40 Thoughtful Things To Do On Mother’s Day This Year
Find options for spending Mother's Day as a family, along with some self-care ideas for moms, too.
Mother's Day is right around the corner, and there are so many great ways to celebrate that honor motherhood. From meaningful letters and DIY gifts to spending time as a family, there's no doubt that as this mom-centric holiday approaches, many are looking for super special things to do on Mother's Day to show Mom she's loved and appreciated. Just think of all the hard work mothers do every day — it's pointless even to attempt listing everything here since the list is practically endless.
The bottom line? It's pretty clear that mothers deserve to be recognized all the time, but Mother's Day is the day to really go all out, put down your phones, cancel all other plans, and put the focus on moms. So, whether you're looking to celebrate a special mom in your life by planning an unforgettable day, helping tackle her to-do list, or pampering her, this list has something for everyone — including some solo self-care things for Mom, too!
Things To Do on Mother’s Day As A Family
1. Go for a Hike
Depending on where you live, a scenic hike may be within a quick drive and is a great way to spend the day relaxing in nature without breaking the bank.
2. Volunteer for a Good Cause
Spend time together doing something for your community or a global cause. It will be an unforgettable, feel-good experience.
3. Cook a Recipe Together
If your mom loves cooking, she'll genuinely relish the chance to get the whole family involved and pass on some of her culinary secrets. She can finally teach you how to cook up an heirloom recipe.
4. Go to a Concert or a Play
Live music or a theater is an exhilarating experience that's often best enjoyed with a friend or family. So, check out your community events calendar and book those tickets to a favorite band or that Broadway show everyone's been raving about!
5. Take a Class Together
Whether it's pottery, painting, or something physical like Zumba or Barre, engaging in a new activity is a fun way to get the family together to learn a new skill.
6. Spend a Day at the Beach
Mom may prefer white sand beaches, but even a day at your local beach can be just the thing she needs to unwind. Go the extra mile by making sure you stock the cooler with all of her favorite snacks.
7. Plan a Vacation
If time permits, plan a vacation to a place you've never been before, or even a place that holds great memories the family can relive together. Is your mom forever gushing about the time that your family went gem-mining in a little mountain town when you were five? Recreate that vacay and surprise her with the details.
8. Do a DIY Project Together
Been meaning to start a garden? Head to your local hardware store, pick up materials for planter boxes, choose your favorite flowers or vegetable seeds, and make it a team effort that Mom will love — especially come harvest time!
9. Go Camping
There's nothing like camping under the stars without screens to bring the family together. Pack your gear, bug spray, and must-have campfire favorites like marshmallows, and you're ready. Of course, only do this if Mom is into all things camping. If rustic living in the great outdoors isn't her thing, look in your local area to see if any companies offer a more upscale glamping experience.
10. Go to a Special Restaurant
Mother's Day is a special event to celebrate! If able, book a table at a favorite family restaurant and let someone else do the cooking and cleaning tonight.
11. Pick Some Fruit
While waiting for that garden to bloom, head to a nearby farm to fruit. Even outside big cities, many areas have farms open to the public for apple and strawberry picking (and more). Your mom may very well have fond memories — and even pictures — of you picking fruit as a child, in which case she'll welcome the flood of nostalgia.
12. Go Window Shopping
Window shopping can be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, leisurely walking by, admiring storefront windows, and making that mental wishlist. Bonus: It's a great way to do recon. You'll know what Mom wants for her next birthday by the end of the day.
13. Go Horseback Riding
This is a great one that the whole family (minus the very little ones) will enjoy. Riding a horse feels thrilling, whether off in the hills or along the beach.
14. Hit Up a Winery
Wineries haven't always been family-friendly, but many now offer places for the children to play while the adults sip. Then again, making it an adult-only trip could be fun too. What says “I love you, Mom” more than getting wine-drunk together?
15. Head to a Theme Park
Is your mom a thrill seeker? Does she have a favorite theme park? Mother's Day is an excellent opportunity to bring the family together to scream it out on a rollercoaster and enjoy classic theme-park treats like hotdogs and funnel cakes.
16. Look Over Old Photos
Reminisce on good times while looking through old photo albums. It's sure to bring up good memories, some laughs, and maybe some tears, too. In other words, have the tissues handy.
17. Sip and Stroll at the Farmers Market
Listen, there’s no shame in Mom’s game — she likely loves hitting up the local farmers’ market and isn’t afraid to shout her appreciation for its artisanal cheeses from the rooftop. Find a vendor selling beverages first, get Mom something to imbibe while you walk, and then let her enjoy a leisurely time sampling from every single station.
18. Host a Family Movie Night
Is family movie night one of the oldest pages in the Mother’s Day playbook? Sure. But it’s a classic for a reason. Moms will gladly take any chance to enjoy a cuddle puddle on the couch with their kids (no matter how old those kids get). Plus, there are tons of great family movies to choose from, meaning you could do a marathon movie sesh and let Mom cherish the extra time together.
19. Interview Her
There will come a time when you want to pass down your mom’s stories and regale your own children with her memories. Not only will interviewing your mom give you a record of those stories (you can use your phone’s recorder), but it will also flatter her to know you want to be a witness to her life story.
20. Hire a Photographer
How many times has your mom begged you for family photos? Or, if you’re the mom in question, how often do you pester your family about getting pics “before everyone’s grown”? Now’s the time. Book a family photoshoot for Mother’s Day so she can be in front of the camera for once.
Things to Do for Mom
1. Help Her With Her To-Do List
This is mom's day to relax, so tackling some items from her to-do list is a thoughtful way to show your appreciation for all of her hard work. This might be cleaning the house, organizing her closet (or yours, if she's been bugging you about it), or fixing something that, well, needs fixing!
2. Plan a Spa Day for Her
Mom showers are often about 3.5 minutes long, so some extra pampering is something she will always appreciate — and a spa is the best place to get the job done. Many hotels have spas that include other amenities like the pool, where she can get poolside food and drink service after her services. Ah, you can practically feel the relaxation from here.
3. Give Her a Massage or Manicure
If a spa day is a little outside of the budget, mom will equally love being pampered by her family — especially if it means spending quality time together. Some nice massage oils and her favorite nail polish are all you'll need.
4. Prepare Her Favorite Meal
Newsflash: Moms aren't the only people in the family who can cook (although sometimes she may feel that way after cooking dinner five nights in a row). Pour her a glass of wine or her favorite non-alcoholic drink, and let her sit down while you prepare her a special meal. Just don't forget to clean up after — that'll probably be her favorite part.
5. Let Her Sleep In
Sure, it's cute when little kids pile into Mom's room early in the morning, proudly serving breakfast in bed that they prepared (yum, burnt toast and chocolate milk!) just for her. But chances are she'd prefer it came a little later than 6 a.m. So, this mother's day, let mom sleep.
6. Write Her a Thoughtful Card
Moms love flowers and gifts, but sometimes the best gifts are words from the heart. Take the time to write Mom a letter to tell her how much you love and admire her. This curated list of the sweetest, kindest Mother's Day messages will help you get started.
7. Create a Special Playlist
Got a mom who’s constantly humming or singing something? Put together a playlist that reminds her how much you love her. You could include songs that have special significance to the two of you, songs about mothers in general, or songs that express how you feel about her.
8. Turn Her Recipes into a Cookbook
Your mom’s favorite recipe books and cards are probably so dog-eared and splattered by now that they’re getting difficult to read. Scan them into your computer and use a platform like Shutterfly to design a beautiful, custom cookbook that’ll last Mom for years to come.
9. Stage a Family Reunion
Life gets busy, and everyone tends to drift apart. So, for the sentimental mom, surprising her by bringing her family back together — if only for a few hours — could mean the world.
10. Wash Her Car
Give Mom’s whip the super-deluxe treatment with suds, wax, protectant, and a full interior clean. Who doesn’t love a car that looks and smells as new as the day they got it?
Things for Mom to Do (aka Self-Care)
1. Go Out With a Girlfriend
If you've got little kids, uninterrupted conversations usually last all of about 30 seconds. Leave the kids with Dad, another family member, or a babysitter and go out for a moms-only reunion with your friends.
2. Go to a Yoga Class
Motherhood can be stressful, and finding the time to unwind can seem impossible. Taking the time to care for your mind and body is a great way to celebrate yourself this Mother's Day.
3. Go to a Movie Solo
Watched Encanto on repeat this whole past month? Yeah, you're not alone. But there's nothing wrong with wanting to watch that steamy new thriller without kids. If available in your area, a movie theater with a big, comfy chair and dine-in service is where you want to head.
4. Take Time for Your Hobby
Whether it's crafting, getting lost in an intricate coloring page, or baking, taking the time to do things you love is a great way to honor your individuality and talent.
5. Take a Long, Hot Bath
Lock the bathroom door, run a hot bath, turn on the candles, and play your favorite music or a podcast. You deserve it!
6. Write in Your Journal
As a mom, something as simple as taking a few minutes to write in your journal can feel like a luxury you don’t have time to indulge in. But today’s your day. Putting your thoughts down on paper can be quite cathartic.
7. Curl Up With a Good Book
That stack that’s been staring at you from the nightstand beckons. Start with the one you’ve been dying to read the longest and go from there.
8. Join a Club
You might be thinking, That sounds like one more thing I’ll have to do. Here’s the thing, though: It might be the one thing that is just *yours*, that brings you intrinsic joy. Thanks to sites like Meetup and DownToMeet, it’s easy to find people who share your passions.
9. Take a Nap
Yup, day-snoozing is where it’s at. So your family let you sleep in? That’s cool. But you can still squeeze in a nap, too. Better get as much rest as you can while the getting’s good, right?
10. Take a Weekend Getaway, Alone
Don't fall into the idea that taking time away alone is not something that's allowed for moms. In fact, mothers who regularly find time for themselves come back refreshed, and that's a good thing for the whole family. So, plan a little weekend getaway — even if it's to a local hotel where you can order room service and lounge in bed as long as you want.