Sure, Valentine’s Day (and really, the entire month of February) is all about couples and romance. But let’s admit it, there’s no love quite like that between a mama and child. And one-on-one time with the littlest love of your life is the stuff memories are made of. To help you take your next mommy-and-me date to the next level, we’ve come up with a bunch of fun ways to make quality time with your mini extra special—for Valentine’s Day and beyond.
Of course, no mini-me date would be complete without matching ensembles! Check out our partner Old Navy for the cutest mommy-and-me trends—from matching jumpsuits, overalls, and denim jackets to the not-quite-matchy-matchy-but-definitely-twinning looks seen here. Bonus: Check out our Instagram page to find out how you can win a $1000 gift certificate to Old Navy to upgrade your next mommy-and-me outing.
Hot cocoa for two—Sometimes the best dates are the most simple ones. Find a cute cafe, order a cup of cocoa for your little one, and another for yourself (or coffee if it’s preferred). Up the sugar ante with a pastry or two if you so desire. And pack some books/coloring books for the kiddo and a magazine for mama.
Trainspotting—If your kid loves vehicles of any sort, this is a must. Find a busy public transportation hub and a good bench with a view of the action. Pack snacks to chow down on while you watch ’em all roll by.
Taco Tuesday—Or Monday, Wednesday, you get the idea. Head to your favorite taqueria (or, um, Chipotle) order a nice Mexican spread, and wash it all down with horchata or agua fresca.
Carousel rides—Although carousel rides can often get pricey, there’s no doubting the magical appeal. Combine a few trips around the merry go round with park play or a snack at a cafe to make an afternoon of it.
Bake or cook together—Cookies, muffins, whatever your kid likes. Get them involved and let them reap the tasty rewards. Head to the farmer’s market or grocery store together beforehand to let them see the entire process. We like this book and this book for kid-friendly recipes.
Dinner and a movie—It’s a traditional date-night set-up for a reason—it works! If your kiddo is old enough to sit through a movie at the theater, go for it. Otherwise, you can try to create a fun movie-night experience at home with these tips.
Museum date—Check out what new exhibits are coming up and take your little out to explore them. Chances are there is a “free” day at the museum each month, so a little research beforehand could save you money.
Petting zoo fun—Especially good for younger kids, feeding and petting animals can be a solid way to spend an hour.
Sushi—If your kid is an adventurous eater, this can be a fun outing. Just avoid Sundays when the fish is less than fresh.
Mani/pedis—Let your tot feel extra lux by getting his or her nails “did” while you do the same.
Tea time!—Enjoying a beautiful tea service is a memorable ritual within itself. Dress fancy and play the whole thing up!
Japantown/Chinatown/Little Italy, etc.—If you live in a city with a vibrant ethnic enclave, you’re in luck! It can be a perfect spot for exploring with your kid, from sampling new foods and hearing different languages to trying only-there activities, like quirky photobooths and shopping centers with unique goods.
Ice-cream shakes or sundaes—Another mommy-and-me date classic, you can either hit up a local parlor you love or try a DIY version at home. For the latter, you could start by taking your kid to the grocery store and letting her pick out a few flavors and fun toppings. Or, save yourself some energy and snatch up this creepy crawler sundae kit.
Kite flying—Embrace a mildly windy day with a little kite action (you’ll totally feel like a kid again!) and noshing indoors either before or afterwards.
A picnic and botanical garden visit—If you have a great botanical garden in your city, it can be the perfect place to wander with your little one and enjoy the beauty of nature. Pack a little picnic to enjoy on the spot.
Arcade date—Even if noisy arcades aren’t your thing, your kid will absolutely love you for taking him there and joining in on the fun.
Beach time—It doesn’t get much better than building sandcastles, jumping over sand dunes, dipping one’s feet in the ocean, and recharging with beach snacks (or a beachside pizza!).
Mini-golf, bocce, or bowling—Even if you both suck, it’ll be pretty memorable anyways.
Woodworking class—If you’re lucky enough to have a kids’ woodworking studio in town (S.F. has the superb The Butterfly Joint), find a class you’d both enjoy, or sit by while you watch your kiddo create something amazing with her very own hands. Other iterations include kiddie pottery and art classes.
Hiking date—An easy, cheap, and effective date you’ll both love.
Hit an “adult” restaurant—Instead of visiting a “kid-friendly” spot, challenge your (age-appropriate) kid to play the part and try a fancier “adult” restaurant with you. You’ll get to eat food you actually like, and your kid will feel all grown-up.
Zoo time!—Just you, your little, and a bunch of animals. Plain and simple.
Garden date—Get some dirt, some seeds or seed bombs, a watering can, and some little pots if that’s where you’re planting. Here are some more tips for gardening with kids.
Library date—So cheap, so simple, so good!
Bike riding—Throw your little on the back of your ride, or hit the pavement and pedal side-by-side. Pair it with the park for a classic day-date.
This post is brought to you by Mother + Old Navy
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