Teach Mama Talks: 5 Ideas for Mixed Age Playdates

This creative play idea is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Amy Mascott.

It’s very common to have children of mixed ages during playdates, especially when siblings, cousins and neighbors join in on the fun. The more (ages), the merrier, in my opinion!  Amy

Summer’s almost here, which often means that older siblings are home from school and ready to join in on their younger brother or sister’s playgroup.

Want to make that next mixed age playdate a success? Here’s how:

1. Be prepared.  Just knowing that children of varied ages will be attending a playdate is half the battle. That way, you can gather enough toys, dress-up or craft supplies so that everyone is happy.

Successful mixed age playdates from Melissa & Doug

2. Give them options.  When all of the children arrive and everyone is settled, show them what toys they can play with and set boundaries. Get excited about the puzzles or puppets you have, because all children love to get their hands on “new” toys–even if the children are older and your toys are geared toward younger kids.

Don’t want the kids upstairs? Tell them. Want all of the toys to stay in the playroom? Explain it. No food in the living room? Just tell them! Kids want to do what’s right–they just need to know what is “right” at each person’s home.

3. Play outside.  Get kids outside if possible. Adding a few balls, rackets, scoops, bubbles or chalk will entertain kids of all ages for hours on end!  If it’s warm, turning on the sprinkler or encouraging kids to paint with water is a lot of fun.

Successful mixed age playdates from Melissa & Doug

4. Have one planned activity.  There’s no need to plan every second of a playdate. If you need to plan anything, having just one activity in mind is more than enough because children need time for free play. A simple craft or special set of toys–dress-uppuzzles or outdoor games–are great options.

5. Let loose and have fun!  Enjoy your time with other adults, and encourage your children to play the polite and generous hosts. Try not to worry about spilled juice or cracker crumbs and instead put a smile on your face knowing that next time, you’ll be the guest at your friend’s home!


Hang with Amy at teachmama.com for more cool, super-sneaky ways to throw in learning in the name of fun or join her at we teach–a forum for parents and teachers to connect, share ideas and grow–no matter the classroom. Or tweet with her (@teachmama), pin with her or chat with her on Facebook!

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