My daughter will tell you that once kids reach a certain age, you no longer call them playdates. It’s called “hanging out.” Plus, just about everything you do as a parent will be perceived as “lame,” so your planning comes into play before the playdate begins. That way, when friends arrive you can stay away! Here are a few ideas for pre-teen fun that have worked in our own household:
Bring on the Drama – My daughter, even at age 12, still loves to dress up and act out plays – and with tweens, there is never any shortage of drama. Redirect that energy and encourage them to channel their inner actresses. Provide ample opportunity by frequenting your local thrift stores for affordable, fun items to add to a giant dress-up bin. Wigs, heels, party dresses, and costume jewelry are fun and don’t cost much. Provide a video camera so they can capture the performance to view later on.
Movie Night – Pizza, snacks and a stack of movies is really all you’ll need for a Friday or Saturday night get-together. Instead of spending a lot, have each guest bring their favorite movie so no rentals are required. Or, check out movies at your local library beforehand. Girls this age LOVE talking – so any games that spur conversation like “Would You Rather” or “Have You Ever?” are always a hit. Apples to Apples and Uno Attack are other favorites at our house.
Photo Safari – Send the girls on a modern-day scavenger hunt in your neighborhood (with safety in mind) with digital cameras and call it a photo safari. This works well with groups of two or more, and can even be modified to be done completely in your home. Include things on the list such as “an interesting looking leaf” or “a shiny object”. At the end of the safari, they’ll come back with an interesting assortment of photos you can upload to your computer. Use the photos, along with a group shot of the kids, to create a fun collage to send them home with as a keepsake.
What playdate ideas do you have for Pre-Teens?