Monday, 11 May 2015

12 Ideas for making playdates magical

#MagicSquaresPlaydates with Petits Filous

Playing with friends is such a magical part of growing up. A child's imagination can transport them into a whole world of possibilities where nothing is impossible. Watching 5 year old Freddy acting out different roles in a variety of imaginative scenarios, never fails to bring a smile to my face. I can still remember playing with friends myself, way back when I was free from the constraints of self-consciousness or embarrassment. Such carefree childhood days.

Nowadays, in addition to the fun and freedom of role play and imaginative games, many parents like to offer some structure to playtime, giving children the chance to learn new skills in the process. The trick is to make these educational activities seem like a game, so the children don't even realise that they are learning through play.

For older children, providing them with ideas of what to do gives them the confidence to try new things and have fun that might bring the quieter ones out of their shells. Sometimes shy kids just need an excuse to let go and join in with something. Offering an activity for the group to do can be a great ice breaker and gives them a chance to be entertained without relying on an iPad or a games console.

Setting kids an appropriate challenge and then letting them free to work out the details for themselves is a great way to give them something to do and it helps build teamwork, communication and leadership skills. Such challenges can be in the form of something arty, performance related, social or physical. They can turn playdates into something more memorable!

Here are 12 ideas for things to do to make playdates magical, that don't cost a lot and utilise things you are likely to have at home already.

  • Challenge them to put on a circus, collecting things such as hula hoops and balls to showcase their skills. It gives big sister Kizzy a chance to show off her plate spinning and hula hooping act!
petits filous, play dates, fun for kids

  • Treasure hunts are always a fun way of entertaining little ones. Virtual treasure hunts using cameras are great fun as children can snap pics of various items outdoors such as a bird in flight or a flower in bloom. Give a list of things to find or use pictures for little ones and let them be mini explorers on a mission.
  • Get out the dressing up clothes and accessories and challenge them to put on a fashion show with music and a makeshift catwalk. Let them perform their show and applaud the mini models as they strut their stuff!
play dates, activities for kids

  • Put on a puppet show using toys or home made puppets made from old socks. A big box with a window cut out makes a good puppet theatre.
  • Provide a big sheet of paper out along with a variety of arts and crafts bits and bobs and challenge them to design a scary monster. Or provide some boxes, paper plates and loo roll tubes to make a junk model. Older kids can design band logos or make artwork based on favourite books or films.
crafts for kids, play dates

  • Host a tea party or a picnic - allow the children to pick a variety of goodies such as Petits Filous Magic Squares, fruit, crisps, cheese and drinks and lay on their own spread to eat. It makes a perfect after school treat.
play dates, activities for kids

  • Make a band by getting together instruments or even saucepan lids and shakers made from bottles half filled with rice. Maybe the children could write their own song or rap and perform it on camera. Or maybe mime or perform to their favourite band's latest song.
  • Cook up a storm in the kitchen with no-bake rice crispie cakes or let imaginations run wild by providing fairy cakes, icing and decorations for creating incredible cupcakes.
play dates, activities for kids

  • Let them be the directors and actors in their own movie. Give them a kid friendly camera and let them unleash their inner Spielberg. Or just get them vlogging in front of a camcorder on a tripod. Kids can be hilarious - it could go viral!
  • Let them upcycle some old T-shirts or plain white shirts using fabric pens or fabric paints. The empty Petits Filous pots are great for using as paint pots, perfect for little artists.
play dates, activities for kids

  • Get green fingered with sunflower seeds, soil and yogurt pots (the Petits Filous Magic Squares pots will do the trick!) Nurturing a seedling is a lovely way to connect with nature.

  • Become mini scientists by exploring if household objects sink or float. Provide a bucket of water and some objects. Or get some magnets and let the children find what materials are attracted to them.
play dates, kids activities

We always enjoy having some creative fun when Freddy has a playdate or has his cousins over and the children always respond to the challenges and have a great time. If they take away a new skill or feel more confident because of the activities, then that makes it worth all the effort!


New Magic Squares from Petits Filous are yummy pots of fromage frais that come in strawberry & vanilla and raspberry & vanilla flavours. The contents of each individual pot is divided into a quadrant of squares of the two individual flavours ready to be stirred together, eaten in alternate mouthfuls or enjoyed separately. It lets kids mix up the magic!  Freddy favoured the 'dive in and scoff the lot' approach! He loved the mix of fruitiness and creamy vanilla flavours.

This post is an entry for BritMums #MagicSquaresPlaydates Linky Challenge, sponsored by Petits Filous.


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