Every now and again, people send out a plea for a play date for their little boy or girl. As part of our family community outreach program, we keep an eye out for such pleas in the greater Wangjing area and welcome the odd child and parent into our home. It is a simple service to provide, but when I think about it, finding kids to play with is fairly easy if you have the right tools.
Let’s face it, not all kids are social butterflies that walk onto a crowded playground and start playing along with whoever is swinging on the monkey bars (does Beijing have monkey bars?). But even if your child clings to you in the presence of the smallest of strangers, there are things you can do to take her mind off of others while you slowly (or sometimes alarmingly quickly) attract neighborhood kids to you and your child’s outdoor play activities.
The secret to successfully winning new playmates for little ones is as easy as blowing a few hundred bubbles. The next time you go to the market or shop on Taobao, buy a bunch of extra bubble wands and a plastic gun or two that shoots loads of bubbles. Then, when your kid(s) go outside to play, start blowing bubbles. As other children are drawn to the fun like moths to a flame, you can pass out the extra bubble makers. The other kids will go crazy and the parents will start taking photos. If that is not enough to set the stage for future play dates, bust out some colored chalk and let the kids color. I’ve also noted the collective joy kids have with whirly things like the simple propeller on a stick.
Basically, by sharing activities with other children in the neighborhood, all the kids can have fun and other parents are sure to take note of your generosity. After that, it is up to you to decide whom to invite for your next planned play date.
Photo courtesy of tiarescott (Flickr)