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- Together, make a “connections box.” You can spruce up a shoebox, or use something meaningful from your home. Take some time throughout the week prior to “date night” to answer questions one or both of you create, or try some of these: Tell me what you were thinking on the day we met; what do you remember seeing, feeling, thinking, smelling? What is your favorite memory from the first year of our relationship? What is your favorite memory from the first year we were married? What is your favorite memory from last year? What was your favorite meal as a child? What is something you were afraid of as a child? Who taught you to drive (or ski? Or ride a bike?). Spend the evening pulling out the answers and connecting!
- Find your local junior high or high school’s band or choir concerts, and go get some free live music. The plays usually have ticket prices, but the music departments usually do not. Or if it’s up your alley, go sit in on a church’s worship team or choir practice.
- Game Show: Have fun creating your own quiz show for each other.
- Check your local community college or university lecture and show listings. There are great opportunities for free performing arts shows, talks, even comedy!
- Summer street festivals. Most towns offer free “First Thursday” or street festivals. Some are limited to summer, others happen year-round. You don’t need to reach for the pocket book to enjoy these events! Have fun walking around, watching the performers, and just being a part of your community!
- Bike Ride (Look up other people’s GoPro Bike rides or YouTube them.) Figure out which ones you would or wouldn’t have the nerve to tackle. You can also look up the bike professionals on the Dew Tours; those can be seriously entertaining and have a WOW factor for most of us.
- Hike. Take to the trails! Or if you’d prefer to hike from home, go on a virtual hike! www.naturevalleytrailview.com can take you to the U.S. national parks from the comfort of your living room!. The National Park Service also has a site for virtual hikes at <a href="https://www.nps.gov/webrangers/ihike/">https://www.nps.gov/webrangers/ihike/</a>.
- Free Museum Passes. Most local libraries offer free passes to local museums and other cultural sites. Check out a pass and have fun exploring!
- Help someone in your neighborhood. Is there someone who needs their dog walked, a meal delivered, or just perhaps a vase of flowers delivered to their door? Have fun serving others together.
- Where Are We Going? Head to a nice walking spot, trail, neighborhood, or park. Time your walk. Set a timer and walk in one direction for, say, 20 minutes. See where you end up! Perhaps you decide that will be the spot you eat a picnic lunch, or do a photo shoot!
- Head out to your local book store, and leave messages inside your favorite books to potential readers about why you liked the book, encouraging them to buy it. Or leave notes cheering them on for doing something healthy to take care of themselves, like reading. Or let them know, you simply like leaving notes for people just to make them smile.
- Head out for a walk outside, and every ten minutes draw an arrow in the direction that you’re going with a piece of chalk. At the end of your walk, leave a sandwich baggie of colored chalk with a note that says YOUR TURN,. (This is on the no-money-needed list because you can get chalk to accomplish this for a buck at the Dollar Store.)
- Using your cell phone and a pair of shoes, head out for a walk, whether indoors or out, and make a photoblog of a day in the life of the invisible man/lady. Send it via email to a child just to make them smile. Don’t have a specific child in mind? Why not send it to your local children’s hospital? Let them know you did it on a date night just to share it with some kiddos who might need a lighthearted distraction. (You can even do it around the hospital grounds as a way to tie it in to a familiar setting for them.)
- Prior to your date, mix a CD or create an MP3 playlist for one another. Then find a place that suits your relationship, and play them one by one, taking turns. Is there a specific reason you picked a song for them? Share those reasons. Were you wanting to put them in a romantic frame of mind? Lift their spirits? Give them courage to face a challenge? Distract them? Use your imagination and hand them something that will seriously end up being a gift.
- Make signs on standard copy paper that say the following:
~ (((YOU))) have been hugged!
~ You MATTER!
~ We like you!
~ You’re AWESOME.
~ Thank you for reading these.
(OR, you can make it all about encouraging other couples and have each sign reflect something along those lines.)
Then find several places that have security cameras, and one by one, hold the cards up facing the camera and hold them for 8 seconds before switching to the next one in line. You can wave goodbye in the end, or never really make yourselves a part of the filmed equation. Odds are, you’ll make somebody’s day and you’ll feel good, too, at the end of this date. (*NOTE: Avoid places such as ATMs or anywhere it could look as though you’re trying to block the camera in order to accomplish something illegal or devious…)