Ideas for alcohol-free mingle for single parents and their kdis?
July 28, 2009 10:08 AM   Subscribe

What kinds of fun things can we do at a social event for single parents and their kids with no booze?

Using my question on something work related [sigh].

I work for a children's museum. We frequently show up in things like the missed connections, e.g. 'our kids played together at the children's museum and had a great time. You seemed really sweet. Wanna schedule a play date?'

So we've decided to hold a special event, after hours, just for single parents and their kids - with the intention being at least somewhat a mingle for single parents to meet other single parents and make the sparks fly and the fireworks happen, etc etc.

The catch is - we can't serve any alcohol, because of the kids (and because you'd be nuts to liquor up a bunch of parents and stick them in the car with their kids). Seeing that alcohol is frequently a key ingredient in the whole meeting other people game, what kinds of things could we do at this event that would make it easy for people to meet and get to know each other that isn't awkward and that includes kids? I'm not a single parent, so I'd love to here from any that might have ideas of what they might like to do at something like this. What sorts of games? Activities? Ice breakers? Anything? Or other resources I might find some ideas?

Thanks Hive Mind!
posted by Lutoslawski to Society & Culture (15 answers total)
Scavenger hunt in the museum?
posted by jquinby at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2009

Pin the Tail on Your Mom (or Dad).
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:24 AM on July 28, 2009

Kids vs. parents capture the flag?
posted by oinopaponton at 10:30 AM on July 28, 2009

posted by lunalaguna at 10:32 AM on July 28, 2009

A luau complete with limbo, Beach Boys music, some sort of volleyball game using beach balls - parents vs kids, fancy drinks - pina coladas, strawberry daquiries (I can't spell) but without the alcohol (i.e. smoothies!).

I think that anything that gets the kids involved will also pull the parents into involvement. It won't be just a bunch of people standing around - but if you have the parents and kids on teams, they both have to participate - and voila! a good time had by all.

And ya, know, if I were single - seeing other parents happily involved with their children would be a great way to start off any relationship.

or a scavenger hunt.
posted by Sassyfras at 10:39 AM on July 28, 2009

Wii Sports games seems to always lighten the mood
posted by doorsfan at 10:53 AM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I drink very rarely, so this advice is just stuff I've found fun and/or successful. I love kids.

I came in here to say scavenger hunt as well. Make sure that the teams are kids and adults on each, and include at least two groups of strangers on each (30 people = 3 groups of 10, etc).

Basically, anything that lets you break people into groups and work together toward some kind of goal is good. Instead of an item scavenger hunt, this can be a mystery of some sort (Who stole __________? and link it to clues in the museum) or another type of event. Then, there's some sort of prize after (or certificates for all), followed by something light and fun like karaoke, dance, or even just a mini dessert party. Separate the kids and the adults at this point.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:57 AM on July 28, 2009

This is a great idea! Good for you for putting it together. How about a game of Win, Lose or Draw? It takes teamwork and gets a lot of laughs and is fun for all ages. Even the younger ones who can't draw can still guess.
posted by yawper at 11:29 AM on July 28, 2009

My experience* is that if you provide a sufficiently engrossing activity for children, the parents will take a welcome break from entertaining them and chat each other up, compare kid stories, etc. I have met dozens of people in this way.

The parents' activity is generally making sure their children don't pee on themselves or hit each other or start crying inconsolably. Woo hoo!

Find some way to help the parents keep in touch with each other, a list of contact info to distribute or some such thing. That way they won't feel awkward asking for numbers.

*many, many Mommy & Me classes
posted by kathrineg at 11:43 AM on July 28, 2009

Perhaps a two part evening. First part that involves kids and parents in like a scavenger hunt or something to warm everyone up and then the second part where the kids are engaged in fun activity of their own and parents can mingle with one another sans kids.
posted by Pineapplicious at 12:16 PM on July 28, 2009

I have a couple friends that dj the Baby Loves Disco series. Perhaps you could throw a similar afternoon, booze-free, low-decibel level dance party?
posted by stachemaster at 1:49 PM on July 28, 2009

If you want me to be happy as a parent, give me an activity that the kids can go off and do by themselves or with little direct supervision, allowing the parents to stand around and chat. Art projects, bounce houses, sand boxes, giant buckets of play-doh, etc.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:45 PM on July 28, 2009

Can you pass a baby from neck to neck like an apple? That'd be hot.

+1 to everyone suggesting getting the kids off doing their own thing. Single parents are going to be so unbefrickinlievably exhausted and undersexed that your biggest problem is going to be keeping them from pairing up and taking naps. If you can get enough non-parents there to watch over the kids so the parents can RELAX, it'll be a piece of cake.
posted by paanta at 3:49 PM on July 28, 2009

We were at a kid birthday party recently and tie dyed shirts for the kids. It was actually very fun and interactive, and booze free....
posted by mazienh at 7:17 PM on July 28, 2009

Would board games work? I guess it's going to be tough if there is a wide range of kids' ages, but if each family brings one, eventually it should work out in pairs of pairs. Alternatively (or in addition), puzzles? I loved them as kids, and I've enjoyed them as an adult because they require a modicum of cooperation but chatting doesn't detract from the fun at hand.

If you're aiming to separate kids from adults, the kids can be involved in museum-wide game (laser tag! water gun wars! hide & seek! sardines!) while the adults schmooze over... uh.. puzzles and board games. (Now no longer limited to kids-friendly games, but Scrabble & Trivial Pursuit become fair game. No pun intended.)
posted by knile at 8:15 PM on July 28, 2009

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