Dates that'll make you memorable

Trainer Albert Herasme with his daughter, Aria, decorating a kite on a play date.

Date nights shouldn’t be boring. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first date with someone you’re interested in or the 1,000th date with someone you’ve married. You can do better than eating dinner and sitting through a movie. Elevate your dating game and do something.

Make something that does something. Show up with a remote control car kit. In the first part of your date, you build the car. You’ll see some of your date’s strengths and weaknesses. Are they open to trying something different? Are they excited or bored? Do they dive right in or read the instructions? Will they accessorize it or immediately start racing it when the bare minimum is built?

The second part of the date, build a course to run it through. Make obstacles to navigate around, run over or drive through. See who can complete the course the fastest or with the fewest crashes. Are they competitive? Will they share the controls, or are they being selfish?

If cars aren’t your thing, how about a water bottle rocket, a remote-controlled boat or a couple of kites? Anything that gets you up and doing something once it’s built. Remember, it doesn’t have to work. The story of how it crashed the first time you used it can make it just as memorable as success.

Explore seasonal crafts. Before Easter, prepare a bunch of eggs to dye. For Halloween, buy pumpkins together, carve them out and put them on display. One of my favorite activities is going out on my bike to take pictures of the holiday lights during Christmas. Decorate a tabletop holiday tree with Fourth of July flags or paper snowflakes you cut out.

Paint something. You don’t need to have any artistic talent. Get a cheap watercolor paint set and a couple of drawing pads. Then walk, hike or ride to a scenic spot. Now start on your dueling pictures. You don’t have to paint things as they are; feel free to express yourself. Even if the results are terrible, you still get to enjoy a nice view while spending time with your date.

Get a couple of coloring books if you’re looking for something more relaxing. You don’t have to concentrate as hard as painting and can focus more on the conversation. See how pictures turn out if you only use non-traditional colors or if you color outside the lines.

To make it even more interesting, go online and search for “free coloring pages.” You’ll get hundreds of images to choose from. Seeing what each of you decide to color can lead to more revealing conversations.

Conduct science experiments together. Go on and search for “science experiments to do at home.” Ask your date to do the same and send you the ones they’re interested in.

You can get the materials you need first, or make going out to get them part of the date. It doesn’t matter if the experiments succeed or fail. The goal is to learn more about how the person you’re with thinks and maybe learn something along the way.

Try metal detecting. This is probably the most expensive idea on the list. A decent entry-level metal detector is about the cost of a fancy dinner for two and a movie. But, there’s always the chance you’ll discover something valuable. Plus, at the end of the date, you’ll still own a metal detector.

Pick a place to search and take turns with the detector. I like to set an alarm, so each person uses it for five minutes at a time. Remember to bring along a bag or pail to carry the things you discover.

Fill a time capsule. Make a list of the everyday things today that people in the future might be interested in. Then search for those things in thrift stores and at garage sales. You can spend several dates going around looking for stuff to preserve. Approach it like a treasure hunt.

Once you have all your items, look for a waterproof container you can store everything in. If you want something fancy, several companies sell waterproof and corrosion-resistant containers; some even say Time Capsule and show an expected open date. Make sure to write a letter about everything in the capsule before you seal it. Then bury it, with a reminder to yourself when in the future you’ll come back for it.

Get out and do something. Whatever you choose, put being active in the middle.

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