I am a bit of a hopeless romantic. I love chick flicks, although I’m not a Nicholas Sparks fan… maybe it’s the trauma in all of them. However, my favorite part of a RomCom is when the leading lady’s face shines bright with the sudden surprise of a fabulous date. I know that sometimes it is a fancy dinner, but I really love the little things, the thrifty things, the thoughtful things.
So, with that carefree, upbeat, and dollar-savvy attitude in mind, here are some of my favorite dating activities, either for a first date, a fifth date, or a random afternoon with your new hubby.
I love to cook and bake, and I’m also a Pinterest nut. Combine these things and you can get a pretty sweet date. Pick out a favorite recipe, travel to the store together, and then fail miserably in trying to recreate something obnoxious. Flour fights are definitely encouraged.
If you have a local volunteer program, consider bringing your new fling. It is awesome to be giving back to the world, and you’ll both leave feeling great. Plus, winking at each other when crossing paths really makes the butterflies fly up.
Dates with Paint. I don’t know why, but I like paint-involved dating. It brings out the kid in most people. And I’m basically a 12-year-old in a 24-year-old body. Anyway, dates with paint are fantastic.
Messy Twister: Simple game … but very fun. Take a twister board, and pour paint onto each circle (match the colors). Then, compete as usual. This one gets messy, but you’ll both be laughing, and the clean-up can be just as fun.
Paint-Gun Fights: Fill up a variety of dollar store squirt guns with all sorts of colors. If you’re planning this, grab two cheap white Ts and some shaped stickers. After the fight, you will have a cool, unique shirt to remember the adventure. (Fill up balloons with paint to use as grenades in your battle!)
Go to one of your favorite book stores. Bring a notepad and some writing utensils (I prefer colored sharpies) and start collecting all your favorite books. You get to see what your partner is a fan of, and then together, you can write some short notes to future readers.
Take a pair of rainboots. Walk around the city under an umbrella with your Boo and map out the daily activities of the invisible man in the rain. I actually did this one in college and we had a blast. The girl had a polaroid camera, and it was awesome for chronicling the day!
(From my friend John) Go over to a friend’s apartment, and subtlety turn things upside down. When one of you gets caught, shout something like, “the Russians thought that they could get away with it!” and then bolt. Repeat at another friend’s place.
Go to Walmart. Each of you should find three items that describe your personality. Hide them somewhere else and re-meet. Share clues about the hiding spot, and then it’s go time. Basically, it’s a Walmart personality scavenger hunt.
Wear your finest clothes. Drive to the nearest car dealership, and test-drive some beastly vehicles under the impression of your recent promotion, wink wink.
If you’re from the city, grab a blanket (or several) a throw pillow or two, a bottle of wine (again, or several), and hop in your car. Drive out of the city really late, and find a random spot in a field. You really get to know someone when you’re staring up at the endless space above your heads.
If your city has a zoo, there are often discount/free days. Take advantage and wander around looking at the fantastic beasts, and read all about where to find them.
Remember that kite you bought four years ago? Pack that baby and a couple snacks and a blanket and find yourselves a park. Spend time trying to keep your kite floating, but also enjoy the blue skies with a bit of cloud watching.
And if all else fails, just take her/him by the hand and go for a walk. You talk. You laugh. You stop at a hotdog stand. It’s simple and easy, and honestly, isn’t it all about the time together, and the smiles of surprise.