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5 Play Date Ideas for Older Kids

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Our family moved into a new neighborhood this year and my son played on the local baseball team. He befriended one of the other boys and they found out that they didn’t live that far from each other. One day the other kid came running up to me and said, “I want to come to your house.” So we set up a day for him to come. My son was so excited. I was nervous because I wanted it to go well. We’ve had plenty of play dates through the years, but this was the first time my son would have a friend over, whose parents I didn’t know at all.

Older kids have an increasing need to form social connections with their peers, and play dates outside of school are important for building those friendships. Here are some ideas for helping your older child have a great time with friends.

1. Rock and ROLL.

Older kids like to have a little bit of freedom and hang out somewhere besides home from time to time. Take your kid and a buddy to the roller rink or another active-play facility (rock-climbing walls, putt putt courses, etc.) and let them do their thing for a couple of hours. If you’re not interested in actively participating, take a book or magazine and hang out on the sidelines.

2. Create Something Fabulous.

For your creative older kids, a visit to a paint-your-own art studio is a great option. For a small fee, your child and a friend can have access to a canvas and supplies to make something memorable. If you’d rather stay home, pick up a craft kit for making your own friendship bracelets or bead jewelry and give them some space to create.

3. Future Chefs.

If you have a budding foodie in your family, let her pick out a must-try recipe and invite a friend over to give it a whirl. Depending on the complexity of the recipe and the kitchen tools involved, you may have to provide supervision, but they’ll have fun learning the ropes! Stumped for an idea? Think simple sugar cookies with colored icings and sprinkles to decorate.

4. Sleepover City.

Older kids love a sleepover, so let yours invite a friend or two to hang out overnight. Pre-select some movies to watch (use iMom’s Movie Monitor to assist you in choosing), pop up some popcorn and let the fun begin. Be prepared for pillow forts and hours of giggling.

5. Back to Nature.

Your older kids can likely handle the physical demands of a short nature hike at a nearby state park or nature trail. Pack a backpack with snacks and drinks, and head out to see what the great outdoors has to offer. Take your cues from the kids about when to stop and rest, and when to call it a day.

Here are some date ideas for when Dad needs some inspiration for quality time with your daughter!

Tell Us! What are some fun play date ideas you have used?


What is your favorite thing to do with a friend?

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