Playdates at our house always take place after school. We start with a snack. Before the guest arrives, I bring favorite toys and activities down from the higher shelves. Talk to your child in advance about those specific toys that may be too special for sharing. We put them away to avoid the squabbles. I make markers, papers, and messy mats available for coloring and drawing. Save those activity kits -- like Legos or craft projects -- for play dates. At six and eight, my kids still enjoy hide-and-seek. My son and his friends can get totally occupied with a ball or with competitive games that they've made up themselves. Playdates are not meant to be elaborate. While we have gone to museums or the park or out for ice cream during these visits, my kids are happiest playing in their own space.While my instincts tell me to say "no" if they ask for TV on a playdate, sometimes a nice DVD on a rainy day is the perfect activity. And when it comes to videogames, if the other parent doesn't mind, I don't mind either.
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