Spring break is almost upon us, with that (for some of us) much quality time will be spent with kiddos.  What better way to get to know your neighbors than to host a neighborhood playdate for said kiddos?  As a veteran playdate host, I’m here to offer up some of my tips!  Let’s dig in.

1. Determine time and pick up snacks.

I think a two hour, mid-morning playdate is ideal. Long enough to let everyone get into play, but short enough to be mentally manageable. 9am to 11am is great, after breakfast, before lunch, early enough that everyone should be happy!

Make sure to pick up snacks and drinks that won’t stain and are easily held by little hands:

  • String Cheese
  • Squeeze apple sauce
  • Goldfish (Parmesan are the BEST)
  • Clear Juice Pouches (I like Honest Kids)
  • Going for supermom/dad status, try out these banana pops!
Image via Hello, Wonderful.

2.  Set-up stations throughout the home.

Not every child likes to play with the same thing, it’s a good idea to offer up opportunities for them to explore and find something they enjoy.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Art (crayons, coloring pages)
  • Playdough
  • Blocks (legos, magnetic tiles, etc)
  • Dress-Up
  • Restaurant (play food)
  • Transportation (cars, trains, etc)
Image via Lay Baby Lay.

3.  Queue the ambiance.

Turn on PBS Kids – they have a ton of great educational content, so you won’t feel bad if they get some added screentime during the playdate.  No PBS Kids? Play some kid-friendly music, have a little dance party!  Pandora has a great kids option.

4.  Prepare yourself for (blissful) chaos.

The kids will have so much fun checking out all the “new to them” toys, don’t be surprised if your stations get intermingled, and you find a tiara in the playdough or a crayon in the spaghetti pot. Make sure you mentally prepare yourself to let it go (Frozen pun intended).

Clean-up doesn’t have to be a chore for you, set a stop time from the beginning that everyone is aware of, at that time, it’s everyone’s job to seek out the toys they were playing with and return them back to their stations.

Image via Cat and Nat.

5.  Prep for the Mommies and Daddies.

Set up an out-of-reach mimosa station, trust me on this one, you’ll thank me later.  Not that hardcore? How about some caffeine and carbs? Brew a fresh pot of coffee, and ensure that you have cream and sugar on hand. It’s also nice to offer up a grown-up snack or two – mini pastries are perfect, just make sure that whatever you get, you’re okay with the littles having too, because you know they’re going to want what you have… 😉

Image via Veridian, taken in the Juniper Ridge Furnished Model.