5 Awesome Activities to Break Your Playgroup Out of its Rut

Family Matters on 04.14.11

Photo: woodleywonderworks/Creative Commons

 

Getting your kids involved with a scheduled playgroup can help them meet and make friends, develop their social skills, and even learn a thing or two -- plus you'll get the benefits of chatting up other parents with conversations that don't revolve around Max and Ruby. But if your group is stuck in the same old cycle of crafts, snacks, and a trip to the playground, try one of these activities to pep up your playtime. 

 

1. Engage their Senses.

Even the newest members of your group aren't too young to use their senses. Sing songs or play with musical instruments so they can hear new sounds; go for an outside walk to touch different leaves, rocks, and natural textures; and have older kids arrange toys by color or sort them by shape. 

 

2. Bring in an Expert.

kids doing yoga

Photo: creativedc/Creative Commons 

Know any EMTs, massage therapists, yoga teachers, or dietitians? Enlist them for a quick session that will be as good for moms as it is for babies, whether that means an infant-focused first aid session, a lesson in baby massage, simple instruction on yoga poses that can help baby sleep better, or a kid-friendly look at healthy vegetables and recipes for homemade baby food.

 

3. Get Out of the House

playgroup at the zoo

Photo: BarelyFitz/Creative Commons

We know that gathering a group of kids -- and all their associated gear -- for a day trip is no easy task, but visiting your local children's museums, zoos, aquariums, and art centers is a great way for your little ones to burn off some energy while soaking up new facts and knowledge. Keep costs down by meeting up for story time at the public library (followed by a coffee date) or joining the free swim at your local pool. (Bonus: Go during the week for fewer crowds and, in some cases, reduced admission.)

 

4. Focus on the Alphabet

playgroup alphabet

Photo: stevendepolo/Creative Commons

Using the ABCs as your theme is a simple way to tie together learning, games, and even snacks: Have older kids cut out words starting with each letter from magazines and newspapers; help younger kids identify and write the letters in their names; make letter-shaped sandwiches using cookie cutters; and read alphabet books like Sandra Boynton's "A to Z", suggests Playgroups USA.

5. Turn to the Classics

playgroup board games

Photo: Mike_fleming/Creative Commons 

The whole idea of a playgroup is playing, right? From simple games like Duck, Duck, Goose and Mother, May I? to board games and memory games, organizing a game day helps your kids develop social skills and learn to work in teams. But you don't have to be too structured: Bring a bunch of old clothes and costume jewelry for a dress-up session and see where their imaginations take them. 


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