We get it, staying home for date night isn’t quite the same as calling a sitter and actually leaving the house. But, just because you aren’t able to paint the town red with your sweetie doesn’t mean you can’t have a meaningful connection right at home. Whether you’re feeling competitive or creative, bookish or culinary, we’ve rounded up a list of at-home date night ideas that’ll inspire conversation, camaraderie, and maybe even a dance party or two.
Have a Game Night
Bust out an old favorite (because before Words With Friends, there was … Scrabble) or raid the playroom and find out what all the fuss over Mouse Trap and Hungry Hungry Hippo is about. But don’t have too much fun—the kids are sleeping!
Have a Fancy Drink Challenge
Bring out your inner mixologist and crowd the kitchen counter with a range of mixed drink ingredients. Challenge one another to see who can make the most creatively delicious martini. If you’re not feeling experimental, order some wine delivery and set up your own tasting flight. Discuss your favorites and round it out with some cheese or chocolate pairings.
Plan a Cooking Class for Two
Find a recipe on your favorite cooking blog that you’ve both been meaning to try, or do some sleuthing and attempt to replicate that dish from your favorite dinner spot. Used to eating a full meal with your kiddos before the sun even goes down? Aim for dessert instead, and try something that uses a fun tool (you know you want to caramelize something with a blowtorch…) or a new-to-you ingredient.
Play 20 Questions
A quick Google search will lead you to lists upon lists of “questions for couples.” If you plan ahead, you can also find decks of conversation-starter cards on Amazon or your favorite book store. Discover unexpected commonalities or differences, gain some new perspective into your spouse’s childhood, or imagine what you’d do if you both quit your jobs. We guarantee the dialogue won’t be dull.
Make a Bucket List
With a sheet of paper, a pen, and zero restraint, let yourselves dream big about your personal, couple, and family goals. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do or experience? Fill the page and worry about reality later.
Have an Indoor or Outdoor Picnic
If the thought of turning on the oven is way too daunting, just open the cheese drawer and the pantry, and spread out a cozy blanket. You can quickly turn your living room into a prime picnic spot with a stellar appetizer spread (some good chocolate also wouldn’t hurt), a few pillows, and those champagne flutes you swore you’d use more often.
Organize a Bob Ross Painting Night
A quick search for “Bob Ross painting” on YouTube will land you classic episodes like “Secluded Bridge,” “Island in the Wilderness,” or “Lonely Retreat.” Set the scene at home with easels (or your dining room table), big sheets of watercolor paper (or those 8.5x11s from your printer), and all the paint and brushes you can find. Paint happy little trees in the comfortable quiet of one another, and frame the results (or stick them on the fridge).
Set Up for a Dance Party
If your kiddos haven’t taken to '80s pop as fervently as you’d like, stick a towel under their door, crank up the speakers, and pretend you’re at your cousin’s wedding with that amazing DJ who coaxed the Running Man and the Sprinkler out of your partner. If you’re in the mood, dress the part and put on your wedding guest finery—but leave your heels in the closet.
Bookstore at Home
Plan ahead by purchasing a decent stack of magazines and take out those coffee table books you only bought for the covers. With matching mugs of hot chocolate or tea and your favorite coffee shop tunes, you can recreate those “bookstore perusing” dates that aren’t the easiest with small tykes in tow.
Scrapbook Assembly Line
This one also calls for a bit of advance notice: print out all your favorite photos from your last anniversary trip, or that big family summer vacation, or take a stroll down memory lane with images from your dating years. Make it as elaborate or simple as you want with photo mounting squares, patterned paper, captions, or themed stickers, and enjoy each other's company as you relive your adventures and admit that cutting and gluing isn’t just for preschool.
Organize a Zoom Double Date
Chances are, you two have couple friends who are in the same boat. You know, the boat that prevents you from leaving the house except out of necessity? The good news? You don’t have to suffer alone! Schedule a Zoom or Facetime double date, setting a time to for some shared screen time to commiserate and laugh together over the season you’re currently living in. Each couple can prepare their own meals at home, uncork a bottle of their favorite, and share an hour or two together in conversation. Of course, it’s not as great as seeing your friends in person, but it’s the next best thing, and it can be done in sweatpants.
Order a Date in a Box
There are several “date in a box” subscription products on the market right now, including DateBox, a curated box of goodies that provides a unique date experience right in the comfort of your own home. Packed neatly in a box that ships right to your door, Datebox is the ideal way to try new date ideas without ever leaving the house (which is perfect when your little ones are sleeping and you can’t go anywhere). An example DateBox might include an “indoor camping adventure,” complete with a s’mores kit, a pour-your-own-pine-scented candle-making set, a deck of cards with game suggestions, and even a playlist suited for romance in the great outdoors.
—Katie Brown with Laura Holloway