Everyone talks about daddy-daughter dates and how cute and sweet they are, but what about mom? I don’t know about you, but I adore having some one-on-one bonding time with my daughter, even though she’s only four and not quite old enough for some of my ideas. (Learn from my mistake — don’t expect a four-year-old to sit down for a manicure. Ever.)
If you’re struggling with activities that you and your toddler can do together while leaving daddy at home, here are some of my favorite mommy-daughter date ideas for you to try out.
Story Time at the Library
We all love reading to our kids, but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else tell the story while you sit back and cuddle with your daughter. Check out your local libraries for toddler-friendly storytimes and simply spend some time together listening to one of your favorite tales.
You don’t even have to leave the house to have a fun mommy-daughter date. Let your little one help you bake cookies. Whip up some chocolate chip cookies and let her lick the beater, or roll out some sugar cookie dough and hand her the cookie cutters. It will be messy, but it will also be fun, and you’ll have some tasty treat to snack on afterward.
Throw a Dance Party
Who doesn’t love a good dance party? Put on some upbeat kid-friendly music and start dancing. It won’t take long for your little one to join in. As a bonus, dancing burns a ton of calories so you can skip your afternoon exercise session or replace it with an afternoon dance party instead!
When was the last time that you stuck your hands in some paint and made something beautiful? We forget the pure joy of something like fingerpainting as we grow older, but it can be a fantastic way to bond with your little ones. On a sunny day, set up some big posterboards and paper, and a ton of finger paints, and go to town. Your daughter will be delighted to see you participating.
Go See a Movie
Most movie theaters, during the summer months, have kid-friendly matinees where they show both old and new animated features. It’s much less expensive than seeing a regular movie — tickets usually start at $2-3, instead of the $8-12 that you’d usually pay — so you won’t feel bad if you have to get up and leave because your toddler just isn’t feeling it. Plus, these showings are generally loud and rambunctious — they’re full of kids — so no one is going to complain if your little one wants to get up and cheer at the screen as she sees her favorite characters in all their larger-than-life glory.
Two Words: Ball Pit.
Is there anything that’s more fun for a toddler than a ball pit? Find one where you can play together, or make one in your back yard and spend the afternoon swimming around in a pit full of large plastic balls. You can play the ultimate game of peek-a-boo by burying yourself in the balls and popping up like a jack-in-the-box, to the musical sound of delighted toddler squeals.
Make DIY Slime
Who doesn’t love slime? Making some DIY slime can be a great way to spend the afternoon. Most DIY recipes require the use of contact lens cleaning solution or borax as the activating ingredient, which you don’t want to use with a toddler who might put their hands in their mouths while playing with the slime.
You can make a kid-friendly DIY slime with Elmer’s glue, baking soda, saline solution, and food coloring. If you’re still worried about your toddler eating the slime, why not make an edible alternative? You can make slime out of everything from nutella and gummy bears to sodium alginate — a natural gelatin alternative derived from seaweed.
Have a Backyard Picnic
If you always have lunch in the dining room, why not change things up a little bit and throw a backyard picnic? Lay out a blanket, and pack the foods and drinks that you were planning on serving for lunch into a basket or lunchbox. Then head outside and enjoy! It’s a good excuse to get out, soak up some sun, and run off some energy before naptime.
Visit a Petting Zoo
Most kids, regardless of age, love animals. Do a quick search for a toddler-friendly petting zoo in your area. You don’t really want them in the pen with large farm animals like cows or horses, but your daughter might find petting a goat or feeding a sheep from the palm of her hand delightful. Be ready for delighted squeals and giggles as she gets licked and nuzzled by furry farm animals.
Feel free to leave dad at home while you go out (or stay in) and enjoy these mother-daughter date ideas. Dad’s get plenty of daddy-daughter events — these dates should just be about the two of you.