Planning the Perfect Toddler Playdate
The toddler years are full of exciting milestones - and your child’s first playdate is certainly one of them. Planned playdates aren’t just fun, they’re also a great opportunity for your little one to learn important skills like taking turns, sharing, and cooperating with friends.
Planning ahead for playdates for kids makes the day more fun and less stressful for everyone involved. This is especially true with toddlers, where there are a lot of things to take into consideration to make the playdate a success. That’s why we’ve created this guide to planning the perfect toddler playdate so everyone has a great time and gets along.
Healthy Playdate Snacks
Playtime always goes better when toddlers have their bellies full of delicious, nutritious snacks to avoid a hungry meltdown. Playdates are full of excitement and extra energy, so offering snacks that fill them up and keep them going while avoiding a sugar rush is important. Here are some of our favorite healthy snacks for playdates:
Fruit in Fun Shapes. Cut fruits like apples, pears, melons, and peaches into cute shapes with small cookie cutters for a fun and healthy snack. Add some vanilla yogurt on the side for a protein-filled dipping sauce that’s delicious as well.
Smoothies. Kids of all ages love a smoothie, and they’re great fuel for active toddlers on the go. Simply blend some low-fat yogurt, milk, and a few frozen and/or fresh fruits of your choice (we love mango, strawberries, raspberries, and bananas) and pour into a sippy cup. If the smoothie is too thick for your toddler to sip, add a little bit more milk and you’re good to go.
Graham Cracker Snacks. Make a cute, toddler-friendly snack by spreading cream cheese on a few graham crackers and topping with berries or other fresh fruit. They’re easy, tasty treats that pack a nutritional punch too, and kids will love them.
Cheese Plate. Everyone loves cheese and crackers, and toddlers are no exception! Make this healthy, quick playdate snack by cutting up cheese into toddler-sized bites and adding them to a plate with whole-grain crackers and plenty of cut-up fruit like berries and sliced apples. Kids can grab a bite when they get hungry and go back to playing.
Hummus Dippers. Toddlers love a good dip - it’s fun for their developing motor skills and delicious to boot. Pick a favorite hummus flavor and include plenty of fresh veggies for dipping, and pita bread triangles as well. The plant-based protein in hummus will keep kids going during their playtime and beyond.
Fun Activities for a Playdate
Now that you’ve got the snacks sorted out, what kinds of activities are great for a toddler playdate? Toddlers do enjoy social interactions with their pals, but they’re typically too little to really play independently or interactively most of the time at this stage. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions for age-appropriate activities they’ll love.
Finger-Painting Fun. Toddlers just love to get messy and crafty at the same time, so create a chance for them to do that together. You can tape big sheets of paper together so they can create their own little mural - just be sure to provide smocks and newspapers to keep the mess contained.
Make Your Own Playdough. While you can buy playdough, making your own is fun and easy using one of the many recipes online. You can also add in a few drops of some calming lavender oil to make playtime fun and chill at the same time. Toddlers are exploring the sensory world, so they love tactile experiences like molding and shaping playdough.
Suds in a Tub. Yes, your floor might get a little wet, but your little ones will have a great time with this playdate activity. Fill a tub or bucket with soap and water and provide cups and whisks to make “bubble pies,” or baby dolls to have a bathtime playtime. Kids will love experiencing the fun, sensory world of bubbles together.
Dance Party. If your toddler and their friends love to dance (and most do!), this is a great idea to get some energy out and have fun doing it. Clear a safe dancing space, inside or outside, and turn on their favorite tunes. Dancing their wiggles out can release any stress from sharing-related squabbles as well, and with a quick boogie everyone will be friends again in no time.
Playdates for toddlers come with plenty of planning involved - they’re too little to play independently, and they need plenty of healthy, tasty snacks to keep their energy and mood up while they play along with their friends. But with some easy prep work and tasty snack ideas, you and your little one will have a fun, friendly playdate and learn some important skills all at the same time.