While it’s important to take the time out once in a while for you and your partner to have time for yourselves, family dates are incredibly fun and can be extremely cheap if you plan them around things you can do at home. These fun family dates are great for kids of all ages and are equally fun for you and your special someone! Kids love feeling included, so start a tradition and hold a family date night once or twice per month, using these ideas to kick things off!
1. Decorate Mugs
Creative and artsy family dates will get your kids' imagination revved up and reactivate your own at the same time! Dollar Tree sells white mugs for $1 a piece, so you can buy as many of them as you need for your family. Write each family member's name on a slip of paper and let everyone pick a name out of a basket. Each person draws a name from the basket and decorates a mug for that person. Make sure the mugs are completely clean and dry before using OIL BASED Sharpies to write or draw on them. Using the oil based type ensures that the marker won’t wash off, even in a dishwasher. Once you have all decorated your mugs for each other, place them upside down on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and let it heat up with the mugs inside. Once it has reached the correct temperature, bake them for 30 minutes before carefully removing them and allowing them to cool down. Now each member of your family has their own mug for coffee, tea or hot chocolate!
2. Backyard Camping
You don’t need to travel and pay for a campsite to have the whole camping experience! Set up tents in your backyard, or make some out of sheets or tarps if you don’t already have tents. Bring out some sleeping bags or blankets and make some nice cozy areas for you and your kids. Get all the fixins for S’mores and build a little campfire. You can roast hot dogs on a stick over the fire, then have the S’mores for dessert! Sit around and sing songs together, play cards and make it a no cell phone or other electronic device night!
3. Game Night
My siblings and I are all over 18 now and most of us don’t live at home anymore, but we still make time to all gather at my parents' house with our significant others and have family game night. Everyone brings the games they have and we sit around the table playing Apples to Apples or using whiteboards in the living room to play Pictionary. Even at our age it’s a blast (mostly because we’re all sarcastic jerks and relentlessly make fun of each other)! You can always find an assortment of games that are great for all ages. Make it a blast!
4. Photo Fun
If you have a digital camera or a phone that takes decent pictures, head on outside and take turns photographing each other! You can do goofy poses in silly dress up clothes or well posed classy shots. It’s fun, entertaining and you’ll have souvenirs to keep when you’re all done!
5. Themed Dinner and a Movie
There are so many movies that you can base your dinner around that you could do one of these every Friday or Saturday night and not run out! Gather in the living room and lay a tarp or other washable covering down (in case of spillage) and serve dinner while watching a movie! Coordinate the dinner and movie so that they share a similar aspect. Watch Lady and the Tramp and serve spaghetti. Meatballs while watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Tiny versions of larger foods are great for Honey I Shrunk the Kids while Banana Pancakes are great while watching Curious George!
6. Chocolate Tasting
Obviously you don’t want to do wine tasting with little kids around, so why not change it up and include them in a chocolate tasting instead? There are tons of different chocolates from the sweet milk chocolate to extra dark or even chocolates that incorporate assorted fruits or mint! Everyone is sure to find something they’ll like and it’s a great way to learn which flavors your kids like best!
7. Late Night Hide and Seek
This was my favorite thing to do as a kid! We would all wait until it got dark out, then we would dress all in black or other dark colors and head outside. We would leave the front porch light on for those who may be afraid of being in the pitch black, then we would form teams and head out to hide while one team counted. You don’t have to play in teams, but it worked well for my youngest brother because he’s several years younger than the other 3 of us. Being on a team meant he didn’t have to hide by himself in the dark, the whole team (2 people) usually hid together. My parents almost always played with us and it was just good family time fun!
These family dates you can have at home will bring your family closer together and give you some great bonding time with your kids as well as your significant other! Schedule one day each week, or every other week to have your family fun! For some added spontaneity, write down several ideas on separate Popsicle sticks, put them in a can and let the kids take turns each time picking a stick and that will be the activity you all participate in! What fun family date ideas would you love to share?