As a mom of one, I’m always looking for opportunities for my two year old to socialize with others. Playdates are a great opportunity for him to practice social skills as well as a chance for me to hang out with a friend and have a little break from being my son’s playmate.
Indianapolis offers many places where your toddler can enjoy hanging out with a friend while you enjoy a little time with an adult friend.
1. Parks: Duh! Indianapolis (and its surrounding areas) has so many parks! It can be as simple as calling up a mommy friend on your way home from work and planning to meet at the park. You can also make a day of it and bring a picnic lunch/dinner.
2. Indianapolis Zoo: Meet a friend at the zoo. Kids have all the entertainment they need. Check out the visiting koalas or spend time in the White River Gardens.
3. Children’s Museum: The Children’s Museum is great for a playdate especially if one of you has a membership with the plus 2 option so both families can get it free! There are many rotating exhibits so there is always something new to experience.
4. Library: The Indianapolis Public libraries offer story times. There are several branches and there is a story time almost every day of the week between all the branches. In addition to regular story times, they offer a lot of special events for kids in the summer. Check out the event calendar here. If none of the events fit your schedule, you can still have a playdate at the library. Most libraries have a play space with puzzles, toys, and computers for kids. And of course, there are always plenty of books to read at the library 🙂
5. Kid-friendly restaurants: A restaurant may not sound like a good place for a toddler playdate, but hear me out! AtThr3e Wise Men in Broad Ripple, you can get play “dough” for the kids to play with while you wait for food. It’s kind of a loud place so you don’t need to worry if your kids are making noise. Bonus, kids eat free on Tuesdays! Teddy’s Burger Joint (southside) has a great kids’ play area with a chalkboard wall. Kids eat free on Tuesdays here too! Don’t forget about fast food restaurants with indoor play spaces (think McDonald’s, ChickfilA, etc.). Kids can eat together then burn off some energy together.
6. Books and Brews: This is another place that is great for adults and kids. They have a kids story time on Tuesdays and Fridays as well as a small selection of toys for the kids to play with. More info here
7. Sporting events: Indianapolis is a sport city! Two sporting events that are great for toddler playdates are Indianapolis Indians baseball and Indy Eleven soccer. Both offer inexpensive ticket options (kids under 3 are free at Indy Eleven, kids under 2 are free at Indians) and plenty of space for the toddlers to run around.
8. Shopping Malls: Shopping malls can make a great playdate because you can get some shopping done before or after your toddler plays with a friend. Plus you get to shop with a friend! Most Indy area malls have a designated children’s play area.
9. Ice Cream Shop: What toddler (or adult, for that matter) doesn’t love ice cream? A personal favorite of my family isBRICS in Broad Ripple. This is a great place for a play date because it is right on the Monon Trail. Burn off the sugar by taking the kiddos for a walk on the trail or maybe even hit the playground at nearby OptiPark
10. The Urban Chalkboard: This play cafe is made for play dates!