Playdate Planning and Party Ideas for Kids
How to have a playful play date
A child who asks for a playdate is ready for one; however, parents may not be as
ready. Understandably, it's preferable for all, at least in the beginning, that the parent
stays to supervise his or her child on the play date. The host can relax that and the
parent too, knowing that each is responsible for his or her own child. Here are some
other tips to may play dates more enjoyable:
- Develop your child's social skills. Playful Play Date, left, is a CD-ROM with activity
sheets to help your child create meaningful memories while building social skills
and self confidence, such as taking turns and sharing, meet and greet, the art
of conversation, table manners, respect and magic words, social cues, conflict
resolution, similarities and differences, being a good guest and host, gratitude
and gift giving and planning a play date. It's how to have a playful play date!
- Get to know parents. Meeting at a neutral location, like a park, is often the first
step to play dates. Exchange information, including addresses and e-mail in
addition to home phone, cell phones and work phones. At home offer parents
lemonade or coffee and something small to nibble like chips or cookies. For the
kids offer a cheese stick or yogurt stick and juice or milk.
- Control the environment. When starting out on play dates three is a crowd, so
keep the date to two kids. Keep siblings away if possible, especially from the
first play date. And be sure to limit activities on a play date to just under a
couple of hours, or you're sure to get a couple of cranky kids.
- Structure an activity. Get out the dress up and let the kids be a pirate, a
princess or a superhero for the day. Buy some fresh Play-Doh and let the kids
set up a pastry shop or restaurant with pots and pans and tea party plates.
Make paper and pipecleaner and felt creations for a beloved Zhu-Zhu pet or
stuffed animal (hats, necklaces). On hot day, get out the Slip n slide and set the
sprinklers for fun with a friend.
Just about any kids party theme will lend itself to a memorable play date. You
can borrow party ideas to set the scene and let the imaginations soar.
Here are more ideas for play dates to get you started:
- Shark party. Splash around a wading pool and toy sharks, serve shark
bite gummies and more. Combine the shark with our Surfer Dude party
ideas. The surfer boys and Hula party girls will have a terrific time in your
backyard for an aloha playdate. Looking for more underwater theme
ideas? Girls can be mermaids with a mermaid playdate.
- Chef party. Boys and girls alike enjoy cooking. Make a two person pizza
party. Or have your little chefs prepare candy that looks like real food or
food meatloaf and mashed potatoes that looks like cupcakes. Follow up
with an ice cream social!
- Cupcakes: Have the kids participate in the mixing a simple box cake mix.
While the cupcakes are cooking and cooling, have the kids play games.
Then frost the cupcakes and have your guest take home some treats.
- Construction party for boys: Give kids a construction helmet. Get out the
Tonka trucks and have some fun digging in the gravel. Next, have a
contest for how tall they can build a Lego tower. And finally, allow kids to
make their own dirt by crushing Oreo cookies in a plastic baggie and
using it as a topping for chocolate pudding. Wind down the play date by
coloring construction scenes.
See our cute party ideas to find inspiration for a play date. Girls will love to be fairies
for the afternoon. They will also give a cheer to be a cheerleader. Boys may enjoy
being a firefighter or astronaut.
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