10 summer date ideas that are free or nearly free
Whenever I hear the word “summertime,” I immediately hear the George Gershwin song in my head: “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” But I’m guessing Gershwin didn’t have kids. Or he at least wasn’t in charge of them. Summertime is busy and hectic with kids at home. Figuring out summer date ideas in the midst of later bedtimes, activities, making memories and keeping up with everything is difficult.
My husband and I have learned we have to be intentional about ways to connect, especially during summer months. And this summer, with the cost of everything on the rise, coming up with some free summer date ideas is a great plan. You can connect, even without a babysitter or spending money.
Summer date idea #1: Sit outside.
Whether it’s your front porch or back patio, sitting outside together on nice summer evenings after the kids are in bed can be a great summer date. When our children were babies and toddlers, we’d take the baby monitor outside with us. Once they were older, we knew they could come and find us, but made sure to mention that if they don’t see us, then to look on the porch or patio. (It was the back patio at our old house and front porch at our new house.)
Having time to sit together and just reconnect after a busy day of life is nice. Pick a night and plan 30 minutes to an hour of just sitting together and talking.
Summer date idea #2: Find a series to watch together.
While many shows go to repeats during the summer, it’s a great time to binge a series together after the kiddos are in bed or whenever you have time together. You can find all sorts of ideas online or your favorite streaming service. If all else fails, re-watch a series together. Either way, focus on finding something you both like, put down your phones, snuggle up and watch together.
Summer date idea #3: Eat a cold treat together.
If you can find a babysitter or if your kids are old enough to be home alone for an hour, go out for ice cream together. Going out for ice cream is the perfect summer date idea, because ice cream goes great with hot weather. Plus sitting and chatting while eating a sweet, cold treat is a fun way to spend time together. Ice cream (or fro yo) doesn’t cost as much as going out to dinner. For $10 or less, you can eat get a cold treat.
And if you just can’t find a sitter, then plan an ice cream date at home — without your kids. During naptime or after bedtime, sit at your table with homemade ice cream sundaes or other frozen treat.
Summer date idea #4: Go for a walk together, and hold hands.
My husband and I are very much fair weather folks. He doesn’t handle heat well and my skin doesn’t get along well with the sun. But, find one of the nice summer days and go for a walk together. Walk around your neighborhood during your kids’ naptime. Take a stroll along a nature path nearby and let your kids explore (if they are old enough and it’s safe to do so) while you and your husband meander slowly behind them. Even better, hold hands to connect physically and emotionally!
Summer date idea #5: Color together.
If you have kids, chances are really good that you have some art supplies around. Hang out together and color one evening after the kids are in bed. My husband does some really great coloring with markers and shading. I, on the other hand, am much more basic. I use crayons and just color princesses. It doesn’t matter what you’re coloring, though. What matters is that you’re spending time together. Sometimes it can even be easier to talk if you’re both focusing on something else that’s kind of mindless as well.
Summer date idea #6: Tackle a project together.
This sound suspiciously like work, but my husband and I enjoy having time to be productive together and do tasks that have been hanging over our heads. Last weekend, for example, we spent a couple of hours working together on hanging wall decor in our home that we’ve needed to do for three years. Our kids were too worried about getting roped in to work that they both disappeared to their rooms and occupied themselves. My husband and I had a great time working and laughing together.
Just be sure to keep a good attitude about it and be willing to accept some unsolicited advice that could come your way. (I’m not saying that happened to me over the weekend, but I’m also not saying it didn’t!)
Summer date idea #7: Go geocaching together.
Geocaching was super popular a few years ago, but it still around now. If you can get some kid-free time, download a geocache map and head out together to find some geocaches. Take your vehicle or, to make it a completely free date, ride your bikes and get to it.
Summer date idea #8: Play a game together.
My husband and I love to play games together. Plan a game night date night for after the kids go to bed. I’m not at all a night owl and am definitely more of an early bird. So for post-bedtime game nights, I tend to like short and easy games rather than longer ones. Whether it’s a video, board or card game, playing games together can be a great way to spend time together.
Summer date idea #9: Go for a drive together.
This one isn’t completely free because you’d have to spend money on gas, but sometimes a drive on country roads near your house can be a great summer date idea. Roll down the windows if you want and let the wind blow through your hair, listen to music together or just chat and catch up. If your kids are small and will sleep in the car, make naptime mobile one afternoon and hit the road. Otherwise, you would need a babysitter or have kids old enough to be home alone for an hour.
Summer date idea #10: Read a book together.
I’m a huge fan of books. Read a fiction book together or listen to the audio version together. (Don’t overlook your local library as a great and free resource for these!) You can even read on your own and then talk about it like your own book club. Nonfiction books on relationships or any other topic you’re interested in are also great for date nights. Or look for an activity book for couples that the two of you can do together.