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Playdates. A chance to catch up with friends, put the world to rights, and let your little ones havelots of fun in the meantime. Playdates allow them to interact with other toddlers, and pick up and learn new skills whilst doing so.
I didn’t realise how much was going on when toddlers interact and play together, until I watched the Science of Play videos from Aptamil Growing Up milks, over on the ‘Discover Toddlers’ section at The Huffington Post. It’s truly fascinating to learn about behaviours that toddlers start to learn and display when they hit certain ages, and then be able to spot them in your own child as they play with their friends. To find more information about toddlerhood and learning through play head over to the ‘Discover Toddlers’ section at The Huffington Post to view all of the Science of Play videos. Here are some more play date ideas from them.
I love hosting friends and their toddlers round at our house for playdates but it is always good tobranch out and go to others’ houses so that your toddler can get used to a new environment (andget to play with lots of new interesting toys!). In order to keep things fresh and interesting, when we do host, we like to mix up the activities we have on offer for the little ones.
Here are our top five activities, at the moment, for our playdates:
This was one of my favourite activities growing up. I absolutely loved being surrounded by card, glitter, glue, stickers etc and coming up with crazy creations to show off with my friends. It is such an inexpensive activity and allows toddlers to let their creative sides show. You just need to grab a bunch of paper/card (recycled will do, the kids won’t have any idea!), pens, crayons, stickers and whatever else you feel like, throw it all in the middle of a table and let the toddlers go wild! They will be so proud getting to display what they’ve come up with. I noticed that Little I and her friends liked to watch what each other were doing, in order to get some ideas for their own creations. It was so interesting to observe. What’s also great about crafting as a playdate activity, is that it encourages sharing amongst the little ones. For example, not everyone can have the same stickers or use the glue at the same time.
Here are some fun pictures of our little ones having fun crafting on our playdate:
2. Den building.
Who doesn’t love a den?! We used to make them out of plain sheets and dining room chairs when I was younger, but nowadays dens seem to be getting a little bit more advanced. You can add cushions, fairy lights and books to create a wonderful, cosy, little relaxation space. When you manage to get the toddlers into the den, you can read some stories out loud to them, which is great for holding and sharing their attention, and then leads to bonding between you all – i.e. between you and the kids, and your child and their friends.
3. Musical fun with balloons.
Balloons are a big hit with most toddlers and when you add music into the mix as well, you are on a roll! We had a great time playing with some helium filled balloons on the last play date we hosted.
Sometimes, if Little I and her friends are in the right mood, you can almost play musical statues with the balloons, but if not it’s fun to watch them run around giggling with their balloons. Music can play a big part in a toddler’s learning so it’s really interesting to watch them react differently to varying types of music, and react in different ways as they grow up. Little I used to just bop along to music and now she is trying to actually copy dance moves, which is so lovely (and funny!).
4. Outdoor games.
Most toddlers love being outdoors and it is so lovely to see them running around having a whale of a time (whilst hopefully letting off enough steam to encourage a nap later in the day). Little I is lucky enough to have a play house in the garden and she loves playing ‘houses’ and ‘restaurants’ with her friends when they come round. When the weather is good we can get out the water tray and have lots of fun playing with all the water toys – especially the watering cans.
5. Role play games.
Role play is an activity I have noticed that gets more and more popular with Little I and her friends since they hit two years old. She loves nothing more than acting out little coffee shop scenarios or fire rescue situations. It’s funny to watch the toddlers adapt to their roles within the role play situation and try to act them out as best they can. Little I is known to get a little carried away with her games and has been know to have a bit of a melt down if somebody picks up the wrong ‘coffee’ cup from her coffee shop.
What are your top activities for your playdates? Let us know if you try ours out!