The gift of experiences and what that does for connection and relationships.
I read this quote:
“Lean into fun during seasons of uncertainty.”
It sparked an idea as I was thinking about relationships with my kids. We aren’t fortune tellers and may have an idea of what’s ahead but we cannot be certain of what the future really holds. This quote quickly reels me back into the present where I live, where my children live. So what can we do in the present? There needs to be some moment, instant experience that allows us to have fun. We can forget that as we are moving along doing life. We create stories living in the moment, experiencing the same things. We take away details that create memories which are stored into the chapters of our stories. Most importantly, fun adds to a deep connection with those you are experiencing it with. It’s an investment into your relationships.
As I thought about putting together a list of gift-giving ideas, I wanted something much deeper, timeless, not necessarily following a trend and becoming outdated. I wanted to share something that brought value beyond the tangible things. This list came with careful consideration.
I asked myself these question;
What is of high interest?
Is it fun?
Does this experience provide opportunities for connection?
Will it provide experiences that will create deep meaning and memories for years to come?
Like many lists, it’s up to you what you do with it. It can come to life with your unique traits and family dynamics. What you bring to it, is what it will become. So enjoy considering some of these suggestions. I have linked local suggestions here, but these suggestions can spark ideas that are more local to where you live, and even ideas I did not list here.
Read to the very end, I have something special for you, mama! Don't miss it!
The gift ideas of fun & creating memories with your tween/teen daughter! (Works for sons too!)
My family has gotten various season passes to amusement parks and sports events in the past. They have been tools to purposely carve out time to have a “Disney Day” or scream together at a football game. Season passes gets us out of the house without thinking about what to do. We have some fond memories because of these passes.
Here are some ideas:
Amusement parks - Disneyland, Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Six Flags to start. Search your local amusement park for annual pass offerings. Amusement parks take the thinking out of a day and even out of a whole trip! We've enjoyed annual passes at several local amusement parks during various seasons over the years for our family.
I absolutely loved watching live on-stage performances growing up. Sharing this love with my daughter has been special, and has brought us unique opportunities to talk about like an unexpected backstage tour! Most companies and organizations offer season ticket packages for you to enjoy multiple shows throughout the performance season.
Why not give the gift of healthy movement? I make sure to model healthy habits and one of them is moving. I have this love/hate relationship with the gym. But being able to bond with my daughter (& sons) over a good work out has brought us even closer. Workouts are a great way to destress, get rid of all that pent up energy, and cultivate a life habit. Plus, I know a lot of teenagers hanging out and getting into community over a good workout.
I love membership boxes!! It's like celebrating a birthday every month! What I love most about these boxes, is that you get to experience these with other people. You get to either engage with the activity of the month, cook a meal with the recipe of the month, or try the latest beauty product together. There are so many options of subscription offerings to match your teens interests and lifestyle. I recommended a few that received great reviews; from beauty boxes to murder mysteries, you get to choose. Have fun exploring what suites your teen and the experiences that will come along with it.
Some other ideas for season passes to consider: ski resorts, movie theaters, favorite sports teams
There's more to just making a bucket list of things you want to do. It’s the experience and memories that come along with it. A list of activities or must-see destinations are opportunities to connect with your teen. You are banking a list full of memories you both can relate and bond over. There were several moments I can recall where I had opportunities to encourage my daughter through an activity we were doing together. Activities give us the space to be present and open to listening to each other. We are able to plant seeds of wisdom as well as gain access to the vulnerable parts of our teens. Activities, if done well, bring us closer together through presence, communication and relationship building.
I share 10 activity ideas I know my daughter and I have enjoyed and I also added some that we want to explore together:
I love creativity. I think it brings the child in each of us when we get to utilize the right side of our brain. The Duet Project was created by a mom of girls and former art teacher. She created monthly digital projects for moms & daughters to do as well as provide themed discussion questions to cultivate healthy conversations while creating beautiful projects together. I love when I get to be "messy" at the kitchen table with my daughter as we create and chat. It keeps our hands busy and gives us time to really get to know each other by simply talking to each other and asking some good questions.
Plan a Mother-Daughter Trip
Some of our crucial bonding time was over a trip where it was just my daughter and I. The closeness of a relationship is when you are put in a position when you have to rely on each other. Visiting unfamiliar places will do that naturally. It's a time to explore together, get excited together, and relax and enjoy together.
I have seen plenty of tweens and teens create these cute animals through crochet. These kits are geared towards beginner crocheters. It comes with the supplies and video instructions on how to create animals like turtles, narwhales, bunnies and other adorable furry friends. Moms, this is a trend I see girls in my area are doing. How fun would this be to learn together or with her friends over some warm apple cider or hot cocoa?
There are so many ways to go about a glamour day with your girl! I have styled and dyed my daughters hair, experimented with the latest makeup products, followed the latest YouTube and TikTok beauty how-to's and watched a movie while under a face mask or doing our nails. It's really the moments of laughter over a failed beauty attempts or the high fives over a successful hair color that are the results from the glamour moments. I have a friend who educates women and teen girls about clean products and empowering girls to choose beauty without compromising health. There are so many products out there that can keep a mom & daughter from enjoying this experience. I highly recommend my friend, Andee Robb from Beauty Counter who can walk you through this process of finding what is right for you and your daughter and get your Glamour Day going!!
Does your teen have a favorite band or artist? I can't tell you how many times my daughter would say, "Remember when we went to the BTS concert?". I honestly think I earned my cool mom wings that night. Haha! I usually hop on Ticketmaster and see what concerts are coming up, or ask your daughter. She will likely know when an upcoming concert is happening. It'll likely take some planning to get these tickets especially if the artists are popular like BTS.
My daughter discovered Lip Lab at our local mall. We booked a date in celebration of the end of competition season as a dancer. The experience was fun both of us. We sat a bar where a lip stick curator combined colors and create palettes for us to customize just the right lip stick color. We also got to name our lip color which was pretty unique. I think this experience allowed us to be open in our opinions as well as compliment each other. Definitely a unique experience especially if you girl likes makeup.
Take a Self-Defense Class
I have taken a few women's self defense classes in my lifetime and had my daughter join in has been empowering. I believe every women should arm themselves with tools and skills defend herself. There are free classes available specifically geared towards women's defense and is a great opportunity to have your daughter join in. Check your local martial arts schools, jiu-jitsu academies and military classes to see what's available. You will walk away more confident and educated about protecting yourself.
My daughter absolutely loves taking her friends over to an Escape Room experience. It does a few things: gets them out of the house and meet in-person and work through things together under pressure. I love experiences that challenges one in areas that can highlight we need to work on like patience, kindness, teamwork, patience (did I say the twice?). Escape Room experiences offer different themes and difficulty levels. Research what is offered in your area and note recommended ages as well.
photographed by Jada Poon Photography
Schedule a Photoshoot
There is nothing more precious between a mother and daughter than when tender moments are captured from a lens onto still memories. Maybe I'm going to age myself, but do you remember Glamour Shots? The experience of getting dolled up by a glam team and styled by a wardrobe you would never have imagined to make you feel, well, pretty. I look forward to the day my daughter and I can have this experience. This is definitely one that I plan on very soon!
Watch an Upcoming Performance
My daughter and I can agree Wicked has by far been a favorite musical of ours. I mentioned earlier our love for theater, and the memories they create simply by enjoying them together. Check out your local theater, ballet company, and opera house for their schedule and decide to go and watch one that attracts you. It's a different experience from the typical entertainment that technology often brings.
Other gift ideas are: baking classes, art classes, books (to read together & start your own mini bookclub), register for a half marathon, retreats, camping trips.
And here’s my gift to you mama!
I want to make it easy for you. If you are like me, I can have a whole lot of great ideas, but can easily lose memory of them if I don’t write them down. So I did the work for you. I asked a few close friends who have daughters to share their favorite dates with their girls, and combined with my favorites I created 52 Date Ideas with Your Daughter Guide. Use this guide as a resource to help you deepen your relationship with your daughter. I guide moms through building healthy relationships with their tween/teen daughter in the ROOTED program, and finding ways to connect and create a safe space for you both is a huge part of what I teach. I hope you find this guide useful. It is purposefully designed to give you 52 date ideas for a year’s worth of weekly dates for intentional connection points with your daughter. Enjoy! It’s my gift to you both!!