Parents – I know that we are all recouping from the holiday season. I know that my house is just now feeling back to normal with all the holiday decorations. Many places around the globe have snow on the ground and we are beginning to get cabin fever. Winter is a great time on the year to host an after school playdate for your kids and their friends. It can be a great pick-me-up to reconnect with friends while learning and having fun! Who says kids can only learn and have fun at school? Yes, we know everyone is super busy, that is why if you have the opportunity to host – your friends parents will be oh so happy!!!
Kim posted about the activities at one of our after school express playdates, but I wanted to share with you how to host one! It really doesn’t take much, just a few supplies and some space. My house is small for a bunch of kids, so I like to host my playdates outside if the weather permits. I like hosting themed playdates because that means there will not be a bunch of kids running wild with nothing to do. If you are in the mood to host – here is one suggested way to plan and prepare for a playdate.
How to host a winter playdate:
Step 1: Decide on a theme. Because my kids are getting SO excited for our upcoming trip to see snow, we decided on a snow theme. Being in the south, we don’t get a lot, so we must get creative!
Step 2: Pick a date and invite your friends. 6-8 kids is my favorite number. This way, they can play and do the stations without it being overwhelming I always do this a couple weeks in advance. Last minute playdates are ok, but not as many friends can usually make it. E-mails, E-vites, or texts are all efficient ways to invitte friends, but a phone call is a good way to keep mommy friendships strong AND get the word out.
Step 3: Choose your activities. I like to look through our Pinterest Boards First for ideas. Then I browse my recycle bin and my art closet and adjust the projects I WANT to do with the items I have on hand! I like to have 2 or 3 art projects and another 2 or 3 activities that are more for open ended playing. Some kids gravitate towards arts and crafts and others tend to prefer gross motor games or the imagination stations!
Step 4: Prepare the supplies. I like to plan for the projects to take no more than 10 minutes for a playdate. Although my kids can do most of the project independently, I try to make decisions on what to pre-cut or have pre-drawn so that all the kids coming to the playdate can successfully do to the project without much grown-up assistance. Because this playdate would be outside, I chose a little bit messier stations than I would have inside! You can adjust based on where you host! I make sure the stations are ready to several hours before the playdate. If you can, putting them together the night before while your kids are sleeping is much faster, at least for me!
I set each little station, or center up in its own area. Art projects are most often set on the table. I taught kindergarten and first grade for so many years that I knew I wanted to do some q-tip painting and crayon rubbing. If you need ideas, stop by our Winter Pinterest Boards for some inspiration. Here is how my paint station looked. The kids knew just what to do when they saw it. The only thing I didn’t have pictured was the glue (which I had to run and find) and the box of wet-wipes for painted fingers!
Then, I also set up a snow station outside, making sure to put real measuring spoons and cups for a chance to interact and measure using standard measurements. If I had real snow, I would have just brought my sand table inside with the snow inside so the kids could play with it in the comfort of their own home!
I set up the rubbing plates station similar to the paint station with all that is pictured below. Just make sure that the table you use is flat. I also encouraged the kids to use both sides of the paper.