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  • Writer's pictureWork & Play

Outdoor Playdates: 5 Tips for a Fun & Peaceful Time

Updated: Apr 8



Playdates are a topic that come up often in our work with parents. While we love them and know they are important for the social development of our kids, they can sometimes feel like A LOT. Finding a date, making a plan, managing kids who are not your own, dealing with the clean-up and aftermath of a kiddo who might be over-stimulated and excited are all reasons to avoid playdates. 


But spring and summer are the times to toss off those playdate “cons” and take the fun outside! We are big fans of outdoor playdates. Fresh air, less mess in the house, no screens to manage, and lots and lots of options to have fun can make for a happy afternoon. 


Check out our top 5 tips to make an outdoor playdate a WIN this spring:


  • Make a plan that suits your child. If you have an energetic, mover and shaker then a park or playground is a great spot to host a playdate. If your kiddo is more quiet and gentle in approach, a walk in a park or picnic may be a perfect fit.


  • Bring supplies (and back-up supplies.) A tote bag packed with simple snacks, go-to outdoor play items, a towel and wipes are all a good start. Some of our favorite go-to items for outdoors: sidewalk chalk, bubbles (small bottles with extras when spills happen), trucks/cars, figures like dinosaurs/dolls, balls, water bottles, applesauce squeezers, board books, bandages and hand wipes.


  • Have a clear start and stop time/plan. Sometimes playdates can last a little too long! To avoid any confusion, let the other parent know a start and stop time. If you’re more comfortable to have them attend as well, have an exit plan for you and your kiddo so you can head home when it feels right. One way to avoid a late pick-up? Offer to drive the other child home at an agreed upon time.


  • Have a playdate location and plan that works for you as a parent. If playgrounds make you nervous, choose something else. Maybe a nature walk or sidewalk chalk games feel better. If you are stressed or worried during the playdate, it won’t be a positive experience for anyone. It’s ok to go with what works for you!

 

  • Whatever plan you make, share some details with your kiddo ahead of time. This tip is especially helpful with older children who can help plan and join in on the fun. Talk about what the plan will be if the weather spoils the fun. Chat about what’s ok and what’s not when playing outside. Share with them the plan for leaving and how that will look.


And if you have a yard and are looking to host an outdoor playdate at home, we’ve got some of our favorite items to have on hand. Have these at the ready and decide which ones suit your family and your parenting style the best. Whatever you do, enjoy it!










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