Playdate Ideas

Updated on February 17, 2011
B.N. asks from Aurora, CO
12 answers

I am planning to host a playdate at my house this weekend. My boys are 6 and 5 and they would love to spend some extra time with their classmates. i am not sure how I should handle that. It is suppose to be in the afternoon for 2 hours. I am also planning to get some healthy snacks for the kids. Other that that, not sure what I need to do. My house is not very big and I am not sure if that really matters (I am planning to have 5 kids plus my two ones). Any ideas, suggestions, about what I need to do are greatly appreciated. I have a low income and I can't spend a lot, but would love to have the kids have fun :)

I think I am also concerned about what the parents will think about my house. I don't have a very nice house, but it is decent and I was wondering since the rooms are not very big and the kitchen is not either if I will need to let the kids play where ever they want (I will be closing my bedroom door). We usually take off the shoes in the house, do I need to ask them to? Not sure about these rules...

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all ideas. It went really well! The kids had a very good time, they were playing and having fun, playing hide and seek and laughing... I made some banana bread and some home made bread, I served the moms tea and we spent some time together. For sure, I will do it again..

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answers from San Francisco on

Are there any playgrounds or even the school playground nearby, or is there any other outdoor space? With 7 kids, as long as there are some open-ended toys like blocks/lego, cars/trains, empty cardboard boxes (to use as forts, garages for the toy cars, etc.), bubbles, sidewalk chalk, etc., chances are good that if you just give them a suggestion or two they'll run with it.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Atlanta on

Just let them play. Have your sons get their toys out and let them all figure it out. Children have FAR too much structured play going on these days. They never seem to have just open, imaginative play with other kids anymore. It's my experience that they usually LOVE it when they get it. I never plan crafts or scheduled activities for my sons birthdays and I hosted and attended a regular weekly playdate for over 3 years in our neighborhood and we all just let them play -parents sit back and talk and eat and glance at the kids once in awhile to be sure it's all going well -although at their ages, they don't require incredibly close supervision. They'll let you know if something is wrong. I've had so many parents tell me their kids won't quit talking about the great time they had at our house after leaving birthdays and whatnot and I've had even really little kids tell me that they've never had so much fun -and I don't do anything but put out some snacks and Capri Suns!

Don't worry about your house! If the parents ever make remarks to anyone about your house, they're not very nice people. With our play dates and playgroups we've been in a number of different types of homes from tiny to huge; old and new; insanely messy to scarily pristine. Close your bedroom and let them play all over. Meet people at the door and ask them to leave their shoes by the door. We've been to a number of different homes where that was the practice.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

i don't think you have to do anything. they have pretty good imaginations and will come up with things to do on their own. just relax!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

5 kids is a party lol not a playdate. I would have some fruit and veggies cut up and milk or juice to drink. let them direct the play. lego's, board games, play in the snow etc. I refuse to get sucked into the entertaining the kids on the playdate. they get led on so many things at school now that just playing is a treat. you don't say if your kids are girls or boys. but my boys loved building stuff the girls loved tea party's they all loved doing artsy craftsy stuff. but i put out paper, glue, glitter etc and let them have a ball. i didn't put out a finished product and say make this lol. its the process not the product. my kids are 27, 22, 21 and 15 and I still say that to my husband. its the process not the product. remember it. they have more fun just with the process of playing and making things than they do with trying to copy someone else's project.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Sounds like a lot of fun, good for you for doing this. Depending on how many kids are coming you could go to a craft store to the dollar section for some individual crafts or to the dollar stores. You also may not to do anything extra and the kids will just take off to their bedrooms and start playing with toys since your toys will all be new to them. You could also make necklaces out of fruit loops and string, they will love to eat the cereal off them. Growing up my friends and I would just go outside and play and use our imaginations, I think kids these days also need to use their imaginations, make forts stuff like that. If it is too cold out then they could use all your blankets and make a huge fort inside, kids love that stuff. They will have a blast no matter what playing with eachother.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Well I am play-date central at my house. Sometimes up to 8 kids over. Span of time is usually 4 hours. The Mom can stay or not.
My kids are now 4 and 8.
Have had play-dates for them at our house since they are 2 years old.

My kids, mostly are very independent. They self regulate and play. I don't hover.
I have snacks and a meal. Depending what time it is.

ALSO though, the parents of other kids, ALWAYS bring over snacks/food too. That is just customary here where I live.
So, there is always lots of food.
Because yes, it does cost money to have a play-date.
Or just ask the other parents to bring a healthy snack.
ie: pot luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Provo on

good ideas so far. i also suggest asking your kids if there are any special toys that they absolutely don't want to share. those you lock away in your bedroom until after the playdate. don't be afraid to gently tell the friends some house rules at the start of the playdate and intermittently if they become unruly. one of my biggest is no throwing things in the house. also when kids start to take toys outside i check to tell them if it's an outside toy or an inside toy. disposable cups with names written on them are on the table with a pitcher of water. i don't bother with snacks unless the kids ask for them. then it's typically a box of crackers everyone can share and i make sure to tell them what rooms they may eat in. the house rules will get broken, but telling the kids ahead of time helps a lot. have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pocatello on

If the weather is OK, why not have everyone play outside at a park? Or if it is snowy, maybe sledding? Another idea is to get the boys involved in a prodject of some kind like making milk carton bird feeders or make homemade playdough together. In the future it may be easier if you invite fewer children at one time, large groups are more of a challenge. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Collins on

I second Julie B's suggestions! Great ideas! Hope you all have a FUN day!!


answers from Salt Lake City on

Our house is tiny (just over 900 sq ft), and unless it is summer, we only have one friend over at a time. I tell the kids the rules when they first come to our house. No shoes on the carpet, food only in the kitchen, and my room is off limits. Also, since my kids share a room (boy 2 1/2 & girl 5 1/2), they have to give the ok to their sibling if they're going to play in their room. Other than that, I let them have fun.

You've gotten some fabulous suggestions so far. I always print off a bunch of free coloring pages from the internet when having play dates. We get out all our craft supplies, crayons, markers, glue-sticks, scissors, construction paper, glitter pens, foam shapes, yarn, etc. Then I tell them to make whatever they want. It is crazy the things they come up with. Let their imaginations go wild. I also periodically save a couple of diaper boxes and let them play with those too. Playdough & dress ups are fun too.

If it is warm enough, we'll play outside with chalk, sand, etc. One time, I had my daughter & her friend use a magnifying glass & observe as many things in nature that they could. Then, I gave them paper, crayons, pencils, etc. & had them draw everything that they saw. They had a blast!

As far as snacks or meals go, I would make arrangements ahead of time with the parents. If it is lunch time, I'd supply the sandwiches, and talk to the other moms and have them send something else for the kids to eat. Otherwise, I'd just have cups for water (different ones for each kid so you're not washing 30 cups), maybe some graham crackers or other crackers, maybe some cheese slices/chunks, and/or some fruit. You don't need to feed them unless they're hungry.

We also have a rule that EVERYONE helps clean up. My daughter learned the hard way that it is much easier & more fun when everyone helps.

Also, like another mom said, if anyone says anything bad about your house, then they're not friends & not worth your time. I would think that they'd be grateful that you've invited their child to play.

Have fun with it! Good luck!




answers from Oklahoma City on

In my MOMS Club, we have play dates all the time. A fun one we do, is have the kiddos make a snack when we get together. Once I had them help make pumpkin parfaits. This month, we are making mini pizzas. I'm just going to make the dough ahead of time, then have them cut out shapes and put the toppings on (cheese, sauce, maybe mini pepperoni's). They can take the mini pizzas home to cook for lunch, or dinner. Or you can make them there! Have fun :)



answers from Oklahoma City on

Have the kids take off their shoes when they come in the door but be prepared for some stinky feet. That age groups had some noxious fumes around them.

I would let them play and not do anything formal such as activities. They are not going to want to do anything but play and check out the new house and toys. Let them go outside in the yard and play stuff like tag and other running around games.

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