Five Tips For Perfect Playdates

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how to throw a perfect playdate

Playdates used to be a luxury around here.

We’ve known for awhile that they really shouldn’t be… I mean there are very few things that the girls love more than getting together with friends, but life always seems so busy and playdates were always put off till the next week and then the next week… you get the picture. And then once we actually did get together we all had a great time and declared we will do it more often.

Making fun a priority this past year, really pushed us to do more of what we love.

I’m not even sure if that is the right term or not. I just know that we are putting more thought into everything we do. We want our moments to really count. We want to have more experiences and to make more memories.

We want to have more fun. 

5 tips for playdates

With fun in mind, we decided to invite some friends over for a playdate.

I’ve had years of experience with planning playdates. Years ago when my older two started having playdates I would go all out with the planning. I would plan every second of their time together. As the years went by I’ve learned a lot about what kids really want during playdates. And one thing I know for sure is that over planning takes away the spontaneous fun. That’s just one of my tips, though… 

Here Are My Five Tips For Perfect Playdates:

play date fun

1. Keep it simple and unscripted. Set no schedule for the kids. Let them dictate what they want to do.

2. Have a backup plan. Weather in the summer can get rainy or super hot pretty quickly. We always start our playdates outside, but I always have a backup plan incase the playdate needs to be moved inside. Thankfully we have a large indoor room for everyone to hang out in if need be.

3. Snacks! The best playdate snacks are grab and go ones like fruit, granola bars, vegetables cut into bite-sized shapes, etc.

summer playdate

4. Keep a supply of playdate equipment. Our favorites are bubble machines, sidewalk chalk, balls, and hula hoops! We just keep a big bin in the garage full of these things so that the kids can just grab what they need and go. It also makes clean up super easy at the end. Just collect it all and drop it in the box!

5. If it’s warm enough (and you are not living in a drought area) playing in the water is always a hit! Just turn the sprinklers on and let them run through them! Running through the sprinklers at friends houses is one of my best childhood memories and my kids love it just as much as I did!

summertime snacks for playdates
What are your favorite playdate ideas?
Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog It's a Lovely Life®! In addition to traveling 150+ days a year, she also helps new bloggers build successful blogging businesses.


  • Playdates are great for little ones! I’d also add, have 2 of the best toys 🙂 Or more lol. That way there is less arguing over who gets what!

  • These are all such great tips. Having snacks and a back up plan are always the best ways to prepare for the unexpected.

  • Snacks are essential for playdates and those Quaker bars will definitely satisfy. I pick them up for myself from time to time!

  • We love having playdates with friends, especially those that the kids know from school and are able to play with off campus. I definitely agree that good snacks are a must!

  • These are such great tips. Snacks are necessary for any play date to go smoothly.

  • Thank you for the tips! i could use them as we moved to a new community some two months ago. will organize playdate by next week to get my son acquainted with everyone else

  • We do a weekly playdate…since I’m home with my kids and my youngest is not in pre-school, we make sure he has plenty to do and playdates is one of the ways he learns to socialize. Summer playdates are even better, because like you said, you h ave the sprinklers and can play outside til dark without a bedtime schedule.

  • What a fun post and your photos are fantastic! Everyone looks so happy. Your guidance for playdates is spot on. I think when they are over planned the magic that can come from simply spending time for little friends doesn’t happen.

  • Water play is the best playdates for the summer! Also whats a playdate without snacks…some of the kids and the adults!! LOL

  • This is awesome idea, my kids would love this. We always do play date and this one would be fun.

  • This looks like so much fun! I definitely learned some new tips here! Thanks for sharing.

  • My kids like playdates. Next time I will be sure to remember the tips to make it more fun.

  • These are great! We don’t have many playdates but when we do I always make sure to have endless amounts of food and things to do!

  • Yes! Love granola bars for quick snacks for the kids. These are great tips. I really like keeping the schedule open and letting kids dictate what they would like to do. What a spontaneous blast!

  • We are a huge granola bar household! They are such perfect handheld snacks 🙂 And I don’t feel quite like I am giving them candy because of the good stuff we fill them with. Also love your playdate tips! We can use them for what feels like our neverending amount of playdates!

  • Finding the right balance between planned activities and free play is key. These all sound like they would lead to a great play date.

    • This is so true. My son didn’t like any planned activities but my daughter liked them. Activities with the freedom to be creative were perfect.

  • These are great tips. i remember when my kids had play dates. A good snack is always important.

  • I remember as kids all of the relatives that lived in our area would meet at our grandmas on one Sunday a month. The kids would all play while the adults sat inside and talked.

  • I usually plan my daughter’s birthday party outside since it is in the summer but I always worry if it will rain or be too hot. I love your backup ideas! My favorite play date when I was younger was definitely playing in the water and climbing trees.

  • My favorite playdate memory was last year we invited all the family and friends over for the kids to just play and have fun! We themed it around red/white/and blue for the 4th…we had so much fun making fun snacks and making up fun games with things we already had around the house! Made some fun memories!

  • These are awesome tips for perfect playdates. Snacks are important and Quaker Chewy Granola Bars with chocolate chips are an awesome snack for the kids. We used to love playing in the sprinkler when we were kids. This is an awesome giveaway and I will have to share this with my niece. Thanks for sharing.

  • I like all these tips. Play dates are always fun. Your pictures are fabulous and kids looks so cute. It sounds like your kids had a great play time.

  • What a great article! When I was growing up I loved play dates. The same is true for my kiddo. Unscripted and plenty of snacks is the way to go.

  • I used to think I was the bad playdate Mommy, since I never had set games or activities for the kids. Then I realized they do best when they can just do what they want! (Within the realms of playing, of course!)

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