Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

No one is sure whether play dates are better for kids or parents. Either way, here are a few tips for how to host a play date and make sure that it’s successful and fun.

How To Host A Play Date

1.   Time it right. Most moms prefer  morning play dates so they can get the little ones home in time for a good afternoon siesta. For moms with babies who still nap in the morning, offer to let them use a pack and play in a quiet bedroom. Also avoid scheduling play dates after a long school day or other busy times. Two hours is about ideal for play date length, as well. Any longer and you may have some tired, crabby kids on your hands.

2.   Serve simple foods. You want to spend time with your guests, not sweat in the kitchen all day, so prepare easy snacks like cut fruit and veggies with healthy dips, cheese, and whole grain crackers. Don’t stress about a fancy lunch either. Offer whole grain pasta paired with store-bought marinara sauce with a side of garlic bread. During cooler months, fill your slow cooker with chili to simmer all morning and serve corn muffins on the side. Serve your munchies up on these platters and you’ll impress kids and parents alike.

3.   Don’t worry about cleaning the entire house. People will mostly be in your kitchen, bathroom, and play room – or wherever you have set up activities for the kids. Focus on tidying up those areas ahead of time and just close the bedroom doors.

4.   Plan a few activities, but be sure to allow time for kids to simply play. If your young guests aren’t sure what to do with themselves in a fully stocked playroom, be prepared with a simple art project, some play dough, an easy cooking activity, or a game. If the weather is nice, head outside with jump ropes or sidewalk chalk. Set up a sprinkler or wading pool (be sure to supervise kids closely) and ask guests to bring bathing suits and towels.

5.   Keep it safe. If you have pets, you may want to put them in another room during your play date. If crawling babies or roaming toddlers will be among your guests, shut the basement door or use a sturdy gate to block access to stairs. Also, ask parents about any potential food allergies.

6.  Make play dates a little easier with a scheduling  app. While you’ve got your phone out, show off your family, or the family pet, when you dress your phone up with one of these custom covers that features one of your personal photos.

What other ways have you found on how to host a play date?

This post was brought to you by the friendly staff of Seaside Glass Gallery in Longwood, Florida.

Category: Kids

Tags: play dates