When you're responsible for entertaining your preschool child and his friends, it can be tempting to simply unload the toy boxes and let them have at it. But with a little bit of preparation and creative thinking, you can arrange for a playdate with a bit more structure and excitement -- creating a win-win situation for everyone.
Kids aren't spending enough time in nature these days, so enjoy a walk with the little ones while going on an outdoor scavenger hunt. Make a list of things to hunt for as you walk, such as pine cones, rocks and different colors of leaves. You can call out the items to look for, or create a picture list for the kids to use on their own. Equip each child with a bucket to store their findings.
Host a playdate at a local attraction, such as story time at your library or a tot activity at a nearby museum. If you are able to organize a large group of preschoolers and parents for your outing, you might even be able to arrange a behind-the-scenes tour for your group at a fire station, bakery or farm.
Host a playdate centered around an activity appropriate for a season or holiday. In fall, the kids could paint pumpkins or make leaf rubbings and decorate Halloween-themed cupcakes. Kids could frost gingerbread houses in December, create valentines in February and paint eggs in the spring. Summer could mean activities based on the Fourth of July, watermelon or beach themes.
Craft time is a guaranteed success among preschool aged kids, so long as you don't mind cleaning up a mess. Rather than turning art time into a free-for-all, have a specific project in mind. Create masks using paper plates and rubber bands, and have the children decorate them with stickers, feathers and jewels. Make puppets using craft sticks and ask the kids to put on a puppet show. For the musically inclined, create a maraca by sealing a few handfuls of dried beans between two decorated paper plates; turn on some music and let the kids rock out.
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