Is your preschooler having a friend over after school today?

My four year old always wants to bring friends home with her after a morning of preschool.  I love that she wants to be social.  But, truth be told, she is not the most fun child right after school.  She is usually ravenous and cranky. She’s been sharing all morning, and most likely, she will find turn-taking at home to be hard.  Typically, our schedule involves lunch and quiettime, so a playdate can be taxing on her. But, Sloane  loves spending time with friends, and I love that she is developing that part of herself.

 Here is how I support Sloane in afterschool playdates:

I prep lunch BEFORE I do the school pick up.  I set up a tray of finger foods that make lunch fast, filling, and energy-boosting .  Today, I put out a long tray with a bowl of carrots, a bowl of pretzels, hummus for dipping, a bowl of apple slices and some cashew butter and honey mixed to make a dip for apples.  Each child had their own yogurt cup and they grazed together on the snack tray. 


I prep a simple, open-ended activity that includes a sensory component.  Today, the children used a tinker tray of loose parts with rainbow playdough.  I chose this activity because it was easy.  I already had all of the necessary components at my fingertips . I simply pulled out an old tray and filled it with bits and bobs from our art cabinet and then I dug into my playdough stash.  I keep playdough in these containers and it lasts forever!

When I am prepping an activity,  I always try to have more than what I will need.  Tired kiddos make impatient sharers, so I want to be sure to make play easy for them by having more than enough and limiting wait-time.  

I try to incorporate a sensory component to the play because it can be comforting to a child who might be feeling unsure in our home environment.  Playdough is attractive to ALMOST all four year olds.  It’s familiar and can go in any direction the children take it. 

Two More Lifesavers:

  • Keep them short! A playdate for a four year old doesn't need to be longer than a hour or so.  

  • ALWAYS show your guest where the potty is before you do anything else. 

Below you will find the supplies that I used in my tinker tray.  They are affiliate links.  Thank you for your support. 

Chenille Stems

Various Buttons

Colored Toothpicks

Google Eyes

For the tinker tray you could use a recyled egg carton or this one

The mirrors are from Ikea.

Click here for a link to my favorite playdough recipe.

How do you feel about preschool playdates? Love em' or hate em'?  Do have any advice for me about preschool playdates? Talk to me in the comments below.

Thanks for reading along!