Whether you’re looking for a way to keep your kids occupied for the day, or you forgot you agreed to hang out with the neighbor’s family for the afternoon, it always helps to have some great go-to family playdate ideas on hand. You don’t need a week to plan out a day-long itinerary of organized activities—you just need a sense of imagination and adventure, and maybe a few items you have laying around the house.
Here are some of our favorite (and easy-to-organize) activities for playdates in a pinch.
Your kids are brimming with energy, imagination and enthusiasm. Why not put that to creative use by staging a play? Round up any costumes, toys and props you have from your play trunk and brainstorm an idea for a story. Then, jot down a script, or agree to improvise a tale together for hours of fun!
No one in the neighborhood is cooler than the kid with the trampoline in their yard. Invite your kids’ playmates over to bounce—just make sure to go over the ground rules, like only letting one jumper on the trampoline at a time. Springfree Trampolines are the gold standard for safety, so parents can rest easy knowing their kids are jumping with safety nets and an injury-preventing springless design.
It doesn’t matter if your brick collection comes from a specific playset or a hodgepodge of hand-me-down play boxes: all kids love to build with Lego. Bust out some buckets of bricks and have the kids build their own houses, palaces, rocket ships—whatever they feel inspired to work on! Snap pictures of their creations to share with their friends and families at the end of the day.
The kids or the parents can take the lead on designing this activity! Have one team hide a series of clues pointing toward the final placement of a special treasure, while the other team tries to solve them! (Hint: the little ones will love a tasty snack as their reward at the end of a pulse-pounding treasure trail!)
In your backyard or rumpus room (or anywhere it’s okay to make a bit of a mess), set up some easels, brushes, and paints from an arts and crafts store. Old shirts or aprons can double as artist smocks. Encourage the kids to paint a masterpiece, or design a creative craft project of their own. For bonus fun, consider taking on one of the DIY projects from our “11 Tips To Turn Your Backyard Into a DIY Playground Wonderland” blog, like making your own jumbo Jenga blocks, chess set, or beanbag toss board.
Kids jump at the chance to show off their skills, whether they’re singers, dancers, or A+ soccer ball dribblers. For some performers—especially the acrobats—your Springfree Trampoline could make a top-notch stage. Gather an audience on the lawn nearby to cheer on your rising stars.
Whip out your favorite recipe book, or search online for easy and healthy baking recipes. Get the kids involved in measuring and mixing ingredients. If they help tidy up afterward, a fresh batch of cookies or Rice Krispie squares will make for an excellent reward!
If you don’t have time to plan an activity, making an escape to a local beach can be a great way to get the kids playing out in nature. Building sandcastles and beachcombing are fun for everyone! Or, if you don’t have a public beach nearby, go for a short hike and nature scavenger hunt, looking for local plants and animals.