We’ve all been at home now for the better part of two months, and probably, like many of you, my husband and I have been trying to squeeze in some sort of date night here and there.
But after a few too many movie nights where we stuffed ourselves silly with popcorn and candy and where I fell asleep early from sheer exhaustion, we figured it was time to come up with some new ideas.
However, we were a bit stumped: what could we do inside the house, without a babysitter, that won’t wake the kids, that won’t break the bank, that won’t remind us that we’re on Day 2,334 of stay-at-home orders?
Well, here’s a list of fun date night in ideas that we’ve tried and highly recommend.
How do you Find Time for Date Night?
If your kids are young and can’t tell time yet, perfect! Move up bedtime by 15 or 20 minutes. One parent can handle 100% of the bedtime activities and the other can be in the other room (or outside) prepping for date night.
Are your kids older? If so, don’t feel any shame in letting them watch a bit of TV or allow them to read a little longer before turning the lights out for bedtime.
The goal is to have your date night prepped so that once your kids are in bed, you’re ready to go. Figure out what works best for you, because you certainly don’t want to be starting date night at 10pm (unless you are night owls, which we are not).
Our Best Date Night in Ideas
See the mega list of date night activities below, but here are our tried and true favorites.
Board Game Olympics
We LOVE board games, so on date night, we’ll hold the Board Game Olympics, playing as many different games as we can for the ultimate bragging rights: Board Game Gold Medalist.
Here are our favorites:
- Pass the Pigs
- Bears vs. Babies
I added in Monopoly because we love playing it, but there’s no way we’d get through the other games if we started it, so we usually just reserve that for nights when we know we can continue the game the next day.
Create “Your” Game
When one of our favorite shows, Schitt’s Creek, ended during quarantine, we were beyond sad because it was one of only two shows I watch (shout out to Parks and Recreation!).
Around the same time, I stumbled upon the fantastic Instagram account, MoiraRoseWordoftheDay, and if you know anything about one of the main characters, Moira, you’ll absolutely love this account.
As I was working on flashcards with my preschooler one day, I thought, why not use some of Moira’s words and create a game out of them? So, I took some index cards, wrote a word on one side, an example sentence on the other and, voila! The Moira Rose Schitt’s Creek game! You can play for points (or drinks) and increase your vocabulary at the same time.
So, get creative and think of what you can create that will be uniquely YOU. What inside jokes do you share? What fun things do you like doing together? It doesn’t have to be perfect; handmade like the cards I made (above) while drinking wine work fine for us.
Charcuterie Board and Cards Night
We love cheese. We love meat. We love nuts and fruit. So, what’s not to love about a charcuterie board?
My hubby enjoys cooking and does the grocery shopping (bonus). I had been suggesting we try a charcuterie board for a while after seeing some fancy ones on Instagram, but he hadn’t seen one before and wasn’t sure what to get. I just added, “good cheese,” “deli meat like salami” and “upgraded crackers” to the shopping list, and he magically came up with this masterpiece for our first charcuterie and wine night:
For this board, he included fruit, hummus, nuts, two types of Gouda (I love Gouda), extra sharp cheddar cheese that we already had on hand, a white cheddar, thinly sliced salami, sopressata, capicola, prosciutto and some water crackers.
He said he purchased the meat, cheese and crackers from the “boutiquey” area of Kroger and then spread everything out on our pizza board.
We pair the charcuterie board with either red wine or craft beer and usually play a few rounds of Rummy 500, a game he taught me last month.
Light a couple of candles, turn down the brighter overhead lights and play a relaxed Spotify channel like Chill Hits, Your Favorite Coffeehouse, Hygge Music or Acoustic Covers.
There: the mood is set and you’ve transitioned out of your kitchen to a relaxed, intimate bar (hint: either clean the kitchen beforehand or face away from it because nothing kills a mood like a stack of dirty dishes).
Although our boards look packed, after a couple of hours of card playing and sipping on some drinks, there is nothing left (whoops). In some ways, it feels a lot better plowing through these boards than a bag of tortilla chips, and since the meat, cheese and crackers can last for a couple of weeks, you can have what feels like a splurge date night, for about $15/date (more or less depending on what you decide to drink that night).
Bring the Drive-in Home
Oh, how we LOVED going to the drive-in movies before we had kids. We’d get there early with our cheese, cracker and meat tray (see above), play Pass the Pigs or cards and wait for the movie to start.
Our kiddos are still too little to even stay awake for the start of a drive-in, so I thought, “Now that the weather is getting nicer, why don’t we have our own drive-in?”
My hubby is a movie buff; me, not so much. If we watch a movie inside after the kids go to bed, I am either multitasking (i.e. folding laundry, catching up on emails, browsing social media or reading) or I fall asleep.
The beauty of an outdoor movie is that there is something a bit more magical about sitting outside, under the stars; the air is crisp, keeping me alert and, if I get bored of the movie, I can look around, people watch or stare at the moon.
I bought my husband this projector and screen last year for Christmas, which can be used inside or out. This particular screen does not come with a stand, but you can put it up by using permanent hooks or 3M picture hanging strips.
Grab some snack and drinks, change into comfy clothes and pull out a few blankets, and you have the set-up for a romantic, fun night outside, just a few steps from the sleeping kiddos.
Bonus if you have fire going to snuggle up next to! See the next section for my fire pit recommendations.
Bonfire and S’Mores
If you have the space and your city or town allows bonfires, it’s super hygge to sit around a roaring fire, roasting s’mores and listening to either nature or a chill playlist (my favorite Spotify channels are listed in the charcuterie section above).
A fire is naturally relaxing and peaceful and gives you the opportunity to connect as a couple without distractions like games or movies. If you already have a wood-burning fire pit, just pull up a couple of Adirondack chairs, bring out your snacks and drinks and be prepared to chill.
I’m listing two different options for fire pits if you need to purchase them: one is wood-burning, one is gas. We have two that are similar to these options (the gas fire table was left behind by our home’s previous owners–bonus!).
Cooking Around the World
We love traveling , but miss it terribly. We had several trips planned this year and since we usually choose destinations based on dining out options, we decided to choose a country (or city), figure out some recipes and cook together while listening to music from that region.
For example, this year’s trips were supposed to include Denmark, Sweden, Boston and Iceland (our dream year of travel we’ve saved up for AND for which, I won a cash prize in a Canva design contest toward any destination in the world!).
So, in light of no traveling, we’re trying to bring some culture to our home.
I’m not big on cooking, but I do enjoy experimenting with new foods, so this is a fun date option we can do while the kids are occupied playing or watching a show in the other room.
Here are some links to Pinterest where you can choose your own recipes based on your chosen theme (and, obviously you can pick from hundreds of others):
- Indian recipes
- Italian recipes
- Swedish recipes
- Thai recipes
- Seafood recipes (in honor of our canceled Boston trip)
The Mega List of Best Date Night in Ideas
Here are some other ideas for date night activities. Many of these are on our list, but we haven’t had a chance to try them yet!
- Bob Ross painting night
- Wine sampling (guess the wine and region)
- Craft beer tasting
- Travel planning for a future couples trip
- Vision board creation night
- Learn a language together
- Take virtual dance lessons
- Spa night (bath and bubbly for two?!)
- Video game competition (we love Mario Kart and Wii Curling)
- Remodel a room together (it’s a stretch, but you never know whose hubby would be up for it!)
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Date Night at Home
Don’t force date night. Although it’s important to stay connected to your partner, we’re all under so much stress right now that if you set yourself up for The Bachelorette-style date expectations, you will likely be disappointed.
Figure out what you BOTH want to do and go from there. My husband loves watching TV shows. Me? Not so much. I’d rather curl up with a good book. But I’m okay doing that as long as we’re together.
So, for Valentine’s Day, I bought him Bluetooth headphones which allow him to watch his gory shows in peace while I sit next to him reading with my rose gold Bose headphones on. Romantic? Not really. But I enjoy the “alone time” we both get while still being physically together, and we actually go to bed at the same time, which is a bonus.
I want to hear about your best date night in ideas, so leave me a comment below, please.