

Schedule a time to create an original masterpiece with your mom. Follow in the footsteps of Picasso and bring home an abstract or get your hands dirty making a lopsided coffee mug. No matter how your skills stack up, it's the time you spent together that really matters.

Recreate a favorite memory

Mother's Day Activities
Take Mom down memory lane this Mother's Day.vladans / Getty Images stock

Nothing can take the place of a special moment or memory, but that doesn't mean you can't try. Ask your mom which of them she cherishes the most and if possible, do your best to recreate it. Whether it's the time the family watched movies in the backyard or ate ice cream sundaes for dinner, let the good times roll again.

Make a craft

Over the shoulder view of a child painting a terracotta plant pot with bright coloured paints on a dining table in springtime.
Get your creative juices flowing on Mother's Day.Elva Etienne / Getty Images stock

Kids of all ages love making crafts and, no surprise, Mom does, too. Pick up a kit at the craft store or come up with one of your own like making handprint coasters or a one-of-a-kind flower pot.

Detail her car

Is she driving a Messy Mom car? Don’t judge because her car is bound to be littered with snack wrappers, water bottles and other cast-offs. Even if the kids have long-since left home, there’s no way your mother will turn down an offer to detail her car and make it shine like new.

Visit an amusement park

Picture of a colorful Ferris wheel in clear sky
Take your mom to an amusement park on Mother's Day.Phaucet / Getty Images stock

Just because she's a mom doesn't mean she doesn't enjoy thrill rides. If she has an adventurous spirit, plan a trip to the nearest theme park and spend the day riding the rides. With cotton candy in one hand and a giant stuffed dinosaur in the other (from winning the bean bag toss, naturally), she's bound to have a blast.

Make her favorite childhood meal

She's spent a lifetime making you all your favorite meals. Return the favor by whipping up one of her cherished childhood recipes. Not handy in the kitchen? No problem. Do some research to see if a nearby restaurant prepares something similar or enlist the help of someone who knows their way around a kitchen.