Play dates can be wonderful times for parents and children a like. It is a chance for both groups to get together with like minded individuals and have some much needed social time. The problem is that many times many groups end up doing the same thing over and over. This can lead to the meetings feeling dull and eventually some groups even fall apart.
Many times, play groups and moms just run out of ideas on what to do or where to go. It is easy to understand. Mom and Dad already have so much going on, it can be hard to come up with a creative plan and then find the time to execute the idea.
A toy exchange is an easy way to solve this problem, have fun and not break the bank at the same time. It may just be the idea to break the rut and provide some quality entertainment that you can enjoy beyond the play date’s scheduled time.
All parents know the drill. You buy the toys that the little ones just love and have to have, and a month later the same toy is found at the bottom of the toy box. It’s fun for any of us to have new things, but we seem to lose interest after a while.
Arrange a play date with several parents and their children. You can host it at your house, or if that is not something that you are interested in doing, call around for public locations. Some ideas that could end up being free are library meeting rooms, civic center areas or even park pavilions. Many of these places only require a small deposit that you can get back after you clean up from the get together.
Have each parent bring between three to five nice, clean and complete toys that their child or children no longer plays with on a regular basis. It does not have to be the most expensive item in the toy box. Children are wonderful in that they do not discriminate on value or expense.
After everyone arrives, explain the rules of the exchange. Every child will draw numbers and that will be the order in which they pick. Every child gets to choose one “new” toy for each “old” toy that they brought to the exchange. The choosing will go in rounds. The first child will pick one toy from the pile. The second child will follow, and so on. After the first round, the child who picked last will pick first and the order will go backwards until each child has exchanged their toys and chosen the same amount in return.
After the big pick is over, parents can sit back and enjoy chatting with their contemporaries while the children play together with their new to them toys. You can do a pot luck of snacks or even lunch if you so desire.
This is a win-win situation for the parents, the children, the toy box and the environment. Having the toy exchange gives a way for the parents to save money, grants new and exciting toys for the children, presents a chance for toys to move out of the room and box, and provides entertainment and fun with out creating more refuse and waste from package materials.
Break the play date rut and start a regular toy exchange with your play group. This idea is even adaptable with groups as small as two children and has many benefits. It is also an event that the kids will enjoy and look forward to. Hey, who can refuse new toys?