let’s stay home: 10 at home date ideas for your officer and your family

With everything going on in the world, most of us have found ourselves spending extra time at home. Our officers and even ourselves might still be working outside of the home, but depending on where you live, most restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, and movie theaters are currently closed. This is the perfect opportunity to be creative with date nights (or days)!

Chopped (or Chopped Junior): If you’re stuck at home, you might as well pretend like you’re on a TV show, right? Pick a dish to make, or pull out a set few ingredients and get creative. This can be done as a family (the recipes adjusted depending on ages and abilities) or as a competition between you and your spouse. Extra points for describing your dish to the fake TV audience! If you just want to spend some time in the kitchen together and are looking for some simple dessert ideas, I have a few here on the blog-like one bowl homemade brownies and air fryer donuts.

Living Room Picnic: Is it just me, or are all meals more fun when they’re on a blanket on the living room floor? This date idea can be used with your entire family or just your spouse. Spread a blanket down on your living room rug (or in your backyard if weather permits), add some candles or lanterns, and eat supper on the floor! You can whip up a traditional dinner, or make sandwiches and chips and really get into the picnic spirit. Fondue is also a favorite at home date meal of ours-both cheese and chocolate!

Theme Night: Dinner & A Movie: This is another idea that can be done as a family or as a couple, depending on the film you pick. Choose a movie and cook a coordinating meal (or vice versa, if your pantry is limited). Having Italian? Why not watch Lady and the Tramp or The Godfather! Tacos? How about Coco! A shrimp dish? Forrest Gump! You can get as creative as possible, depending on what ingredients you have on hand or if there’s a particular movie you’re wanting to watch. Just craving dessert? Why not make some Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and watch Serendipity, or concoct some Butterbeer and watch Harry Potter! Just want a cocktail? Bartend some cosmopolitans and watch Sex and the City, or make martinis and have a 007 marathon-shaken, not stirred, of course!

Game Night: This is a favorite in our household! Take some time to turn off all electronics and sit down for some classic games. Some of our favorites include Heads Up (which is an easily downloadable app-you don’t need to leave the house to get it or even wait for it to be delivered from Amazon!), Mexican Train Dominoes, Rummikub, and Jenga. If you’re more of a video gamer, that works, too! Sometimes I play Call of Duty with my officer-my poor gaming skills can cause quite the laughter.

Reminiscing Night: Pull out some old wedding or baby photos, old yearbooks, or even your wedding film, and spend some time walking down memory lane together! This can be done as a couple or as a family. What’s sweeter than being able to share your love story with your kiddos, or go back to where it all began with your spouse?

Star Gazing: If you live outside of the city and can see the stars, go out in your backyard for some serious stargazing! Search for comets or constellations, and drink in the beauty of our world. You can find a ton of constellations online, like on this guide. Don’t forget to make a wish together if you see a shooting star! Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork!”

Get Talking: Depending on how long you’ve been with your significant other you may feel like you already know everything about them. It’s still fun, though, to spend some time asking each other questions-you might be surprised of what you hear! We have this set that has a ton of fun prompts, and do a few each week when cooking dinner or winding down in the evening. There’s also versions for parents and families. Or, you can  find tons of questions on Pinterest and online (here’s a list of 40 condo starters I put together)-or even play some “would you rather” or even MadLibs (remember those?!). This can be adjusted to play with just your SO or our family, depending on the questions asked.

Get Sweaty: Hey, get your head out of the gutter, I was talking about exercise! 😉 Pull up a work out video on YouTube, push your couch back, and get your heart pumping together! Find a work out that pushes you, or search for something fun or silly, like Zumba or some old school 80s videos (don’t forget your leg warmers!). If you have a Wii or Kinnect, play a game of Wipe Out or something similar-anything to get your heart rate up! Remember what Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde? “Working out gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”

Dream Big: Is it just us, or do other families talk about what they’d do if they were to win the lottery? Talk with your spouse or your family about what they’d do with a million or billion dollars. Buy a mansion? Travel the world? Have a pet pony? Open their own shooting range? It’s fun to share these wild dreams with one another. This is also the perfect opportunity to…

Create a Bucket List: As a family therapist, this is an activity I do with almost all of my clients-build a family bucket list together! This can be full of simple things (like watch such and such movie, go to the beach this summer, paint my bedroom) milestones (get a driver’s license, graduate, find a new job) and bigger dreams (take a trip to Europe, adopt a dog, be financially stable). Silly things, serious things-write them all down, and talk about how you can start to cross them off your list!

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