Tips and tricks for the perfect playdate!

A foolproof guide with 7 tips, activity and game ideas

Image: Getty | Words: Sara Conway 

How do you feel about playdates? A quick poll of my friends ranged from “awful” to “hate them!” to “the worst three hours of my life!” But when asked if they’d keep hosting them they all answered yes – because they make our kids happy.

If that’s you, read on. This guide has 10 tried and tested activities that are perfect for keeping a group entertained. They’re suitable for children aged 3-plus and should keep arguments, mess and noise to a minimum. And remember, it’ll be someone else’s turn to host soon. Result!

 1) ACTIVITY: BE CRAFTY

Giving kids something to make and do means they’ll sit down and won’t have to share too much. These paper bag puppets are easy. Or the 5 Minute Fun Shop has a range of sets.

 2) TOP TIP: NEVER TURN YOUR BACK!

Prepare food in advance so you don’t have to leave the kids to make it. If they’re getting on fabulously, you can have a quiet cuppa while you pretend to make it again. There are easy meal ideas here.

 3) ACTIVITY: BE SURPRISING

No 3-year-old will stay quiet and still forever, so give them something unexpected to help them let off steam. A disco is perfect. They choose the songs, throw some shapes, play air guitar, or just run around in circles.

TOP TIP! Set up Spotify in advance.

4) ACTIVITY: STICK WITH IT

Stickers are cheap and kids love them. Stock up so they can create scenes, make cards, or just stick them on each other. These Octonauts sticker albums are buy one get one free!

 5) TOP TIP: PROVIDE DISTRACTIONS

If the kids start a tug-of-war, give them a challenge to stop them in their tracks. Hide treasure for them to find. Can they get across the room on one foot? These activity cards are full of quick and easy suggestions like these.

6) ACTIVITY: BUILD A FORT (FOR THEM, NOT YOU!)

Challenge the kids to a bit of teamwork with a cool end result. Just have sheets and pegs on hand so they can build the ultimate den.

7) ACTIVITY: PROVIDE WOW FACTOR

Find out from your child what kids are talking about at school and work this into your playdate. Check out these activities around mermaids and unicorns for an easy way to wow.

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