By: Morgan Stoecklein
Let’s be honest, we’re all craving a little normalcy right now. It is stressful being cooped up in our homes with a short list of legitimate reasons to leave the house. I don’t know about you, but I’m longing for the day I can sit in a coffee shop or go to Target for no reason at all. It’s easy to focus on the unknowns and inconveniences through this pandemic and forget some of the good that can come with cleared schedules and cancelled travels.
Humankind is really good at filling our time. My friend Katie recently wrote about our need to carve out time for rest when she addressed the importance of Sabbath. Perhaps this time in quarantine has provided us time; to rest and connect with the loved ones underneath our roof in new and exciting ways. Why not maximize this time?
With restaurants doing carry-out only and movie theaters closed until further notice, squeezing in a date night can seem out of the question. But just because we’re sheltering in place doesn’t mean we have to skip out on the fun things! When we look back on how we spent our time “flattening the curve” we’ll remember the difficult times for sure. My hope, however, is that we will also look back at these times and appreciate that they allowed us to intentionally enrich and deepen our marriages, relationships, friendships, etc.
Of course, just because most things are cancelled doesn’t mean that there aren’t new things being added to our schedules almost daily. This list isn’t about adding things to an already hectic calendar. These are simply just a few fun ideas for you as a couple, as a family, or on your own to take a break and switch things up! And with that, all of these ideas are adaptable, so do what works for you. Really, these are about doing something different and refreshing with the people we care about. That could even mean doing something as simple as taking a walk, putting together a puzzle, or reading a new book.
Here are just a few ideas to continue community at home:
1. Indoor Mini Golf
Use items (wrapping paper rolls, pillows, blankets, etc.) to make a 9-hole golf course around your home. At bare minimum your golf course needs a small plastic cup, laid on its side to putt into. Grab the putter and a few golf balls and get to golfing!
Bonus tip: Keep score and pick a prize for the winner!
2. Picnic Inside
All this date needs is a simple meal, a blanket, and an open space in your home. Set up a picnic complete with all of your favorite finger foods and some fresh(ly store-bought) lemonade.
Bonus tip: Do this one on the lawn if it’s a beautiful day! And opt for tossing the Frisbee around after you eat!
3. Game Night – with a prize!
Pull out your favorite games and have yourselves a tournament. Or, buy a brand new game that will challenge you. Here are just a few suggestions for two person games: Bananagrams, Battleship, Codenames: Duet, Connect 4, Cribbage, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Ticket to Ride.
Bonus tip: Make classic s’mores at home or check out the recipe to this amazing s’mores dip to snack on while you play!
4. Paint and Pour
A few canvases, paintbrushes and the paint of your choice is all you need to kick off this date. Pour yourselves a glass of your favorite drink and paint away! Paint a portrait of each other, or a scene from your favorite vacation together. The possibilities are endless.
Bonus tip: Make it a competition! Send pictures to a group of friends or family and have them vote on the best masterpiece.
5. Movie Night
Okay, I know, I know. You’re sick and tired of movie nights. But this one’s different! Hang up a white sheet and get your hands on a *projector.* Grab some movie candy and popcorn the next time you’re out to grocery shop and have yourselves a full blown movie theater experience in your living room!
Bonus tip: Instead of a movie watch a pre-recorded concert or stand-up special to switch it up from your usual movie nights.
6. Christmas… in April!
Who says Christmas has to be in July? Set a price limit and buy each other a gift online that will arrive in time for your date. Unwrap your gifts, drink hot chocolate, wear your favorite ugly Christmas sweaters, and play a little Christmas music. Pop in a Christmas movie to top off the night.
Bonus tip: Make dinner and dessert. Try a version of some of your holiday favorites!
7. Coffee Shop
Learn a new way to brew a cup of coffee or make your own latte creations! Grab a book, pick the coziest place in your house to sit and read together. (Modified version: swing through the drive through of your favorite local coffee shop before heading home for this relaxing date night.)
Bonus tip: Put on a coffee shop playlist to complete the coffee shop ~vibes~.
8. Candlelight dinner
Because, why not? Set up a candlelight dinner complete with white table cloth, soft music, and well, candles! Order carry-out from your favorite ~fancy~ local restaurant or cook a meal together to kick off your date.
Bonus tip: Set up a fondue station with all of your favorite fruits and treats to cover in chocolate and devour.
9. Visit a Museum
Did you know that you can visit many museums online through virtual tours? Several museums have an online collection you can view for free! Visit a museum this weekend, in St. Louis, Kansas City, or on the other side of the world.
Also check out: The Louvre in Paris, The Dali Theater and Museum in Spain, and The Vatican Museums in Vatican City.
Bonus tip: Set up a charcuterie board packed with all of your favorites to pick at while you explore. Check out a helpful charcuterie how to here.
10. Olympic Games
Just because the Tokyo Olympics are postponed, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the thrill of a little competition in your home. Pick a few “Olympic Events” to set up in the living room. This could be relay games, minute-to-win-it, or simple skills tests! (And if all of this action seems like a lot, NBC is showing nearly 100 hours of classic Olympics programming for the rest of April. So flip on the TV for some Olympic inspiration courtesy of NBC Sports)
Bonus tip: Keep track of each person’s stats and have a medal ceremony to end the night.
11. Wedding Reminiscing
Maybe you got married last year, or maybe you were married last century. Either way, there’s no better time than now to pull out the old wedding albums and pop in the wedding video for some good old nostalgia. Read through your guest book and any kept cards. Listen to your first dance song and make a playlist of timely music to play.
Bonus tip: Do this with old family albums and old home videos. No need to stick to one event to reminisce on… we’ve got plenty of time for them all!
12. Escape Room in a Box
Second best to an escape room in person, is an escape room in a box. Pick one of these up the next time you have to make a Target run, or ship one to your house just in time for date night.
Bonus tip: Let Amazon’s Alexa host your game and enhance the experience – by keeping time, giving hints, playing suspenseful music and more. Check out more here.
I would love to look back on this time and hold dear the memories I made with the people in my household. Wouldn’t you? Let’s commit to injecting joy into our households in a time where joy seems hard to come by. I’m thinking of you all and praying that God would provide you and your loved ones with peace, comfort, and joy no matter the circumstances happening around us.
A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.