Being a parent can be lonely at times. Befriending local families is one of the best ways to connect with other parents and even build valuable friendships for yourself and your kids. Although it may seem challenging to maintain a social life when chasing around young children, it is definitely possible. One of the best ways to build friendships as a parent is to involve your children in the process. Below, we’re sharing some tips on how to plan a playdate with your neighbors and some ideas of playdate activities for young children.
How to Plan a Neighborhood Playdate
When it comes to planning a playdate with a local family, you’ll want to start by befriending some of the families that live near you. You can also consider any families that you’re already friends with and plan a playdate with them as well. Here are a few tips to help make playdate planning a little easier.
Befriend Local Families and Neighbors
Making friends can feel challenging in adulthood, especially when you’re busy taking care of children everyday. But maintaining a social life and community of supportive individuals can make life much more enjoyable and secure for you and your kids. If you’ve already got some friends who live in your area that have kids as well, then planning a playdate with them should be easy.
It’s never a bad idea to broaden your circle though, so why not get out of your comfort zone and try making some new friendships within your neighborhood and surrounding community? Try to spark up a conversation next time you’re at the park or library and you notice parents who have kids around your age. It can be surprisingly easy to befriend other parents because your kids will likely be interested in playing with one another.
Pick a Time and Location
Once you’ve decided who you’d like to plan your playdate with, all you’ll need to do is decide on a time and location. If you’re planning a playdate with someone you’ve just met, we recommend having your first playdate in a public area such as the park or the library. These are also great places for playdates in general since they typically offer activities for kids. For already established friendships, hosting a playdate at home can be relaxing and enjoyable. You’ll feel comfortable at home and since your house is likely already kid-proof, you won’t have to worry about children injuring themselves or wandering into an area where they shouldn’t be.
Have Some Activities Planned for the Kids
It is helpful to have some fun activities planned for your children when planning a playdate. Consider what will keep your kids busy during their playdate. If you’re headed to a location that already has activities, then you won’t have to worry about planning much. If you’re hosting a playdate at your home though, you’ll probably want to have some activities and games planned for the kids. Offer the kids some craft supplies or a board game to keep them busy.
Another creative at-home activity you can try is challenging the kids to build a living room fort (hint: easily build a living room fort by setting up a large playpen with pillows and blankets). By keeping the kids occupied during the playdate, you can actually have a chance to relax and socialize as an adult – a luxury that most parents don’t get often!
5 Playdate Activity Ideas for Young Children
There are a variety of fun places you can take your kids for a playdate or you can even just stay home and keep them entertained with toys and games that you already have on hand. Here are a few simple playdate activity ideas for young children.
1. Go to the Park
Visiting a local playground or park is the perfect playdate activity. Kids of all ages will have something to do and you’ll likely be surrounded by other families from your community as well. Parks are a great location to plan initial playdates with new friends since they provide an open, public space. Bringing some food and drinks for your kids can help you make the most of your park playdate since your kids will have the opportunity to take a break and refuel.
2. Host the Playdate at Your Home
If you’re comfortable planning the playdate at your home then this is a comfortable and easy option. Take out some toys or set up some activities to keep the kids busy. A few at-home playdate activities that can keep kids occupied include painting and coloring, doing a puzzle, playing a board game, or doing a baking project.
3. Try an Indoor Playground
Indoor playgrounds offer a great way to get kids out of the house when the weather isn't ideal for outdoor play. Find an indoor playground near you and use it to host your next playdate with friends. An indoor playground will likely offer a variety of fun activities and games such as a ball pit, slides, or a jungle gym.
4. Go to the Beach
For anyone who’s lucky enough to live near a beach, pick a day when the weather is nice and invite your friends to meet you and your kids at the beach for a sunny, sandy playdate. Beaches are naturally entertaining for children making them the perfect playdate location. You’ll likely get some time to relax in the sun and your kids will have a blast as well. Be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day and bring a sunshade to reduce the risk of sunburn.
5. Have a Pool Day
Swimming pools offer a fun activity for kids and are the perfect playdate location on a hot, sunny day. If your neighborhood offers a swimming pool, this is the perfect place to meet up with one of your local families to give your kids some time to play. Be sure to use proper swimming pool precautions such as having your children wear flotation devices if they can’t yet swim on their own and always maintain supervision.
Playdates are a great way to entertain your kids and even make some friends of your own. Everyone benefits from socializing and building a supportive community around you gives security and comfort to you and your family.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen is a large, spacious playpen that offers safety and fun for kids of all ages.