Florida Family Fun Travel visits
Steffany Skelley Gilmer
Just like with Mommy & Me time, Daddy & Me time is also so important. It's a great way to bond one-on-one, it promotes self-confidence and happiness in your child, and it's so rewarding for you, too.
Every child loves (and needs) to feel special and important. This is especially true for families who have multiple children!
Finding time to give each child a little bit of your undivided attention is essential - when a child feels close to their parent(s) they typically don't struggle as much with sibling jealousy because they are confident in their place in the family dynamic.
When our second child was born, my husband and I started alternating "Mommy & Me" and "Daddy & Me" dates with our firstborn. It was beneficial in many ways for all of us. For myself and my husband, it was refreshing to get out of the house to just have fun and enjoy the moment with our little guy. For our son, it was a constant reminder that even though he had a new little brother who required a lot of attention at home, he was still so very special to us and would always be someone we love spending time with.
Now, four years later, we still enjoy our special dates with our firstborn AND now are enjoying special dates with our youngest son too!
With all these dates to plan over the years, we've gotten pretty creative in finding budget-friendly ways to spend one-on-one time with each of our kiddos. And with Father's Day right around the corner, I thought this was the perfect time to share some of our favorite Daddy & Me Date Ideas with you so you can enjoy them with your little ones as well!
Wishing you a very happy Father's Day & many fun family memories!
100+ Fun Daddy & Me Date Ideas
Daddy & Me dates that are fun for sons and daughters!
- Cook Together. Cooking & baking is educational (think measuring, time management, etc) and it also a lot of fun! Together you can cook your child's favorite meal, dinner for the whole family, or perhaps a dessert to share with an elderly neighbor.
- Late Night Movie. Let them stay up a little later than usual so you can snuggle up in bed and watch a movie or their favorite cartoon together.
- Snuggle Sleepover. Grab a bunch of books, snuggle up & read together in mommy's bed. Talk and have a nice chat with your little one about whatever is on their mind (trust me, they will LOVE having your undivided attention!) Afterwards, let your little one stay in bed with you for the night and have a snuggly sleepover with mommy.
- Rent a Movie. You can rent a FREE movie at your local Library or get one for under $2 at a Redbox kiosk. Pop some popcorn or make your favorite snack and then cuddle up on the couch for a fun movie date at home.
- Ice Cream Date. Every child loves ice cream, right? Take your little one out for an ice cream treat and have a nice chat with them while you sit and eat.
- Home Ice Cream Date. Make big sundaes together or create your own milkshake/smoothies together!
- Paint Together. You can buy 2- and 3-packs of blank canvases at Walmart for under $5. Grab a bunch of paint & sit down together to create some fun mommy & me masterpieces!
- Write a Book. Staple a bunch of sheets of blank paper together and then create a silly story together. With each page, take turns adding to the story and see how silly you can get! You can also draw pictures to add to your story.
- Create Your Own Chalk Art. Grab a bunch of chalk and have fun drawing all over the driveway or sidewalk! We like to draw outlines of each other and then make them into the silliest "Chalk Mom" and "Chalk Kid"
- Play Board Games. Break out Hi Ho Cherry-O, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Bingo, Pie Face, Operation, Connect 4, Monopoly or whatever other family-fun board game you like!
- Create with Play-dough. Sit down at the table and get creative with play-dough! What are you going to make? Bonus idea - Take turns making something and see if the other can guess what it is in 3 guesses or less!
- Make Cards. Make beautiful cards to send to someone. You could send them to grandparents, family or friends who live far away, to thank Police / Fire Fighters / Military members, to lonely elderly patients in nursing homes ... the possibilities are endless!
- Go For a Drive. Sometimes all you need is to just get out of the house. Take a nice long, scenic drive together and talk about whatever they want to talk about or play their favorite music and sing as loud as you can together!
- Go to the Playground. Embrace your inner child and have fun swinging, running and playing at the playground with your little one!
- Play a Sport. It doesn't matter whether or not you're good at it. All that matters is that you're showing an interest in the sport your kiddo likes & giving them some quality time alone with you. Shoot hoops, kick the soccer ball, play miniature golf, play catch ... just give it a try and watch the big smile on your little one's face as you play together!
- Make Music. Whether or not you're musically inclined, this is always a lot of fun with the kiddo! Turn on some music, dance around, play your instruments & pretend you're real rock stars. You can use real instruments, toy instruments or even make your own instruments out of household items!
- Go on a Library Date. Take your little one to your local library. Most libraries offer free kid's workshops, classes and fun family activities that you can enjoy together! Or you can just enjoy a quiet afternoon snuggling together and reading as many books as you possibly can.
- Lunch Date. Most restaurants offer a lunch menu that is much less expensive than the dinner menu. Or, you can go out for Fast Food. Either way, it's nice to enjoy a lunch date with your little one.
- Go to the Beach. Florida has almost 1200 miles of coastline and over 600 miles of beaches - all you have to do is pick a beach, grab a towel & some SPF, then head out for a fun day in the sun! Click here to visit our Florida Beaches page.
- Search for Shark's Teeth. You read that right. Did you know the beaches in Boca Grande, Englewood and Venice are known for being the best beaches to find shark's teeth? We've visited these beaches many times and have always left with a handful of dime-sized shark teeth!
- Build Something. Home Depot offers free Kid's Workshops on the first Saturday of every month. They provide all the materials for an easy-to-build wooden craft, tools & paint - all you need to do is show up and have fun helping your little one! Note: Although the Kid's Workshop is free, Home Depot requires prior registration in order to make sure they have enough supplies. Click here to find your local Home Depot & register your child for the next workshop.
- Go Old-School. Last Christmas we got a Classic Nintendo and we have had so much fun playing "old-school games" (as our 6 year old says) together. Whether it's the Wii, Nintendo, or something else entirely - sometimes it's fun to just embrace your inner kid and play family-friendly video games together!
- Go for a Walk. Florida has warm sunny weather most of the year, which is why it is called the "Sunshine State." You can go for a walk at one of our many parks, walking trails, beaches or simply take a long stroll around your neighborhood.
- Go for a Bike Ride. Take advantage of one of Florida's many bike trails or just go for a bike ride around the block a few times together.
- Visit a State Park. Florida is filled with thousands of acres of beautiful wildlife. Click here to find a State Park near you and have fun discovering "Real Florida" together!
- Go on a Picnic. Have a picnic at the park, in the backyard or even in the livingroom!
- Go Camping. It doesn't matter if you're camping at a park, at a campground or in the backyard - snuggling up under the stars with your little one is always special.
- Try Something New. Teach your little one something new or let them teach you something they recently learned. Or attend a fun family-friendly event that you haven't been to yet!
- Think Science. There are so many fun (and safe!) science experiments you can try together and most you can do with ingredients you may already have in the house. Looking for kid-friendly science experiments you can try? Click here!
- Dollar Tree Shopping Spree. Set a budget of $5 or $10 and take your kiddo on a shopping spree at the Dollar Tree!
- Play Card Games. There are lots of fun card games out there - Go Fish, Uno, Old Maid, Crazy Eights, War...just to name a few!
- Have a Nerf War. Little boys will especially love this one! Get out the Nerf guns and bullets and have fun running all over the house or yard as your play Nerf War with each other.
- Water Balloon Fight. A water balloon in the backyard is a great way to share lots of laughs with your little one -- AND cool down on hot Summer days!
- Go Swimming. If you don't have a pool, check with your local community center or YMCA (admission is usually under $5 per person.)
- Play with a Slip N' Slide / Sprinkler. Slip n' slides are still lots of fun - you can either buy one or make your own out of a tarp, liquid dish detergent and a water hose! There are also tons of great Sprinklers out there these days... be a kid again and have a fun afternoon running through a cold sprinkler with your kiddo in the yard!
- Just Play Together. Fully immerse yourself in your child's world of play and imagination! Let them take the lead and play along.
- Stay Up After Dark & Stargaze Together. This is a favorite, super simple mommy & me date idea that my boys love! After dark we go outside & lay down side by side on a blanket, then quietly talk as we look at the stars and try to spot the planets, satellites and constellations. (Check out this awesome stargazing app!)
- Sandcastle Challenge. Fill a bag with small shovels, cups & buckets and head to your local beach for a fun mommy & me sandcastle challenge! Make the biggest sandcastle ever... or try something new and see if you can make a sandcastle that looks like a turtle or shark!
- Bird/Wildlife Watching. Mommy & Me dates can be peaceful and quiet too - all that matters is that your little one is having fun with you! If your child loves watching wildlife, grab a couple pairs of binoculars and head to your local park or wildlife preserve and see how many cool creatures you can spot! (Tip: Have your little one write down or draw every creature they see in a journal & let them add to it every time they see something new.)
- Taco Tuesday. Tacos are one of the easiest meals to make & most kids love taco night! Make a date out of it by cooking together and letting your little one help you as much as possible. Once the cooking is finished, enjoy your delicious dinner for two!
- Tea Time. Dress up in your fanciest clothes, make some yummy tea and cookies or finger foods and sit down together for a fun tea time date. This date idea is especially fun if you use your child's little table and chairs & allow them to "invite" their favorite stuffed animal or doll.
- Go Horseback Riding. There are lots of great places in Florida that offer horseback rides for both kids and adults. Not sure who to call? Try calling a local petting zoo - they usually offer horseback rides - but even if they don't they will know who does in your area!
- Visit a Fruit or Veggie Farm. Some farms offer a "pick your own" approach to purchasing berries or other yummy fruits/veggies. We think it'd be so fun to spend an afternoon picking some yummy berries & then bring the them home to bake together in a delicious pie or fruit smoothie!
- Thrift Store Treasure Hunt. Bring a little bit of cash and have fun letting your little one search for the perfect treasure(s) to buy! We recommend stopping by your local Humane Society Thrift Store, Salvation Army or other local Animal Shelter thrift store - they always have some really cool, unique things and proceeds go to a good cause!
- Store Scavenger Hunt. Print our Store Scavenger Hunt List before you go and then see how fast you can work together to check off everything on this list! Click HERE to view our printable Store Scavenger Hunt List!
- Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. Print our Outdoor Scavenger Hunt List before you go and then see how fast you can work together to check off everything on this list (This is especially fun to do at a local park on one of Florida's amazing, sunny afternoons!) Click HERE to view our printable Outdoor Scavenger Hunt List!
- Coffee/Hot Chocolate Date. Sometimes the best mommy & me date is super simple. Sneak away for an hour or two with your little one and head over to your local coffee shop to sit, snuggle and chat while you drink Coffee (hot chocolate or a smoothie for the little one of course) together.
- Play I Spy. Again, super simple date idea but this is one of my son's favorites! You can do this in the backyard, the park or pretty much anywhere. Bring a picnic blanket and sit down together for a fun game of I Spy. Take turns and see who can correctly guess the answer in 3 guesses or less!
- Star in a Cooking Show. Want to get the kiddo laughing? Prep the ingredients for a simple dish or dessert then record your very own cooking show together! You can just be yourselves or choose to use silly voices or wear silly costumes - all that matters is it's fun! There are no mistakes - keep the phone set to record and just go with the flow. This mommy & me date ALWAYS has us laughing and the videos afterwards are priceless!
- Be an Artist. Paint or draw each other's portraits or paint/draw the two of you doing your favorite activities together. It doesn't matter how good you are - all that matters is that you're having fun doing it!
- Fly a Kite. Kites can be found for under $5 at most stores (we've also seen them at the dollar store during Spring/Summer!) Flying a kite together is a simple, timeless activity that is always fun to do!
- Build a Fort. Another of my son's favorite mommy & me dates! Grab the blankets and arrange the furniture so you can make a fun fort together. Once the fort is complete, bring in some flashlights and maybe even a couple board games (or let your kiddo lead the way on a fun imaginary adventure!)
- Squirt Gun War. A squirt gun war in the backyard is a great way to share lots of laughs with your little one -- AND cool down on hot Summer days!
- Lego / Block Building. Sit down together and have fun seeing what awesome things you and your little one can create!
- Go Fishing. It doesn't matter if you're good at it or if you actually catch anything - all that matters is enjoying the moment and having fun with your little one!
- Play with Bubbles. Kids LOVE bubbles! There are so many great bubble toys out there that you can easily make an entire mommy & me date just having fun playing with bubbles together. Click here to see the lighted bubble gun that my boys absolutely love to play with!
- Have Fun at a Splash Park. Florida has tons of great FREE splash parks & splash pads! Click here to see our list of Free Splash Parks from Naples to Tampa!
- Make Your Own Movie. Let your little one choose the theme. Then dress in character (perhaps super heroes or princesses) and set your phone or camera to record to film your very own short movie! There are no mistakes - just go with the flow. Be silly and have fun then laugh at your movie when you're all done!
- Take a Trolley Ride. For just 75 cents per person you can take your little one on this relaxing and scenic Trolley Ride!
- Go to a Museum. Florida has lots of great museums for families to choose from! Want to see our list of Florida museums? Click here!
- Visit a Zoo. Kids LOVE zoos! They are educational and a lot of fun. Click here to see our list of Florida Zoos and plan your trip today!
- Visit an Aquarium. Seeing sea life up close an personal is always fascinating and it's also a great educational way to spend a day with your kiddo! Click here to find info on some of our great Florida Aquariums!
- Have a Fancy Night Out. Get dressed up in your fanciest clothes and get dinner at a nice restaurant.
- Go See a Movie. There's always a family-friendly movie option at the movie theater! Splurge for some popcorn or nachos and make it an extra special treat for your kiddo.
- Visit an Arcade. Grab some cash and take your kiddo to a local arcade for hours of games & fun! Our kids love seeing how many tickets they can earn and are always super excited to choose their prizes at the end of the day.
- Spend a day at a Theme Park. Florida has so many amazing Theme Parks to choose from and they all are unique and so much fun! Be sure to visit our Theme Parks page to find ticket deals before you go!
- Visit the Kennedy Space Center. If your little one is fascinated with outer space and rockets, the Kennedy Space Center is the place to go!
- Spend a day at a Water Park. With Florida's warm, tropical temperatures almost all year long you can't go wrong spending a day with your kiddo at a Water Park.
- Go to a Concert. Look up your child's favorite singer/band and purchase tickets for an upcoming concert. You'll have so much fun singing and dancing with your kiddo during the show!
- Go to a Play or Show. It doesn't matter if it's Paw Patrol Live, the Nutcracker Ballet or somewhere in between. There are so many great shows all over Florida for every age!
- Sign up for Classes or Lessons. Try something new and sign up for something your child is into! Doing new things together can be a lot of fun - whether it's a craft class, martial arts, musical instruments, yoga, learning a new language, the possibilities are endless!
- Go Bowling. Bowling is a timeless sport that always provides lots of laughs and fun! They even have ramps & bumpers you can use to make playing easier on the littlest bowlers.
- Get tickets to Cirque du Soleil. Fill your night with amazement, wonder and watch the phenomenal gravity-defying stunts found only at Cirque du Soleil in Orlando!
- Make it a weekend. What's better than a mommy-and-me date? A mommy and me weekend of course!
- Enjoy a special themed night at a restaurant. Check with local restaurants to find out if they're planning any fun family-themed nights near you. (SWFL families may love to know that many Chic-fil-A restaurants offer fun, family-friendly themed nights each month! Interested? Check our Event Calendar to see what's happening this week!)
- Take a Train Ride. There is something so magical about going on a train ride. Even better, go on one of these fun themed train rides at the Florida Railroad Museum!
- Visit a Botanical Garden or Butterfly Garden. There are plenty of great Botanical Gardens and Butterfly Gardens to choose from in Florida - for starters, check out the McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach and the Naples Botanical Garden right here in SWFL!
- Get Up Close with Animals at a Petting Zoo. There are SO many great places to up close with wild animals! One of the places we love visiting is Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee!
- Go on a Boat Ride. In every beach-side city in Florida there are lots of charter boats and tour boats that offer family-friendly rides! Many offer discounted or free admission for little ones. (Fun tip: An evening boat ride during Christmastime can be extra fun because many towns offer Christmas light boat tours!)
- Go to a Rollerskating Rink. Lace up those rollerskates or rollerblades and have a great time skating around to fun, energetic music together!
- Take a Painting Class Together. Embrace your artistic side and have fun painting pottery or canvas at one of your local art venues! (If you're in SWFL, check out Artopia's classes in Englewood! They offer weekly Kid's Art Classes and also a Daddy & Me Class in May where you can make Mom a special gift for Mother's Day!)
- Tour an Art Gallery. There are many fabulous art galleries here in Florida but did you know there's an amazing art gallery at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota? Best of all, they regularly offer generous discounts on kids admission and some days kids get in FREE!
- Explore a New Town. Adventure is calling! Plan a one-tank-gas trip to another city that you haven't been to yet. Have fun exploring the town together and then stop for lunch at one of their hometown restaurants or diners!
- Start a Little Garden. This one is a fun, ongoing mommy & me date option. Pick a spot in your yard to create a garden that you and your child will regularly maintain together. Let your child help you put the garden together & choose what you will grow in it (veggies are always fun!) Over the weeks, have fun chatting with each other as you tend your little garden together. If you grow fruit or veggies, perhaps you and your little one can make a special dinner featuring your home-grown fruits or veggies to share with the rest of the family!
- Kid's Choice. Set a price limit then let your child plan an upcoming mommy & me date that fits within the budget!
- Attend a Sporting Event. It doesn't matter if it's high school, college or pro - all that matters is that your kiddo is into it and you two are enjoying your time with each other! Need some ideas? Check out our Florida Sports page!
- Attend a Formal Daddy/Daughter Dinner & Dance. There are several daddy/daughter dinner & dances held throughout the year here in Florida! Check our events page to see if there's one coming up soon here in SWFL! Not from SWFL - that's ok! Try calling your local community center or library and they will be able to provide you with info for your area.
- Create an Inspiration Book. Grab some cameras & explore nature together. Take pictures of everything that you find beautiful and inspiring. Put the pictures into an album (Walmart & Shutterfly offer great photo books at reasonable prices!) Leave room next to each image so you & your child can hand-write a small note of why each picture was meaningful.
- Design Custom Printed T-shirts. Grab your art supplies and have fun making your own custom design on a 8x11 sheet of paper. Once your artwork is dry, you can scan it and upload it to VistaPrint.com to create your very own custom printed t-shirts!
- Design Your Own Clothes. This one is super fun! Purchase some plain shirts, hoodies, canvas shoes, canvas tote bags, or cooking aprons (just to name a few - the possibilities are endless!) then have fun using fabric paints or fabric markers to create your very own custom clothes together!
- WWE Wrestling. There are lots of pro WWE and semi-pro WWE-type wrestling matches here in SWFL - you may be surprised at how much fun they can be!
- Visit Sky Zone. Trampolines - fun theme days - weekly discounts for kids - need we say more? Click here to find a Sky Zone near you!
- Monster Truck Race. Another favorite - big trucks, bigger trucks and MONSTER trucks! What more could a kiddo ask for?
- Visit a Children's Museum. It's a museum but even better because everything is made to be touched, explored and played with!
- Visit a Planetarium. Does your kiddo love nature & wildlife? A visit to a nearby planetarium may be something they'll love! This planetarium in Fort Myers even offers laser light kid's shows!
- Race Go-Karts. Racing go-karts is so much fun!
- Visit TreeUmph Adventure Course. This place is filled with some of the most daring, innovative adventure games you'll find anywhere outside your own imagination. Suspended logs, wobbly footbridges, ziplines and more! Click here for ticket info.
Daddy & Me - Making a Difference Together:
- Feed the hungry. Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen or Homeless Shelter together.
- Give a little love. Buy small gifts (flowers, teddy bears, lap blankets, crossword books, etc) and hand them out to the lonely, elderly folks at the nursing home. *Of course, make sure you get permission first from the staff before you go.
- Say thank you. Make a big thank you card & a bunch of tasty treats (or buy some) and bring them to your local police station, sheriff's office, fire station or hospital.
- Be charitable. Look up charities with your child and choose one together. Start a fundraiser and earn money for your charity by doing small jobs/chores together or bake & sell goods in your community.
- Spread some cheer. Paint small rocks with happy images or a short encouraging message, then hide them around town for others to find.
- Be helpful. Offer to help someone with a project they can't do on their own. Perhaps you and your little one can help repair something or build something (example: putting bookshelves together for grandma, or helping a neighbor with a small project) Afterwards, go out for a lunch or dessert treat with your kiddo!
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FLORIDA FAMILY FUN TRAVEL Blog
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