Having a hard time coming up with play date ideas that you AND your kids will love?
We’ve got you covered! Read on for some of our favorite ideas!
Confession time – I am stressed out by play dates.
When my son was 2, we had a little boy from daycare over to play, and you’d have thought we were hosting royalty with the way I cleaned and prepared food.
I’d only met the mom a couple of times while dropping off our kids, and I wanted to make a good impression.
Since then, we have only had a handful of play dates with my kids’ friends rather than my friends with kids.
My friends are easier for me to manage – they don’t care what my house looks like, and I know there won’t be awkward silences while we try to come up with things to say.
One small problem – that’s not fair to my kids.
They should be able to play with their friends, too.
Does this sound familiar? If you’re looking for play date ideas to keep your kids happy and reduce your stress, look no further!
Here are fun play dates that will make both you and your kids happy.
Play Date Ideas You and Your Kids Will Love
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1. Indoor bounce house or gym
These indoor activity centers have popped up all over the place , and they have open play times where you pay by the hour. Check out when your local activity center has open play, and meet there for the kids to burn off some energy.
If you want to qualify for a larger group rate but don’t really feel like arranging a huge play date party, here’s an idea: start a playdate co-op! Get everyone together to go in on the group rate, but each set of parents is responsible for their own smaller sub-group. Does that make sense?
2. Ice skating or roller skating.
This one only works if you each only have one child (so you can ice skate with them and help them stay up) or if your kids already know how to skate. But, it is a lot of fun and is sure to provide a ton of laughs!
I love this idea because roller skating rinks often have special rates for their “off-peak” hours, like during the week. Some of them even offer very inexpensive skating lessons!
Find a local bowling alley that will add bumpers and invite a few of your kids’ friends’ families to come with you. If you go in the middle of the day, you’re less likely to run into rowdy bowling leagues, and the kids will have a blast.
4. Restaurants with a play area
Several fast-food restaurants offer indoor play areas for kids from as young as 2 up to 12. Grab lunch together and sit near the play area. When the kids are done, they can go in and play while the adults stay at the table and talk.
5. Super hero party
Fun play date ideas don’t have to mean going out. Have friends come over to your house dressed as their favorite super heroes.
Make a batch of sugar cookie dough and cut them out with gingerbread man cutters. Then have a bunch of icing colors and sugars for the kids to decorate their own super hero cookie. Serve this delicious Spider-Man Venom Punch recipe as a refreshment!
6. Running through the sprinkler or sledding.
Can you tell I live in the Midwest? Depending on the time of year, outdoor activities widely vary.
In the winter, kids can either come over for a snowball fight or to build a snowman, or you can meet at a local sledding hill. Follow the outside play with some yummy hot chocolate.
7. The library
This is definitely not a traditional play date location, but libraries are not like they were when we were kids. The children’s section of the library has all kinds of activities for kids, and if you’ve got a couple of book lovers, this is the perfect place for them to spend time together.
Check out a few books, then head over to the park for the kids to run around after having used their inside voices.
Check out these 7 things your library offers that your e-reader can’t!
8. Painting party
Don’t feel like dealing with the mess? Check your local listing for art galleries and other venues that offer kiddie paint parties! They’re getting super popular lately, so chances are you’ll find someplace hosting one near you.
9. Nature Walk
Taking a nature walk is one of my favorite inexpensive play date ideas. Pack a backpack with some water & snacks, dress the kids up in clothes that can get dirty, and take them to your favorite state park or nature trail.
As you walk, tell your kids to keep an eye out for birds, interesting (and safe) plants, and so on. We have a bunch of “environmental education” parks in my area that have guided tours as well as maps for DIY exploring.
10. Fire station tour
Call your local fire station (or police station) to find out if they offer tours for kids. We’ve done both with local parenting groups. Don’t worry, if you do a police station tour, they’ll make sure your kid are kept very far away from criminals!
Now that you have some play date ideas, hopefully getting together with your kids’ friends and their parents will be less overwhelming. Happy playing!