It’s Friday night (er, afternoon) and it’s just you and the bambino. Instead of vegging out at home—with pizza and strained peas—try out one of these ideas for a fun mini-date with one of your greatest loves.

mom-baby-cuddlePhoto: Miriam Zemel via Flickr

Pack a Picnic for the “Park”
There’s a reason picnics are a favorite activity for spending time with someone special, and nothing is more special than your little bundle. Pack your favorite finger foods (sushi rolls, mini quiches, tea sandwiches?) along with some of baby’s favorites too (milk, applesauce, strainedsweet potatoes?). Grab the most comfortable blanket you can find and park baby and yourself somewhere grassy and beautiful (if it’s too cold outside, spread the entire set up out in your living room). Tell her about the sky and the clouds, the trees and the flowers. Watch the colors change as the sun goes down. These are moments you’ll cherish when she’s all grown up.

Get Snap Happy
You’ve likely snapped 154,872 candids of your baby, but when was the last time you were both in the same photo? Grab a tripod or the ever-popular selfie stick, or set your smartphone camera’s timer, and take a bunch of pics for memories that last a lifetime. Up the ante (and feel like a total pro) with outfit changes and DIY sheet backdrops.

baby-at-bookstore-libraryPhoto: craigfinlay via Flickr

Read Books at Your Local Bookstore
These days, most bookstores and libraries have special sections devoted entirely to the littlest loves in your life. Spend the better part of an afternoon or evening reading stories, poems and nursery rhymes to your precious babe. When she drifts off to sleep, you can mosey over to the in-store café and spend time sipping your favorite specialty coffee while getting lost in a good romance or crime novel. It’s the perfect date!

Go Out for Ice Cream
Is baby too young for an ice cream? Too bad, because you’re not! Whether you fancy a single scoop vanilla cone, or a double decker chocolate dipped cone with sprinkles, or a banana split with whipped cream and a cherry, you deserve whatever it is (you’ve been busy growing and caring for a tiny human for goodness sakes). Enjoy a special treat with your baby. And if you slip her a sweet, sugary bite or two, she will surely love you for it!

baby-foot-potteryPhoto: BenSpark via Flickr

Get Crafty
Those tiny baby feet can melt your heart in a glance. But they get a little bigger everyday until they’re no longer the cutest-little-things-you’ve-ever-seen. Spend an afternoon capturing the cuteness while you can. Find the nearest pottery studio where you can slap some paint on those piggies and make baby foot prints for wall hangings, mugs, tiles, and more. Don’t forget to make something for Grandma!

Peruse Your Local Pet Store
Slip baby in a sling and stroll through the nearest pet store. Babies have a way of connecting with other cute and lively little things. Who doesn’t enjoy watching kitties, bunnies, birds, and puppies, even if they’re locked (temporarily) in cages? Spend extra time near the aquariums. Baby will love the gurgle of the water tanks and the quick, colorful fish. Do those neon yellow ones really glow in the dark? Yes!

Do you have any great ideas for spending quality time with your baby? Tell us in the Comments section below. 

—Jamy Bond