I haven’t met a child who doesn’t love a play date. Hours of playing and lots of yummy treats to eat. The best part is that it’s all in your child’s own home! My kids love inviting their friends over to our house so that they can show off their room, play with all of the toys that they speak about at school and move away from the routine of regular weekend activities.
Now, although it seems like all of the ingredients of a perfect play date are there, there are some added extras that I usually throw in to make the day truly memorable and exciting. Here they are:
Have a plan.
Although nothing really goes according to plan when you’re dealing with little ones, it doesn’t hurt to have an idea of what should be going on. In the flurry of playing and running around, it’s easy to get side-tracked. Here’s what my play date plan usually looks like:
- Free play for an hour (usually indoors surrounded by heaps of toys).
- Snack and juice / water time.
- More free play – sometimes in the garden, but it also depends on where they feel like playing. I like to make them go outside for the fresh air and space to run around. After all, moms love sending their kids on play dates where they come home exhausted and need to go to bed early, right?
- Throw in a game (optional) such as Pass the Parcel or Hide and Seek.
- This is if the play date goes on for longer than what a wholesome snack will sustain them. Sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs… all foods that are good for small hands work.
- Play a game? (Still optional)
- Movie time! Place a few sweet-scented (because of Comfort Concentrated Fabric Softener of course), large continental pillows on your living room floor and let them be entertained by an exciting kid’s movie.
Prepare your home.
What kind of preparation is required? Your home is probably already kiddie-proofed, but doing a quick check doesn’t hurt. Make sure that any plug sockets are covered, that there are no sharp edges for running kids to hurt themselves on, and that all security gates leading to the road and swimming pool are locked.
Be around, but not TOO involved.
If you hear any squabbles breaking out, take pause for a moment to see if they can resolve it themselves. This usually works better for me as intervening can result in embarrassment and anger on my child’s part. However, if one of my kids are misbehaving in the form of refusing to share or playing nicely, then it can be appropriate to step in.
- Hire some playful costumes beforehand and let them play dress-up.
- Bake with them.
- Get some paint and canvas paper and let them make masterpieces in the garden (super messy, but super fun!).
- Take photos! They’ll love looking back on the memories one day and it’s great to send to your little guests’ parents so that they can see just how much fun their little ones are having!
These are just some of my tips for hosting a fun and memorable play date. The rest is up to you! But don’t worry, there’s not too much work to be done, the kids usually entertain themselves most of the time.