8 Top Tips for a Successful Play-Date

As many of you know prior to being a Mum, I was a Nanny for 14 years.

It was a job which I loved and which I was happy to leave the house at 6.20am for and not return home until around 7.30pm most days. I would go in with a smile and leave with an even bigger one, most days.  I truly loved this job – now I know not many can say that.

Within my job over the years there have been MANY play-dates, parties and fun times which is why now when we have friends over they are usually happy and have loads of fun.

Here are my top tips for successful play-dates:


    • Find out in advance what they like to eat.  There isn’t much point in cooking Spaghetti Bolognese if they don’t eat/like meat.  Being forewarned and prepared helps with a successful meal time.
    • Set rules where they are allowed to play.  Shut doors to rooms you don’t want played in as they will be explored otherwise.
    • Have an activity planned and prepared for when they announce they are bored or don’t know what to do.  These don’t have to be overly messy or elaborate, things which are loved by all include: Biscuit decorating, cake decorating (supermarket ones are fine if you don’t want to make your own), pasta bracelets and necklaces and face-painting


  • Join in with the kids.  They will enjoy you playing games with them whether it’s role play games such as shops and dressing up or sitting down playing a game together, you could even get involved in the face painting action.


  • Don’t invite too many children.  This is probably obvious however it is easy to get carried away especially if they have a big circle of friends.  I find up to 5 works well although even numbers means they can pair off if they want to play different games.
  • Try to wear them all out – their parents will thank you come bedtime.  If the weather is nice then outdoors is a great place to be.  It’s easier to clean up and easier on your ear drums to.  Why not create an assault course using garden chairs, hula hoops and anything you have to hand.  Kick balls around the chairs, crawl under them, hop, skip and jump around certain areas. Picnics are always great outdoors on playdays too as the mess easier to clear up – you can even use paper plates for a quick clean up.


  • Have a few healthy snacks to hand.  Of course they will like some naughty ones too but if you make the healthy option fun they will be just as happy (and you won’t have children bouncing off the walls due to E numbers).  We love making fruit cocktail sticks – have the fruit out on the table with wooden skewers ready for them to make their own creations: grapes, strawberries, melon, pineapple – anything goes really.  You can even dip the fruit into melted chocolate if you wanted or yogurt works well too.
  • Have fun and remember they will be going home soon enough and any mess can be cleaned up, but do try to get the kids to help with the tidy up as much as possible.





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23 thoughts on “8 Top Tips for a Successful Play-Date

  1. Great ideas here. I was always too scared to do group playdates so I would only allow one child at a time over the threshold. Luckily there haven't been too many disasters – yet!

  2. Great advice – especially having activities planned, don't assume they will just go off and play!

  3. Great ideas – I'm past the play date phase now, although, even at 16 when he has his mates round before they go off somewhere I make sure I have the snacks that they like to eat!

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