Every day when I pick my boys up from school they come running over begging to have friends come home with them. Which means, until recently, every day at 3:15 I’m gripped by PLAY DATE PANIC! It’s not the extra kids I mind, it’s more a question of “what do I feed them?” Because, as all parents know, after school they are starving.
Also, they do not want carrot sticks and water.
And apparently offering friends these things instantly makes me the “uncool” mom, and puts my kids at risk of being uncool simply by association.
Fortunately, I’ve learned there are two tricks to survive the after school play date feeding frenzy: 1) Feed Them Fast! and 2) Don’t Mess With Their Food! – (at least not too much)
1) Feed Them Fast. If you happen to have a divided serving tray that you use when you have an adult “play date” party, this is your ticket to an easy kid play date. If you don’t have one, go buy one. You’ll be glad you did. It seems that combining real foods onto one of these trays takes them from really boring to really fun! My nine-year-old’s friend even said he likes coming to our house because I make them “special” snacks. Well, they’re not really that special – and are actually very easy- this wonderful tray just makes them look that way! I usually just throw on the tray some fruit, a couple of veggies, some dip (hummus, ranch, salsa), something salty ( popcorn/crackers/tortilla chips/ or peanuts), and maybe one sweet thing like peanut butter bananas rolled in mini chocolate chips. I let the kids help themselves and they don’t leave a thing behind!
2) Don’t Mess With Their Food! I learned this lesson recently when my youngest had two of his kindergarten friends over. I made them each their own plate of peppers shaped like a flower growing out of hummus. They would. not. touch. it. And these two friends ( a boy and a girl) are usually healthy eaters who I’ve even seen choose a banana over a cookie. Their dad couldn’t believe it because according to him they love peppers. Apparently just not peppers that have become “food art”. Back to trick one , keep it simple and feed them fast!
If you have any real food snack ideas that your kids like I’d love to hear about them and put them into our after school rotation!