Play is really important for a child’s wellbeing and development. Play dates are a great way for kids to get together to improve their skills.
So, what is a play date and how could your child benefit?
What is a play date?
A play date is a ‘date’ that is specially set up so that two or more kids can enjoy playing together.
Although the date is formally scheduled, the activities in which the children will take part are not necessarily formal too. However, parents can use play dates to help the development of their child’s motor or sensory skills through the targeted use of toys and other equipment provided by baby gyms and soft play facilities if they want to.
How many children should be invited to a play date?
Although it is up to the parents who are hosting the play date to decide how many children should be invited, there are usually just two or three friends invited at any one time. Play dates are usually more intimate than a larger group of children, which would result in a more party or play group feel. Often, parents invite the other children’s parents to the play date too, in order to factor-in some adult time while the children are playing.
What makes play dates so important?
Play dates are very important because they teach children social skills, and encourage emotional development. Cognitive and language development are also important in young children, and attending regular play dates can be a really useful way of preparing your child for their first school attendances.
‘Only’ children who spend much of their time playing alone or interacting exclusively with their parents may experience problems integrating with their peers when they start school, and play dates are a great way of solving this problem. Attending a play date in a soft play facility teaches children how to share and join in with others, which is extremely important if they are to feel happy and included when they start school.