20 {off the hook!} Mommy Son DatesJan 28th

The words “Hey, little Buddy” tumbled out of my mouth as the nurse placed my newborn son in my arms.

Buddy? When did I decide he was my “Buddy”? I never said anything like that to my first-born, my daughter. My pain-numbed mind made a note to think on it later. After two and a half years, I have it {sort of} figured out.

He is my buddy, my pal, my teddy bear. He dazzles me with his charm, but doesn’t try to play me…yet.  He says, “You’re pretty, Mama” and it means I’m the most beautiful woman in his world. I hold his hand to keep him safe, and I know one day he’ll do the same for me.

Ok, I really don’t want to get all “As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be” on y’all. But for reals. This mother-son thing is pretty sweet. I’m still learning how to relate to him and teach him as best as I can. But there is a significant difference in raising a daughter and a son. With girls, moms can rely on intuition–we rely on our own personal experiences as a daughter. With boys? Well, it’s a great, big, unknown world.

What I do know is that spending quality time with this funny little boy is the best thing for both he and I.

Now, as my son is only two and a half years old, there has not been an abundance of dates. While I intuitively know what works for a mom and daughter, I needed to consult an “expert” in the field of mother-son dating. My cousin, Karee, is just the expert I needed for this project. For as long as I can remember, I have looked up to her. Not only is she a wonderful role model and friend, but she is a stellar mom to three boys.

They are good boys–they are gentlemen. No joke, when I was pregnant with Coco I stayed with them for about a week. Every morning when I would take my shower, they made my bed for me. A seven-year-old made my bed. 

They are respectful and sweet to their mom. They are good with little kids. They are bright, interesting, and funny. They are good boys. Gentlemen.

I asked Karee for a few tips in writing this post. I wanted to get the golden answer as to why her kids are so wonderful. What struck me is the unique relationship she has with each of her sons. How do you have a unique relationship with each child?

Simple. You need to spend quality, one on one time with them. You need to date them.

Today I’m sharing 20 date ideas for you to try with your son. Some of these are from Karee, some of them are from me. If you have an idea that isn’t on the list please share in the comments! I would love to hear from you.

And now, without further adieu:

mommy son dates

1.) Frozen dessert and Firemen. Grab some ice-cream, fro-yo or a smoothie and go gawk at your local fire station. If you play your cards right (read: look pretty) you might just get him a free tour.

2.) Mud Fight. Ok, your mom klout will soar if you do this. Put on clothes that you don’t care about and dress him the same. Find a nice, dirt field or hose your backyard. Whatever. The point is–find mud and play in it. Bring a soccer ball and watch your little guy turn from mommy lover to goddess worshipper in five minutes flat.

3.)  Coffee and Games Take him to Starbucks and bring a game. Depending on his level of intelligence age this could be anything from CandyLand to Monopoly. Of course, the lovely baristas of Starbucks might not have the patience for something as drawn out as Monopoly. I certainly do not. But you get the point, I hope.

4.) Cheap Zoo. Here’s something my best friend does with her little guy: take him to PetCo or a local pet store and pretend its the zoo. As long as he’s under the age of five, this is sure to be entertaining. If he’s over five, he’ll probably convince you to buy a hamster–so steer clear.

5.) Bug Hunt. What little boy doesn’t love to find bugs? When I was a kid, I had a sick fascination with catching wasps in a milk carton and then killing them by the mass. You could say I was a mass wasp murderer.

You could opt for something less violent and more “kind” by just finding lady bugs, butterflies, and maybe some crickets. It’s all about the kill hunt. I just assume that the world is a better place with less nasty wasps flitting about.

6.) Adventure.  Pack food and blankets in backpacks. You need a natural, woodsy location. But actually, the beach, desert, or even a nice park would work fine.

Put on your backpacks (it’s important he has his own pack) and set out for a little hike. Stop to make camp and have him gather firewood. Arrange your picnic and pretend you’re sitting by a crackling fire. Then, pretend it’s bedtime and you’re sleeping out under the stars.

You can fill an afternoon with a faux camping trip, complete with ghost stories and bears. Make it extremely imaginative and let him take the lead. It’s an adventure in survival–boys LOVE that stuff.

7.) Book Store. Take him to a book store and let him discover new interests. Of course this will depend on his age, but you might find that he enjoys more than just the kid section. For example, Karee’s oldest has been interested in airplanes for about as long as he’s been talking.

The kid is in high school and has already flown a plane. He knows more about flying than anyone I have ever met–and I know people in the air force. Karee did a wonderful job early on by encouraging this passion and cultivating it into an actual skill set. I have no doubt he will end up being a professional pilot. No doubt.

8.) Little League. Take him to a little league baseball game. My son isn’t yet playing sports but he is totally obsessed with them.  Whenever football comes on TV he stops as if in a trance and then tries to mimic the play. How cool would it be for your toddler to see the “big boys” play and learn that he, too, can one day play on the field.

I want my son to be a good athlete, just because I have that competitive mother-pride in me. But more than that, I want him to be a good team player. I don’t want the kid that is a ball hog, or a prima donna. Watching other children play together is an excellent way to foster a team player.

9.) A Play. Take him to a local play or musical. Just make sure you pick something high energy and with lots of color. As much as I love the old Bard, don’t do Shakespeare.

10.) Park Play Date. Take him to the park and play with him. No, really. Go down the slides, climb through the tunnels, and wow him with your mad monkey-bar skills.

11.) Water Fight. If the weather’s warm, have a water-gun war and call truce with popsicles.

12.) Fancy Dinner. Teach him what a date is. Dress up, give him a wallet with money, and have him open the doors for you. I would go somewhere like Chick Fil A or a nice deli so that you won’t have to wait around very long for your food. Let him “pay” for the meal and work at having a conversation with him. If I were to do this with Chaucer right now our convo would go something like this:

Me: So, how was your day?

Him: I want to have juice.

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Him: Spiderman…a zebra…I wanna be a firetruck.

Me: Great! Spiderman is a wonderful hero, and maybe you could also be a zookeeper. Or a fireman.

Him: Can we go to the zoo right now?

Yes, we’re not quite into the elaborate conversations yet, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t practice them with him. It is so important to teach our boys how to LISTEN and sit politely while someone else talks. Your fancy date is a great place to model this.

13.) Horses. We live near an equestrian center and my son loves to go visit the horses. We bring carrots and can easily spend a solid hour just petting the horse and slipping them carrots. I’ve also taken him to a place where they have pony rides and that might have been the most exciting thing in his little life. When he gets older I am definitely going to have him take riding lessons and that will be another date option for he and I.

14.) Gift Shopping. Boys need to learn how to give good gifts. Right? They need to learn how fun it is to plan and give something to people they love. Give him a wallet with some dollar bills and head over to the $1 store. This is a great opportunity to teach him about money, and consider other peoples’ interests. “Grandma might not need a new Spiderman toy, dear. She does love coffee, though. How about this lovely mug?”

15.) Bike Ride. Take him on a bike ride. Where should you ride? To a food place, of course.

16.) Play Johnny Appleseed. Stick some pots on your heads and head to a local orchard for good ol’ apple-pickin.’ Tell him that the only way to get the good apples is to sing the Johnny Appleseed song while you pick, “The Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed, the Lord is good to me!”

You may skip the Appleseed song, if need be.

17.) Laser Tag. Do I need to say anything about how awesome this is for boys? No.

18.) The Movies. Ok, one of the coolest things my mom does with my two younger brothers is go to all the midnight Harry Potter showings. How cool is she? My youngest brother is in college, but he drove three hours to keep the tradition with my mom. Epic.

19.) Running. Now, if you have a little guy like me–going on a serious run is probably not very feasible. However, he will love being active with you. You can “chase” him, and make it into a total game. Eventually, running together might just be a regular activity 🙂 Karee has run with her boys and participated with them in 5k’s. My friend, Sue, over at the Spin Cycle wrote an amazing post about running with her son and teaching him how to lose.

20.) Stargaze. This is one that I included in my original Mommy-Daughter Dates post. I think it’s a perfect date to share with both daughters and sons. Get some cozy blankets, pillows, and hot cocoa. Settle in for a wonderful time enjoying beautiful nature. You’ll probably get a little kumbaya–but that’s ok. If you don’t do anything else on this list, at least do this. No matter what his age or where he is at in life he will be amazed.

Cheat-sheet/printable for your fridge!


If you missed 20 Mommy Daughter Dates go and check that one out. Also, there is an Older Daughter Edition if you’re looking for something to do with teenage or adult daughters.

106 Responses to 20 {off the hook!} Mommy Son DatesJan 28th

  1. Sarah January 28, 2013 at 6:38 am #

    What great ideas. I need to start doing dates with my oldest.

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 6:39 am #

      Thank you! How old is he?

  2. Natalia January 28, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Oh my gosh, I am sitting here almost in tears reading this! So sweet and precious. I want my boys to be all these things, sweet, kind compassionate, good gift giver, able to go on a date. Sounds like your cousin is amazing and what a great example for someone like me with two boys! I have already pinned it, but I might even print it out so I don’t forget!

    Oh and I would add, build forts! Yesterday I painted the boys faces like tigers and we built a big fort/tunnels through the dining/living area and they were tigers all day. They had lunch under the table, they loved it!

    Thanks for the post – amazing!

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      That is a fantastic idea! I just added a printable cheat sheet–I’m printing it for myself as well 🙂 Your boys are way sweet, too. I have no doubt they’ll be wonderful men one day.

    • Jordan D February 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

      Totally agree on the forts…You can kick it up a notch by doing an indoor “camping party” one night too, sleep in your fort/tent, tell bedtime “ghost stories”, have smores, get creative 🙂

  3. Sue - The Spin Cycle January 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Another home-run compilation, girlfriend. And thank you for the kind words and link to my {sweaty} date with Twin B. xo

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

      Thanks, Sue! Your sweaty date stuck with me. Love!

  4. Alison January 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Love this!! I have two boys so this is fab. Thank you.

  5. Kim@Co-Pilot Mom January 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Love these suggestions! We stargaze with our boys and I highly recommend it! Both of them are so fascinated by star and planets. I also love trips to the bookstore and movies with my oldest.

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

      I think stargazing just makes you closer, and smarter. Always a good activity.

  6. Galit Breen January 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Oh, how I love these, and I have a sweet boy who I know would, too! 🙂

  7. Samantha January 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Thanks for this! I have 3 boys, 2 teens and a 2 year old. The teens have their own ideas but I often feel at loose ends about what to DO with a 2 year old to keep him occupied and his little mind working. Also, I didn’t know there was anyone else in the world who knew the Johnny Appleseed song 🙂

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

      Haha! Yes, my daughter did a unit on it in preschool and LOVES Johnny Appleseed 🙂

  8. Karee Alexander January 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    A wonderful post, Hill! Thank you for including us in this. God’s strength and grace has paved the way before me with all of my young men. I look forward to continuing the journey and watching their lives unfold before me. One minor thing…Brooks is in high school and will be 15 in just a couple of weeks. The time really does go so quickly! I love you, seet cousin and friend! 🙂 The sheet for the fridge was a great idea!!!

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

      No. No way he is in high school. Oh my word!! Ok, I will go back and change that. I cant believe he’s so old!

  9. Trisha January 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    My son’s favourite is setting up the tent indoors in the winter months and pretend we are camping..a nature sounds cd, plants, snacks and sleeping bags for a fun night.

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

      The nature sounds cd is a great touch–I didn’t even think of that!

  10. Mitzie January 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    I love this list – it’s my new bucket list! Thanks so much for posting this. I have another one to add. We have “art night.” It was supposed to be painting an object or on some paper but eventually my son gets so much paint on himself that we strip him down to the diaper. He much prefers painting himself. It’s non-toxic, washable paint so I figured why not? Then i help him paint his favorite shape all over himself. He now asks for it regularly.

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

      That is genius! And of course–why paint paper when you can paint yourself?

  11. Adelina Priddis January 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    I am so pinning this! As the mother to 3 daughters, and finally 1 little baby boy, I am going to need this. He’ll need some time away from his sisters I’m sure, lol. Thank you for sharing a fabulous list (now can you please share Karee?)

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      Haha! Karee is phenomenal. I forgot to mention that all of her kids are also smart and talented in so many different ways. Oh, and they can cook. Sheesh.

  12. Lara January 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    These are fantastic ideas! My twin boys are only a year and a half, but I can’t wait to do some of these with them. And your lovely reflection of your own son has helped me realize that it will be beneficial to us all if I sometimes split them up for some quality one-on-one time. Thanks for sharing!

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

      Thank you 🙂 That one on one time is truly the best thing for both moms and kids.

  13. Crystal January 28, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    Thank you so much for the great ideas! You brought a tear to my eye with the loving way you word not only your unconditional love for your son but how awesome it is, but a little harder to have a boy. I have a two year old as well who is very energetic, loves people & loves adventures. He needs to be out in the world. I’m especialy looking forward to the mud fight. I usualy keep him away but I plan on joining him & cannot imagine how happy he will be seeing mommy do it too! Thank you again!

    • hillary January 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

      He will LOVE that mud fight! The only disclaimer is, he’ll probably want to do it every day 🙂

  14. aimee steckowski January 29, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    i love your list — so glad you had a chance to put it together!!

  15. You Know it Happens at Your House Too January 29, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    This is fabulous Hillary! We are big fans of the mud wars and the bookstore, but now I have more great ideas on things to do with my little men 🙂

  16. nicolette @ momnivore's dilemma January 29, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    Okay, you are dead-on with the Petco. Dead-on. We live but two miles from one, and Monkey thinks it’s the “inside zoo”.

    Sharing. Sharing. everywhere…


  17. candotche January 29, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    I want a BOOOOOOYYYYY!!! Dadgumit. Maybe one day. I loved this blog. I cried at the opening picture. WHY did you do that to me?! And then you totally threw me off when you started talking about Aunt Karee, cried all over again. She’s pretty amazing, and her boys are just as amazing. I love her, I miss her. I love you. I miss you. I”m a mess. Sorry.

  18. Ann @ My Nearest and Dearest January 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    What a great list! I have a 2.5 year old son and we too have a special relationship. I also hear myself calling him Buddy quite frequently!
    And I totally agree on the pet store. I love free entertainment!

    • hillary January 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Weird how it just slips out, huh?

  19. Kim January 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Swoooooon! You had me at “Hey Little Buddy” and “they are gentlemen”. I love knowing that while the boys can have down-in-the-dirt fun and games, there is no reason whatsoever that they can’t be gentlemen, too. Someday in the future a young lady and her parents will be so very thankful for the love of play and the lessons instilled in these young men.

    • hillary January 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      You always say it better, Kim!

  20. Ness @ One Perfect Day January 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    This is a FANTASTIC list! Thank you! I’ve started weekly dates with my 4 year old this year and was looking for inspiration. You also have the BEST blog name ever.

    • hillary January 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      Haha! Thanks 🙂 Glad you like it.

  21. Ninja Mom January 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    I love the real date idea and the Starbucks game date. Smart.

    My son is my biggest fan, for sure. And you’re absolutely right about raising girls. I pull form my own experiences and I raise them to become women with that in mind. With my son I don’t have that touchstone, so it’s easier for it to be in the moment and all about our interactions.

    Of course, some of these ideas are great for mom-daughter dates, too. Might have to try them out with all the kids, one at a time.

  22. Chris Carter January 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    When I take my now seven-year old out on dates, he and I always sit on the same side of the booth and cozy up like a romantic duo. God how I love it. He opens doors for me and tells me I look so pretty. He knows he has my heart. All of it. 🙂

    • hillary January 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      That is way sweet! love it!

  23. Mimi January 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    LOVED THIS!!!!!

  24. Aleta January 29, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Thank you Thank you Thank you for this post (and the cheat sheet) I’m copying it down now!! We are having our first baby NEXT MONTH (Ok, still feeling the shock of it) and we’re having a boy. While I’m thrilled about having a boy, I still felt a … disconnect and I think you pegged it… Now you have opened new avenues of what I can do to be an awesome mom to our son. Thank you!!

    • hillary January 29, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      It will be amazing, I promise you! I felt that disconnect too–but only until I got to hold him 🙂

  25. Mrs Biddle January 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    A lovely list with great ideas. Although on point 9, my 20 month old has already sat through a couple of very colourful and vibrant productions of Shakespeare, and our local theatre does a Family Shakespeare Festival too, so as a Bard lover, I appeal to you, please don’t cross him off your list. Just look for good productions! x

  26. Renee K January 29, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    Great ideas! My DD and I are having a weekend to ourselves. It’s been a long time coming and I can’t wait to use some of your suggestions to diversify our usual hanging out, watching MythBusters TV marathons! 🙂

  27. Mel January 30, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    This truly is an answer to prayer for me! As a mom to two wonderful boys, I often struggle to find something we can enjoy doing together and have definitely felt . Legos and Star Wars just aren’t my first choice of entertainment! 🙂 These ideas are great and are things I think my boys would really enjoy. Thank you so much for posting!!!

  28. Sarah Bowling January 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    These are awesome! I only have a baby girl right now, but I am pinning these for future reference!

  29. Frugalistablog January 30, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    I called my son Buddy too!! He’s 9 now and our mommy son dates include High Tea and trips to book stores. I love that he’s my little professor but he can get all dirty and silly with his dad and play football too.
    So cute.

    • hillary January 31, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      Can I just say that I LOVE that you have a little professor? As someone who is married to one, that is just adorable!

  30. Sherri January 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    Those ideas are so great. I have done many of them and look for more ideas to keep the relationship and good times going. One fun thing we used to do a lot when he was very little was drive. I would let him sit on my lap and steer in a large empty parking lot. Then I would put him back in his car seat and he would tell me where to go… left, right, left, straight, right. It was really fun for both of us.

  31. Allison Hart @ Motherhood, WTF? January 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    I did the dressed up dinner date with my 5-year-old a couple of months ago. He wore a tie. We went out for Chinese, his favorite. He got a Shirley Temple, which he never had before, and felt very grown up. It was so cute and he was so disarming. I agree that raising a boy is a whole different kettle of fish! I just don’t “get” him the way I get my daughter. His interests are repellent to me. It’s not firetrucks and trains, which I could stand, but fighting, making everything a gun, and causing as much entropy as possible. So, for us, the best dates are the grown up kind.

    • hillary January 31, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

      Hahaha! He sounds like a handful 🙂 But the Shirley Temple and the fact that he loves Chinese food? So cute.

  32. Chelle February 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    My 3 year old and I do a lunch date every week after one of his preschool classes. We also go to the library for him to play and discover new books and activities. We try and go to a couple different local libraries to change up the routine. He always gets to pick the place for lunch and I pick the library. Many of the libraries have activities geared toward certain age groups too that are fun family activities and a great way to given younger children new social experiences.

  33. Danie February 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    Great list! My mom used to start whip cream fights. It was great, we (my siblings, cousins, and I) would each be given a can of whip cream and sent outside. We would all chase each other around getting messy and sticky. My mom was the worst (read best). She would always sneak up on us! It was so much fun! Though very very messy, its a great activity for all ages and genders!

    • hillary February 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

      LOVE that! Those are fab memories you have there! I’ll have to tuck that one away for later use 😉

  34. Aislinn February 3, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    This was so great for me to read! I’m 20 weeks along with our little boy, and this post was so encouraging to me. I have a 10-month-old girl and grew up just with a sister, so having a boy still seems crazy and foreign. We found out he’s a he 2 weeks ago, and posts like this one are helping me get excited! Thanks.

    • hillary February 4, 2013 at 8:18 am #

      Seriously, little boys are the best! You will have so much fun!

  35. Joanna February 5, 2013 at 12:54 am #

    Thank you so much for this list of ideas! Sounds like we’re going to have a great time 😀 Just wondering what age do you think we should start this? My son is 2 1/2.

    • hillary February 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

      I think now is a great time to start! My son is also 2 1/2 and he loves going on dates with me!

  36. Sarah February 5, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    I take my 4 and a half year old boy on dates :). He is so adorably “romantic”- he loves his mama :). Another fun date is to go to a bounce house place and jump/play your heart out! Don’t worry about looking silly- I think other moms wish they could be so uninhibited! Lol

    • hillary February 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      so fun! I actually just bought a groupon for a bounce house–I’m gonna get in on that action!

  37. Kari February 7, 2013 at 2:36 am #

    These are great ideas! I have two wonderful boys! My oldest just turned 3 in January & my youngest just turned 2 months this week! I am sooo excited to have these dates with each of my boys! I want them to grow up to be wonderful sweet, smart, charming gentlemen. Thank you for posting this!

    • hillary February 7, 2013 at 7:15 am #

      How fun for you! That seems like a great age difference–not too close, but close enough to where they will be buddies!

  38. Mom Nages February 9, 2013 at 1:37 am #

    Great ideas! We already do several of these and I’m excited to try the rest. Visiting the pet store is definitely a favorite. One variation on visiting the fire station is watching construction sites. My 3 year old LOVES diggers and for about 18 months now I have scoped out the local work zones. Sometimes we just do a drive by, but he really loves it when we take snacks or a picnic and sit across the street from the action. He’s obsessed with garbage trucks too, but I haven’t gotten brave enough to take the picnic to the dump.

    • hillary February 13, 2013 at 6:34 am #

      Haha! I can see how you might not be so apt to take your lunch to the dump…but that is really cute 🙂

  39. Jen February 9, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    Great post!
    My 4.5 yr old son got a “date wallet” from my parents for Christmas this year. There were gift cards for restaurants and rock climbing and a wad of cash too. My parents told him he could take Mama out and do fun things and pay like a big kid. Now everytime we go eat out or something my son wants to pay for me. Often times he will say, “let’s go on a date”.
    I LOVE dating my son and I’m excited to see over the years how this tradition will shape our relationship!

    • hillary February 13, 2013 at 6:33 am #

      Wow! Way to go, grandparents! I want a date wallet of my own!

  40. boymom February 15, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    I have 4 boys aged 5-9 and I am often at a complete loss of things to do with them. I don’t get boys. I don’t find gross things humorous and I’ve never understood the fascination with cars/bugs/dinos and all the other stuff they are/were into. This is a wonderful list of things to do with them – however, none of these are things I would find remotely enjoyable in their own right. As a matter of fact I’d rather have my nails pulled out one by one than do most of these. I try to be the best mom possible however, so I suck it up and do things they enjoy; I feign an interest in the difference between various vehicles or dinosaurs and I endure lengthy conversations about bodily functions. I try to find joy in the fact that THEY are happy, but I feel like I’ve completely lost myself in the process. I’d be in heaven having a tea party, playing dolls or going to American Girl…

  41. Mahari February 18, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    I love these ideas. I absolutely LOVE going on dates with my 5yr old
    ! Thanks for the new ideas. We have a childrens theatre here that is fantastic. We visit as much as we can. We also visit the marionette theatre. Will be putting your list to good use. 🙂

    • hillary February 18, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      Great! Sounds like you’re in the perfect place–I would love to go to a marionette theatre!

  42. Christy February 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    I love this list! My 2 boys are teenagers, now, but I remember doing several of these things with them. Another thing you may want to add to your list is going to the library. When my boys were little, we would take a weekly trip to the library – sometimes for “story-time”, sometimes just the 3 of us browsing and reading books. We always came home with a big pile. It really instilled the love of books in them.
    Oh, and cooking/baking! My youngest got an Easy Bake oven when he was 4, because he always loved to help me in the kitchen. Who doesn’t love a man who can cook?
    I wish that I could go back and do some of the things on this list that I never thought of! Any ideas for “older” boys?

    • hillary February 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

      Sweet ideas!! You know, I am going to be compiling a list soon for older boy dates. I’m racking my brain because I obviously do not have an older son, but my mom raised four boys, so at least I can look to her!

      • Tammy April 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

        Movies work. My son and I have also gone out to dinner together. He is 19. But I could use some more ideas.

    • carla October 24, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Dress up for him on next date something elegant and dont forget the nylons

  43. Jen February 19, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    Swimming is a great one too!

    • hillary February 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

      Absolutely! My kids need lessons still 🙂

  44. edWillhite February 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    I love my mommy & “buddy” dates………my oldest is getting old enough that some of these don’t appeal to him anymore, but as they get older & their tastes change, you adapt……..I love the way that they talk when you are one on one, and if you have ever read anything about LOVE languages (Dr. Gary Chapman), most kids need quality time. I get mine from school once a month & let them choose where we go for a “lunch date” close to their school…my youngest loves legos, so sometimes I sit & build w/ him, my oldest loves sporty video games, so playing w/ him gives him the biggest laugh…….but hey it’s time together right? this summer they both want to go out w/ a sketch pad & draw w/ me……this may be a Mommy Date time….we’ll see! 🙂 Thanks for encouraging something so important for kids (boys & girls)!

    • hillary February 23, 2013 at 6:53 am #

      I think maybe every kid starts out with those love languages super acute, and then they develop into lesser or stronger versions later on. Quality time is probably the biggest way we can impact their lives. In that time we can hit on all the love languages and give them the security they need.

  45. Samantha February 26, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    What an amazing list! I can’t wait to try some of these with my little guy (and the rest when he’s a little bit older). Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I see it was already mentioned above, but we just finished up our first parent/child swim lessons. It was so great to see how much they learn in just a few weeks about the water!

    • hillary February 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

      That is on the to-do list for this summer! Neither of my kids have had swim lessons yet. Hope I’m not too late.

  46. Shannon March 1, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    Over these tips! Thanks so much for the ideas & inspiration.

  47. joanna March 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    love the list, as i have 3 boys. im going to figure out how to make time for the coffee house and game date this weekend, its perfect for either my 11 or 5 year old as we live in the cold!! my boys also love to go Geocaching, its like a treasure hunt in ur community, u can get a free app on ur phone and it gps’s u to the treasure, so we jump in the car go find 1,2 or 3 treasures and then go on a $5 McDonald date. what kid doesnt like a hunt, electronic and McDonald.:)

    • hillary March 2, 2013 at 7:14 am #

      Genius! This is seriously the first I’ve heard of such a thing. I know, I know. Do I live under a rock? Maybe.

  48. Sammy @ OceansOfPeople.com March 20, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Date doesn’t mean going out with special someone. But going out with extra special people like your family. What an inspiring blog to read.

  49. Crystal March 21, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    I just LOVE this post! For your blogging skills (I’m a nube) and I have a 4 year old boy- and I completely relate with what you’ve posted! I just LOVE him to pieces! He IS my lil Buddy! And we always go on dates- Now I have even more ideas! I love how many of them are a 2 in 1 type of date- Lincoln LOVES going on dates with me- and recently has been asking if we can go on dates together 🙂 hehe melts my heart! … We love Starbucks / Donuts (at the super target) and we just have conversation- or I”ll bring one of his toys to play with- — We also love Cherry Berry (its a frozen yogurt bar where we live) And bike rides to a food destination! haha- but now I have so many other ideas! My main issue has been a lack of vehicle since my husband and I share- but this helps me get more creative! Thank you!! I had another idea- trampoline parks are getting really big (at least in MN) and you can buy a half hour of play time pretty inexpensive! It’ll be fun for both- good excercise and wear everyone out! 🙂

  50. Tammy April 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    My son is 19 now but I did a lot of these things when he was growing up. Also swimming starting with the Mom and me program.
    Can you make another list for older boys please? 🙂

  51. Tammy April 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    I also made sure that I took lots of pictures during all of our activities, just in case, as an adult, he ever said, “You never did anything with me”….lol.

  52. Laura April 24, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    So cute! Great ideas! Mine’s 2 yrs and 1 month old…
    I think i would add more pretend games… like pretend you’re a pirate or a policeman…
    And the fooling around sessions. He loves learning body parts when I start playing “I’m gonna kiss your…” and he will tell me “hands, cheeks, hair :)” and all he can think of. Ends up in a lot of giggles for everyone.

  53. Joanna May 15, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    I have 2 boys one is 3 years and one is 5months. I need to try and do some more one on one time with my eldest haven’t had much chance since my youngest has been born. But this list as inspired me to do something about it! We live in the uk and do go to an outdoor playgroup once a week which involves getting muddy and big hunting and I usually take just the eldest which is great.
    I wanted to add something though and that us baking…my boy loves baking cakes and yummy treats…which we can then enjoy together. I also think its great for him to know that a man can be in the kitchen as well!

  54. Liz May 31, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    What a great post. My son is 4 years old and we have been dating for years 😉 The dates get better and better, and he is truly my best little buddy!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  55. Jenni June 6, 2013 at 3:25 am #

    I have a 4.5 yo boy (& 2 yo girl) & I LOVE to have fun with them (my like minded bestie & I have set up a blog just for that reason).

    My boy, although a handfull, is a very sweet, caring little man & loves time with his Mummy. I have been thinking about creating special ‘Mummy & Me’ dates & have just staring going through good ol Pinterest to get some inspiration & came across your blog. Can I just say, I have been in (happy) tears for the last 10 minutes reading over your magical & beautiful ideas! It is so nice to find a like minded Mummy that cares so much for her little boy!

    I will be taking a lot of your ideas (if you don’t mind that is) & doing the same with my little man. I’m sure (or more so, I know), that these ‘dates’ will shape these little boys into wonderful men that any woman would want to marry & more importantly, respect & love their Mummy that loves them so dearly.

    Thank you so much for your inspiration and hats off to you for being such an amazing Mummy! Your little boy is very lucky indeed : )

    Jenni x

  56. Laura June 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    My son and I went to the symphony several times when he was a boy. We attended a “Peter and the Wolf” concert that Steven King narrated. I am looking forward to sharing this experience with my grandsons as we also have date nights. Thanks for the great ideas.

  57. Jenni July 9, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    **DATE IDEA**
    I have a three year old and our sunday afternoons include a picnic near the airport to watch the planes.

  58. Wendy July 23, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    I like to take my guys for foot massages together too.

  59. Debi July 25, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    I am a grandma to small boys. I call them my little buddies and I have done these sort ofthings with them. They make me feel young again. We have so muc fun. GO GRANDMAS!!!!!!!

  60. Antoinette August 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    I have done date night with my son since my daughter was born…we still needed our one on one time, but you have really opened my eyes to how important it is and how I can use this to help mold my five year old as he grows into a little genlteman. Im not sure if you get time to read all your comments but if you do I just wanted to thank you! Im looking forward to trying all of your ideas and your son is lucky to have you as a Momma! 😉

  61. Alyssa K August 31, 2013 at 2:53 am #

    A couple of months ago, I won a free entry to a theme race. Kids 5 and under were free, so I signed up with my oldest son. He did great and now we have running dates while his brother is in preschool.

  62. Michelle October 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    I adore this list and I can’t wait to try these. I will have a dinner date with my 2.5 year old son every once-in-a-while. But tomorrow, is a special day for just the two of us and I was looking for something out of our norm so this is perfect. I also think the camping indoors or even in our backyards will be fun.

  63. Danielle January 8, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    Just read your article as someone shared it on Facebook and the ideas are absolutely spot on! Our nearly 6 year old knows where every single pet store is that he can go and visit cats (we will get one as soon as we finish renovating!) and everyone always comments on how well mannered and behaved he is. We have had mom & son date days/nights since the day he came in to our lives…he is like my added appendage as “Mommy is always doing something fun”…like grocery shopping for work – yeah!

    Anyhow, another one I would add is take the bus or train ANYWHERE!!! In most places children under 5 are free and you can usually get a transfer that would apply to your round trip. It is one of our best days out, we have an annual trip to Toronto, ON for the CNE and he loves it and starts planning the next one as soon as we get home!

  64. Kari February 1, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    My 2 year old and I like to go to the humane society and pet the kittens. They have a “Kitty City” where the cats are free to roam in a big room with toys and towers. He could stay in there for hours!

  65. Cyn Rogalski February 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    An elaboration on #19…my son would take off running & I’d yell,”FREEZE”. He learned to freeze right where he was, until I said “unfreeze”.
    Saved his life once. He was running, looking back at me, headed for the curb in a parking lot…cars everywhere. He was20 yards ahead of me-no way I could catch him, so I yelled FREEZE!!
    He stopped on the curb, ‘frozen’. I caught up to him, put my arms around him& said’unfreeze’. Then showed him where he was & what could have happened.
    The key to this working, is you’ve got to be willing to let him use it on you, anywhere, anytime. We made it a game from the time he could understand what a freeze looked like.
    It was a great way to keep my ADHD son safe & focused.

  66. JLC March 22, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    I love this post. I agree that bonding time is important. Boys learn from their moms about girls and dads show them how to treat a woman. Love the date ideas, especially the different ideas for different ages!

  67. Anna January 9, 2015 at 8:26 am #

    Sounds great except girls like those things too. Be careful not to leave the little princesses out of the fun. Girls can like mud, bugs, and the outdoors as much as your guy.
    I know I was one heck of a tomboy with a relatively sweet and sensitive younger brother.

  68. Laura April 12, 2015 at 8:56 am #

    I love this! I have 3 children, and my youngest is a boy. This couldn’t be more helpful to me. Thank you, ladies! Karee, you are an amazing!


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