I grew up as an only child to a single mother so getting quality time with just her wasn't something we ever had to plan for or make happen. It was just us, living life, doing normal things, and I didn't really think anything of it. Sure, there were times we did extra special things like our trips to New York, or the time she took me to see The Nutcracker for the first time, but everyday was a mother/daughter date. Fast forward to 2014 - I now have my husband, my daughter and my son. There was no big conversation on how we needed to make this a priority, we just made it a priority. My husband and I started taking our oldest on dates, the days and times would change, the things we'd do would be different every time, but at the end of the day it wasn't really about what we did but that we were spending quality one on one time with each other. I've compiled a list of our favorite Mommy/Daughter dates. Hopefully some of these can inspire you to find the perfect thing to do with your little ones. Also, check back because I will be sharing my husband's favorite places to take our daughter, as well as our favorite places to take our son on dates.
1. Cambridge Tea House - We LOVE the Cambridge Tea House in Grandview. It has quickly grew into "our place" for my daughter and I. We celebrate the small and big moments here, we dash off for scones and iced tea any chance we get. My daughter loves getting dressed up to go here and politely requesting that I wear a dress as well. The staff is always so friendly, the food is delicious and the tea is the best I've ever had. I love that there is a place in Columbus that my daughter and I can call our special place. I would highly recommend reservations. We've tried to just pop by occasionally when we were able to get away but sometimes they run out of scones, or have a full house. If you do wait - trust me it's worth it.
2. Spa Day - I'm raising a diva and I'm okay with that. E and I LOVE spa days. Not kidding, her favorite place for a mani/pedi is The W Nail Bar, in the Short North. I one time made the mistake of letting her pick what type of pedicure she wanted and she picked coffee. WOW! Let me tell you, the coffee in your pedicure really does give you a burst of energy. Luckily it was just us in the space - plus about 5 of my closest friends, so I didn't have to worry too much because everyone thought it was hilarious but wow was my girl was bouncing off the walls. So, just a little tip - get yourself the coffee in your pedicure but make your little ones get the rose petals. ;-) We are also obsessed with The Blowout Bar. This is a personal favorite of mine. They have two locations, Dublin and Grandview, that are equally amazing. Blowouts for Mom are $40, and Blowouts for 10 and under are 25. They have a ton of other options like up dos, dry style, I woke up like this, hair extensions, and my personal fav 10 minute scalp massage. They have all of their menu selections with prices listen on their website to help you plan.
3. Lunch and Craft at American Girl Store - If you have a little girl I'm sure you are at least aware that there is an American Girl Store at Easton now. We've had a few lunches there and enjoyed it every time. We went for my daughter's birthday almost two years ago, for the first time and it was very sweet. They had high chairs for her dolls, the staff was very kind, and they had a very special birthday cake for her. We've also been on a random day and had just as much fun. If you ask - they have crafts in the back that they can bring out for your little ones (for a fee) which are fun to do while you wait on your food. Make reservations ahead of time!
4. Ice Skating - We have a few options for this fun date. The Chiller is an obvious first choice but if you don't need to rent skates Dublin offers a fun outside option at Coffman Park. In February Winter Park downtown opens - right next to Nationwide Arena. $5 per skater and includes skate rental. This year it opens February 3 and it looks like they will also have snow tubing as a fun option. Bonus, there is a Tim Hortons right across the street.
5. Seeing a performance - Seeing a play at the theatre is one of our favorite things to do together. Whether it's heading to Children's Theatre to see their newest feature or catching a musical with Broadway In Columbus - we always leave with our hearts full. I absolutely love that she is as into the theatre as I am. It has created lasting memories for us and I can't wait to take her to her first Broadway musical in New York. Note: CAPA is a great resource for all live entertainment in Columbus.
6. Paint Your Own Pottery - Oh, this one is so fun. We really enjoy our time at Color Me Mine in Dublin. They have a whole line of princesses, super heroes, unicorns, and so many really cool things for the kiddos to paint. They also have seasonal items, and the items do change often so you'll never run out of things to paint. We really enjoy this because we get the chance to sit and talk to each other while it's peaceful and calm.
7. Lunch at her favorite place - My girl is known to change her favorite place for lunch often. Occasionally it's North Star, sometimes it's Red Robin, sometimes it's Rusty Bucket. I just never know. Right now she's on a Chinese Food kick so I imagine she would pick a new restaurant if I were to ask her tomorrow. Letting her pick gives her so much power which is super fun for that age...which leads me to my next idea.
8. Let her take the lead - These days are my FAVORITE!!! I can only ever do them when we have all day to spend otherwise I end up having to cut it short and that makes her sad. We start mid morning/early afternoon and it's her day until bedtime. Typically it starts with brunch, some shopping, pedicures, stopping at every photo booth we see, getting an Iced Tea from Panera, and a whole lot of other random things she feels like doing. It's the perfect day. Sometimes I wish I could do this with her everyday, but then they wouldn't be as special.
9. Hiking - We normally do this as a mom/dad/daughter date. Our girl is very adventurous so it's better when it's 2 against 1 so that we can keep her safe. It's so fun and opens up so many conversations about nature, the world, and adventure. Our family favorite is Hocking Hills.
10. Mommy/Me Yoga - I am very active, I love staying fit and taking care of my body. My daughter sees that when I take her to the gym with me but she gets so sad that she can't work out with me. While the gym doesn't allow kids under 12 anywhere besides childcare and the pool - I can still get her passionate about fitness through Mommy/Me fitness classes. I've found yoga as the best option for her age.
Remember, it's not always about what you do or how much money you spend, it's about spending quality time just the two of you. These are memories she will look back and remember. She may remember that time you slipped on ice, or the way you laughed when she told a joke, she may remember you teaching her to ice skate and making her get back up when she fell, or the way you'd kiss her boo boo. The point is, she will remember these moments big or small and it's important to have these special memories between just the two of you.