mom and teen daughter on beach, dates with kids in Boston, things to do with kidsThe hustle and bustle of everyday mom life can be so busy and overwhelming that it’s easy to forget how important one-on-one connection with our children can be. And those bonding moments are not just meaningful for our kids — they can fill mom’s cup as well. We know quality time with our children creates stronger relationships, but sometimes it feels like an insurmountable task — especially when you have multiple children.

Luckily, it isn’t as complex as it may seem. As a mom of five, I’ve found that it doesn’t take a daily, weekly, or even monthly event. Once a month, I take one of my children on a date. That might only equal two or three times a year per child, but it truly is the quality rather than the quantity that makes children feel secure and loved. And this can be at any age. Ready to give it a try? Check out these ideas to start your own “date night” tradition in Boston with your kids!

For infants and toddlers

Check out our list of great indoor play spaces for kids all over the Boston area. Leave the phone in the car and hang in the moment, watching every jump and twirl. Don’t forget to have them watch your jumps too!

Try a show! Puppet Playtime, run at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, is a really fun way to spend an hour with your toddler or preschooler. It involves play, sing-a-longs, interactive stories, and imagination games with a friendly performer. It’s sure to keep everyone happy!

Looking to stay in your neighborhood? Your best toddler date destination is right around the corner. Start at the fire station — firefighters are always happy to say hello to passing children, and they’ll often invite them in to see the trucks. There’s always construction somewhere nearby for those digger-loving little ones. Grab the stroller and see how many machines you can find. And garbage pickup day brings the best show right to your door.

Check your local library for upcoming events. Libraries are the best for free programing, including play times, singalongs, and story times geared to infants and toddlers. Your library is sure to have something fun to offer!

For preschoolers and early elementary

If you have a crafty one on your hands, consider a visit to CAMP at the Burlington Mall. This place is part toy store, part art studio, and it allows children to experiment with crafts and create something fun. Adults are free, so it’s a wonderful way to spend some one-on-one time with your budding artist.

If your child is into “doing it themselves,” visit your local Home Depot or Lowes and build your own craft! These events are free for anyone to attend, and the store offers all of the materials, including hammers and nails. Attendees also get a smock and pin for their achievement.

Museums and zoos are popular places for families, but have you ever thought of this as a mom/kid date venue? Pick one or two exhibits that pique your child’s interest and engage with them there. For example, the Museum of Science’s engineering workshops are interactive and support teamwork, making it a great partner activity!

For tweens

The 8-12 crowd can be hard to pull in, so cater to their interests. My 11-year-old daughter loves anything “witchy.” So we recently spent a few hours walking around Salem, and it was a perfect day. If you have a sports enthusiast, consider a tour of Fenway or a trip to Gillette. Your art lover would enjoy time with you at the MFA. The best part is, you can let them teach you something!

The older school-age children may need a little extra time during their date. So take a mini road trip. Springfield, MA, is a fun place to visit — check out the Butterfly Place, Yankee Village, or the Dr. Seuss museum. Make sure you prep a fun music playlist for the car ride, too!

Got a history buff? Boston is THE place to be for these kids. We live in such a historically rich area, it’s easy to take the wonderful historical sites for granted. Battleship Cove is a great place to bring a seaworthy tween. The USS Constitution and Boston Tea Party museums are very interactive and help connect history and current learning.

For teens

There are so many great activities to do with teens in Boston. Grab your teen and go to an arcade, escape room, or paint night. When it comes to teens, you definitely want to cater to their interests to keep them engaged, but you will end up learning so much more about your child.

Dinner and a movie may feel like an uninspired date night idea, but it’s an obvious choice. And it works. Have your teen pick the restaurant while you pick the movie, or vice versa! Either way, you both get something you like and can share in something the other enjoys.

Whether you have toddlers or teens, these moments for meaningful connection are so vital. And if you’re a mom of kids in Boston, you have it made with great local places to try some one-on-one dates with your little ones!

This post was originally written in 2017 by Nancy Lebosquain and was updated in 2023 by Michelle Mady.


Michelle Mady
Michelle is a lifelong New Englander who lives in Stoneham and works in Charlestown. She is a preschool teacher and Assistant Director at a small private preschool and holds a master’s degree in early childhood education, which has come in useful at both work and home. She has a supportive stay-at-home-dad for a husband and is a mom of five children. She has three boys born in 2005, 2007 and 2008, plus two girls born in 2012 and 2015. Michelle teaches infant and toddler classes for early education teachers and is an adjunct professor for The School Of Mom. She also runs her own business, The Parenting Survival Expert, offering parenting tips and support. In her spare time, she can be found reading a murder mystery novel, sipping far too much coffee, and dreaming of a home in the mountains.