In 5 Father-Daughter Bonding Strategies for Strong Teen Years, I referred to the importance of spending time together to solidify your relationship with your teenage daughter. Here are some daddy-daughter date ideas to make your next daddy-daughter day an experience that delights your teenager and helps her look forward to spending quality time with her dad.
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Daddy-Daughter date ideas to enjoy with your teen
1) Go on a day trip together just the two of you
Take your daughter away for the day to a place that would interest her. Plan the day and take off, just the two of you. You can also do with your other kids too, but each one should have their special memories of the time you spent with them individually, especially if there are younger siblings in the family.
Going away with your teen means you can go to places that are more grown-up and not have to cater to keeping the little ones entertained. It means that you can go to a place that would specifically interest her.
It also means that you can begin to teach your daughter the tips and tricks that you use every day to stay safe and be financially savvy when you are traveling.
In other words, show her the ropes.
2) Have a daddy-daughter game night
Play a game together, just the two of you. It could be cards, board games, the works. Let your daughter pick the first game, and you choose the second time and alternate. Check out this post on the Best Games for Teens for ideas.
These are so fun, teach your kid how to play your favorite card games, maybe poker, maybe gin rummy. Play other games with her that is just for two players, like Connect 4 and Battleship or chess. If she is a Harry Potter Fan, be sure to check out this post for ideas on Harry Potter Games for Kids she would love.
What’s fun about game-night is your daughter will enjoy all the laughing between you, and you will too. It’s highly bonding because it shows you’re interested in spending time goofing around with her. Adding points into the emotional love tank. Nice job, Dad!
3) Dance with your daughter
Dance with your daughter. Dance in the kitchen, dance in the living room. Better still, take a ballroom class together. Consider it preparation for your father-daughter first dance at her wedding. I didn’t just say that!
4) Take her on a date with the works!
For a special occasion, as a special treat, take your daughter on a date with all the works. Both of you get dressed nice, take her to dinner, open the door for her, treat her like a gentleman should. Then, follow up dinner with a special event like a movie, concert, or show.
The purpose of these daddy-daughter dates is to 1) enjoy a special time with your baby girl, and also 2) to show her how a boy/man is supposed to treat her with respect and dignity. This way, she knows what she should be looking for and, hopefully, won’t settle for less.
5) Enjoy her favorite activity
Pick her favorite activity and do something with that theme in mind together. Show interest and learn about it more. It could be a lifelong activity you enjoy together.
For instance, maybe she has a curiosity about archery. Why not take her to archery lessons and do them together, or to the next archery event in the area?
Maybe she is into comic books and graphic arts. Why not plan a trip to the comic book store and make an afternoon of it, letting her explain the characters and the backstory of her favorite comics? Then you can round out the experience by heading to your local comic-con when it comes into town later that year.
6) Share your favorite activity with her
Same with you. Pick one of your favorite activities to share with your daughter. Teach her all about it and share it with her. You never know, she might learn to love it as much as you do. It would stimulate conversation later on in life and keep your bonds tight.
Let’s say you are into soccer. You watch soccer matches on TV, and you have a favorite team. Why don’t you share a bit about it next time it’s on, or better still take her to a live match. Get matching jerseys and fan gear. What a fun experience for her that would be, and it could be a bond the two of you will share all your lives.
7) Have a “Yes” night
Go on a yes night, where the answer to every request is “yes.” “Dinner at Chick-fil-A?” “Yes!” “Large ice cream sundae afterward?” “Yes!” “Can we sit outside and pick out the constellations?” “Yes!” “Play air guitar in the middle of the sidewalk to Led Zepplin?” “Yes!”
It’s a fun idea and could make for a very funny night. The rules: say yes to every request as long as it’s not illegal, it’s feasible, and you can afford it.
8) Root for the girls
Go watch other girls play sports and cheer them on like you would when the boys play professional sports.
Say your daughter is into basketball, find a college game to watch on TV, or buy tickets to a WBA game.
It will teach her that you support her interests, and also that women are worth rooting for, watching, supporting, and valued in the world of sports.
9) Be active outside together
Get some exercise together. Nothing bonds people more than doing something active side by side. It can be as simple as taking a walk or jog, or as complicated as rock climbing. Taking on exercise is a great way for you both to be active and to promote a healthy lifestyle.
- go mountain biking
- rock climbing
- play tennis
- go bowling
- play street hockey
- basketball on the driveway hoop
- whatever you both like.
- Try any of the activities from our post on summer sports for kids.
10) Watch movies together
You’ve been doing this activity together for ages—time to swap the Disney Movies for something a little bit more mature.
Make it funny when a kissing scene comes on, cover her eyes or gag, or make it light instead of awkward. Goes a long way to her wanting to do that again with you, especially in these teen years.
Then talk a bit about the story and the lessons inside. How do they apply it to real-life? Ask for your daughter’s perspective and offer some of your own.
11) Feed her
Take your daughter out for Breakfast or Lunch or out to ice-cream or dessert. For some girls, feeding her belly is the way to her heart. It also provides a relaxed environment to talk.
12) Take her for a drive
Just get out of the house and go for a long drive. Stop at a drive-thru, get a soda or a milkshake, then take off for a long trip. Talk, sing, point out things you see when driving around. Ask her about life, what she loves, what she dislikes. A drive where you don’t have to look at each other is the easiest way for young people to express what they are feeling without worrying about eye contact.
Bonus: Daddy-Daughter Bonding Activities
Make up a special handshake
This simple and fun activity is something that can become a family tradition for the two of you. A unique bonding activity and a fun way to show each other how happy to see each other you are after a long separation.
Make up a code name or a catch-phrase that is unique to your relationship with your girl
Making up a codename for each other is super useful for security purposes or if she needs to know it’s you when you call. I know, very James Bond-ish, but still, could come in handy someday.
You could even make up a phrase that you say just to each other. Take it from a show or a movie or book. Later on, it can be the way you say goodbye and I love you that is unique to your relationship and funny or heartwarming.
I hope that these 12+ daddy-daughter date ideas and bonding activities help spark some unique ideas of your own. Your teenager won’t be around for much longer. Take advantage of the time you have left with your baby girl and help make these bonds of love and mutual respect stronger than ever.
Other articles on family bonding you may like
- 5 Father-Daughter Bonding Strategies for Strong Teen Years
- The 20 Most Popular Family Tradition Ideas to share with your teen now
- How to Enjoy Authentic Mother-Daughter Bonding Time (Podcast Episode)
- 7 Mother-Daughter Date Ideas your Teen will Love
- The 30 Most Inspiring Places to Volunteer for Teens
- 40 Most Surprising and Best Games for Teens
- The Best Harry Potter Games for Kids and Potterheads
- How to Enjoy Powerful Family Bonding Activities in a Changing World
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.