IIf you would like to get your toddler together with other two and three year olds, a playdate is a great way to help them build friendships and practice their social skills.
Below is a list of 17 toddler playdate ideas that is full of fun things to do with your toddler and their friends.
Shy toddler? Check out these tips to help them warm up before your date.
Before we get into the ideas here are some quick FAQs.
Do parents stay at playdates?
Usually yes, toddlers should have their parents stay on a play date. Parents need to be there for diaper changes or potty visits. Also, young children at this age don’t communicate fully yet and other parents might not understand what your toddler is asking for.
How do you get kids to play together?
There are different stages of play and your toddler is probably in the onlooker or parallel play stage – this means they don’t really know how to play with other kids quite yet.
So when planning your day with other children keep in mind activities that they can be doing at the same time, but don’t worry if they don’t engage too much with each other yet.
For example they can swing next to each other at a playground, but aren’t ready to play a game of tag together.
17 Super Fun Toddler Playdate Ideas – Indoor & Outdoor Activities
1. Rent a bouncy castle or go to a bouncy castle indoor center
Bouncy castles are great energy burners for little ones. If you want to invest in one this castle is a nice size that can be blown up inside or outside.
You can also check to see if there are any local indoor bouncy castle centers. They will have a handful or more of really big castles set up indoors that your toddlers will love.
2. Indoor Play Place
Another option is to gather the kids and go to an indoor play place.
If you aren’t familar with a play place (or indoor playground). They are usually in large warehouse style buildings and they have large climbing structures and slides. Sometimes they have ball bits or indoor carousels.
There are lots of opportunities to climb and slide.
Bonus: There are usually tables and chairs for parents to sit and chat or take a break from climbing with the kids.
3. Petting zoo
Indoor activities are great, but getting outside is a fun toddler playdate too.
Check out your local petting zoo for a toddler friendly play date.
Pet and feed adorable animals. Have a picnic lunch and enjoy the outdoors all together.
Read more about how to make the best of your Petting Zoo including some fun facts about animals.
4. Playdoh stations
Toddlers love playdoh! A great way you get them to play together is to set up a playdoh station/ table.
You can make homemade playdoh and add an accessory kit from Amazon.
We have been playing with these sets and loving them. Just be mindful they have small pieces and are more suitable for older toddlers/preschoolers.
5. Sensory Activities
If you have a sensory table or plastic bins (like these ones) you can prepare some sensory play.
Fill the bin with dried colored pasta or rice, lots of scoops and bowls and animal or dinosaur figurines.
Or pick up pre-made ones (which I like to do for more complex one).
Check out this dinosaur one from Amazon.
Or this princess themed one from Etsy.
If you are looking to taste-safe bins check out this post on bins that are choking hazard free. Perfect for 1 year olds and up.
6. Little people stations
If you have lots of Fisher Price Little People toys now is the time to pull them all out. You can sit down with the toddlers and pretend play with them.
You can make different areas for each set you have and help the kids use their imagination.
You can do the same thing with any of your child’s favorite toys (just be mindful they may not want to share their absolute fav toy). You can have car stations – make a road using tape on the floor or create ramps that your kids can enjoy. Or if dolls are more your kids thing set up sleeping, feeding and play areas they can use.
7. Backyard stations
As you can tell I have a thing for stations! I find it gives choice without too much effort and keeps the kids in the areas you want them to stay in. If you want to stick with being outside you can get your backyard playdate ready by setting up….you guess it… play stations!
Fill a water table with toys in one spot and then set up a bubble machine in another area for when they are ready to move on. Blow up a kiddie pool and either swim or have them “fish” with little rods and prizes floating in the pool.
8. Go to a park
Meet the other parents and kids at a local park.
Try to find one that has a little bit for everyone. Ie. Playground equipment that is age appropriate, a sandbox and benches for parents to sit.
Bonus if it has a splash pad in the summer or a sledding sized hill of you have snow.
You can also pack bubbles (my fav no-spill bubbles are Fubbles brand). A couple of balls or kites.
Another mom brought our girls these kites from Amazon. They came in a pack of two and were easy for little hands to hold. They also pack up really small, so we kept it in our stroller all summer.
9. Go to the library – reading circle
Meet the other 2 or 3 year olds at your library and attend a reading circle together. Then spend some time in the kids area playing with toys or colouring.
10. Make crafts
Pick an upcoming holiday or something seasonal and make some crafts together. Its a nice keepsake to take home for everyone to remind them of their friend at home.
Check out some of our past crafts here:
11. Go on a nature walk
Sometimes the simplest is the best playdate. You can check out your neighborhood all together or a local conservation area.
Check out this post on 9 Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids.
11. Go to the beach
The beach is a great place for toddler explorers. They can dig in the sand, have a picnic and splash in the water.
Definitely a place where you want all the kids accompanied by their parent. Don’t forget extra sunscreen. The beach is a great place for the kite mentioned above too.
12. Winter Activity: sledding
You can make sledding an option by going to a playground with a park or go specifically to an area with sledding hills only.
At this age an hour is probably long enough time spent sledding. So you can put some hot chocolate in a thermos for after to warm everyone up.
13. Go for ice cream
If you are ok with a bit of a sugary treat then taking the kids for an ice cream and walk is a fun outing. Remember to bring wet wipes (speaking from experience!).
We have an area nearby that has an ice cream shop really close to a splash pad. We sometimes start with a scoop of ice cream and then wash off all the mess in the water.
14. Dance party
Dim the lights, grab some glow sticks and you can have a super fun dance party with your little ones. Match this with some crafts after and you will have a fun afternoon.
15. Morning pajama party
Have all the kids stay in their pjs and come over for breakfast and fun. This means they can squeeze in fun before naps.
You can serve breakfast or morning snacks like mini pancakes and fruit kabobs (I like to use lollipop sticks instead of pointy ones).
There is something about kids staying in their pjs that they love so much.
16. Dress up party
Costumes aren’t just for Halloween. Have the toddlers come over for a dress up party in their favorite costume. You can make it a superhero or princess theme if everyone has costumers that would work.
Or if your toddler has a bunch of costumes, let their new friend pick out what they want to wear. You can have some parent sized accessories and they can dress you up too.
17. Scavenger Hunt
A fun activity for your preschooler and friend is to organize a scavenger hunt.
I find at this age its best to ensure everyone gets an equal amount of whatever they are finding, so I place a piece of tape on the prize with the first letter of the child’s name.
It prevents disappointment if one child finds more prizes then the others. This is great if there are older children participating as well as they will usually be the ones to find more. Its also a sneaky way to fit in some letter practice.
Play date Etiquette
Ensure you have a snack and drinks available for both the kids and the parents. A quick text prior to understand if there are any allergies or dietary restrictions will go a long way in ensuring a safe and happy date.
Ensure you don’t go too long and disrupt naps times or meal times. The day should be no longer than two hours.
Don’t come empty handed if another mom or dad has invited you and your child over. Bring a coffee or tea or a snack everyone can enjoy.
Toddlers are messy! If the date is at someone’s house take five to ten minutes before leaving to tidy up the toys the best you can.
Conclusion – Toddler Playdate Ideas
The above fun activities can be combined to make the perfect playdate.
Helping your child make a new friend and playmate is a great reason to host a playdate – Happy playing!
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