9th June 2016

How to survive potentially raucous playdates

Katie Bryson shares 5 games that won’t wreck the house or shred your nerves

Do you have the type of children who sit obediently around the kitchen table with their friends, patiently colouring in or crafting? Nope, me neither.  So here are five fun activities you can channel their ‘energy’ into…

  1. Patio chalk art

Arm the kids with sticks of chalk and lie down in the back yard (you’ll probably want to sweep it first) and let them draw around you or each other to get a basic human outline. The kids can then transform it into an alien, clown or whatever takes their fancy. They can vandalise the patio to their heart’s content and it’ll simply wash off next time it rains.

  1. Superhero training

Let them raid the dressing up box to get decked out, then set them a series of timed tasks like rescuing stranded teddy bears from around the house, 20 star jumps or creating a superhero smoothie (with supervision!). Use a whistle when the time is up and get them to line up at the end of every activity (it’s amazing how obedient they’ll be). You could design little certificates and have an award ceremony/graduation at the end. We used this as the basis for a birthday party once and it went down a treat – their responsiveness to the whistle was quite a revelation.

  1. Carpet picnic

If it’s chucking it down or just too damn cold to venture outdoors spread out an old sheet on the living room floor and put on a picnic spread. When the littlies have finished their feast, just gather up the edges of the blanket, fold into the middle and carry the whole lot, mess and all into the kitchen to deal with.

  1. Treasure hunt

For little ones: hide a whole load of one type of toy like cars, minions, dinosaurs, disney figures etc around the house. Let them take it in turns helping you hide everything before letting the rest loose to hunt them all down.

For older kids: write a series of clues with each one being a clue to where the next clue is hidden, until they finally find the prize. Do it as a group with enough prizes for everyone if you want to avoid fisty cuffs.

  1. Tin can target practice

Stack up empty drinks cans and old empty tins of beans on the garden wall and see how many the kids can knock over with three tennis balls. If the kids aren’t sore losers keep a tally and the winner is the first person to get to 50. Or even 100 if they’ve got the stamina.


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