I received free products in order to host the Bright Starts sponsored Play Date. The opinions expressed here are my own. #BabyLOLL #BrightStarts
I love inviting friends over for many reasons. The first reason is that my house is somehow so much easier to clean knowing someone is coming over! The second reason, especially while my daughter is still young, is that she is so much happier after she has had a chance to play with others and so is her mom ;-). I love being able to socialize with other moms while are children are in a safe and contained environment (i.e. no streets to run into!). And for this reason we had so much fun hosting a Bright Starts “Little League of Laughters” Play Date with a few of our friends.
Play dates for younger children, in my opinion, should be really simple to put together and stress free, but need a few organized activities because these little ones are still learning how to share, play and have fun.
What You Need:
- Some toys to share
- A few busy activities (they can include the toys, if you want)
- A simple snack (see recipe below)
Step 1: Pull out some of your favorite toys to share. You may have a playroom full of toys, but I have learned bringing a fun squad into a large room of toys can get overwhelming and leave you and your guests with a gigantic mess to clean. For our play date we used a few of our new favorites from Bright Starts and used our front room that did not have very many other toys. Here are a few great ones…
Great Play Date Toys
- Spin & Giggle Puppy
- Learn & Giggle Fish
- Learn & Giggle Activity Station
- Bunch of Balls – because you can never have enough balls!
Ever since we received this “League of Little Laughters” play date kit, I have not been able to keep my youngest from pulling them out to show every guest who walked through our door. I was afraid that since she was at the top of the recommended age for these toys that she would get bored of them quickly, but I can see her playing with these much longer. And as a bonus our next daughter (not due for a few more months) will be old enough to enjoy them within the next year giving these toys a longer life in our house.
Step 2: Play! Spread the toys out in a small area so the children (and moms) can still be close to play near each other without stepping on each other. The kiddos moved back and forth between toys practicing their “sharing” skills…
AND sometimes they ended up all playing with the same toys. It was a lot of fun to watch their reactions.
Although all the toys had their own entertainment level, the Spin & Giggle Puppy attracted a lot more attention than I expected. They loved watching it spin and depending on the surface it was placed on, it could do some fun rocking too!
The Learn & Giggle Activity Station was big enough for two kiddos to enjoy and had a lot of great ways to practice developmental skills and terms. Like, turning pages, turning the power off and on via a large “light switch” on the front (an intentional switch ;-)… there is smaller on/off switch for parents), colors, music and phrases the kiddos loved to repeat just to name a few.
The Learn & Giggle Fish seems to get more attention with the older children until everyone realized it played music and they loved to dance to it. This particular toy is currently my daughter’s favorite as it easy to carry all over the house and she can practice colors, shapes, letters and numbers or just dance with it.
And we can’t forget about the Giggables. My daughter was begging for me to open up our little puppy since the moment she saw it in the box. It is a light weight toy that makes silly sounds while wobbling across the floor. My oldest kids were even fascinated with it and keep “borrowing” it when she is not looking to test its wobbley-rolling technique.
Step 3: Have a few busy activities prepared “just in case.” A lot of the time we only play one, but it’s great to have a few on hand just in case you need to change the mood around in the room.
Our favorite games we played at our play date were rolling the balls back and forth (we had a wedge mat so that made it easier for the “rolling” to happen), bouncing on the mini trampoline and crawling through the tunnel. They really enjoyed the tunnel!
Step 4: A simple snack! Busy little bodies use up a lot of energy and to keep them going (and possibly happy) a simple snack will do the trick. This “Giggle Mix” did the trick for our play date crew. It had a fun variety of textures and flavors, although they seemed to not enjoy the dried fruit at first, they did try it another 2 or 3 times.
- 1/2 cup of whole grain oat cereal – we used Cheerios and Kix
- 1/2 cup of unsalted mini pretzels – break into smaller pieces if needed.
- 1/4 cup of freeze dried fruit, such as apples, peaches or mangoes – I cut them into smaller pieces
- 1/4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries
See a little of our play date fun in action (if you can’t see the video below, go HERE):