Bilingual play dates are a great way to provide your little ones with more exposure to the target language. On a previous post, we talked about how to manage the play date. Now it’s time for us to talk about what type of activities you can do for each age group.
It is important to keep in mind what is happening developmentally at each stage. A 6 month old will learn very differently than a 3 year old so it is worth taking the time to do some planning.
Play date activity tips by age group
0-2 year olds
Kids at this age learn by exploring with their hands and mouth. They absolutely love to bang, throw, drop, shake and put things in their mouth. Now I understand you don’t necessarily want a bunch of toddlers throwing and banging things around your house. But you can include things like sensory bins for them to play. Add some toys that can help you work on target words in the bin to make sure you incorporate some language. Keep in mind that toddlers will generally not play with another child but instead play in parallel.
3 – 5 year olds
Children this age love imaginary play which is great because there is so much you can do here to work on language skills. Create activities that tap into children’s fantasy play and imagination. The best part about this age group is that they are much more likely to interact with other kids. My kids have both loved to interact with play little kitchens which is great because you can incorporate lots of vocabulary around pretend food and pretend cooking. You can also adapt this activity for different ages.
6 – 9 year olds
Little ones at this age are able to create deeper connections with friends. However, with deeper connections also comes conflict. Be aware that while hosting a play date this age there could be some arguing. This is generally because children in this age group are much more competitive and can get very disappointed if they lose.
Therefore, avoid activities that involved winners and losers. In fact, for this stage I recommend having one friend over for a play date. Keep it even smaller than before to reduce the likelihood of arguments. Dress up for example is fun for this age group and there is no competition. It also allows for some very natural ways to introduce vocabulary through articles of clothing.
10 -14 year olds
Older kids can enjoy play dates too. There will likely be a lot less parent guidance for this group and much more free play. Keep in mind that peer pressure has a big influence with kids this age. Silliness comes in super handy with this group so consider that when planning your activities.
So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? Don’t overthink it and host one. They will only get better with time and you learn what works and what doesn’t.
If you are interested in more ways to promote the target language, check out a whole collection of ideas here.