A Beginner's Guide to Playgroup Activities
Getting involved with playgroup activities may seem like a walk in the park, but proper organization and prior preparation are necessary for a successful playgroup experience. There are lots of questions that should be asked before signing up for a playgroup, not the least of which is “what is the best choice for the kids?” Don’t forget that the kids are the sole purpose of the playgroup. Keep their needs and desires at the top of the list when making decisions about playgroup activities.
The first step when choosing playgroup activities is to ask the kids what they want to do. If a child has a particular interest in a certain pastime, such as dancing, sports or art, those are the basics you should use when choosing their group activities. Obviously the really little ones won’t be able to tell you what they like to do best, but their activities are somewhat limited anyway. For them, this is the time for exploration to see what playgroup activities they are happiest doing.
Playgroups are a great way to get your kids active and involved even when they don’t know what they want to do. Many art studios or sports programs have introductory test classes so the kids can get an idea of what to expect if they join a particular activity on a regular basis. Besides asking the kids what they like to do, there are plenty of other questions to keep in mind.
Most extra-curricular activities are grouped together by age group so the kids will be interacting with others of the same developmental and maturity levels. Lines do not always have to be drawn according to age, however. Some young people thrive in an environment where they are challenged and will enjoy spending time with older kids. This depends entirely on the child, and it is important to observe their behavior and progress when they are in this type of situation.
Type of Activity
Some kids are more active and athletic than others, and this should be considered when choosing a playgroup. If the child is not used to playing sports but wants to try it out, be sure and get them into a beginner’s program where they will have the chance to learn and improve. Few things are scarier and more intimidating to a youngster than trying to play a game with kids that have been doing it for years and years. Keep this in mind when choosing activities and groups.
Learning Activities Can Be Fun Too!
Of course playgroups are supposed to be fun, but there is no reason that kids cannot have fun and learn at the same time. In fact, children are learning all the time, no matter what they are doing. Why not make that learning constructive? There are tons of options for making learning fun:
> Art activities – even simple coloring and drawing – are fun ways to learn a number of different lessons. Art can teach us about space, lines, creativity and history.
> Animals are fun, entertaining and have a wealth of educational possibilities.
> Gardening can be extremely fun and fulfilling for kids (adults too). Watching plants and flowers grow from seed to fruit can help kids understand some scientific principals as well as teach them a bit of patience.
> Cooking and baking are also ways to incorporate science into fun learning activities. The kitchen is also a good place to practice math and measurements.
Just a bit of planning can make choosing a playgroup activity extremely successful and fun for all involved.