Playing is much more than just something fun that you can do on an afternoon. It is also a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about the world around them. When children are involved in social play, they learn how to share what they have, how to compromise, and how to handle conflict. Then, they will also be able to regulate their emotions. Play helps develop language, math, and social skills.
You observe toddlers who engage in parallel play rather than playing with your companions (cooperative play). You will observe how others interact with toys, how they manipulate the toys, and how they are able to problem-solve with complex toys. But it is possible to play parallel, and that doesn’t make the experience any less meaningful.
What happens is that all kinds of play help build the foundation for social skills that will grow over time. Play teaches children to be flexible, to be motivated, and to have confidence. Play dates are a wonderful way for children to experience new toys and new people. It allows parents and caregivers to take a break from their daily routine, and it also provides them with important adult interaction.
- Paint with watercolors. Keep a stash of watercolor palettes handy, in order to easily paint.
- Play dough is fun: Whip together a batch of play dough that is not to be eaten by you to make a fun activity on the kitchen table.
- You can blow out bubbles that are colorful, with your children, easily.
- Paint on ice: Freeze water ahead of time so that the children can paint on the ice with watercolors.
- Mix together some simple ingredients and form miniature volcanoes. After that, pay attention to the colors in the mixture, and mix well. Some of the highlights of the game was using squirt bottles.
- Have a collection of shaving cream ideas that you can use at your next playdate. They are very fun (and messy) but they will definitely be a hit!
- Mud pies are an old, classic activity that we all remember doing when we were children.
- Backyard car wash: Line up the trikes, scrub them, rinse them and then do another wash.
- Easel painting: Make a 3-sided easel from cardboard. Give it to two friends. They will have it for you to use.
- Sparkly magic wands are very easy to make. They are great for play dates.
- Sense of touch walk: Take the children on a sensory walk.
- Activities for making art: Place on your kitchen table a few of the items that you are going to make. Invite them to become involved in creating something.
- Paint the playhouse: Have the playdate outdoors and allow the children to paint the playhouse. Washable paint is the best choice for painting children’s playhouses.
- Spray some water on the ground with watercolors, and kids will enjoy this activity. Do your work outside so that you do not have to be very specific about what you should do.
- Blow some bubbles and make your own bubble snakes! Watching them grow is fun!
It is important to think about the toys that you will take to a playdate. When it comes to very precious things, such as a favorite stuffed animal, that you know that your toddler will not want to share, you should pack that item away.