Since we officially have started school, we now get to plan after school activities! And the possibilities are endless! We have been considering a number of extra-curricular activities to keep our kindergarten kid busy during the afternoon. And last week I decided to have a fun after school play date with her friends to celebrate Back to School. It just seemed natural to bake brownies! Our play date was actually simple to throw together and the kids had LOTS of fun. I thought I would share with you our best ideas for planning an after school play date.
This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.
Keep Options Open
In today’s school-choice age, all of G’s friends seem to go to a different school. Since it can be hard to make sure every kid can be included, we had a window to drop by for the play date. We scheduled our party for Friday from 3:00 PM to 5:30 PM. We (homeschoolers) finish our school day about 2:00 PM, but we discovered that many of our friends don’t get out of school until around 3:00 PM. Other friends have younger siblings with nap times. Creating a window and letting our friends know it was OK to drop by when they could, encouraged people to still come even if it was later in the afternoon. I made some simple snacks ahead of time, so the kids could have something to eat when ever they wanted to.
Our girls are young (kindergarten and pre-k), so they are still transitioning from playing independently, side by side to playing with one another and others. Encouraging them to make friends and play with those friends is important. When our guests arrived, we made sure to do introductions – we have a hard time with names. Our activity for the afternoon also encouraged the kids “to find a buddy” to bake brownies with. G was excited when she found a buddy! And she thought it was neat that her buddy had a name that started with the same letter as her name.
Have A Central Activity Planned
I really like to create a couple of activities at our play dates to get the kids involved in playing together. For our Back to School play date, we decided to bake brownies. I grabbed supplies to encourage the kids to make a batch of brownies to be split between two pans. Then I put up instructions letting the kids know they needed to, “Find a Buddy.” The idea behind this was for the kids to make up one batch of brownie batter together, then pour half into their own individual pans. Then they could choose between a number of “mix-ins” to customize their brownies to their personal tastes.
This activity, of course, required a little bit of adult supervision and help. And it did get a little messy. I was thankful to have WaterWipes on hand to quickly clean up any spills and to clean up my own kids after they “tasted” their batter.
Add an Alternative Activity
Since our girls are really into art and drawing right now, I thought it would be fun for the kids to further personalize their brownie creations by coloring the lid that came with their brownie pan. I quickly tossed some permanent markers in various colors into a cup and created a station for kids to write their names or draw a picture on the lids. Some kids were really into this (my G!) and some were not. It was just a simple optional activity for the kids to do while they waited for their brownies to come out of the oven. But the kids who created their own lids really helped me out – keeping track of 10 personalized pans of brownies is no joke!
Make Clean Up Simple
I kept our play date planning to a minimum by not purchasing a ton of supplies and “decorating.” Keeping it simple: creating one central location for the activity and using disposable items, helped to keep it low-stress for me. I also kept a good supply of WaterWipes on hand for spills and messes during the party. A number of moms asked me if I had paper towels in the house and I actually had run out. I encouraged them to use the WaterWipes because they are really effective at wiping up messes (of all sorts). After the party, I found they were effective in cleaning up spilled oil, eggs, and brownie batter – on the kitchen counter and on my kids’ faces!
To give my friends a chance to discover the effectiveness of WaterWipes, I sent them home with a small package along with their personal pan of brownies!
We had a great time with our simple after school play date. I look forward to planning more fun activities to encourage our kids to have fun with their friends!
A special thanks to WaterWipes for sponsoring this post.
I am using WaterWipes in my daily routine because:
- They are chemical free! Only have two ingredients: water (99.9%) and grapefruit seed extract (0.1%) make them 100% natural.
- They can hold up to a big time mess yet they are crazy soft! There is some serious power in these little wipes.
- My kids don’t fuss when I use them to wipe their faces!
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You are an awesome and creative mom!!!