33 Geeky Mama-Daughter (Parent-Child) Date Ideas

There are a ton of sites that feature ideas for a mother-daughter date, both for little girls and for young women. A lot of them look the same to me: go to a spa, get pedicures together, see a movie, eat gelato, go shoe shopping. They read like lists of what all women are expected to do alone or in groups. While it’s nice to see movies and eat gelato, most of these activities sound, well, boring to women like my daughter and I.

Instead, I offer you ideas for activities a geeky parent might do with their child (let’s remove the gender assumptions here) on a date:

  1. Roleplay (LARP, tabletop, MMORPG)
  2. Sword fight in the park with boffers or rattan swords
  3. Join in a game at a gaming store
  4. Collaborative Story Writing Game – the game where you each write a couple of lines, but then fold the paper so the other person can only see the last line.
  5. Use a science kit or explore a science experiment detailed in a book or online
  6. Play laser tag or paintball
  7. See a play in the park
  8. Join in a drum circle
  9. Visit an observatory, museum, zoo, or conservatory
  10. Go to beach at low tide
  11. Filk songs together
  12. Hold a conversation using only pop culture references
  13. Create a secret handshake
  14. Write letters in code (make up a code if you’re feeling adventurous)
  15. Go for a drive or get on a bus to a place you’ve never been and act like explorers wherever you end up
  16. Spontaneous street theater
  17. Treat your date like a musical and sing about the things around you. In public. You can do this.  Or if singing isn’t your style, dance-walk down the street as you head toward your destination. This is a great way to break introverts out of the bad habit of avoiding social awkwardness. Homeschooling introverts (I may be speaking from experience) can tend toward making hermitage a habit. This breaks us out of it.
  18. Express yourselves through interpretive dance
  19. Go to a convention together
  20. Design and make a pairing/group cosplay together
  21. Go out at night to stargaze with a picnic dinner
  22. Grab some pizza and visit an arcade together; show your kid what a pinball machine is (if s/he doesn’t already know)
  23. Go to a robot or lego tournament
  24. Go on a haunted tour of your city (Seattle has some great haunted tours as well as other walking tours that focus on architecture)
  25. Bake a cake or make a meal based on your favorite shared fandom
  26. Grab some snacks or a travel lunch and go on a hike. Bonus: if you can incorporate geocaching into the hike or collect items for a collage/project later
  27. Climb something together: trees, rock walls, buildings, features at your local park. Photograph your achievements (but please, know your limitations and don’t overdo it)
  28. Pretend you’ve switched bodies and act like one another as you go out on an ordinary lunch or dinner date (alternatively, you can pretend you’re both body swapped with a character and you have to guess who the other is). Act it out through the whole date (or day, as my daughter recommends).
  29. Pick a spot in an area of high foot traffic where you can sit together (a cafe with outdoor tables or a restaurant with open windows onto the street is ideal) and people watch. Make up stories (e.g. sci-fi, fantasy, spy, mystery, don’t be cruel, this isn’t a chance to make fun of someone’s appearance) about the people who pass by.
  30. Buy or gather cheap paperbacks of stories you both love and leave them in random places with a note that the book is free to take and enjoy (a la “take a penny, leave a penny” concept)
  31. Pick a book you both haven’t read but are curious about and read to each other, switching readers each chapter. Have lots of water or cafe drinks on hand, as this can make your throat dry.
  32. Go to a busy cafe and write down any snippets of conversation you hear. Write a short story together using only the dialogue overheard at the cafe.
  33. Start learning an ancient or uncommon language together, one made up to express ideas like Toki Pona, or a language created for sci-fi and fantasy stories. Geeks don’t just have Klingon or Elvish to turn to for inspiration, there’s Tamarian from ST:NG, Laadan from Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue, and many more available to learn.

These are just a few ideas the family brainstormed.  What have you done as a parent-child date for bonding time?

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