Kid County Magazine: Excellent Ideas and Resources

How do I find or start a playgroup? Believe it or not there are not a lot of visible resources to find playgroups. You have to look hard.

One mother has recently published one of the first books dedicated to playgroups, entitled A Stay-at-Home Mom’s Complete Guide to Playgroups (ISBN 0-595-14684-8) by Carren W. Joye. This book is a great reference for all parents whether you are home full time or work full time. The author provides practical and solid advice on designing a playgroup for you and your child, step-by-step guide to starting a playgroup and organizing/setting guidelines.

As a mother of four, Ms. Joye has founded five successful playgroups and has helped playgroups via the Internet. Starting a playgroup may sound easy but there are a lot of areas that need to be addressed like the age of the children, how often and where to meet and who will be responsible for group communication.

There are several chapters that provide some excellent ideas and resources for parents. One chapter, “Including Parents in on the Fun,” focuses on the peer support of the parents. Ms. Joye recommends ideas that can be implemented such as favor exchange, barter your skills, baby-sitting co-op, moms’ night out, project nights, meal exchange and clothing swap. These are things that can expand your playgroup from just a weekly play and chat time.

For the children, Ms. Joye has two chapters, “Making Playgroup Fun for Kids” and “Week-by-Week Guide of Children’s Activities.” Here the author provides suggestions for the children such as community service projects, field trips and playgroup themes. Her week by week guide lists some excellent and easy projects for the group to do.

Valuable information can be found in chapters that deal with overcoming problems in a playgroup setting and starting specialty playgroups like twins, special needs, homeschoolers, single moms, at-home dads and ethnic or religious groups. The book concludes with a list of outside organizations, web sites and books.

Reprinted by permission by Joan Koriath. First printed in Kid County, May 2001, Vol. 1, Issue 9, page 12.