As dads, we should look for opportunities, both big and small, to connect with our daughters. Many times we think we need to impress our girls with something “big” when in reality a trip to the ice cream shop and good conversation is enough for her to feel connected to you. However, for those times when you want to make a really big memory, a day trip or weekend getaway can be a date that makes memories that last a lifetime.
For creating those extra-special moments, here are 9 unique daddy/daughter date ideas that you can try:
1. Dance With Sugarplum Fairies – If your daughter takes dance lessons (and many girls do at some point in their lives), take them to see a professional ballet. I have found The Nutcracker to be a nice entry point into the ballet genre (especially for dads). Fantastic costumes, lighting effects, and familiar music makes for a date she will always remember.
2. Take Her Out To The Ballgame – Not all girls dream of going to a ballgame (baseball, football, soccer, basketball, etc.) so don’t strike out (as I did) by assuming they’re going to love it simply because you do. However, if you have a daughter who loves sports, this can be an exciting experience as you watch their eyes stare in wonderment as they enter a large stadium for the first time.
3. Wash An Elephant – Going to the zoo may not seem “special,” but it is a great opportunity to share some time and conversation together – especially if your daughter is an animal lover. Many zoos offer “behind the scenes” opportunities such as feed the dolphins or shadow a zookeeper. On our zoo trip we signed up to help wash an elephant which turned out to be a memory we still talk about to this day.
4. Ride Scream Machines – The nice thing about a date to an amusement park is it works at almost any age level depending on the park. However, the sweet spot seems to be in middle school when they are tall enough to experience the “big” rides for the first time. A word of caution, you may want to bring earplugs. My daughter screamed on nearly every big coaster at decibels I thought only dogs could hear.
5. Par For The Course – This can be at your local Putt-Putt or you can travel to a specialty course as we did on a trip to the Chicago area to play one of Travel Channel’s top-ranked miniature golf courses in the country, Par King – a 36 hole, custom built course with roller coasters, elevators, carousels, and numerous other crazy things I’ve never seen at a mini-golf course.
6. Lullaby of Broadway – Like the ballet, you’ll want to find a musical with an easy “on-ramp” if either you or your daughter are first-timers. You generally can’t go wrong with Disney shows, Annie, or Peter Pan if your daughter is in elementary or middle school. When they reach high school age, you have many more options from which to choose such as Phantom, Les Miserables and Wicked just to name a few.
7. Be Her Prince At The Ball – Mostly geared for daughters 12 and under, father-daughter dances are popular in many towns across the country. It’s a great opportunity for you and your daughter to get dressed up, go out to dinner, and then dance the night away. I’m not sure you can officially be a father unless you’ve done the Cha-Cha Slide with your daughter!
8. Two Heads Are Better Than One – A favorite date of mine is to learn a new skill together. Maybe that’s signing up for a cooking class, climbing a rock wall, or learning to SCUBA together. The bond in doing something together that neither of you have ever done before is a bond that could last a lifetime.
9. Reel In The Lunkers – This is definitely not going to be for every dad and daughter, but if you have an outdoorsy girl, fishing may be just the thing to do. The great by-product of fishing is the opportunity for conversation between reeling in lunkers. Whether it’s from land or in a boat, you are almost guaranteed to come home with a “fish story.”
Hopefully this post will get your creative juices going. Just remember, what you do or where you go on a daddy/daughter date is merely the foundation on which to build a strong, healthy relationship with your daughter. The conversation and connection are the critical components to capturing her heart.