A toddler playdate may feel overwhelming, especially if you never planned or hosted one before. But they are actually quite fun. It is not only a great way to get your little to interact with kids their own age and learn some social skills but it also gets you time to hang out with another adults.
A successful playdate is always well planned. While a “just come over and hang out” playdate is great, a planned and themed playdate will gather more yes responses to your rsvp and always have returned guests. Having some planned activities for the toddlers are a great way to keep them busy and engaged.
Here are some great toddler playdate ideas:
1. See you at the Carwash. This is great type of playdate because not only do little ones love to play with water, you may also be walking away some cleaned toys. Have each child bring their favorite ride a long toy to wash. Have some bubbly soap, sponges and rags for children to use to scrub clean their toy. You will be amazed at how long this actually occupies their interest. You may even wonder what else in your home you can get them to scrub clean.
2. Sidewalk coloring party. Gather not only your sidewalk chalk but also fill water bottles with food coloring and water and have some sidewalk paint. All the toddlers will love creating their masterpieces on the sidewalk using different types of utensils. Beforehand, you can paint picture frames around the driveway and each child can learn to color a picture within the frame. Have a card filled with ideas of types of things they can try and draw, such as a rainbow or a tree.
3. Messy playdate. This one can get a bit… messy. But kids love to get dirty and it is always nice to indulge them every once in a while. Have this playdate in your backyard with small plastic pools or flat plastic bins with different types of messy stations. One can be filled with dirt and trucks for them to play in. Another can be filled with bubble water so they can make large bubbles with wands. You can also have a painting station where there are different types of objects, such as rocks, twigs or anything else they can paint.
4. Box painting party. Has anyone moved recently? Have a lot of large cardboard boxes handy? Set them up all throughout your yard and have a ball watching all the little ones go around painting the big boxes. Put some weight on the bottom of them so that they are not easily moved. Put out portable paints and brushes available for each child to paint with. Make sure you tell parents to dress them in something they can get dirty in!
5. Homemade pizza party. Grab some tortillas or english muffins. Set out cheese, sauce and toppings and help your little ones create their very own pizza! They can watch them bake in the oven and can enjoy their very own work when done. This is a real hit!
Remember to have fun and go with the flow. While you may have planned activities available, don’t be surprised if the little ones make up their own type of fun. That’s okay too. Just remember that most toddlers’ easiest handle times are usually in the late mornings. You can count on a more successful playdate if it is not during naptime.
Also be sure to have snacks and drinks available for your guests. A bowl full of goldfish is a great deterrent of a possible tantrum alone with some water bottles, juice boxes and milk.