family fun

Entertainment: 5 Tips to Creating the Perfect Playdate

mearts & entertainmentfamily funactivities

Activities—Let's face it! For moms with kids at home, our entertainment is often limited to our kids—the places we take them, the fun we have with them, and the things they do that make us laugh.

When my boys were in pre-school, we'd get cabin fever in the winter. The perfect playdate was a trip to the closest fast-food restaurant with an indoor playland. This helped us get out of the house, in from the cold, and gave my kids a way to get out their energy while getting a little exercise. We'd often meet friends there, which would help me get my social on. It was a win-win for everyone!

Now that my kids are well above the height limits on the playlands, we've had to get more creative about our playdates.

5 Tips to Creating the Perfect Playdate

Here's some tips to creating the perfect playdates that both you and your kids will enjoy:

  1. Choose a place that you all like to visit. For us, that includes Thanksgiving Point, our local flower gardens; Gardner Historic Village, an eclectic shopping area with antique shops and fun family activities; Discovery Gateway, an interactive children's museum fun for kids and adults; and Lifetime Fitness, our gym, which boasts an indoor and outdoor pool with slides, a rock wall, and lots of other fun activities for the whole family.
  2. Find a location that allows you to take some "me time." While your kids are playing, take time to read, write in your journal, do a crossword puzzle, write thank-you cards, or ponder. You don't have to be alone to get in some me time. Just make sure to keep an eye on your kids while you're doing it!
  3. Bring along a friend!  Playdates offer the perfect opportunity to get together with your friends and their kids. Agree on a place all of you would like to visit, meet there, and enjoy an afternoon together.
  4. Mix up your playdate locations and types to add variety. Diversity is the key to keeping playdates fun and fresh. One suggestion is to create a list that you and your kids contribute to of places you all want to visit. Some ideas include: Going to story time at your local library, checking out the animals at the zoo or aquarium, going on a scavenger hunt at a local park, going on a nature/photo walk, visiting a local museum, going to a sporting event, playing at an indoor or outdoor playground, singing at an assisted living facility or nursing home (or volunteering in the community in some other way), etc.
  5. Stay home. I know! It's not unique, clever, or creative. But, kids often do not need more than simple things—like a suitcase, for example—to create an afternoon full of play. Staying home allows you to accomplish your tasks while your kids play. And, if you're in the mood, invite over a friend for your kids to play with.


How do you create the perfect playdate? Where are your favorite places to go? What are your favorite things to do?

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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