How to host the perfect Playdate

Feb 15, 2012

Social interaction is extremely important for young children and they will learn many things from their peers that they can't get from you.

After joining a mum's group with my first born, many of us continued to catch up on a regular basis so that our children could continue to play with one another.

Today, Maddie invited 2 of her little friends over for a playdate.

Regardless of the age of children, a craft table set out with a selection of colours and materials will be visited numerous times over the course of the playdate. You can make this a focus and encourage a collaborative art piece or just let them use it as they please. 

 Setting out a few toys that can be played cooperatively allow children to have something to do without having to search for it. Make them age appropriate. Today was Duplo for the 3 year olds.

 Little individual snack boxes. As this playdate was over lunch time we included a ham and cheese roll, fresh fruit and a little treat of coloured popcorn

 Make fruit more fun with little food picks

 Ready for the kids to help themselves

Setting out a home made play set full of natural materials and recycled goods to encourage imagination. This type of open-ended activity is so great for children as they can make or do whatever they like with the materials without limitations

 Suddenly everyone wanted to play

 Taking turns pouring in the "water" (blue glass decorator stones)

 Learning to be cooperative and imaginative together

Add some sticks, stones, leaves, flowers, play animals etc and it was a hive of activity!

Some tips:
- A little bit of planning and thought before your house is descended upon will help make your playdate run more smoothly
- Depending on the age of children, modify the snacks and activities accordingly
- Don't be upset if the children are more interested in everything else in your house than the activities you've set out. Just being in a new environment is a learning experience for children and they will get to your activities eventually
- Depending on the age of the children, individual snack boxes are a great idea but learning to share food from a central platter etc will also promote learning and co-operation
- My homemade play set is made up from goods collected from the garden, recycled goods from around the house and a few supplies from the local $2 shop. 

Debs :)