Get your fancy clothes on, because it’s date night, sorta. This time, leave your significant other behind and head out on the town with your own little one (or two). It doesn’t need to be night, either, because #bedtime. We’ve found 10 ideas for sweet excursions that will help you reconnect with the kiddos. And just like grown-up dates, the same rules apply: Shower them with attention, make them feel special and leave the phone in your pocket. Read on for our favorite ideas.

photo: LittleP via pixabay

1. Head to the botanical garden. Pack some bubbly (water), a blanket, and a journal and take your little one for a stroll through your local garden or flower conservatory. Be sure and stop and smell the flowers, and sketch them too. It will be a great record of your day, and makes an excellent talking point. Once you’ve enjoyed your favorite flora, spread a blanket out or find a bench and pop a bottle of sparkling water to sip together. How to take the date to an 11: nobody ever said no to a macaron. 

photo: London Scout via Unsplash

2. Take them to a play. “Playtime” will never sound the same again. Score tickets to a live performance filled with song, dance and delicious costumes. How to take the date to 11: Get dressed to the nines, and maybe even let your date pick something out of your jewelry box to wear themselves. 

photo: Erin Feher

3. Go record shopping. Kids go nuts for the out there artwork and most record stored worth their BPMs have a kids section stocked with recognizable classics from Disco Duck to Captain Kangaroo. How to take the date to 11: Let them pick out a record to take home. 

photo: aaron mello via unsplash

4. Go the museum. Talk about a conversation starter! You can talk about everything from history, to technique to how a particular work of art makes you feel. You can even play a (mild mannered) game of hide and seek or I-Spy, and for the youngest crowd discussing colors can be a hit! How to take the date to 11: Bring a pair of sketch pads and colored pencils and take a seat in front of a favorite work. Spend some time sketching together! 

 

photo: cocoparissiene via pixabay

5. Go for a walk or hike. “Long walks on the beach” isn’t just for grown-up romance. Lace up your comfiest sneakers and head out to a trail, a beach or even a mini mountain. Conquering a challenge together is something sure to bring you closer and make memories to last a life time. How to take the date to 11: Pack a picnic complete with sweet, energy boosting treats for along the trail. Tip: Dark chocolate won’t melt.

photo: Erin Feher

6. Paddle out on the lake. Reenact that classic scene in the Little Mermaid when Eric and Ariel finally fall for each other—minus the dunking at the end. Whether you opt for a row boat or a pastel colored paddle boat, we promise they will never forget that “sweet” life-jacket smell. How to take the date to 11: Half way through the paddle trip, produce a ziplock baggie full of fishy treats: goldfish, Swedish fish or gummy worms would do the trick. This will help give them energy to propel you homeward, too.

photo: Bart Heird via flickr

7. Ride tandem. Play tourist and head to your nearby park rental to get a bicycle built for two or a surrey and then hit the road. Remember, it’s about the journey not the destination. How to take the date to an 11: Sing really loud as you ride around.  

photo: clem-onojeghuo via unsplash

8. Go wild at an amusement park or carnival. Nothing says “I love you” like braving a county fair for your little crush. From having a blast on the bumper cars, to clutching onto each other for dear life on a roller coaster to sharing a deep-fried Twinkie, you will secure your place at “most fun parent IN THE WORLD” after this epic day. How to take the date to 11: Win them one of those oversized stuffed animals by showing off your strength or skeet-shooting skills.

photo: Skate via pixabay

9. Take a spin around the rink. Glide, spin and try to stay on two feet at the ice rink together. Show off your skills if you are a former hockey kid, or simply show them what a good sport you are if you are as shaky as a newborn calf. Learning something new together is always fun. If you don’t have an ice rink, find a roller rink and show off those mad-’80s skills.  How to take the date to 11: Hot cocoa (ice) or orange soda! 

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10. Catch up over coffee. Or steamed milk and chocolate for them. Taking part in your regularly grown-up activity is a great way to get them to feel connected to you. Find a seat and settle in for a leisurely coffee shop convo. How to take the date to 11: Find a coffee shop that stocks board games so you and your little can face off over Chutes and Ladders. (Or bring your own stack of UNO).

 

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photo: Erin Feher

11. Make something. Instead of crafting at home, up your project game and take your tot to a local maker space. From ceramics to woodworking to sewing, there are parent-kid workshops that make for a dreamy maker date. How to take the date to 11: Sniff around for clues about what your kiddos is into, and surprise them with a class. 

tea_partyphoto: Erin Feher

12. Take them to tea. A proper tea service will make anyone feel like royalty. Get dressed up in your sharpest duds, then head out to your local tea house. No proper tea house in town? Throw your own tea party. Finger sandwiches, scones and sweets will have them smiling from ear to ear. How to take the date to 11: Hats! Some teahouses stock their own hats for you to wear, but if not, pick out a pair of feathered numbers from a local vintage shop, or make your own by adding some baubles to your beach toppers. 

Do you have any other ideas for dreamy dates with your kid? Tell us in the comments below! 

-–Erin Feher