5 Play Date Ideas to Keep Your Kids Connected With Friends Over Summer

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Just because school is over doesn't mean your kids shouldn't still get together with their classmates to learn and stay connected. That's what friendship is all about! Plus, it keeps the kids happy and parents happy -- nothing better than an active kid who isn't cooped up in front of an electronic device all day. I think it makes for better sleeping at night, too. At least I'd like to hope so.

But we have to do more than just your standard play date at someone's house or the local playground. Those options are great, too, but setting up some more theme-focused activities could not only create better bonds with your kids and their friends, but they can learn a lot, too. They work great on a weekly basis, or more often if you'd like. Here are 5 play date idea to keep your kids in touch with their school friends over the summer.

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  1. Host a craft day. Pinterest is going to be your best friend with this one. Pick a theme -- maybe having to do with a holiday, birthday, or even a flower that's blooming/vegetable that is growing that month -- and make crafts! Have other parents help bring supplies for their own kids if necessary or even rotate who is hosting each week. The kids will be active, engaged with each other, and making keepsakes. 
  2. Have milestone parties. Parents of toddlers have done "potty parties" with much success. Essentially you get a bunch of kids together who are ready to hit a milestone and then they work on it together. A potty party has everyone sitting on the potty. Helps get them used to it and succeed. For older kids, you can try this with riding a bike with no training wheels, roller skating, skateboarding, playing an instrument, or any activity your child and their friends want to try to do.
  3. Go on outdoor adventures. Each week have the parents and kids meet up at a nearby outdoor area where you can go exploring for bugs, different types of flowers, what's in and around a river, or whatever your local surroundings allow. This works for metropolitan areas, too. Explore the parks there or take in the city's architecture and decades old buildings.
  4. Cooking "class". Set this one up around lunchtime and have the kids not only choose their menu (prior to that day so you can be ready), but prepare, eat, and then clean up together. Also what better way to get those picky eaters to try something new.
  5. Explore the locals farms. Maybe the farms are close by (if not consider a short road trip) or maybe you'll do more of a greenmarket experience in a more urban area, but teaching your kids and their friends about herbs and vegetables and how they are harvested can be a great learning experience. Farms will also have animals for kids to see just how things go from farm to table, giving them a new respect and (hopefully) love of food. Extra points to have this farm experience one day and then cooking class the next.

How do you keep your kids connected with their friends over the summer? Which one of these ideas would you try?

 

Image © Hurst Photo/Shutterstock

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