A Doughnut-Hole Playdate Is the Genius Solution to Stress-Free Entertaining with Kids

published Nov 1, 2021
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This summer we moved our family of four across the country, leaving behind a great group of school friend families. While we happily spent summer vacation unpacking boxes and exploring our new location, settling back into a school routine has made our loneliness crystal clear — we need friends in our new city ASAP. Seasoned parents know that school is a wonderful place to connect with other families. You’ll meet your neighbors with kids of similar ages and parents who share similar volunteer interests at back-to-school nights. But with safety protocols in place this year, parents are discouraged from coming onto campus, orientations are virtual, and making new parent friends feels harder than ever. 

Maybe you’re in a similar boat? Your oldest kid just started kindergarten or you had a new baby this year and need to see your friends and family in a way that feels safe and easy. Let me introduce you, then, to the doughnut-hole playdate. This incredibly easy idea is perfect for seeing your parent friends, celebrating milestones big and small, or just trying to get to know the families in your kiddo’s new class. The idea is simple enough: Send an invite, meet at a park, and catch up over coffee and doughnut holes. Here’s how to host one of your very own this fall. 

How to Host a Doughnut-Hole Playdate 

The beauty of a doughnut-hole playdate is that it’s low-pressure and easy to coordinate. If you’re new to school, consider asking your kid’s teacher for parent emails or reach out to your PTA for a school directory and then send a quick email — no fancy invites required. If you have an established group of parent pals, a text or two is all it takes to set something up.

Shoot for a 10 a.m. start time on a Saturday morning — that’s not too early for older kids and it is early enough for preschoolers and toddlers who still require an afternoon nap. A park is a nice, neutral meeting place for new friends. If you get to the park early enough you might be able to snag a pavilion for gathering (although most municipalities let you reserve these for parties, most aren’t reserved early in the day). If you’ve got an epic backyard, though, feel free to invite friends to meet and play closer to home. 

As far as food and drinks, keep things super easy and do a drive-thru pick up of doughnut holes and a carafe of coffee. Doughnut holes are perfect for little eaters. Delegate a grocery store fruit tray to your friend who insists on bringing something. If doughnuts aren’t your thing, bring a bag of bagels, croissants, or muffins instead. The point is to keep things easy, fun, and super low-key.

Essential Elements of a Doughnut-Hole Playdate 

You can show up at the park with just doughnut holes and coffee and have a joyous Saturday morning, but these few extra touches will keep you at the park and catching up with friends even longer. 

  • Picnic or park blankets: A few picnic blankets will give everyone a place to perch and are particularly good for moms of littles to spread out on, so the tiniest friends don’t have to be stroller-bound the entire time. 
  • A few activities: This shouldn’t be anything elaborate. Grab a few inexpensive containers of bubbles for the preschoolers and card games for older and/or introverted kids who might not be interested in playing on the playground. We love Uno for our elementary-aged kids and just discovered Monopoly Play from our older niece and nephew. 
  • Wet wipes and paper towels: Someone is bound to have baby wipes on hand, but Water Wipes and paper towels are my favorite for cleaning up sticky doughnut-glazed fingers between snacking and play.

At the park, you’ll have little more to do than open up the doughnut box and pour coffees for the adults. Then you can catch up with your grown-up friends while the kids burn off their doughnut-fueled energy. You can get your parent friends together to celebrate the everyday (it’s Friday!) or more important life events (your friend’s new promotion), and kids of all ages can tag along to play at the park.