60 Cheap Dates (That Aren’t Netflix And Chill) For Couples That Want To Have Fun At Home Together This Winter

Okay, it’s that time again—cuffing season—when the winter cold makes coupling up an ultimate priority. Here are some cozy, indoor date ideas for you and your person (other than Netflix and chill).
Twenty20, NickBulanovv
Twenty20, NickBulanovv

1. Go on a scavenger hunt. It doesn’t matter how small your home is. A solid scavenger hunt just requires smart clues and a talent for identifying good hiding places. It’s almost as much fun to craft the hints as it is to watch each other unravel the custom mystery step by step.

2. Build a bada$$ fort. This is one of those childhood pastimes worth revisiting as an adult. Gather up all the blankets, pillows, and throw cushions in your house and start constructing the coolest indoor castle on the planet. Then hang out inside with a couple of flashlights.

3. Prepare an indoor picnic. Grab whatever’s in the fridge. Cut up little sandwiches, pop open a bottle of wine, lay a blanket down, and camp out in the middle of your living room. There’s something about sitting on the floor that’s super romantic.

4. Make a playlist of your favorite songs and throw a two-person dance party. You don’t need an audience to hold each other and sway to a few slow songs, or get crazy and break dance or vogue or something.

5. Host a karaoke night. It can be just for the two of you, or the whole gang. Drinks and a good sense of humor are musts. Being a good singer isn’t.

6. Stage an Instagram challenge. Take a bunch of goofy selfies. Then post them to Instagram and see who can get more likes.

7. Play dress up. This game isn’t just for kids, either. Comb your closet and put together the weirdest outfits possible—the stuff you’d never set foot out of the house wearing—and pose for each other as if you’re in a fashion show. It might be weird at first, but it’ll force you to bond. Promise.

8. Host your very own cooking competition. Give yourselves a set amount of ingredients and a set time period. Whoever makes the best food wins. Invite a third party over to judge if you can’t trust each other to be objective.

9. Make homemade ice cream. Sure, it’s cold out, but ice cream is delicious regardless. It’s also relatively easy to make from scratch. So Google a recipe, commit to a flavor, and get busy in the kitchen.

10. Read out loud to each other. Choose your favorite books or close your eyes, point to the shelf, and pull out a title. Reading out loud is way underrated as an activity in general, and as a bonding activity, it’s extra special.

11. Tackle a puzzle. Putting the pieces of a puzzle together requires teamwork and patience. The higher the piece count, the more challenging and potentially rewarding the task, so don’t be afraid to open a box of 1,000 tiny pieces of cardboard.

12. Make a home cooked meal. From scratch. Every little thing. If this is something the two of you do every night, then spice it up and tackle a new cuisine or dish.

13. Plan a romantic date night in. Go all out on this one! Set the table, write little love notes for each other on Post-its and stick them all over the walls, and light as many candles as possible. Then dim the electric lights, play some jazz or classical music, and get tipsy as you wine and dine each other in cozy style.

14. Get wasted. Going out is fun, except when it requires bundling up and freezing to death on your way to a venue. Bring the fun of a night out at the bar or a club to your personal home with a 12-pack of his or her favorite beer. Play some tunes, get drunk, and spill your hearts.

15. Play beer pong. You might as well challenge bae to the ultimate drinking competition if you’re getting wasted at home anyway. Whomever passes out on the couch first loses (or maybe wins?).

16. Paint something together. Take an old poster off the wall or a map you have lying around and make it your own with finger paints, chalk, Sharpies, or whatever other artsy utensils you have on hand.

17. Buy one of those giant color-by-number posters. If you’re not into pure DIY art projects, order a crafting kit designed for adults and go nuts. It’s the act of creating something together that counts.

18. Go on an indoor beach date. It’s winter and it’s cold as hell outside, so you’re craving some sun and sand. An indoor beach date means towels on the floor, lawn chairs (if you have them) inside, tropical drinks, sunglasses, and wearing your favorite swimsuits while nodding your heads to popular summer anthems.

19. Play board games. Game night can include just the two of you or all your friends. Have some drinks and snacks. Play for money. Get competitive.

20. Play anti-strip poker. Whatever game you choose—whether it’s Monopoly or Go Fish—for every move you lose, put an article of clothing on instead of taking one off. Why? Because it’s freezing out, and the result is hilarious.

21. The $10 gifting competition. Sit side-by-side on the couch with your laptops and see who can find the best present for the other with a budget of $10 and exactly ten minutes to surf the web. You don’t even have to purchase the items for this to be fun, not to mention good gift giving practice.

22. Make s’mores. You don’t need a campfire or the great outdoors to make s’mores. All you need are graham crackers, marshmallows, and some chocolate (the basic necessities!). Stick the marshmallows on chopsticks or forks and heat them up over your gas stovetop. Or, use the microwave. Then enjoy your sweet treats and your sticky fingers.

23. Role play. Okay ya freaks, take this how you want. But just for one night, dress up in something you typically wouldn’t wear and take on a different persona. It’s exhilarating to pretend to be someone you’re not, even if you never leave the comfort of your home. Promise.

24. Learn a new skill together. Watch some Youtube origami tutorials and turn a few sheets of printer paper into glorious little paper creatures, or figure out how to poach an egg by watching professional chefs do it online over and over again.

25. Teach each other. What are your main interests, passions, and hobbies? Spend the night teaching one another about the things you love to do most in life.

26. Exercise as a twosome. Couples that work out together stay together. Or at least sweat together. You don’t need a fancy gym to do Pilates or interval training. As an added bonus, a little sweat on bae is always sexy.

27. Play ‘I Spy’. You know your home inside-out by now. But every nook and cranny becomes exponentially more interesting during a few riveting rounds of I Spy.

28. Write each other letters. Snail mail isn’t just for thank you notes to mom and dad. Whip out a few sheets of lined paper or scented stationery and write letters by hand to each other. Exchange them and read them quietly a few hours later, or (if you’re brave enough) read them out loud. (Warning: this one can get crazy deep).

29. Play bartenders for the night. Look up some of those fancy-shmancy drink recipes and actually make them! The process of concocting is fun, as is the process of getting inebriated.

30. Make a bucket list. Maybe it’s not the ideal time of year for certain activities, like rock climbing or kite surfing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write out a long list of all the things you dream of doing together one day, weather permitting.

31. Hot tub time. Have a hot tub? Awesome. If not, turn your bathtub into a shrine to relaxation with scented oils, bubbles, and a bottle of wine and let your fingertips get wrinkly.

32. Transform an old piece of clothing. We’ve all got a few pairs of jeans or t-shirts we never wear. Take that material and repurpose it into a new garment. Tear holes in those pants, or cut up that top and sew the pieces into a truly unique patchwork scarf. If your efforts fail, you’ve got yourself a new set of rags.

33. Schedule your spring. Maybe now’s not the best time to head out to a bunch of concerts, food festivals, or lectures, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan to do so a few months down the line. Research some activities and create calendar listings for all the fun stuff you want to do come warmer months.

34. Watch the sunset. It’s frigid outside, but the sun still rises and sets. Get up super early one morning and watch the magnificent star take its place in the sky hand in hand. If you don’t have the right views for it, try star gazing by night instead.

35. Do some scrapbooking. This can be as legitimate, or as silly as you want. Print out some favorite photos, pair them with stickers/construction paper/markers/etc. (And feel free to reference Pinterest for some ideas!)

36. Make homemade hot chocolate or cider. Regular or spiked. But the point is to make it from scratch and savor the flavor (and memories) as you go.

37. Research a local animal shelter and donate. Then, when you’re feeling up to leaving the house, go volunteer in person.

38. Do a Pinterest craft you’ve been dying to make. Have a ‘DIY’ board or list of ideas? Pick one from the list at random and do it together. Teamwork is a must!

39. Make a silly movie. And post it on YouTube or to a friend’s Facebook wall.

40. Write letters to soldiers. The holiday season can be the loneliest for people serving our country. See if there’s a local campaign in your area, and if not, do a quick Google search and see where you can send letters to. Write them together and mail them out!

41. Make something to serve at a local soup kitchen. Then pick a day to go there and actually serve your food!

42. Check out the ‘for sale’ posts for furry friends in your area. Fantasize about owning one, talk about what animal you’d want and why, and when you want to leave the house, go to a local pet store and play with them!

43. Invite your friends over for a potluck dinner. Everyone bring something, everyone share, everyone catch up.

44. Have a fondue night. Gather your own ingredients and make your own fondue, too! Not feeling that fancy? Make a fun dip and have finger foods instead.

45. Send a postcard to a friend/family member you miss. This can be the same person for both of you, or someone different. Point is, take time to show your gratitude.

46. Do a couples’ craft. This isn’t just an everyday craft, this is designed for two lovebirds. See if you can complete it together in one night. Then share your creation on social media to make all your friends jealous. 😛

47. Make snow angels in the backyard. Not cold enough/no snow? Lay in the yard or on the roof and look at the stars.

48. Download a free constellation app and check out the night sky. This can be done from your bedroom window, the roof, outside – wherever works for you. See if you can find, and map out all the constellations.

49. Make a homemade gift. For one another, or a loved one. If it’s for someone else, do it side-by-side. If not, separate to opposite corners of the house and meet for kisses and a cuddle session when you’re both done.

50. Create a list of friends to do a Secret Santa gift exchange with. Plan the event and make fun invitations.

51. Explore around your house/apartment for Secret Santa gifts. Wrap the best ones and prepare/plan for a gift exchange.

52. Blast Christmas music and make homemade peppermint bark. And then save some for your coworkers/close friends/family members.

53. Have a pj night. Whatever you do – from dinner to drinks to crafting – you’re dressed in your comfy pajamas.

54. Decorate a Christmas tree together. Purchase or make a significant ornament to commemorate the holiday you get to spend together.

55. Have an indoor snowball fight. With over-sized cotton balls as your ammunition.

56. Go through old photo albums. And laugh/reminisce on who you used to be – whether together, or before the two of you even met.

57. Set goals for the New Year. Record your resolutions on paper and share the with your partner. Tape it to the fridge, put them in your favorite notebook – somewhere you’ll see them often. And hold one another accountable!

58. Try a new soup recipe. Feeling adventurous? Make homemade bread to go along with it.

59. Build a gingerbread house. While listening to Christmas music, of course.

60. Create a couple’s slideshow. After documenting all your indoor escapades, upload the photos and go nuts tweaking them with filters. Then string them all together to hang on your walls (with lights, of course) or digitally, into a couple’s slideshow. Then take some more photos and do it all over again! TC mark

Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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