A while back we talked about my thoughts on the importance of parenting children as individuals (and why it’s so hard) along with the ideas of how to spend one-on-one time with your children. I discussed that one of our favorite things to do in our family was to have one-on-one “dates” with our girls. So today I want to share with you 40 ideas of what you can do on those parent and child dates!
So far, my girls really love doing something outdoors and active, followed by a special treat. As winter rolls around, I am sure we will be looking for some more indoor options as well. So I have tried to include a variety of ideas. The most important thing I find with these activities is that you let your child choose, and you give them your undivided attention during this time.
Letting your child choose the adventure makes them feel awesome I have found.
So much of their young lives are about being told what they need to and should be doing. So letting them have free reign on the schedule for a few hours is like pure gold to them! My girls always smile and their eyes light up as they are thinking through the possibilities of what they want to do for their special time.
Although I feel that letting your child choose freely is best, there are times when planning ahead is essential (e.g. when purchasing ticketed events).
You will want to gauge your child’s interest in whatever activity you have in mind. In this case, I find it is best to give your child a choice of 2-3 options with one of the options being the ticketed event. This way, they still have a choice, and you can actually see if your child has interest prior to spending money on an activity!
In our busy and hectic lives I know it is truly hard to be able to give young children our undivided attention. I know because I often struggle with this myself. What I try to do is keep my phone in the car or my purse and use it for emergency situations only. I try and make eye contact and use physical touch as much as possible with my children during these special times as well. I feel this goes a long way into making them feel special and valued.
40 Ideas For Parent And Child Dates
Go On A Lake Boat Ride Or Rent A Paddle Boat
Take A Walk On The Beach
Fly A Kite
Build A Sandcastle
Go Get Ice Cream
Visit A Soda Shop Or Old Fashioned Diner
Attend A Crafting Class (Stores Such as Michael’s and Joanne’s Have These Frequently)
Visit The Zoo Or Aquarium
Visit A Pottery Painting Shop
Go See A Movie
Visit The Library
Play Sports (Tennis, Soccer, Basketball, etc)
Visit A Museum
Go To Your Child’s Favorite Restaurant
Watch A Movie At Home (Complete With Popcorn and Snuggles)
Cook or Bake Together
Play At The Park
Design A Scavenger Hunt (Indoors or Outdoors)
Go On A Hike
Learn A New Hobby Together (Sewing, Jewelry Making, Knitting, Car Mechanics, etc.)
Visit An Indoor Trampoline Park
Get Your Nails Done Together
Visit An Amusement Park
Visit A Tidepool
Go Camping Together
Go Bowling/Join A Bowling League
Go Swimming Together
Take A Painting Class
Ride Bikes Or Scooters
Attend A Local Community Fair or Event
Attend A Play/Theater Production
Have A Tea Party For Two
Pick Out Flowers/Seeds And Plant Them
Have Donuts & Coffee/Hot Chocolate
Play Board Games Or Work On A Puzzle
Visit An Arcade
Attend A Sporting Event
Go Fruit Picking (Strawberry, Blueberry, Apple, etc.)
Such a fun list isn’t it!?
While my family and I try for doing something like this once a week, there are certainly busy weeks where we have to skip this. While some of these ideas may seem pricey, please know that these are just suggestions and the pricier things can be done only every once in a while as a special surprise and not necessarily routinely. There are plenty of ideas that are a minimal cost and many that are free. The most important thing is just spending quality time with your little ones and making memories!
For more ideas on fun activities for parent and child dates, check out our monthly OC Events Guide, which features a curated list of the best hand-picked family-friendly events happening in our area each month!