1.27.20 – 6 Ideas for Toddler Play Dates!

There’s nothing more fun than spending time with a friend. Play dates are an excellent way for your little one to use their imagination and practice their social skills. If you’re interested in hosting, be sure to read this list of fun outdoor and indoor activities for toddlers. Each activity is unique, engaging and educational, but be sure your toddler is dressed appropriately. Best of all, they’re easy to manage and don’t take much time to plan. We can’t wait for you and your child to discover your favorites! 


  1. Laughing & Crafting


Play dates don’t have to be complicated to be memorable. There are plenty of activities for toddlers at home that will have your child laughing and learning something new. If you have a few minutes to plan and a moment to stop by the store, we recommend holding a craft party.


Place a large piece of paper or a square of canvas on the floor of your playroom or garage. Tape it to make sure it’s secure and then let the kids go crazy with toddler-friendly washable paint. Provide paintbrushes or just let them use their fingers and hands. Make sure they’re wearing older clothes you can throw away. When they’re done painting, you can gift the artwork to their friend or display it for the next time they come over. Other fun ideas include layering different colors of sand into a Mason jar to create a take-home keepsake. If you want to join in, you can help the toddler twosome make their own friendship bracelets. Don’t forget simple holiday ornaments, handprint turkeys and other seasonal crafts.


  1. Cooking & Eating


Inspire your child’s inner chef by holding a play date with a cooking theme. The activities don’t have to be unsafe or difficult. An appetizer party is straightforward and doesn’t require any baking. Gather ingredients like celery sticks, almond butter and raisins to make Ants on a Log. You can also create mini sandwiches or a custom fruit salad by letting each child choose their own types of fruit.


If you don’t have a problem supervising the oven, a little pizza recipe is fun. If you ask us, it almost feels like crafting! Toddlers also enjoy helping make roll-up snacks with tortillas and fun ingredients such as cheese and deli meat. Before you begin, have a conversation with the other toddler’s parents to check that they don’t have any allergies. You’ll also want to know if they’re vegan or vegetarian.


  1. Walking & Exploring


When the weather is nice, take your play date outside. The park, pond and beach are all exciting places to walk around and discover new items. Trek through a tree-lined nature trail and discover different colored acorns or leaves. If you’re romping around the shore, work to classify different types of seashells.


Toddlers also like to talk about birds, trees and clouds. As long as you make a game out of it, you’ll keep the kids engaged. Invite the children to breathe in the fresh air, notice the feel of the breeze and discuss the textures they see and feel. Before heading out on a warm or chilly day, make sure everyone is wearing appropriate clothing. Hats, mittens or sneakers with grip may be necessary to have fun while staying safe.


  1. Singing & Dancing


Create a special occasion in the comfort of your home by holding a toddler dance party. Invite your child’s friend to arrive in a costume. You could also ask them to bring their favorite scarf, hat or sunglasses. Play holiday tunes, movie soundtracks or boogie down to the songs of different decades.


Take a short break for snacks or have lunch ready for after the party’s over. Encourage the kids to move their bodies and sing along. Don’t be afraid to let the parents join in, too!


  1. Brainstorming & Building


While you’re scheduling with the other parent, ask them if they can bring a couple of cardboard boxes. Designate two to three boxes per child and then have a brainstorming session to decide what to do with them. Some kids like to draw or paint on the outside to make them look like cars or boats. Others will use them as a structure for a stuffed animal puppet show.


Your toddler might want to simply push them around or sit inside them. The important thing is that they’re having fun! If you have room in a closet or inside your garage, stack them for the next play date. Many parents find they can get a few uses out of them.


  1. Watching & Snacking


Instead of going to the movies, why not make your own theater at home? First, decide on a classic kid favorite or a holiday movie. Next, plan your family friendly movie snacks. Some toddlers do fine with pretzels or popcorn, while others prefer mixed fruit, cereal bars or some organic cheese sticks.


Gather blankets, stuffed animals and pillows to make the room relaxing. You can even invite everyone to wear their pajamas. It doesn’t matter if your child isn’t ready for a sleepover. There are plenty of types of toddler sleepwear out there that look cute enough to wear outside. If it’s snowing or raining, encourage the kids to wear cozy slippers or use flashlights.


Planning a Fun, Memorable Toddler Play Date


If you’ve been avoiding play dates because you think they’re too expensive, or just aren’t sure how to pull one off, our ideas are here to help. Call the friend your child always talks about and ask their parents if they’re free this weekend. Tell them about a few of the activities above and ask which one they think their toddler would like. With your child’s enthusiasm and your thoughtful activities in mind, you’re sure to plan a play date everyone will love.


# sponsored by Gerber