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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Positive Play Dates

By guest blogger, Krista W, Charlotte Smarty Pants

I love play dates. I mean L-O-V-E, LOVE them! It is wonderful time for your child to interact with their friends AND for mommies to get together and catch-up. My fabulous (and I do mean fabulous) playgroup have meet religiously for three years and watched countless memories unfold and new additions born. Our group has hit almost every activity you could think of in Charlotte from parks to pools. As our children have grown, I’ve started to realize the teachable moments play-dates provide. During these “playful” afternoons I’ve watched beautiful interactions where sharing, problem solving, and teamwork develop. As the age of our playgroup has risen (we started at six months and are now celebrating fourth birthdays) I’ve started to feel the urge to teach our group the gift of giving back.

How can we teach our toddlers (and ALL aged children) the importance of our community and what it means to make a difference? Try scheduling a “positive play-date”! Take the tykes to the local Fire Station (call and set-up a time with the Captain first). The firefighters will gladly host your group and allow the children to get near the truck and learn the importance of fire safety and prevention. Bring the team cookies and you will be loved from the moment you step foot inside the station. Arrange a time to sing to the elderly at a retirement home. The children will love to be on stage and the residents will be filled with joyful tunes of toddlers. Plant trees in a park or garden, have a “clean up” event where you visit a local park and pick up trash before playing, or bake muffins for the mailmen. There are countless ideas and thousands of ways to teach a child gratitude and the art of giving. Start with your group and make playtime something meaningful. Teach your group they matter and that together we can make a difference.

Happy playing, and happy positive planning!


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