While you may not be able to travel this holiday season, you can still explore much of the world using Google Maps. Spend a night virtually seeing the world. Each of you should think of 3-5 places you want to explore, and take turns guiding the map. Revisit the neighborhood you grew up in and tell your partner about all the childhood hijinks you got into at each location. Revisit a trip you went on together, or show them the streets of a favorite vacation destination you went on before you met them. See what the street where you shared your first apartment looks like today. Pick a dream travel destination and walk the streets together- bonus points if you research what hotel you will stay at and which attractions you will visit when you can finally make it there in person.
If you're having fun exploring Google Maps but have run out of destination ideas, give Geo Guessr a try. You will be dropped in a random location, and have to guess what town and country you are in simply by observing the scenery around you. You can either play together as a team, or challenge each other to see who can guess the most locations correctly!
College Game Night
You've probably already had numerous game nights during the Coronavirus pandemic. Gin Rummy, Battleships, Scrabble, and Monopoly have all gotten old. Time to dust off those Solo Cups and shot glasses and pretend you're 21 again! Set up a beer pong game on the dining room table. Play Flip Cup in the garage. When was the last time you played quarters? F*ck the Dealer? Turn an old Jenga game into Tipsy Tower, with personalized blocks for the two of you. You may have to adjust some of the rules for two people, you may even want to replace the beer with water, but you are certain to have a blast proving to your partner that you used to be the Beer Pong Master.
Ping Pong Balls
Solve an Escape Game
Escape rooms became all the rage in the past decade, but lately being locked in a room with 8 strangers all shouting at each other doesn't sound quite as appealing. Luckily, Escape Team has created a fun and affordable way to bring the excitement into your own living room. Just print out the free PDF files from their website, download the app, and pay about $1 per game to work through their different "missions". If you don't have a printer, you can have the PDF file printed at a local print shop for less than $5. You can even find Groupon Deals or coupon codes for discounts off the already-low price of $1. Spend a few hours working together to solve puzzles, crack ciphers, and discover secret codes!
In addition to Escape Team, a number of escape room companies have adapted to the new world with Zoom escape room games. While most of them are over $10, you can browse Groupon or local attraction sites for deals. If you can get some friends to chip in for a group rate, you may be able to make it a group date night with virtual escaping!
You might want to break out a cotton candy scented candle for this one. Bring yourself back to summer nights at the local fair with an at-home carnival night. You may want to spend a few dollars on "prizes" like candy or dollar-store goodies, or you can play for homemade coupon rewards (think getting to control the Netflix selections for a week, a backrub, your favorite dinner cooked for you, etc). Set up some carnival-style games and have fun challenging each other.
- Bozo buckets: Set up different containers from your kitchen- pots, bowls, mugs, martini glasses, etc. The more difficult the target is to hit, the more points it is worth. For example, a large stock pot may be only one point, while a narrow champagne flute is 10. Set a marker on the floor at least 6' feet away and take turns throwing ping pong balls to see who racks up the most points.
- Bowling: Get creative based on what you have in your house. Solo cups can be used as pins, but so can toilet paper rolls, DVD cases, pieces of paper taped into tubes, or anything else you have laying around. Set up them up in the normal 10-pin layout, or stack them up as towers that need to be knocked down. Find something of a suitable size that rolls- a ping pong ball may not be able to knock down as heavy a pin as a rubber ball or marble. If you can't find a ball, wad up some tin foil- heck, throw a shoe at the "pins" if you have to! We all have different items laying around our house, but as long as you can find something to throw and something to hit, you can find your own way to "bowl"!
- Soda Toss: Soda bottles (of any size) are ideal for this game, but anything tall and thin will work. All you need is something round to throw at them. A plastic/non-expensive bracelet, a hair elastic, even a pipe cleaner or string tied into a circle will work. Throw your round item and try to hook it on the soda bottles. You can write a random score on the bottom of each bottle, or place them at varying distances for various amounts of points.
- Cake Walk: It seems tough to adapt this game to a two-person game night, but it can be done! Get 10 pieces of paper, and write the numbers 1-10 on them. Next, choose 10 "prizes"- which can be good or bad! If you're wagering homemade coupons, they can range from "I have to do all the dishes this week" to "I get breakfast in bed all weekend". Shuffle up your pieces of paper and draw them one at a time to match them with each prize. Once you know which prize relates to each number, lay the pieces of paper in a circle on the floor. Download a random timer app and step from paper to paper until the timer stops. Move as slowly or as quickly as you'd like, but if someone is on the paper behind you, you must move forward! It may seem like an easy game at first, but once a few numbers are removed you'll find yourselves chasing each other around the board to nab the good prizes and avoid the bad ones!
- Magnet fishing: Have some magnets laying around? Tape or glue a point total or homemade coupon to each one, and spread them across the floor with the point total or coupon facing down. Next, tie something magnetic to a string or shoelace, which will then be tied to the end of a stick. Take turns "fishing" for magnets and see what you catch!
- Horse racing: At the carnival, you just shoot a water pistol at a target and your horse races ahead. At home, you'll have to do a little more work. Create "targets" out of cardboard, tinfoil, or paper and stand them up at least 6 feet away. You can each make personal game piece "horses" with creative designs, or simply use a marker like your wedding rings. Shoot rubber bands at your targets and move your "horse" one step forward each time you hit it. Once you've moved your horse 10 steps forward, you win the race!
Those are just a few of the carnival games that can be adapted for your home. Think of your own favorite games and get creative with materials around the house. Play for prizes, or just bragging nights. You'll likely have as much fun creating games out of household items as you will playing them!
In 2015, the New York Times published a list of 36 Questions to Fall in Love. It was based on the concept of getting to know each other on a deep level in just one hour, with a tailored list of 36 questions. While it is unlikely that two strangers could fall in love with one simple exercise, going through the questions together is certainly a bonding experience. If you are newly dating you can connect with each other on a deeper level, and even if you have been married for decades you may surprise each other with some answers. In any case, you will be prompted into having new and interesting conversations with each other. Open a bottle of wine and visit the 36 Questions website for a unique and bonding date night.
Unleash your inner artist. It doesn't matter if neither of you have an ounce of talent in your body. Just have fun. You can grab any old pen and paper and get to work. You can buy a very affordable sketching pencil art set. If you really have no faith in your artistic ability, you can even buy a paint by numbers set for adults.
Draw portraits of each other. Both take your best shot at drawing the family pet. Set up some wine glasses and fruit for a still life. Give each other creative challenges like "draw the scariest monster imaginable" or "draw our dream house". Get goofy by trying to sketch with your eyes closed or with your non-dominant hand. Stream free Bob Ross videos online and follow along as best you can with a cheap acrylic paint set. Maybe one of you will discover a talent you never knew you had!
Make Your Own Pasta Night
Are you ready to work up a sweat and make a mess of your kitchen? Then you're ready to make your own pasta! Most "cook together" date night ideas consist of mixing a few ingredients and putting them in the oven, but making your own pasta will keep you both involved from start to finish. The necessary ingredients are cheap-just eggs, flour, olive oil, and salt. You probably already have most of them. But the work involved will keep you busy! Mixing the ingredients, kneading the dough, rolling it out into very thin layers, cutting it into shape, and boiling it will keep both of you engaged all night. And when you're done, you can replenish your energy with a delicious pasta dinner! A sauce can be made for just a few dollars more- buy canned tomato sauce and add some seasoning, instead of the expensive jarred pasta sauces. When you're done with dinner, date night will continue in a joint clean-up effort to wipe the piles of flour off your kitchen counters!
Homemade Rube Goldberg Machine
You've probably seen videos of Rube Goldberg machines before. A ball hits some dominoes, which knock each other over and fall onto a slinky, which makes its way down stairs to hit a lever... And a chain reaction of events is set off. What you may have never considered is how much planning, and how many attempts, go into that one perfect video. You can easily spend a whole weekend, let alone a whole date night, setting up your perfect Rube Goldberg machine. Look around your home to gather up things that fall, bounce, roll, and swing. Watch YouTube videos of different machines for inspiration. Study the layout of your home. Sketch up how your machine will work. Then attempt to put it all in motion. And if you still have energy left when your first machine is working, you can keep adding extra steps. Maybe you can even film it to become a YouTube celebrity when you've got the perfect, most elaborate, most impressive set-up ever seen!
Fancy Dinner Party
Let me guess- it's been a while since you did anything fancy? With most large events being cancelled or restricted to a small number of guests, and many companies switching to work-from-home plans, more than a few of us haven't had a reason to change out of pajamas in months. It's time to remind your partner what you look like when you're dressed to the nines. Retreat to different parts of your home to get ready. Put on your best suit or slinkiest dress. Spend an hour doing your makeup or pomading your hair just right. It might feel a little silly getting so dressed up just to stay at home, but once you meet back up in a designated room for your "date" and see your significant other looking like the first night you met them, the silliness will fade away. You certainly have the option of ordering expensive take-out and specialty cocktails, but the night will be just as special with frozen dinners. Light some candles. Play romantic music. Slow-dance in the kitchen when you're done eating. Even if you order Taco Bell, put it on nice plates and eat with silverware. You don't need to spend a lot of money or buy anything new. After so many months of just seeing each other in casual settings, your kitchen will feel like a five-star restaurant when you're both dressed to kill and looking like a million bucks.
Online Personality Tests
None of us believe a free online test you can finish in 3 minutes is a true predictor of your future. But they sure can be fun! Spend some time searching for various quizzes- personality tests, love language tests, celebrity soulmate tests, IQ tests. Read each other questions. Predict what the other person's results will be. Argue about why the test is totally wrong and you're clearly more like Beyonce than Taylor Swift. Fill out mad libs. Aside from having some silly fun, you'll be surprised how many questions can get you learning new things about each other, passionately debating answer choices, or laughing at the absurdity.