Maybe you had a date night planned and the sitter canceled or something changed. Maybe you were never able to find one. Believe it or not, you don’t have to skip the date night. Make it a family date night instead. For us, it’s often cheaper to have a family date night, too. Plus, we spend time together doing something that isn’t every day for us. (This isn’t to say don’t get those adult-only date nights. Get those…they are important.)
Tips for Family Date Night
Go early (or during non-peak hours)
Go early to beat the crowds. Especially if your family date night is to a place that adults tend to frequent with large adult groups. We like to go on fun dates with the kids, so of course, sometimes those places can get crowded. If you are going to a place that might be more crowded earlier (with other like-minded people), try to find another off time so it’s not so busy.
When you are heading out for a family date night, make sure you call ahead and make reservations. Even if you’ve planned to go at non-peak time, it’s always good if they are expecting you. Plan to arrive a little before your reservation so you can get checked-in, and grab anything necessary (like your shoes so you can get your entire time on the lane).
Check websites and apps
Many times a location will have deals or promos right on their website or app. Make sure you check those before making your family date night plans. Also, they often will have tips for coming with your family and might even list less busy dates and times for planning your visit. Some places also offer nights that kids eat free.
Make sure your family date night has something for everybody of all ages. It’s not fun for a 3 year old if she’s too short to do anything. And it’s not fun for the 10 year old if everything is geared at really little kids, or she is too tall. If you are worried about an activity, make sure you have something like a coloring book with Color Wonder (so it’s mess free) or an alternative (like Wikki-Stix) for a child that might not want to do something or might not be able to.
B wasn’t tall enough to do LASER tag, so she and I hung back and rode on the cars in the arcade. Bonus points for her not caring that we didn’t even put any credits in for her to play.
Fun dates mean nobody is hungry or whining about being hungry. Make sure you have plans for food or snacks if you will be out around a meal or snack time. Either pick a place that has food or make sure you have snacks with you. Nobody likes a HANGRY person. Pro tip: If planning on buying, check the menu online before you go so you know that there is something everybody will like and/or will work with their allergies or food restrictions.
Nothing ruins an outdoor date like rain, cold or windy weather. We’ve done it before. While apple picking is one of our family’s favorite fun things to do on a date, it’s not fun when you are soaking wet and didn’t bring a change of clothes. In our defense, we did check, but we knew we were taking a risk. So, have a change of clothes for everybody, adults and kids alike. And have an umbrella in the car, just in case.
Be prepared with items needed for your date
Of course this depends on your date night, but think of the things you will need. Two of us actually forgot socks to go with our bowling shoes. Thankfully, Main Event had some we could use.
If you are drinking adult beverages, make sure there is a designated driver to make sure the family gets home safely.
Fun ideas for dates with the family
Indoor sky diving.
Mr. Serious and I did this, just with adults, but kids are welcome, too. I think it would make for a great family event that everybody would love.
Ice Skating or Roller Skating
Get those wheels or blades on and take some laps around with the family. It’s sure to be laughs, especially from new skaters. As a bonus, everybody will likely be really tired and sleep well. (Disclaimer: No actual data presented on sleeping and napping status of kids. Your mileage may vary).
Our girls love to cook. What a great way for everybody to get involved in meal preparations and cooking then by learning a new recipe or cooking technique. The bonus is that you are sure to have a full belly at the end of your evening.
Pottery or Canvas painting
If you are looking for something more creative, some fun date ideas might involve painting either a canvas or pottery. There are many places that cater to all ages making it a fun thing for your entire family to do.
A day at/on the lake
There’s nothing like some time in a kayak or a canoe just hanging out with the family to relax you and connect you. Or maybe you bring fishing poles and catch dinner.
Family exercise class
Our local YMCA offers many family exercise classes. It’s a great way to emphasize fitness and healthiness while having fun together as a family. I highly recommend a family ZUMBA class for a good time. You are sure to have shake your hips and bottoms at least once. Maybe twice.
Museum / Aquarium
There is always so much do to at an aquarium or museum. There are so many different kinds of museums that you are sure to find one for everybody, or at least most of the family; dinosaurs, history, science, Hall of Fame, football, Civil War and more. Have a look in your city!
Take a Tour
There are so many tours that you can take as a family. Figure out what you are interested in and how much energy you want to exert. I’ve got a great list of 19 Tours in Atlanta you want to take. Not in Atlanta? I bet this list will still spur some ideas for a tour close to you! (And then tell me what you do so I can come to your city!)
Indoor Rock Climbing
This is another activity that is sure to be fun for so many ages. Plus, the feeling of accomplishment and victory are felt with everybody cheering as one family member accomplishes and beats the wall.
Depending on the time of year, this might be more of a day date, but it’s a great way to get in touch with nature as a family. Most hikes will cost you very little to nothing. If your family hasn’t hiked before, plan to start with a small hike to limit the exhaustion and make sure it’s a fun time for everybody.
Bowling / Arcade / Ropes Course / LASER tag in one
One of our places to go on a date night with the kids is a bowling alley and activity place all in one.
With so many things for everybody to to, you can fit a lot of activities into a smaller amount of time. One of those places to go in Atlanta is Main Event who hosted a family date night for us. They have so many fun family activities like bowling, laser tag, arcades, billiards, an arcade area, and more, in addition to a large menu and a bar.
Before our family went bowling, they had some fun in the LASER tag arena. As I mentioned, B wasn’t tall enough to participate, so she and I went and played on the car rides while waiting for her big sisters to finish.
The ropes course over the arcade is a big hit as well. The older girls are tall enough to harness up and go through the whole thing. I’ve done it. I can check it of the list. I’m usually okay with heights, but there is something about being over the tops of people that messes with my head.
Yes, you can have fun dates with the whole family in tow! And, you might even learn something new about them. For example, our 8 year old thinks this is how you “stand on your toes.” Something about the bowling alley inspired her to show this to us. You will be amazed at what your kids share with you when they are in a different location and outside of their everyday routine.
Even our three year old was able to get in on the bowling action. The alligator ramp was perfect for accelerating the bowling ball, and the fact that we could add bumpers for each individual bowler helped the kids feel more secure about their bowling skills (check out the video at the end of the post!)
Check out the video from our Family Date Night:
If you are looking for more date night ideas that are less-traditional, check out this list of 12 non-traditional and fun date night ideas. You’ll see some repeats and a few other great ones for adults only.