Playdates: love them or hate them, they are great for your child’s growth. With little ones, playdates offer important opportunities for social interaction and development. For older children, playdates allow time for unstructured play and socialization with their friends.

Christina Mirtes is an assistant professor of early childhood education at Eastern Michigan University and explains that, “What happens during playdates can really support healthy development,” she says. “Social interaction with other children is a very healthy way to develop in all domains, including social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical domains.”

If you are looking for some playdate ideas and activities, both indoors and outdoors, to keep your child and their friends busy, the team at Sawyer have you covered! Keep reading and then check out the fun activities, both online and in-person, that our educators are offering every day.

Playdate ideas and activities

If you are hosting a playdate, providing ideas for activities is an important part of keeping the fun alive. Especially if you have younger children, the adults often have to lead and organize (and then clean up) the activities. 

So, if you are looking for some fun playdate ideas for your children, including indoor and outdoor park playdate activities, you have come to the right place! Here are some of our favorite things to do on a playdate.

Make an art project or craft

Arts & crafts are perfect for playdates because they keep the little ones entertained and the adults can have fun, too! Plus, there are many benefits of art for kids, including improved fine and gross motor skills, increased creativity, and enhanced focus. When you set up the art supplies for the playdate, you can either give the children free range or come up with an idea for their art project before they start.

There are so many great educators on Sawyer who offer both in-person and online art classes. But, if you are looking to set up the arts & crafts for your playdate yourself, here are some of our favorite ideas.

  • Create a seasonal craft. Fingerprint reindeers, snowmen in a jar, and magazine montage menorahs are all great holiday crafts for kids. Arts and crafts are even more fun when they have a fun seasonal theme. Plus, they can make great gifts from your little ones to family members during the holiday season.
  • Try origami. Origami is a fun and challenging craft that is probably more suited for older children. Both children and adults will feel proud when they successfully master this art form. Use our guide to learn origami for kids.
  • Make nature crafts. This is a great playdate activity because it combines outdoor play and arts & crafts. Take your little charges outside to walk around and find pinecones, leaves, sticks, and more to bring home. Then, make natural crafts like stick people, leaf handprints, and twig picture frames. Check out our full list of nature crafts for kids for more inspiration.
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Act out a story

One of our favorite playdate activities is acting and putting on shows. The children can choose to act out some of their favorite stories from books, TV shows, and movies or they can write their own! 

With younger children, it might be easier for them to work from existing material, while older children might enjoy the challenge of creating something themselves. And did you know about the many benefits of acting for kids? Acting helps children become more confident, expand their creativity, and increase their empathy. Plus, acting is just plain fun!

Play make believe

Playing dress-up and make believe is such a fun way for children to dive into their imagination. Our early childhood learning expert explains that pretend play helps children explore current interests, strengthen language skills, and practice self-care skills. It allows them to explore their own sense of self and reflect what it feels like to be someone else, which is called perspective taking. Finally, playing pretend encourages children to role play, imagine, and empathize. It gives them a safe space to work through tricky social scenarios in the safety of it being a “pretend scenario.” 

Therefore, if you are looking for a fun playdate activity that also helps your child and their friend grow developmentally, playing make believe is a great option!

Do a puzzle

Studies show that when children and adults do puzzles, they improve their memory. But, that’s not the only benefit of puzzles for kids. If you have children who are on the more introverted side, puzzles are a fun thing to do on a playdate. Plus, it’s a good task to help children unwind from a day of school while still using their brains! Use our guide with the best puzzles for kids to get started adding to your toy box.

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Go to the park

Getting out of the house can help make a playdate feel more fun and exciting. Plus, it takes a lot of the weight off of the adult’s shoulders, since the children can play on their own in the playground or in a field (as long as you are supervising closely). When children play outside, they get a lot of opportunities to be active, expand their interest in science and ecology, solve problems, and explore the natural world that is right outside their front door.

And the best benefit of outdoor play? Children get a better night’s sleep after romping around outdoors. The combination of sunshine, exercise, and sensory-motor exploration will often tire a child out so they sleep soundly.

Take a class

You can remove a lot of the pressure of planning a playdate by signing the children up for a class with a wonderful educator, either in-person or online. Before the playdate, speak with the other child’s family to see what they are interested in. Then, sign up for a class that fits both your child and their child’s interests. There are great STEM classes, dance classes, music classes, and so much more on Sawyer

Bake or cook together

Cooking and baking with children helps them learn quick math, become more dexterous, and gets them excited to try new foods. If you don’t mind the mess, cooking and baking on a playdate can be a great activity for everyone! You can also make it extra fun with games like taste tests, Chopped for kids, and kitchen Simon Says. Check out our article with more cooking activities for kids.

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We hope this list of the playdate ideas and activities has given you what you need to help your child and their friends to have the best playdate yet! If you are looking for great in-person and online camps and activities for your children, check out what our wonderful educators are offering on Sawyer!

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