TIPS FOR STARTING & HOSTING A PLAYGROUP:
Hosting a playgroup is the easiest and most rewarding thing you can do for yourself and others. There might be dads already meeting in your area – so first check the MDAH calendar to see if there is a playgroup happening in your area. If there is – join the fun! If there isn’t a playgroup close to you then you may want to consider hosting your own playgroup. Below are a few tips to help you get started.
- Plan a day/time of the week that has the least number of conflicts for you. Dads tend to show up as long as they can count on seeing a familiar face on a regular basis. If you can’t consistently make your own playgroup, most dads won’t make it either.
- Plan your personal schedule around the playgroup as if you would a weekly swim lesson or ECFE class. Of course circumstances arise like sick kids or the occasional appointments that can’t be rescheduled– take care of business first with your kids (after all that’s our job).
- Consider co-hosting with another dad and take turns showing up if you find that would be easier to sustain on a consistent basis.
- Keep in mind others’ schedules – if most dads in your area have kids who nap after lunch it might be better to schedule a playgroup a couple of hours before lunch.
Most parks in Minnesota fit the bill in spring, summer and fall. In winter check local community centers, recreation centers, or churches – they might already have weekly play times where they open up their doors to the public. Choose a play environment that is…
- age appropriate
- easily accessible
- low cost (or free)
- equipped with bathrooms
- WELCOME OTHERS:
It is helpful to have a willingness to meet new people and a welcoming personality. Take the initiative to introduce yourself to new dads and introduce dads to each other.
- GET THE WORD OUT:
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get your playgroup information posted on the discussion boards and MDAH Yahoo Calendar for all dads to see.
In short, keep things simple, consistent, easy to get to, free (or really cheap), welcoming and then communicate it through MDAH – dads and kids will follow.