Daughters love spending time with their dads! There is nothing as sweet as a special time with dad. I know my daughter lights up when she gets to spend special time with “daddy.”
It doesn’t matter what they are doing, as long as they are spending time together. Even a trip to the store can be a magical adventure if you are with dad.
If you are a dad and looking for daddy-daughter ideas, read on. Next, is a list of some great dad and daughter day ideas from preschoolers to teenagers so that you can spend time with your girl depending on their age and interests.
But, before we start, here are some important things to consider…
Why Go on Daddy-Daughter Dates?
Fathers.com has done extensive research on the impact fathering has on children. Children who have a strong relationship with their dad benefit in many ways.
Model Healthy Relationships
The biggest reason for daddy-daughter dates is to model a healthy relationship.
Spending time letting your daughter know that she is special and she deserves kindness will let her know what a healthy relationship looks like.
Buy some flowers, dress up and invite your daughter to spend some quality time with you.
Kids who have a strong relationship with their dad are more likely to score above average in school. This goes across grade levels!
Talking about school and helping with homework are not the only ways to help your daughter in school, just spending time together and letting them know you are interested in their schooling can help boost their pride and engagement with school work.
In fact, use the opportunity to ask her about school during your time together. Take a close listen and see how you can help improve the areas where she might need some extra support and encouragement.
Daughters who make their dad proud are more likely to be proud of themselves according to the Pediatrics of Franklin. Mothers are pillars in children’s development of self-confidence, but fathers can also help build that inner strength.
Spending time together talking about your daughter’s day, her struggles, and her victories can help her develop strong self-esteem.
Planning a daddy-daughter date gives you a focused time to make sure you are truly building a relationship with your daughter that will help her succeed in school and in life.
Daddy-Daughter Date Tips
- Remember it is about her, not you. Go somewhere that will interest your daughter and be sure to listen to her ideas and suggestions for your special time together.
- Dress up! A special outfit can make your date feel more special and take you out of the everyday.
- Consider a gift. While it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on your daddy daughter date, a small gift is a good idea. A favorite candy bar, a few flowers, and/or a hand written note are good ideas.
- Try something new! New experiences are more likely to be remembered, so try something new and create everlasting memories. I am sure you will find something new on our list!
So, let’s get started and get you one step closer to an amazing day with your favorite girl!
Daddy Daughter Date Ideas for Preschoolers
1. Visit a Local Museum
Children’s museums are incredible places for preschoolers to learn more about their environment and play.
These museums usually have large interactive exhibits that will be fun for both of you. We went to one where you could make enormous bubbles or build cities in water tables or sand tables.
2. Grocery Shopping
Many won’t consider a grocery store trip a place for a date. However, ask your preschooler daughter if she would do you the honor of her being your special helper at the store. I guarantee you she will be delighted!
A trip to the grocery store can be a great date if you make it special.
Here are some great Daddy Daughter grocery store date ideas:
- Get some quarters and grab a toy from the vending machine at the front of the store.
- Go in an alphabet hunt in the store!
- Bring a grocery list and let her cross off all of the items as you find them.
- Allow her to locate the items you are looking for, grab them, and put them in your cart.
- Let her pay the cashier and teach her what to do!
3. Nature Walk
This is not only one of our favorite things to do as a family but one my 6-year-old daughter and husband really enjoy doing together. A walk around the neighborhood is a great free date. Spend time looking at the trees, birds, wildlife, and sky around you while you work.
Even if you only have a basic knowledge of the birds in your area, it will still be exciting to share that knowledge. If you want to learn together an app like Seek by iNaturalist can be a fun way to identify plants and animals.
A nature walk also gives you a great opportunity to interact with your daughter. Ask her some questions and allow her to open up to you.
4. Bake a Cake
Having a project to work on makes your date special and can help build skills in the kitchen. It does not need to be a fancy recipe, a box cake will do just fine. When the cake is done, sit down to eat a slice together.
5. Arts and Crafts
The messier the better! If glitter is not your friend (and trust me, it isn’t mine either) you can do finger painting, sculpting, or coloring markers. A great project is to frame a picture of you two together and always remember your special time!
6. Read a Book
We know reading together is very good for kids’ brains. Usually, if it is mom reading the stories, this will be a special treat.
Make sure to do the voices!
Daddy Daughter Date Ideas for Elementary Age
Grab a local bird guide and see how many birds you can find in the park. You can get games like Bird Bingo, which is a big hit in my family, to start, learn your local birds together. If birds are not your thing, you could do this with rocks, trees, foraging wild food, or even cars. The idea is to just pause and talk about the world around you in a new way.
2. Local School Play
High schools and community theaters are always putting on plays and they can feel very special to your young daughter. We found that they are often doing classic stories.
We have enjoyed Cinderella, Newsies, and Beauty and the Beast. We dressed up and brought flowers to give to the performers at the end of the show.
The shows put on by schools are unlikely to contain any objectionable content and often are very low cost.
If you live in a big city and are at a driving distance to childrens’ plays at a nearby theater or opera house, then by all means look into that.
You can also check to see when musicals and shows like Disney On Ice will be at a near location and surprise her with tickets.
3. Book Shop or Coffee Shop
It is very grown up to spend time sitting reading or working in a coffee shop. Bring some computers or tablets, order some caffeine-free drinks and sit down for a co-working session.
Pick an afternoon where you are free and invite her to grab her homework. Then together, head to the nearest coffee shop where you can get some work done and enjoy some yummy drinks and snacks.
4. Puzzle Building
A 100 piece puzzle is challenging enough to be fun and engaging, but easy enough to complete in one sitting.
Building a puzzle gives you plenty of time to have important conversations while you keep your hands busy and work as a team.
You can also feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish the puzzle.
5. Plan a Picnic
When the weather is nice, picnics are a great (and free) daddy and daughter date idea. Simply gather some snacks and drinks and up, a picnic blanket, and head to a picnic-friendly park. Here is a great picnic basket you can order from Amazon if you are looking for one.
Use the time you are with her to engage in meaningful conversations. Ask her about school, her friends, her hobbies, her goals, and her dreams. I guarantee she will never forget this day.
Oh, and… if you want to make it even more unforgettable? Pick her up early from school and surprise her with the picnic! You, my friend, will be the dad of the year.
Going on a bike ride and ending your date with a picnic is another great idea.
Daddy Daughter Date Ideas for Middle Schoolers
1. Cook a Meal
Let your daughter choose a recipe that interests her and go buy the ingredients and make the meal. Middle schoolers love to make decisions and they are growing in their kitchen skills.
If the meal turns out well, maybe they can make it regularly for the family! You are helping her build her kitchen skills and confidence while spending quality time together.
2. Go To a Concert
Choose a live music event to attend together, be sure the event is family-friendly, and have a great time.
Summer contents and local Orchestra performances are great places to go together.
3. Read a Book
If your daughter is into reading, ask her what she hopes to read next. Read the book on your own and then have a date to discuss what you think of the story. Have a book club discussion.
This shows your daughter that you are interested in what she is interested in and gives you a look into her world.
4. Indoor Skydiving
Indoor skydiving is growing in popularity and it is an exciting activity for this age. It is risky without being too risky and a very memorable experience.
Daddy Daughter Dates for Teenagers
1. Fancy Dinner
Save up and splurge on the nicest restaurant in town. Be the first one to take her to a place with cloth napkins.
Dress up for this one, dad! Open the door for her. Show her how you use the multiple utensils (you can brush up on your table etiquette ahead of time if you need to). Show her how to check your coat at the counter and how you tip. This is a great thing to model for all her future experiences of fine dining.
2. Kayak or Paddle Boat
An adventure like kayaking or paddle boating will give you and your daughter the chance to problem-solve together. Plan the trip, pack your lunch and be sure to listen to all the safety information before you head out together.
Being outside is a great stress reliever and spending time on the water is good for both of you.
3. Explore an Issue
So a big reason for daddy-daughter dates is to model good healthy relationships. Everyone will disagree with someone that they care about. Choose an issue that you may disagree about and have a discussion about it.
You may choose to talk about:
- Credit Cards
- Professional Sports
This can model a healthy way to disagree and talk with someone of an opposing viewpoint.
4. Car Dealership
Is your teen getting ready to start driving? Wishing for a new car? Go window shop. This date is a great way to start talking about the future without being too stressed.
What jobs are they considering? Where are they hoping to live?
5. College Trip
Visit the nearest college. If your child is not sure if they are interested in college this can be a great trip to talk about this, or you can see the college art exhibit (they almost all have something set up at all times, check the website).
If your daughter has their heart set on a school, take the time to visit or research the college even if she has done a lot of that with her mom. Show her that you are interested in their future and their education too.
6. Roller Blading
Roller-blading is a timeless pastime for most people. If you feel comfortable doing that and think your daughter will enjoy it, then plan a day around it.
Remember to pack snacks/lunch and take plenty of water, you will need it!
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Our beautiful girls grow so fast! Creating memories with them is a way to ensure our time together does not go unnoticed or undervalued.
Spending time with your daughter is a great way to build her self-esteem. These special dates are memories that will last a lifetime and allow her to feel confident as she interacts with dates in the future.
Make time in your busy schedule to have special dates with your daughter today.
When was the last time you went on a daddy-daughter date?