How to Host a Healthy Fun Playdate for Preschoolers

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Inside: Play dates made easy, nutritious and fun with these healthy simple snacks toddlers and preschoolers will love to eat!

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If there’s one truth to motherhood, it’s that play dates can be the key to finding a little sanity in your life. My daughter is in preschool and she’s definitely at the age where she likes to have one or two friends over to play pretend and make believe. 

In some ways, it’s fun to host play dates, because the parents can hang out while the kids do their thing!

The other thing I love about hosting play dates is the food! Prepping food and play day snacks can be easy if you follow a few basic principles.

Consider dietary restrictions first

Before you create a play day menu, you’ll want to make sure your guests and their children don’t have any allergies or dietary restrictions. The good news is that you can typically substitute any of the ingredients,  like peanut butter or dairy, for other non-peanut or non-dairy options.

Best Fruits for Play Dates

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raisins
  • Dried Apricots
  • Apples
  • Oranges or Clementines
  • Avocados
  • Mini Cherry Tomatoes
  • Melons

Best Veggies for Play Dates

  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli florets
  • Sweet Potato (baked as fries)
  • Green, red or orange peppers

Best Spreads for Play Dates

  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Soy nut Butter
  • Nutella or Hazelnut Spread
  • Guacamole
  • Hummus
  • Tzatziki

Best Grains for Play Dates

  • Rice crackers
  • Melba toast
  • Multi-grain English muffins
  • Bagel bites
  • Oats (cooked)
  • Cereals like Cheerios, Shreddies and Shredded Wheat

Best Dairy and Beverages for Play Dates

  • Cheese strings
  • Cubed cheese 
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese

What snacks do you serve at a play day?

So here’s where my experience hosting play dates comes in handy. There are a few tricks in terms of what to serve at a play date that will guarantee the kids eat all your snacks! 

First things first – kids love eating food on sticks. So whether that’s putting cheese and fruit on a skewer, or simply sticking some cheese onto a pretzel – kids will eat it if it’s on a stick.

Children also love bit-sized, or pull apart things! If you want to bake ahead, I highly recommend this Pillsbury Dough Monkey Bread or even these Pillsbury Dough Mini Peach Danishes!

Kids love things with fun names and presentations – so instead of just a bowl of bananas, cut them into funny shapes and add another element to make them more enticing to eat. 

Dips are your friend. Kids will eat veggies and fruit if you give them a yummy dip! And bonus – you can hide more veggies into your dips!

Easy Recipes to make for a Play Date

I love making these three recipes because they are a total hit with the entire family and you can make ALL three of them in under 10 or 12 minutes. The hero ingredients here are definitely peanut butter and fruit – so they are all super healthy too!

Cheerio Peanut Butter Clusters

All you need to make these: 

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or alternative)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey
  • About 1 cup of cereal (I used multi-grain Cheerios)

Add peanut butter and syrup in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 35-40 seconds until you can stir them together into a smooth liquid. 

Add the Cheerios and mix until they are all covered in the butter-syrup mix. It should start to form a bit of a mass. 

Use two spoons to create little mounds of Cheerios on a parchment lined plate. Let them sit for 10 minutes to harden. Enjoy.

Strawberry Rice Cake Snacks

All you need to make these: 

  • Nutella or hazelnut spread
  • Rice cakes (any flavour)
  • Berries (I used strawberries)

Spread nutella on a rice cracker and top with fresh fruit!! This is always a hit.

Banana Chocolate Dream Boats

What you need to make this: 

  • Bananas
  • Peanut butter or alternative
  • Coconut flakes
  • Chocolate chips or raisins

Cut bananas lengthwise and top with peanut butter. Sprinkle on coconut. Add chocolate chips or raisins! 

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