Seven Fun and Engaging activities to do on playdates

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The third and final post in our Science of Play series, in association with Aptamil Growing Up milks, covers some fabulous activities to do on your ‘perfect playdate.’

Playdates are great but they can quickly turn in to a free-for-all if the children become bored.

It can sometimes be difficult for parents to know what to do on a playdate. We find that having a few pre-planned activities alongside offering the chance for free play works really well.

Children engaged in fun play activities are more likely to enjoy their time together.

Here’s a list of some of the activities we love to encourage on playdates.

  1. Ted loves being outside. His Wendy House keeps him and his friends entertained for hours. He has a doorbell on the door and they let each other in and out many times before playing imaginary play inside the house. Family-orientated imaginary play is something most children thoroughly enjoy. Teddy has a kitchen in his house and the children love to copy what they see their parents do.A tuff spot or sensory table. This is one of our must-haves. We use our tuff spot every day. It has so many advantages and really helps bring ordinary play activities to life by enabling greater interaction by having a purpose built space for play. It keeps any mess in a limited space and positions the activity at a great height for toddlers. Here are some examples of tuff spot play.
  2. Any games that involve turn taking. In a child’s eyes, the world revolves around them, so learning how to take turns and share can be a useful lesson to learn early on.
  3. Every child is different and every child will become engaged with different toys. Try to work out what your child and your child’s friends are drawn to and include this in their play. Ted loves diggers so we often play games involving transport.
  4. Imaginary play appeals to almost every child. A dressing up box is a great way to let children become other characters and role-play.
  5. All children need opportunities to let off steam. A trampoline is a perfect way to do just this.
  6. Water play is great for children, especially in summer. We have a water tray that we add different things to; bubbles, glitter, ice-cubes, coloured water etc. Throw in a load of water play toys and the children will have no end of fun. Plus, when you’re supervising, you can join the fun too!
  7. A sand pit. I’m not a fan of sand; it gets EVERYWHERE!!! But, all children seem to love it. Buckets, spades and sieves keep a child entertained and happy and we have even used kitchen utensils before! We like to bury treasure for Ted and his friends to find and add things that he can turn into flags and decorations for his sandcastles.

Check out these children as they discover their creativity through play in this video brought to you by Aptamil Growing Up milks’.

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  1. James Child

    We’ve tried all sorts of things on play dates, including the play park in the village as well as sand, water, mud! Main things was that they helped my eldest settle into school by bonding with his new classmates in a relaxed setting. He’s never looked back and nor have we!

  2. Graham Sims

    We have a playdate coming up, and planned a sensory day with lights, sounds, smells and singing cant wait.

  3. Paul

    There’s no real set agenda for the play dates here, I guess you would probably say that imaginary play is the most common thing that’s done. With the weather improving though water play and the trampoline will definitely be used.

  4. Graeme Crawford

    Some great ideas, Will certainly be using a few! The only issue we have is that most of our friends kids are a few years older than ours so have different interests

  5. David

    Chase loves being outside too! Even when it’s raining, he’ll stand at the door wanting to go outside. I’m also looking to get a Tuff Spot for the summer this year as having seen other posts here, there seems to be so much that they can be used for

  6. Dafydd

    It concerns me that the Dad Network is taking payment from Formula companies – ‘growing up’ milks are not necessary and are a marketing tool used by formula companies to get around marketing restrictions on formula. The cost of ‘growing up’ milk is £235 per year, or £593 if you use pre prepared cartons – this compares with an annual cost of £62 for using cow’s milk which meets the nutritional needs of children over 1.

    • Al Ferguson

      Thanks for your comment – I think that Growing Up milks are just offering an alternative to cows milk? Just like Tropicana orange juice offer an alternative to Innocent orange juice?

  7. Clare - My Tunbridge Wells

    Some nice ideas here Al. My 2 year old adores water but I haven’t tried the whole bubbles / glitter thing. I keep meaning to get the shaving foam out too.

    Ps. Nothing wrong in my opinion with working with a ‘Growing Up Mlk’ brand. It’s good to have different options :)

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