My playdate days are sadly drawing to a close. My baby graduated kindergarten this year and my oldest is almost 10! I have no idea where the time went, but I have hosted my fair share of playdates and would consider myself to be pretty skilled when it comes to making them low-fuss and lots of fun.
Today, I am sharing a few of my best tips and tricks for hosing the perfect playdate. Have you heard of Avery & Austin? They’re a mom-run subscription box company that ships everything you need to host a memorable playdate, snacks and a hostess gift included. When it comes to kids I find going with the flow and planning things like this spur of the moment seems to work out best for us. Ready to go box kits are perfect for spontaneous moms like me and make impromptu playdates with friends and family possible anytime. I promise if we can pull off a successful and fun playdate then so can you!
Six Simple Tips for Hosting the Perfect Playdate
1. Choose the right location
If you want to plan the perfect playdate the first thing you’ll have to decide on is location. Will you be hosting it in your home? At a nearby park or playground? A library, a play gym or a fast food restaurant with a playground for the kids and cold drinks for moms? How about a bookstore with stories and toys the kids can play with … and hot drinks for moms? Any of these could make for a great playdate, it really just comes down to what is EASIEST for you and your playmates.
We chose a spot by the river with a park nearby, so we could enjoy one another’s company and still play and burn off excess energy while the grownups talked.
2. Invite the right people
Even more important than location, the real success of any playdate depends on who you invite. Too many kids and it could be super stressful for the hostess, not enough kids and you might find yourself entertaining children more than relaxing and talking with an adult. Playdates can be a great way to get to know a new friend and her children or something you reserve for friends who feel more like family.
There’s no rule that says playdates have to involve just children! Take ours for example, we’re having a playdate today with our favorite aunt visiting from Washington, D.C. The kids grew up with her and she’s hands down one of their favorite people on the planet, whenever she’s in town we try to carve out some time to do something extra special with just her.
KSW QUICK TIP: Playdates can be an awesome way to make memories, don’t count out playdates with Mom, Dad, Favorite Aunts or Uncles, Grandparents, cousins, etc. In fact, this playdate in a box kit we are using would be the perfect gift for someone in your family looking for fun ways to spend time with your children. I’d like to order a few for my mother-in-law this year!
3. Make sure no one goes hungry (hungry = hangry)
When it comes to playdates, again let me reemphasize I am all for keeping things super simple, especially when it comes to little hands, mouths and tummies. Fruits like grapes and berries, apples or citrus, tiny crackers or muffins or cookies is really all you need to whet their appetites and keep the playdate going. The simpler and more transportable the better!
Top 12 Playdate Snack Ideas
1. Cut up melon
4. Small Oranges (like cuties!)
5. Apple Slices
8. Granola or Cereal Bars
9. Bite size crackers or pretzels
10. Trail Mix
11. Freeze Dried Fruit (Funky Monkey is our favorite)
12. Water, Lemonade, or Juice
Today we had some goldfish crackers, somersault seed crackers that came with our Avery & Austin playdate in a box, and lemonade with blueberries in them — a drink with a fun snack all in one. Looking for more transportable ideas? You have to see the meal my friend Haeley’s came up with for her playdate in the park, the cutest little kabobs and an awesome snack necklace – a fun activity and snack all-in-one. The ultimate playdate experience! I just love it.
KSW QUICK TIP: Always ask if parents or children have any severe allergies and plan accordingly
4. Decide What You’ll Do
Some of my favorite play dates had no planned activities at all. Put the right people in the right place at the right time and magical things happen with little to no effort on your part, but other times it’s nice to have a few toys or games set aside, maybe even a craft idea or two.
I’m a huge fan of all of the Eeboo games, and my kiddos love these board games too (1, 2, 3). Anything dress up can make for an entertaining afternoon, and of course our friends at Melissa & Doug — whether it’s arts and crafts, toys for the sandbox, puzzles, or even magic tricks they’ve got everything you need to host an amazing playdate.
Need more ideas? Here’s a few from our archives
PLAYDATE ACTIVITY EXAMPLES
– Make pet rocks
– Start your own band with these handmade instruments
– Craft cardboard and aluminum foil robots
– Host an impromptu talent show playdate
– Make a beach in your own backyard!
Today, we’re using the #PerfectPlaydate Box No. 3 from Austin & Avery. It has everything you need inside to craft these tiny tissue paper flowers and vases, plus a beautiful hand painted clay jewelry dish meaning after our playdate, our favorite aunt goes home with some pretty sweet gifts. With just a few pieces we made fiesta style flowers, decorated plastic milk jug vases with washi tape, and created stenciled cards for one of our favorite people ever. That’s a pretty sweet playdate in a box.
5. Know Your Window
Knowing the best time to get you kids together with other kids might be the most important tip of all! Are your children more amicable in the early morning, at their best just before lunch, or late afternoon after they’ve had a good nap? Knowing your child’s schedule and when your kids will be too tired, too hungry, or too grumpy to hang out is key.
And don’t forget to factor in seasonal weather conditions into your planning. Here in Texas, if we want to do an outdoor playdate during summer months it’s got to be done early or it had better involve water. Knowing in advance you’ll be playing and then eating a meal can help extend the length of your playdates. I will often meet up with my mom friends, let the kids play for an hour or more and then head to a quiet picnic spot or grab food at a favorite family-friendly restaurant just so we can make a day of our time together.
6. Be Prepared
Depending on how old your children are, you may need to pack a bag to take care of everything from a change of clothes, diapers, wipes, bottles, snack time or meal time but if your kids are older, maybe you can get by with a bottle of water, some sunscreen, a snack and a small toy. I always keep a pack of boogie wipes in my purse and I can’t tell you how many times they’ve come in handy.
If you’re not the most structured, super organized kind of mom in the world and you still suffer from a bit of that mommy brain then having things packed up and ready to go for you really does make the difference between a meetup and a playdate to remember. Whether you are hosting people in your home or on the go, Austin & Avery playdates in a box sure make having fun with friends super simple.
We loved sharing our Austin & Avery playdate in a box with our aunt and now we’d like to share one with you!
Win 3 #PerfectPlaydates
Enter to win 3 #PerfectPlaydates of your own ($100 value) from our sponsor Avery & Austin (3 winners in all)
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the playdate subscription box service, Avery & Austin. Monthly subscriptions start at $29 for a six-month subscription, $33 per month for a three-month subscription, and $39 for a month-to-month subscription. For more information or to sign up, visit AveryandAustin.com.
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