Fall and Winter Fun: How to Host Great Play Dates for Kids of all Ages

Fall and Winter Fun: How to Host Great Playdates for Kids of All Ages

Playdates – they’re the perfect way to get through a long weekend with antsy kids, to make new friends (both for your little ones and for yourself!), and to watch your children’s social skills and confidence grow.

Fall and Winter Fun: How to Host Great Playdates for Kids of All Ages 

Playdates – they’re the perfect way to get through a long weekend with antsy kids, to make new friends (both for your little ones and for yourself!), and to watch your children’s social skills and confidence grow.  


School’s in full swing and everyone’s on fall foliage lookout. You may think your kids get enough fun friend time at school and that you should delay planning a playdate and focus on spending time at home, catching up on housework or getting organized.  


Don’t do it.  


Now is the perfect time to start thinking about great playdate options for your kids, so you can enjoy spending quality time with them and their friends before the holiday hustle and bustle begins.  


If you’ve never planned a playdate and feel a little anxious about putting one together, don’t worry. You can qualify as an ultra-cool mom or dad by following our top tips for hosting a fun fall or winter playdate for kids.  

  1. Be aware of the details.  

The key to success for a playdate in the fall or winter is to be aware of the details and to plan for them. While a summer playdate can mean just unleashing the kids at a local park or pool, the chillier seasons require some proactive planning to make sure they go well.  


Colder temperatures mean spending some extra time lacing everyone into their shoes and buttoning up coats and finding gloves. And, it can also mean that you need to find a fun indoor place to play.  


Of course, as the year goes, the sun goes down earlier, which means you may need to plan activities in areas that are well-lit or have indoor options. Activities like an arcade or laser tag may just fit the ticket.  


While seasonal timing is important, keeping an eye on the actual time can make or break a playdate as well. Some playdates may be attended by children of multiple different ages; if the whole family is going together, your gathering could consist of kids ranging from junior high to the still-in-diapers crowd.  


If you think you may have some younger guests involved, try (where possible) to accommodate nap times, bedtimes and feeding schedules. Ask the other families’ parents to get a sense of their regular routine and plan accordingly.  

  1. Invite an even number of kids.  

This rule isn’t necessarily set in stone, but it can make it easier for you to manage the expectations of each child attending. When there are three or five children, it can be easy for some attendees of the playdate to pair up and leave others out.  


The exception to this rule is playdates for babies. Because the babies typically aren’t able to interact very well, feel free to invite all the fun parents from your child’s Moms Day Out class to socialize, regardless of how many little ones they may bring!  

  1. Make sure there are snacks.  

Your snack options don’t have to be elaborate or stress you out. With little ones, sliced berries and cheese cubes will probably suffice for an at-home play date.  


If you’re headed out of the house, some of the best playdate options include food you can enjoy on-site. For example, if you host your playdate somewhere fun like Sonny’s Place, you’ll have a full grill menu to choose from. This added perk is especially welcome during the chilly fall and winter seasons because it allows your playdate guests to enjoy a hot fresh meal on a cold day and you don’t have to prepare a thing 


It’s also important to note: there is an increasing number of children with food allergies, so inquiring with the parents about sensitivities can help you make sure you’re planning a snack that won’t make anyone have a reaction.  

  1. Don’t think playdates are for babies/little ones only.  

If you think that your kids are long past the age of playdates, you might be surprised. Planning a playdate with interesting indoor activities is a great way to extend playdate opportunities into junior high and possibly even high school. Although your older kids will probably strictly forbid you from calling it a playdate! 


Older kids love interactive activities with friends; arranging indoor activities like laser tagbowling or VR gaming is a sure winner. And, if your kids are older but you can still convince the other parents to come along, you might even be able to sneak in some fun activities for yourself (we 100% recommend going the nostalgic route and playing The World’s Largest Pac Man) and make it a grown-up playdate too!  

  1. Make sure there are clear expectations.  

At-home playdates are great but it can also be fun to go out plus, that way you can convince your older kids to let you tag along and sneak in some quality time with them as well.  


If you decide to host a playdate, make sure you set clear expectations for the event and communicate them with the other parents. Questions you may want to address include:  


  • How will people travel to and from the playdate?  
  • What is the agenda for the event (When will you leave? Return? Who will have a phone/be a key point of contact)?  
  • Is parental supervision required at all times, or can kids play independently and check-in at designated intervals?  
  • Does the other family have guidelines on things like screen time, movie ratings or arcade games?  
  • Who will be covering the costs of the activities and attractions (snacks, admission, etc.)?  
  • Are there any dietary or health restrictions? 
  • Who should you contact in case of an emergency situation?  


  1. Have something for the parents, too.  

Depending on your kids’ age or how well the families know each other, playdates may or may not be attended by other adults. If you’re planning a playdate that involves parents, make sure they have something to do as well.  


You don’t have to plan an official icebreaker game to get acquainted with another parent. Just having a snack or beverage and a few unofficial conversation starters in mind can be a good start.  


The only most important, must-follow guideline for a playdate is this: HAVE FUN! Think of everyone’s feelings when planning the event – what would you have enjoyed as a child? What are your child’s favorites and the group dynamics between those you’ve invited? What would make the other parents feel most comfortable?  


If you’re looking for a great place to host a fall or winter playdate and guarantee warm memories (both literally and figuratively!) all involved, Sonny’s Place should be your go-to option. With activities ranging from arcade to team-based virtual reality gaming to laser tag to seasonal special events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, and your playdates will quickly become the must-do social event of the fall/winter season among your kids’ social crowd!