I am planning to have a first playdate for my 5 year old daughter and some of her friends from Pre-School, at our home next week. I would like to know if mixed playdates are a good idea.

I was thinking that a mixed group of girls and boys, around 5 children could be more fun playing board games, and watching a childrens movie and maybe some drawings activities! Has anyone tried it like this? Or I am asking for trouble :-) ?

Edit: Some more details Its the first playdate we are hosting at (our)home. She has had friends, who live in our neighbourhood, over. (These friends attend different schools, and are girls).

She has also been to a couple of playdates at school friends houses. Funnily enough, although I thought she would enjoy it more, it seems she doesn't. She gets bored when its a group of girls just playing Winx fairies and with Barbies, and a recent Parent Teacher meeting endorsed this fact, my daughter is not typically a "Girlie Girl". It seems, she is she very social and enjoys playing with all her friends. Then this made me think about having a mixed playdate. The classroom is a differnt enviroment I know, but would boys enjoy a mixed playdate, would they end up screaming at each other? and hence a total disaster as far as a playdates go?

asked 14 Nov '09, 17:01

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 23 Apr '10, 18:30

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

Do you mean "mixed" as in boys & girls or something else?

(14 Nov '09, 17:46) Kate

Yes, I meant mixed in that sense, boys and girls. :)

(14 Nov '09, 18:01) Emi

@Kate Thanks for pointing that out, I have edited the title and the content so its clearer now I think.

(14 Nov '09, 18:05) Emi

Thanks for the edits, I've edited my response to give what I think is appropriate advice.

(16 Nov '09, 15:11) lgritz

Seems like a good idea to me (the idea of mixing, that is) as long as the kids involved are all friends and the total is not too much for you to handle.

I'm not quite sure what you're really asking. Can you clarify about what your concerns are specifically about whether it's a mixture of boys and girls? First playdate? You mean the first one you've hosted at your house, or are you saying your daughter has never played with other kids outside of school before? (That may have a whole other set of challenges.)

EDIT: With the new info you added to the question (she's had play dates, only with girls, wasn't crazy about them, haven't hosted at your house), I would add the following advice:

  • DEFINITELY have mixed play dates, especially if your daughter isn't thrilled about the typical girlie things she's done before.

  • I think they key is to pick the right candidate boy who (a) your daughters WANTS to play with, (b) who you suspect would not be bored with the things your daughter would enjoy. You weren't clear if you daughter's class was mixed boys/girls, but a good place to start is probably whichever boy classmate she talks about most (or, just ask their teacher for advice). (There are girls my son talks about from his preschool, and I can tell he likes to play with them.)

  • Especially if you have not hosted before, 5 kids is too many. That's not a play date, it's a party! Try ONE, pick carefully -- find a boy (or girl) that your daughter seems to want to play with most and/or has a history of getting along well with in school.

  • Set a short length for the play date, maybe an hour if this kind of thing is fairly new. That makes it easier on you, and may also solve the boredom problem (for either kid). It's better for the kids to ask for another, longer, play date later than for them to get bored or annoyed with each other in any one sitting. (In fact, the lack of success on previous play dates with girls may be due to excessive length as much as mismatch in activity preference.)

By the way, when I was 5, my best friend was a girl (I'm male) and we had a LOT of fun doing all sorts of things. (And for the curious, to the best of my recollection, it never occurred to us to "play doctor." And we were fairly unsupervised.)


answered 15 Nov '09, 22:48

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

edited 16 Nov '09, 15:10

Thanks for your comment Igritz, I added some additional information to clarify :)

(16 Nov '09, 04:11) Emi

In my experience five children is going to be quite rowdy and will require a lot of attention. But so long as they are all friends with your daughter I don't think it'll matter whether they are boys or girls or both.

My five year old daughter has recently got in to the "I only play with girls" stage, so if you can keep yours playing with boys too for a bit longer then go for it.


answered 14 Nov '09, 18:30

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

I think the individual temperaments are more important than gender. If they're all mild except one, that one could become either bored or the trouble-maker. If they're all wild except one, that one may feel overwhelmed or excluded.

Also, as Meg Stephenson said: if they're already friends, this will help the dynamic considerably.


answered 15 Nov '09, 20:48

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

I agree with the other posters – mixed playdates should be fine.

But – be aware that 5 is around the age at which boys & girls might think of playing doctor. :-)


answered 15 Nov '09, 23:51

Chris%20W.%20Rea's gravatar image

Chris W. Rea
accept rate: 34%

Thanks alot for reminding that, I just came across, http://www.canadianparents.com/article/i-caught-them-playing-doctor from there that seems useful too (also for my other question about the birds and the bees)

(16 Nov '09, 04:18) Emi

Good article link - thanks for sharing.

(16 Nov '09, 14:27) Chris W. Rea

Good point. For peace of mind: when I took Sociology of Human Sexuality in college, they said as long as the children are both prepubescent and both consenting, there's no harm in them playing doctor. Don't get me wrong: I don't think it should be encouraged, but it is natural curiosity and not harmful.

(16 Nov '09, 15:31) Dinah
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Asked: 14 Nov '09, 17:01

Seen: 8,235 times

Last updated: 23 Apr '10, 18:30