Children always have great ideas for busting boredom, from playing pretend, to running outside, to screaming at the top of their lungs for the sheer joy of it. For most married couples bogged with work, finances, and other boring pursuits, finding such simple pleasures in life can be challenging. This list of 10 fun date ideas that will not only help you get in touch with your inner child, but won’t cost you a dime.
- Make a Tent
We all did it when we were kids. Lay out some chairs, drape some blankets over them, and voila: a romantic, little getaway, perfect for playing cards, toys, or with each other.
If you walk into an elementary school classroom and ask the children if any of them are any good at art, you can be certain that a barrage of hands will shoot into the air. If you walk into a room full of adults and ask the same question, you can be equally certain that, after a few rounds of coaxing, if a single hand is raised, it will be limping in timidity like a dead fish.
It’s time to reignite the childhood mentality of “I can do anything!” Each of you write down an equal amount of competitions that you and your spouse can feasibly perform. In addition to situps in a minute, try some silly ones, such as shirt folding, opera singing, Tarzan impersonations, and so on. Award the winner of each round with candy.
Go to a Playground
Unless you no longer have a need for upper body strength, coordination, stamina, and … fun, you’re never too old for a playground. Bring a stopwatch and time each other in impromptu obstacle courses. See who’s better at the monkey bars. Soar together on the swings. Few things are quite as romantic as a playground at night.
- Play Pretend
Seriously. If you’re like most couples, you probably play pretend more than you realize … vegetating on a couch, watching actors do the work for you. How lame is that? It’s time for you and your spouse to take control of your fantasies. Be the swashbuckling hero, the damsel in distress, the slimy villain, the smooth babe. If you don’t know where to start, pretend to be the characters in your favorite book, play, movie, or show. Try it around the house, at a playground, or in a shopping mall. Let the world think you’re crazy; they’re just going to go vegetate on a couch while someone else acts crazy for them.
Pretend to be Injured
If there’s one game kids love, it’s playing doctor. Who doesn’t love the attention of being sick? For a good time, find a wheelchair or crutches and go out into public, one of you playing the nurse, the other the poor invalid. For a really good time, visit people you know and lie through your teeth about the injury. This just might provide the drama your lives has been lacking.
If you’ve ever watched kids play, you may have noticed that conversation seldom lags. The world is still big and exciting, with myriads of fresh things to talk about. If you can’t say the same about the chitchat between you and your spouse, here’s a quick fix: Fold and tear a piece of paper into small strips, then each of you write down an equal number of random statements or questions. They can be anything. The more random, the better. Put the slips of paper in a bowl or hat. One of you draws a slip of paper, reads it, and talks about it. When the conversation starts to dull again, insert a new topic with a new slip of paper. Though it sounds simple, you may find yourselves teary-eyed with laughter from the randomness of it all.
- Date Idea Slips
Along the same lines, if ever it’s Friday night, you’re in charge of the date, and you’re just not getting any inspiration (likely why you’re reading this article), here’s a sure solution: Tear a piece of paper into small strips. Both of you write an equal amount of (1) activity ideas you’d like to do (such as a trip to the library, finger painting, throwing a frisbee, etc.), (2) places you’d like to eat (such as Mexican, Chinese, or just eating at home), and (3) an after hours activity you’d like to do (such as going out for ice cream, strolling through a park, snuggling by a fireplace, watching a movie, etc.). Place each category of slips into a separate container, then draw a single slip from each. You now have a date, and if your spouse doesn’t like the date, there’s a high probability that it’s their own fault. Best of all, you also have a plan for next Friday when you’ll be equally unprepared.
- Group Dates
Play with your friends. The more the merrier. You can still have meaningful one-on-one time, and here’s how: have your friends cook part of the meal (such as the main dish or desert), while you and your spouse cook another part (such as an a side dish or appetizer). There’s no need to buy anything. Part of the fun is figuring out how to make something with only what you’ve already got in your kitchen. Try to wow your friends with something gourmet, so gourmet, you’ve never attempted anything like it before. The more your kitchen explodes, the more you’ll bond with your spouse. And here’s the best part: 50% of your meal is free! Unless you take into consideration that you have to make more food than you otherwise would. But don’t do that.
- Night Games
Do you remember how much fun it was to play “Hide and Seek” or “Capture the Flag” or “Ghost in the Graveyard”? Then what are you waiting for? Call up your friends and make it happen, if for no other reason than so that you have someone to ditch while you and your spouse hold hands and sneak off into the moonlight.
- Illustrate a Book
You thought picture books were for kids. Even if that were true, adults still have to make them. And tonight it’s your turn. Get a few sheets of paper, staple them together down the center (forming a book), then take turns writing and illustrating each page. Yeah, yeah, I know, you can’t draw. You’ve lost your childlike sense of adventure and self worth. Buck up, cowboy!
10 Free Dating Activities: Revisiting Childhood,