Simple and fun date night ideas

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by Debra Dane on February 6, 2013

in Parenting and family life

With my husband currently working away from home much of the time I am reminded of the importance of date nights to have focused time to reconnect. Too often we are having half conversations (interruptions anyone?) or are exhausted by the time the weekend hits.

If we don’t make our relationship a priority no one else is going to do it for us. With February including both my birthday and Valentine’s Day I thought it was a good time to give relationships some dedicated space in my overcrowded mind.

I will say up front in a disclosure that I received some vouchers from Roses Only to use in exchange for sharing my ideas here. It seemed serendipitous when the opportunity presented itself just as I was seeing all the pinned ideas about love and Valentine’s Day and lamenting yet again that my husband never sends / buys me flowers.

I am using my voucher to send myself some flowers later this month and I will enjoy them in and of themselves without being disappointed that they did not come from my husband. Sometimes we need to just move on and take care of our own needs right? Flowers do not have to be something we are sent, but can also be something we buy for ourselves to enjoy.

Date (night) details

I have shared before my key strategy for semi-regular date nights is a babysitting swap. If you can hook up with a good friend or neighbour you can have regular time with your loved one without the added expense of a babysitter. You also have the flexibility of working out details that are right for you if your swap partner is flexible. This could mean daytime dates, evenings, a regular slot or sleepovers where you swap overnights! Regular does not have to mean weekly (we swap every 4-6 weeks).

Along those lines stay open minded about what constitutes “dates”. They need not be expensive, in the evening, alone or even away from your home. What is your focus? Time together enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes we use our babysitting time to go out with friends, other times alone. Sometimes we can’t get babysitting and plan a nice meal and DVD at home.

If you do hire a babysitter you can always go for less expensive ideas (see below) so that your overall costs stay lower. Let creativity help you out.

Ideas for date night at home

  • Buy a fondue set inexpensively and set up a fun food night with a main cheese course and then use the pot for dessert course with chocolate fondue.
  • Play! use your family wii or Xbox without the kids. Get out board games, cards, backgammon or another game you like – twister anyone?
  • Make a theme night – tie together food, drinks and entertainment around a theme. You could eat Italian food, pick up a bottle of Italian red wine and watch “A beautiful life” or go Spanish and add in some salsa dancing (check out you tube for how to videos and learn together or just go with the flow of the music).
  • Take a trip down memory lane and get out old photos – both from your time together (reminisce) or pre-couple time (and share your stories)
  • Eat at home, but dress up as if you were going out and buy nicer food than usual (treating yourself, but knowing it is less expensive than if bought at a restaurant). Create an atmosphere with mood lighting and music. Make it special.
  • When you can’t get out order from a favourite (or wish list) restaurant and one of you bring it back home to enjoy. No cooking means more energy at the end of the night.

Get the babysitter and head out for your date that won’t break the bank

  • Find a drive in movie theatre – you can bring a picnic for the car or just bring lots of treats – teenage behaviour optional
  • Most cities have free or inexpensive events and showings at art galleries and museums – get a cultural hit and then chat about it over drinks or dinner
  • Check local listings for concerts, open mic nights, live gigs, or evening markets.
  • Go for a walk and just hold hands – no strollers or kids hands to hold – while you talk
  • Eat dinner at home before the babysitter comes and then go out for drinks or dessert at a nice restaurant or bar.
  • Find a local bridge and walk across on foot (and back).
  • Go out to watch a sporting event – either get tickets to a live event or head to a fun bar or pub and watch it on the big screen and soak in the atmosphere as you cheer for a favourite team.

What are your best ideas for a date with your other half? What was a dating highlight from last year or are you planning for this year?


Do you need even more ideas? I wrote  a longer post late last year at Kidspot with more than 20 ideas for simple and affordable date nights. A recent discovery of mine is the Dating Divas website if you want to explore more ideas and invest some time and your creative talents.


Find your simple,




Disclosure: I received vouchers for flowers and a night out with my husband in exchange for my time and ideas on my blog.

If you want to send yourself or your other half some flowers Roses Only handle flower delivery in Sydney, but also all over Australia and internationally, which I did not know. They also have more than just roses which is good as I plan to get something with my favourite flowers (Irises and tulips) depending on what is available.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Chrissie February 6, 2013 at 8:40 am

Mr M and I had our first few dates last year. They included dinner and a movie, go-karting and a trip to the footy. All great fun. We try to go out for dinner alone once a fortnight when Munchkin is at his dads for the night. Munchkins in bed at 7pm every night though, so this used to be our time until I started Tafe again. x
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Debra Dane February 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Go-karting sounds like a fun and different outing! thanks for sharing
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Tara February 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

We’ve been doing lots of dinners at Vegan restaruants which are quite cheap then walking the city exploring all the alley ways! We are also planning some outings to the Adelaide Fringe festival to see some shows etc that we both will like. We’ve also done dinner & picnics at the beach But nothing beats a homecooked meal, then a movie with popcorn snuggled in bed or on the couch!


Debra Dane February 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm

sounds like some great date nights happening their Tara – happy for you lovely xx
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kirri February 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

One of my greatest intentions this year is to go away for a weekend with my man. A place we can explore as tourists, lounge about and have long conversations without being interrupted by three small girls.

I’m excited just thinking about it – it’s been far, FAR too long ;)
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Debra Dane February 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Sounds fab – shout if you get stuck for a babysitter – you can leave your kids with us xx
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Shell February 6, 2013 at 9:07 am

Love these ideas Deb – our best “date” last year was for our anniversary, only having recently moved with no family or friends for babysitting nearby. We decided to treat ourselves to a night out at home after the girls were in bed. We pre-ordered salad, cheeses, wine, dippy bits, cake, and the most delicious savoury tarts from a local gourmet cafe and picked it all up earlier in the day. It was delicious & a special night, & we felt like we could splurge on everything up to the value of a nice dinner out!
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Debra Dane February 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm

your menu sounds heavenly and easy to organise!
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Canwi February 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm

DH and I have been doing this every Friday for the past four months after noticing a massive slump in the time we spent with just each other doing stuff just for us. This is mostly due to the fact that family have become ill and are unable to babysit as often as they had been.
I did some googling and searching, made a list of potential things and we then created a master list. Each week we get a randomness number generator too choose what we will do. So week one on Friday, we fed the kids and then had our takeaways on fancy china. Saturday we ‘spun’ to see what we would do next Friday.
Our master list is as follows:
Cheese tasting 
Bubble bath
Jigsaw puzzle
Board game 
Wine tasting
Massage (hers) 
Massage (his) 
Order in take-always and eat on fancy china
Finger foods dinner and feed each other
Dessert night – make together and enjoy
Picnic on outside or inside 
Do a crossword  
Play video games 
Movie (his choice)
Movie (her choice)
Lie on lawn and watch night fall
Throw a football/rugby ball
Watch wedding video and look at pics
Pedicure (his)
Pedicure (hers)
Memory lane questions about our relationship
Read a book out loud together 
Watch a TV series

Most are things that require a little forethought and planning, which is no different than when we were dating and going out pre-kids.
We have had a couple of “real” dates also in this time in lieu of our date-night-in.

It has kept us in touch with each other personally which was seriously starting to slide.


Debra Dane February 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Love your list and especially love the lucky dip approach!!
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Kelly February 6, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Great ideas at just the right time! I only had a conversation with my husband a few days ago about introducing date nights because we are becoming a bit disconnected, especially when he works away all the time. We find it hard to get out of the house without kids, but I’m loving the ideas for date night at home, it’s on my list :)
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Debra Dane February 6, 2013 at 9:23 pm

yes at home date nights are going to be big this year for us – my husband is also working away now and we need to do more than just veg out with a movie and pass out from exhaustion. good luck xx
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Debbie @ Aspiring Mum February 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm

A couple of years ago, we made up an envelope system with 12 date night ideas – one for each month. When we could book in babysitters and time off from work, we would open the envelope and go on the date. We had things like 10-pin bowling, going on a CityCat and wandering around the city, gold class movie etc. Because my husband travels a fair bit for work, it’s hard to make date nights a regular thing. When he’s home, we’ll always have a movie night at home with takeaway. My best date night was to the U2 concert.
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Debra Dane February 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Love that Debbie -especially things like bowling and the city cat!
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Sharon February 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm

My hubby and I are totally disconnected and there are days (most days) where it feels like we are just going through the motions. These ideas are great…I especially love the list and the random number choosing – think I’ll suggest this one. What I find hard is that our 12yo will stay up later on a Friday night so he’s kind of included, which doesn’t make it much of a date night – any ideas on how to get him out of the room (maybe not the house)???
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Debra Dane February 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Trust me I am with you (apart from the 12 yo). I am making my relationship a priority this year and putting in the effort!

With the 12yo can he go for a sleepover / have a friend stay to keep him company once in a while! an occupied child is probably your best bet and even once every 4-6 weeks is a good amount if you make it count. the other times it can be more about connection, listening to each other, having fun etc and you don’t have to be alone to do that (like i said sometimes we have great date nights with friends!) HTH
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Sonia @ Natural New Age Mum February 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Sharon…. what about getting a portable DVD player (they are pretty cheap these days) so he can go to his room and watch a movie?
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Sonia @ Natural New Age Mum February 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

These ideas are all fabulous! We have been having more date nights now since my oldest son became the baby sitter….. free!! wayhay!!! It sure is a challenge to find things to do that don’t cost a fortune, so appreciate the tips!


Sharon February 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Hey Sonia – yeah he has an Xbox that he can watch movies on, but even if he does that he continually calls out – you know, can I have a drink , can you get this, do that blah blah – kind of ruins the mood! Thanks for the thought though!
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Sarah February 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I don’t think there is anything wrong with buying your own flowers, it’s one of my favorite treats to myself!

Scandiman and me havent had a date-night for over a year, shocking… but we have just organised to go and seee Les Mis in the movies and I am sooooo excited! x
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Di @ Life is Di-licious February 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Oh Deb – I’ve forgotten what a date night is but I have one planned!

For the past 5 years he’s been studying law so we’ve rarely been out. Now that he’s finished we decided to celebrate the night of his admission to practice properly by booking a hotel room so we can walk ‘home’ after dinner instead of travelling an hour.

Friends and family have all pitched in with looking after our daughter and doing school drop off so we can relax, reconnect and spend a leisurely morning together before heading home. We can’t wait!
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The Dating Divas August 1, 2013 at 2:34 am

Just wanted you to know that you were featured in our ULTIMATE Date Idea Round-up today! Thanks for sharing your date ideas! XOXO, The Dating Divas


Debra Dane August 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Thanks so much for featuring my list and for all the awesome ideas you share xx
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