This article about playdate food has been updated for 2021… Remember playdates? The idea that your child might go to somebody else’s house or you might have another child over to yours – to eat with you? Well, I may be slightly ahead of myself, but I predict that it won’t be long before this starts happening again, as mums find that they are able to use the time-honoured childcare tip of sharing the children again.

When it does happen for you again, you may find you are a little out of practice in entertaining children with different tastes to your own. So I thought I would bring this post up to date, dust it down and get you ready for it. Please pin tis in your private collection – you will thank me when playdates suddenly start happening again.

If you can’t have playdates yet, then treat your children now and again with some of these yummy tea time snacks.

Now my children are at school we have entered the realm of friends coming to play after school, and usually for tea as well.  So what do you feed them?  You want them to be happy, and to eat, and generally, the obvious staple for playdate food is fish fingers or chicken nuggets, chips and beans.

However, I have been trying some alternatives which provide something a little more varied and balanced and will still please my own children who are very fussy eaters.

Here are a couple of quick, easy and tasty ideas:

1.  Traffic light pasta – make plain pasta (and this can have a cheese or tomato sauce with it) but have peppers, carrots, sweet corn and peas in it – easy, simple and healthy. Another variation on this is to make Treasure Hunt pasta – put a variety of veg/meat/cheese etc in the bottom of the dish and pile with cooked pasta – get children to ‘dig’ for treasure and see what they can find.

2.  Spaghetti bolognese or carbonara, favourites with most children, are good filling dishes, easy to make and messy and fun to eat!

3.  Naan bread pizzas – I discovered these a couple of years ago – and even better the kids can make their own and they are ready in minutes! Buy some mini naan or pitta breads, or puff pastry squares,  and get the children to spread them with a tomato-based sauce (make your own and hide some veggies in it!) and then add whatever they would like – so ham, cheese, chicken, sausage and half cherry tomatoes – simply grill for a couple of minutes and serve.

4.  Wraps or tortillas – I came up with this to try and encourage my own children to join in when we had chilli. Simply cut tortillas into thirds and give to children to stuff their own. Have bowls with chicken, ham, sausage, cheese, tomatoes, cream cheese, grated carrots, sliced peppers, guacamole etc, giving them a great chance to experiment – also messy fun whilst eating as can all be done with fingers

5.  Stuffed pasta – you can now easily buy large pasta shells which if you pre-cook can be stuffed by the children with a selection of the fillings suggested above, or you can make a selection for them to choose from.

12 Healthy Snack Ideas for Playdates – Nurture Life
Feb 28, 2018 Making nutritious playdate food doesn’t have to be time consuming! Here are 12 wholesome snacks that will keep kids full of energy.

6.  Presentation – it’s slightly gimmicky but fun to make ‘normal’ dishes more appealing by presenting them differently. I have just done mashed potato volcanos with beans spilling out and halved sausages up the sides.

You could also try jacket potato pirate boats – scoop out the potato and mash with cheese and re-fill – make a ‘mast’ with slices of bacon or sausage ‘oars’ on cocktail sticks and a ‘sea’ of  gravy with some vegetable islands. And you can always add funny vegetable faces to anything

playdate food
Playdate food

And let’s not forget puddings!

7.  Pancakes – easy to make and again very versatile with fillings – fruit, ice cream and yoghurt are always big favourites….and if you are feeling very creative make your own fruit sauces, or colour the pancakes with food colouring. You can even make gluten-free pancakes if you have children with allergies visiting

8.  Chocolate dip – provide a selection of fruit – strawberries, grapes and bananas are ideal, or shortbread and marshmallows with cocktail sticks for dipping. You can even make your own churros to dip in the sauce too.

9.  Fruit kebabs or fruit salad – allow children to make own and help with the chopping as well – most fruits are easy enough with blunt/plastic knives.

10. Ice-cream – make an old favouite  more exciting with sprinkles, sweets, sauces, grated chocolate, chopped nuts, or some fruit if you’re feeling virtuous!

Mini ice creams in basket 

If you have any ideas for fun playdate food for kids then please leave a comment – the more the merrier!

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