Today we’re talking about fun, easy, one hour family dates as a great way to get in more quality time with your favorite people this summer. I’m sharing 20 ideas as well as our last family date on HBS campus: scootering and ice cream .
Welcome to summer!
A few years ago we started a family date project with a goal to go on 50 family dates in a year. Like most good New Years Resolutions, we teetered off around March. It was good while it lasted, but I really liked how it forced me to sit down and intentionally plan out family dates that would be fun for all of us.
With two little kids, this meant the dates were usually short, local, and easy.
Years later our kids are a little bigger and we can handle more elaborate outings like the zoo or a waterpark. But, in an effort to create more traditions, I’ve been on the hunt for simple family dates we can make a habit of going on weekly.
Even with busy schedules, we can always commit to one hour a week where the four of us can be together with nothing else on the agenda (except listening to each other, probably snapping a picture, and eating something yummy).
After graduation, in the middle of the chaos of moving, we snuck away from the apartment for a favorite family combination: scootering + ice cream. We love scootering around campus because it’s safe and free of cars so I don’t have to worry if the kids get a little far ahead of me. Add in ice cream and you would think the kids just woke up on Christmas morning.
For ice cream, we brought along a few favorites we had stocked from the freezer section at Stop & Shop including the new Dulce de Leche Nestlé® Drumstick® (remember when I labored over that cake for my Dulce de Leche loving husband?), classic classic Drumstick® cones for the kids, and Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches for me (such a yummy + light indulgence my body feels good about these days).
It was so easy to grab the pre-packaged treats from the freezer, throw them in a cooler bag, and enjoy them cold 20 minutes into our scootering date. I highly recommend keeping these delicious treats stocked in the freezer! Whether it’s a family date, taking time to catch some fire flies, or a little indulgence after the kids are down, having ice cream stocked in the summer time is such an essential. Aside from watching the kids tackle a Drumstick® (how cute are their faces!), I loved just sitting on the benches outside of Baker library listening to them chat, letting Lincoln try a few bites of my ice cream sandwich.
Both kids are at this stage where they are always sharing their new ideas on crazy things we should do/make/invent/try and, while I hear about these all day long, I am still getting better at putting other things aside and really listening to them.
Give me all the reasons to slow down and enjoy the delicious moments of this stage with them this summer.
Here are 20+ ideas for 1 hour family date ideas if this is something you’d like to prioritize this summer, too!
1 hour easy family date ideas
- Library date: either spend the whole date at the library picking out favorite books or spend half your time browsing and then take the time to read together on the steps while enjoying your favorite snack
- Local Hike (or walk)
- Dance party: you don’t even have to leave the living room for this one (but the backyard might be great, too).
- Picnic: from a full dinner on a blanket in the living room to a couple of snacks on a picnic table at the park, mix up the way you eat together
- Fondu night: consider letting the kids each pick something to dip in the cheese or chocolate for an interesting assortment
- Ride a carousel: it might seem small to you but my kids STILL talk about the carousel they rode months and months ago
- Watergun fight (play in the sprinker, hit up a splashpad): just go ahead and get wet together this summer
- Build a fort: another great option for a rainy inside date, spend some time reading or snacking in the fort together once you’re finished
- Fly a kite
- Soccer or frisbee in the park: don’t forget the ice cream afterwards
- Go get lunch or dessert: depending on the ages of your kids, consider getting it to go and eating where they can run free in the park or square so it is a fun date for everyone
- Omnimax movie at your local science museum (these are usually shorter films so we can do this is an hour – mayyybeee an hour and a half)
- Feed the ducks at a local pond
- Draw / paint at a park: pack up your favorite crayons, paints, or colored pencils and let everyone find inspiration at the park
- Visit your local fire station
- Donuts on the lawn: the lawn can be your own, a park, or just a stretch in the town square
- Stargazing: if your kids are old enough to be awake when it is dark on a summer night, find a constellation or two and spend time making up your own (cloudgazing is a great alternative for smaller kids)
- Sidewalk chalk
- Bubbles, anywhere
- Picnic dinner on the beach
- Play at the playground: but really, parents get in there and actually play and see how much fun you have (hot lava game?)
- Paper airplane competition