Category Archives: Play dates

Macaroni and cheese

And the theory still stands: kids eat what they prepare – even if all they do is sprinkle the cheese on top. They ate so much the snack was equivalent to dinner!

What does your child enjoy making?

Toddler Go Kart Racing

Schumacher and (ma)Claren met up on the racetrack today with brand new machines (toy containers), ready to burn some rubber. Their engines (the yayas) were revved up for a win. But alas after two rounds around the track, their engines overheated and called in a day. Schumacher and Claren are tied at 1.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Priceless. Never ever think that you don’t have enough toys to offer. Kids create their own adventures. All we need to do is hop on board.

What adventure did your child create today?

5-Step Playdate Program

The day started with a buzz. The house was tidier, the kitchen was brewing, the toys were laid out. It’s playdate day and we were hosting. Everyone was busy doing something, least of all my little co-host. She napped on time, ate her meals and didn’t throw any hint of a tantrum. I guess she knew something special was to happen.

Since our playdates are getting serious, I decided to make a rough agenda of activities so the kids can warm up to each other faster and let the real fun begin. Here are the 5 steps to our memorable playdate:

1.Decide if your child is more comfortable with an all-girl or all-boy group. At the age of two –plus-minus 6 months –it seems that it’s more harmonious for my daughter to play with other girls. So we invited three girls.

2.Start the date off at a small space to make it feel intimate. It might feel cramped with 4 kids, 4 moms and nannies but grown ups adjust easily. We want to “force” the kids to acknowledge each other even if they’re playing with toys individually.

3.Introduce a group activity that is universally well-liked. We pulled out the stickers and play tattoos to encourage some graffiti art on the kiddie chairs and on themselves.

4. Make something to eat. With the kids warmed up, they can move to the kitchen or living room and make something together. We made pizzas. The four girls shared two pizza crusts and took turns putting on the toppings.

  • Fun fact: kids eat the food they make!

5. Bring out a select number of toys to be shared and ensure everyone feels included. We brought out some coloring books, a piggy bank, baby dolls and bottles, musical instruments and dough.

By this time the playdate is in full swing and the kids are revved up from their snacks and their collective energy.The magic has commenced: they’re officially socializing with each other! Your remaining job is to play referee, cleaner, and photographer. Of course, as host mom make sure your guests (moms and nannies) are fed and that your child is sharing freely. Also,  it’s a nice touch to ensure your child says goodbye to each friend personally as they depart.

*****

The next day, I asked my daughter if she remembered that her friends came over. She paused as she accessed her hard drive and suddenly said all her friends’ names with a smile.

Magic.

(Play) Dating

Play dates are called dates for a reason.

It starts with meeting each other, being attracted to each other’s kids and/or mom and/or parenting style. Interest is conveyed. Numbers are exchanged. Scheduling commences. Dates take place. And you decide, should I call them again?

Part of a woman’s many transitions to motherhood is using her “single girl” dating skills for  scoring play dates. When I was a new mom, I thought play dates were all about making my friend’s kids play with each other. But it’s really about finding kids the same age as yours and finding moms who value play dates as much as you do. It’s harder than it sounds.

At 20 months, my daughter’s regular play dates are about 5 months older than her. We have two friends whose kids are born within the same week as my daughter, but we hardly see them because one is a little boy – yes, boys and girls do play differently– and the other’s mommy is too busy. Fortunately, I found an existing group and I am so thankful that it is consistent. We are all busy moms but we have managed to schedule a date once a week.

We’ve been dating for nearly a year…I think it’s getting serious.

Just yesterday, our play date host prepared two activities: baking a cake and making a tambourine. The cake was one of those no-bake, fuss-free things but it taught the kids how to mix and measure. They were so thrilled to hold an electric hand beater. The best part is eating the oreo cake when you’re done and of course my daughter couldn’t get enough.

I loved the tambourine craft because it was so easy! All you need are beans, paper plates, a stapler and crayons. Tada! (The same!)

There’s someone for everyone.

Kids need other kids. (I think it’s a size thing. I’m kidding-  it’s so much more than that.) Moms need other moms. (It’s a woman thing.) Our little girls have known each other since their skills were limited to crawling, crying and not caring for each other’s existence. Now, they walk, run, slide, pull, grab, talk, say each other’s names and invite each other to “Come! Come!” Something magical happens every week and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I can’t say that happened in every “single girl” date I had! So GO.

Go out and find your compatible play dates. It’s worth going through the cancellations, rejections and no call backs. Your dream play date is out there.

****

Ps. We do continue to meet new kids and moms and they ask for our numbers from time to time. It’s flattering. But nothing beats our regular play group. We have history, you know?