I received free products in order to host the #DisneyKids Preschool Playdate.
The opinions expressed here are my own.
Playdates are great opportunities for children to interact with other children in small settings. Aside from being fun, playdates help a child the chance to develop their social skills, build their self-esteem and broaden their views on how people are different and alike.
I also find that playdates are a great opportunity for parents, especially working moms like myself who aren’t as visible at local activities or school events, to build relationships with other parents of similar aged children. It’s always helpful and reassuring to have friends who can share and commiserate in both the challenges and joys of raising children.
There are no hard and fast rules to hosting a playdate. All you have to do is remember that a kid playdate is not a star-studded gala. You don’t have to go all out to impress, all that work and detail would just be lost on the kiddie crowd anyway. All you really have to do is make sure your playdate is packed with lots of fun!
Here are my tips and trips to hosting a successful playdate:
Decide on a theme – It’s not necessary, but I think having a theme to your playdate helps to decide a lot of factors – such as when to have the playdate, who to invite, how to decorate (if you want!), what activities to do and what to eat.
Set a Start and End Time – A good guest never wants to wear out their welcome – so help them out by setting time limits. All that playing and running around gets kids tired and tired kids can get cranky, which can make a fun playdate go south quickly. I find that the ideal playdate is 2 to 3 hours max whether it be for pre or elementary school-aged kids.
Invite your friends – While it might be tempting to invite over a lot of kids, it can be overwhelming to children to have that many people together. I find it best to invite just a few kids and parents over (remember playdates are a social time for parents too!). I like to keep it around 3-4 kids – it’s a cozy feeling – where everyone gets to play with one another and parents get know each other better.
Secure Your Pets – Inform your guests ahead of time if you have any pets. Some kids — and parents for that matter — may have allergies and might need to medicate before they arrive. On playdate day, put your animal (s) behind a locked door. You’ll protect children who might be afraid of animals and also keep your pet safe from any curious kids that want to see what happens when you pull the cute doggie’s tail!
Plan One Structured Activity – While free play is great, setting some time aside for a structured activity is a great way to get kids more involved with each other or even to settle down. It can be a game, working on a craft project, dressing up in costumes and having an impromptu photo shoot or even having a little dance party.
Keep Snacks Simple – Part of the fun of a play date is to get some much-needed face time with other moms. If you’re spending all your time checking on food or filling drinks, you’re missing out on interaction with the other moms (or dads). I like to set out cheese, soda, water, chips and dips for the adults and for the kids it’s juice/milk boxes, crackers, granola bars and fruit/veggie snacks.
Then all that’s left to do is to have fun!
Recently the kind folks at Disney helped me out in a big way with a playdate that I set up for my daughter and her friends. Now while my daughter is enamored with all the Disney Princesses and “Frozen,” she’s also a huge fan of pirates.
In fact, she was a pirate for Halloween this year — ahoy matey!
So when a “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” care package arrived, I knew we had our next playdate theme.
Our playdate was held on a weekend afternoon, not long after lunch for 2 1/2 hours. My daughter invited four of her besties over and shiver me timbers, they had a treasure of a time!
For our structured activity the girls decorated their very own treasure chests! I found some paper mache treasure chests (and heart boxes) at my local craft store that were just a $1 a piece. At home I searched our craft bin and pulled out some markers, stickers and self-stick gems in various colors for them to decorate the boxes with.
I also found a jar of multicolored beads – that just happened to be in jeweled-tones – along with some colorful plastic laces so the girls made their own gem-necklaces and bracelets to store in their chests!
Our #DisneyKids box included some other treasure chest items such as little telescope/spyglasses, bouncy balls and of course gold doubloons!
The girls also had fun with their coloring sheets that not only featured Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but some of their other Disney Junior favs such as Sofia the First, Mickey & Friends and Doc McStuffins!
For kid snacks we had juice/milk boxes along with some cheese crisp crackers, fruit flavored snacks and some chocolate chip and s’mores flavored Z Protein Bars.
For the moms I had some cheese & crackers and some chips/dip and we sat around chatting with one another and enjoyed watching the girls have fun!
With the fun Jake and the Neverland Pirates decorations that were also included in our care package, it made the whole playdate even more festive and special to show our #DisneySide. I say it was a “yo, ho ho” of a time!
Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your best tip to hosting a successful playdate?
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