Do you throw a lot of play dates?
In fact, in the 4+ years I’ve been a mom, I’ve only hosted one play date, and it was with my BFF and her baby, so I don’t think that really counts.
Of course, organizing a get-together with my daughter’s preschool friends has been next to impossible since most of them still nap (did I mention my daughter stopped napping when she was 2?!), so I feel somewhat justified in how anti-social we’ve been. But with Kindergarten looming in the not-so-distant future, I know I need to get with the program and learn the ins and outs of hosting play dates.
So when Nickelodeon sent me a Blaze and the Monster Machines Play Date pack along with an amazing collection of Blaze toys, I jumped at the chance to have my daughter’s BFF from summer camp over to ease myself into the idea of hosting regular after-school play dates.
I remember feeling nervous the morning of the play date – was our place clean enough? did I make enough food? did I plan enough activities? was I dressed appropriately? – but as we were saying our goodbyes later that day, the other mom complimented me on how organized and fun the afternoon had been, and my daughter has already asked if she can have another friend over for a Blaze and the Monster Machines play date.
But before we start filling our social calendar, I wanted to take the time to share some tips and tricks I learned to teach other nervous and inexperienced moms like myself how to host the perfect play date.
Because having fun with your kids and their friends (and their friends’ moms!) doesn’t need to be stressful!
1. SEND OUT INVITES
When I first asked my daughter if she would like to have her BFF over for a Blaze play date, she was so excited she couldn’t see straight. She wanted him to come over RIGHT THIS SECOND, and I soon realized I was going to have to find a way to distract her so she didn’t yell, “is it Wednesday yet?” a million times a minute for the next 48 hours. Fortunately, our Let’s Blaze! Play Date pack (which is available on Target.com/Blaze) came with some pretty snazzy invites to keep us busy.
This ended up being a great learning activity for the 2 of us to enjoy together. Not only did it give my daughter a chance to practice her scissor skills while she was cutting out the invite, but she also practiced her writing skills while she helped me fill in all of the play date details.
2. PREPARE AWESOME SNACKS
Once the invite was safely stored in my daughter’s backpack so she could give it to her BFF the following morning at summer camp, we set to work on planning some awesome snacks. We wanted to keep with the theme of the play date and settled on mini-sandwiches in the shape of cars (thank goodness for cookie cutters!) along with fruit and veggie kabobs, but I was stumped on how I could incorporate the Blaze theme into the drinks we were going to serve. Thankfully, our Blaze Play Date pack included a recipe for a Blazing Banana-Mango Energy Smoothie, and with my daughter’s approval, that’s what we served.
It was really easy to make and tasted amazing – download your free copy of the Let’s Blaze! Play Date pack for the recipe!
3. GET OUT YOUR BEST TOYS
Since we were hosting a Blaze and the Monster Machines play date, I asked my daughter to pick out 3 of her favorite Blaze toys from the box of goodies Nickelodeon sent us, and she selected the Transforming Blaze Jet and the Slam and Go Blaze and Crusher cars, which were excellent choices as they are a lot of fun to play with while also teaching different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts to kids, which I knew would impress her BFF’s mom. :)
The jet wings on the Transforming Blaze Jet automatically pop out and transform him from a monster machine to a high-flying hero, and as my daughter and her friend flew him around our condo, he spoke to them in flight-related phrases. And once his wheels hit the floor again, he transformed back into a monster machine with sounds and phrases to match. This ended up being a great way to teach them the STEM concept of thrust, which is the power the engine of the Transforming Blaze Jet makes to push the plane through the air!
The kids also had a lot of fun racing the Slam and Go Blaze and Crusher toys all over our living room while simultaneously learning about the STEM concept of acceleration, which is what happens when Blaze is going one speed and then suddenly starts to go faster.
4. ORGANIZE FUN ACTIVITIES
Once the kids had grown tired of playing with their toys, and their bellies were filled with their Blazing Smoothies and car-shaped sandwiches (the kebobs were a bust), it was time to get down to business and get the activities out. My daughter and I had already enjoyed a Blaze and the Monster Machines day a week prior, so I had all sorts of ideas up my sleeve.
The kids had already done a lot of racing with their Slam and Go cars, and I wasn’t keen on getting the paints out, so I had them select a couple more of our Blaze toys, taped (washable) markers to the back of each car, and let the kids “draw” with them.
This kept them occupied for a good 20 minutes, and then we decided to setup a Blaze racing course so they could see how fast (and slow) each of the different cars traveled.
You can see more about each of these activities, and discover more Blaze and the Monster Machines activities, HERE.
5. HAVE QUIET ACTIVITIES ON HAND
The kids had a blast playing with all of the Blaze toys, and the activities were a hit (especially the racing course!), but they were so hyped up and excited that I eventually decided to wind things down with a few quiet activities. Of course, I hadn’t planned on needing quiet activities for the play date, but as I didn’t want things to end on a sour note with meltdowns and temper tantrums, I knew I had to act fast. Fortunately, our Let’s Blaze! Play Date pack came with a couple of coloring sheets, which calmed the kids down so the adults could enjoy a cup of coffee together. I found the magnetism activity to be a particularly good way to help the kids calm down while still giving them an opportunity to learn.
In the end, we ended up having a fabulous afternoon. I felt like we had enough toys and activities on hand to keep things flowing, and while the kids were disappointed when the play date came to an end, they were tired from so much excitement and stimulation, and ready to call it a day.
We’re so excited to have another friend over next week, and so thankful to Nickelodeon for giving us the idea (and providing the goods!) for a fabulous Blaze and the Monster Machines play date.
Don’t forget you can get your own Let’s Blaze! Plate Date pack as well as the toys featured in this post at Target and at stores nationwide!
This is a sponsored post. All of the above-mentioned toys were sent to me to review by Nickelodeon, and I received special perks as a part of my affiliation with them. All opinions expressed on this blog are my own.