Posted: Apr 16, 2012 8:49 PM
 
Playdates are supposed to be fun for all, but for many moms, they’re just a headache. Sound familiar?

I am not a playdate mama. Honestly, I used to avoid them. In fact, most of my friends stopped inviting me for playdates two kids ago, which didn’t bother me until recently. Turns out, if I say no to play dates, I pretty much say no to a social life -- at least at this point in my life. So in an effort to improve my relationships and encourage my (homeschooled) kids to socialize a bit more, I’ve been embracing the playdate movement. Here are some of my favorite playdate plans.

Open gym

Some kids just aren’t that into organized gymnastics classes but love to bounce around the gym at their own free will. Fortunately, many gymnastics facilities open up the floor once in a while to let the kids run wild (well, under supervision, of course). Open gym nights are great because I can chat with the moms while my kids burn off every last ounce of energy they have. The car ride home is almost always silent. Does it get better than that?

Mommy-and-me yoga

Yoga is usually an opportunity for me to escape, find some quiet and challenge myself physically. It didn’t occur to me to include my kids until a friend invited me to a mommy-and-me yoga class. I was skeptical at first but my kids were really into it. The atmosphere was relaxed and non-competitive. In fact, the kids were able to giggle a bit and the moms indulged in some much needed breathing and stretching.

Hiking

I will hardly ever say no to a playdate that includes hiking. There are so many amazing, kid-friendly trails around us (and throughout the country). We always have fun exploring, even on the really easy hikes. Bird watching, bug collecting and tree climbing are always popular activities -- but the highlight is usually a picnic lunch on a river bank or next to a patch of wild flowers.

Ice cream tour

If you do some digging, you’ll probably discover that your area has some little known culinary treasures. I have two friends who share my love for ice cream. Together, we discovered that our city is dotted with a bunch of small batch, local creameries. Once a month, we pick an ice cream shop, load up the kids (eight between us) and caravan to the location. When we’re done indulging, we usually take a stroll around the neighborhood to check out a new part of town (sometimes we stumble upon a park). When we’ve visited every shop on our list, we’ll either start all over or pick another treat like cupcakes. Yep, I love playdates.

More about your little kid

How to pick the perfect preschool
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When night terrors strike

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