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14 (Mostly Free) Date Nights In

For the past couple of weeks, it feels as though I've been living out the plot Groundhog's Day- a somewhat monotonous schedule of trying to keep two babies and a hubby alive (and thriving). Maybe for you, it's trying your best to not get sick of your S/O even after they forget to rinse their dishes or start the load of laundry for the umpteenth time. When we finally get the babes in bed, I sometimes feel a tinge of guilt for taking a deep breath and being so glad that we've made it through another day. After a quick shower to wash the day away, my husband and I have gotten into the routine of pouring a drink and relaxing on the couch with a snack while watching our chronological Star Wars marathon until one of us falls asleep. It's great. It's relaxing. I love it....most of the time...

...But, perhaps you'd agree, a monotonous relationship is the last thing I want. Most of the time, one of our four streaming services is the perfect way to end the day, but I want to add some spice back in! Since we can't go out, there's no better time than now to perfect the fun and romantic date-night-in! Let's take advantage of this uninterrupted (for better or worse) time with our better half and be intentional in sharing our love. Here are 14 ideas for (mostly free) date nights in:

1. Create an indoor mini golf course

Take turns with your partner in setting up holes around your house (far enough away from any sleeping kids). You don't need to set up all 9 or 18 holes at once; finish the first hole you set up and then let your partner set up the next one. You can get creative along the way by making each hole more challenging- set up some obstacles with ramps or different textured surfaces. If you don't have golf balls or putters readily available, no worries! Get innovative and crumple up a ball of paper and take turns using your rolling pin or broom. Keep score and make bets if you want to spice it up!

2. Put together a puzzle and listen to songs that were popular in your teens

This is pretty self explanatory, but in case you don't have a puzzle (or can't borrow one), make one! Spend some time coloring a large poster or piece of paper then cut it up into puzzle-looking pieces. The next night you and your S/O can enjoy some tunes and each other's company while putting it together.

*If you want to get sentimental while making your own puzzle, make the picture into a message- something like "The top 10 things I love about you" or draw a picture of the place you're planning a surprise vacation to (when social distancing has become a thing of the past).

3. Hogwarts Digital Escape Room

What a great way to relive your childhood with your significant other! The librarians at the Peters Township Public Library created this virtual escape room for just this COVID-19 occasion! Watch movie clips and find the exchange rate to convert sickles to galleons on this Google Docs link perfect for all Potter die hards.

4. Create a bucket list or dream board

Sharing your innermost desires can be a very emotionally intimate experience. You can do this any way your want!

  • Create your lists or boards separately and then share with each other

  • Create one together for your future. Make one for 1 year out, 5 years, 10, etc.

You list can include ANYTHING- places you want to visit, adventures you want to take, foods you want to make (or eat!), concerts you want to see, and everything in between!

5. Backyard cornhole (or other lawn games)

If you're lucky enough to have this game (and know how to play it), a little friendly competition may be just what you need. This is the perfect summer game to enjoy with a drink just as the sun is going down. If you want to learn how to play, check out the cornhole rules here. You need the boards in order to play, so if you don't have them, check out some other fun lawn game ideas! Bean bag ladder toss is a favorite of mine because it takes minutes to set up! Use balls instead of bean bags if you don't have any.

6. Play cribbage or learn a new card game

All you need to play cribbage is a deck of cards, two people (you can play with up to 6), and some trash talk. If you don't have ties to the midwest, maybe this is a game you'll need to learn; here's a quick cribbage how-to tutorial. Most people play with a cribbage board, but it's not necessary since the whole 15-30 minute game is scored with points up to 121. So either grab a paper and pen or use an online cribbage board and then...GAME ON! If cribbage isn't your cup of tea, there are so many other new two-player card games you can learn.

7. Candlelight massages

The big problem here is that you have to decide who give/receives first. If you're like me, you like to end the massage date receiving a stress-relieving massage, which we could all use during this time. Grab some massage oil, dim the lights, and put on a relaxing playlist (zen tones? baby-making tunes?). Let the good times roll!

8. Youtube dance lesson

I told my husband last night that I had a real hankering for some two-steppin', but since that isn't a realistic desire right now, Youtube will be our BFF when it comes to dance tutorials. Whatever style of dance you're into (or want to learn), you can find a great tutorial online! Here's a beginner level two-step tutorial. Maybe you're looking for more of a "get DOWN" kind of choreography tutorial? There are soooo many to check out! You can even search for Zumba routines on Youtube so that you can shed some calories (from all of the Netflix snacks you've recently had) while you get on with your bad self!

9. Create a piece of art for your home

Whether you're the next Leonardo Da Vinci or you're more like me- the next professional Play-Doh sculptor, use your talents (or lack thereof) to create a lasting memory to place in your home. Let your imagination go wild with ideas! Think canvas painting, wax candles from crayons, dream catchers, adult coloring page, picture frame, etc. The list of possibilities is endless! How neat will it be to see that piece in your home in the future and think back years ago to when you made it together?

10. Have a Spotify pajama dance party in your living room

Grab a margarita or a beer (whatever's on hand, honestly), your fluffiest bunny slippers, and let your hair down! Maybe you're in a rock'n'roll mood or maybe want to let your gangster side out, let those endorphins rage as you let off some steam and connect with your partner in a crazy, silly, and intimate way.

11. Bake cookies and watch fail videos

I hate to admit that I love watching fail videos, but the truth is that I could watch them for an hour and not be bored. It feels so freeing to have a good laughing fit! Even if I'm at my wit's end with the hubster, I can't stay mad at him after we've shared a good laugh. Cookies just add the cherry on top...makes me think we should add in some ice cream to share (or not share).

12. Outdoor bonfire

Head out to the backyard with your camp chairs and a beer (or hot chocolate. I prefer mine with Bailey's or Peppermint Schnapps). Set the mood with the perfect bonfire playlist playing in the background on your bluetooth speaker. Talk up a storm. Share your dreams for the future. Reminisce about the past. Connect. Be intentional.

13. Read to each other or just listen

If some intimate downtime is what you need, put on your pjs, grab a snack to share, and crack open the pages of the book you've both been wanting to read. If you can't agree on a book, why not take turns? You read a chapter from the book you like, then the next night your partner can read a chapter from their book. Chances are that you'll get to the climax of one book and stick it out until the end because you just can't put it down. Let your guard down and adapt voices for each character! If reading isn't your jam, but you still want to let your imagination travel to another time period or universe, check out one of the hundreds of free titles on Audible!

14. Create and share an internet scavenger hunt

Want to "go" on a group date? Create an online scavenger hunt and videoconference with as many couples as you want (I'd limit it to 5 couples so that you can hear everyone well). Once everyone is in on the videoconference, email your online scavenger hunt to everyone and time each of the couples to see who can complete it fastest!

You could even make this a group drinking game- send (or verbally ask) your scavenger hunt questions one at a time. The couple who finds the correct answer first decides which other couple (or couples) has to drink. In this situation, the "date" part of this for you and your S/O is in the creation of the scavenger hunt. Go wild with the questions you ask and search the depths of the internet!

If you wanted to get really organized, you can ask (in advance) all the couples planning to "attend" the scavenger hunt that they each come up with 5 questions. That way you all have a chance at fair play!

I hope that through these date-nights-in we all become more genuine and intentional with how we spend our time with our partners. Have any great date-night-in ideas? We'd love to hear 'em! Share your ideas in the comments.

Keep on lovin' and share that love!

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