Worried about arranging fun playdates for your little one? Whilst toddlers will naturally make friends at nursery, it can be great to set up playdates outside of a nursery setting.
Here are our top tips for setting up fun playdates that will encourage your toddler to develop budding friendships. Playdates are the perfect opportunity to make new friends as there are endless fun activities to do!
How to find playdates for toddlers
Always start with people you know, as this is the safest way to organise your first playdate. Even if you just have mutual friends or they are a distant family member, this is the easiest way to secure a playdate.
Though seeking out playdates with people you know is easy and safe, there are still many other ways to find playdates that are also safe.
Ask parents at your child’s nursery, for example! If your child has already made a friend at nursery, we’re sure they would love to play with them outside of nursery. Talk to your child about who they like to play with and try to organise a time for them to come over and play.
Or, you can find families for playdates online. This could be through a local Facebook group or website. There are plenty of ways to find playdates online, just be sure to check that it is a reliable and trustworthy platform.
Our top playdate tips
Firstly, always attend playdates with your toddler. As much as it is their time to socialise, it’s also a great way for you to make friends with fellow parents.
If you are meeting someone you have never met before, then have your first playdate in a public place, such as a local park.
You could also try playgroups. These are usually pre-set groups of families, which means you have even more opportunities to socialise!
Also, do not overstay at your playdates. The younger your child, the shorter the playdate. We recommend that under 3s stick to around an hour, whilst older toddlers can handle a couple more hours.
Toddler playdate ideas
Go to your local park
As mentioned earlier, the local park is a great place to meet up with your playdate for some fresh air. There is lots to do for the children here, and also gives you the opportunity to meet even more parents, too!
Make some tasty snacks
Cooking or baking is a great way for children to feel more grown up and involved. It also helps them to build fine motor skills and can teach them a lot about nutrition. But most of all, it’s super fun to bake with friends.
You could bake some cupcakes and have a decorating session with icing and candy, or have the children create a snack platter using their favourite fruits and snacks. You can discover some fun and easy recipes for toddlers to bake here.
Whatever you choose to do, check with the other parent about allergies and dietary restrictions first.
Set out a sensory box
Sensory play is great for toddler development, and a fun activity to indulge in with a friend.
The best part is, pretty much anything can go in a sensory box, so you will probably have lots lying around the house to use. Our sensory box recommendations include sand, coloured rice, shaving cream and beans.
You should also add some scoopers, buckets and maybe even some plastic toys so the children can work on those fine motor skills too.
Just be sure to keep a careful eye on children whilst they are using the sensory box, especially if any of the items are a choking hazard.
Build a fort
We’re sure that everyone remembers building a fort as a child, which is understandable as it’s just so fun!
You can pretty much leave it to your toddler’s imagination. They could use pillows, blankets, cardboard boxes, and work as a team to build their den.
Once the den is built, you can also fill it with some fun toys to play with. Your little ones will be in there for hours. It’s the perfect way to fill a rainy day or enjoy a cosy Sunday at home.
Go for a scenic walk
Playdates do not always have to be inside. It’s nice to get active and go for a stroll with a friend. You could even turn it into a scavenger hunt, and have the children look for items in wildlife. These could include flowers, grass, pinecones, sticks and rocks! Discover more fun outdoor activities for children here.
Making friends at Little Angels Nursery
Here at Little Angels, our fully trained staff are devoted to helping your toddler make new friends and develop key social skills in the process. Get in touch or download our brochure to learn more about us.