These first weeks back at playgroup are a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with people you may not have seen since before Christmas as well as meet new people who are looking forward to a year of fun with their child/ren at playgroup. Why not organise some fun activities to get everyone talking?
At one of your first sessions, you could have a welcome back party or teddy bears’ picnic to start the year with great enthusiasm. Have a theme and make a new area for the creative corner with children and parents. This could be a vet area, circus, doctor’s surgery or zoo. Have a getting to know you quiz where families have to wander around finding answers to questions such as ‘Who lives in the local area?’, ‘Who has more than one child?’, ‘Who has blue eyes?’ and so on. This is a great icebreaker and lots of fun to play. The questions don’t have to be based on people you already know either.
Think of ways to settle your children (and new members) back into playgroup. They may not have had contact with a room full of people for a little while and it might be quite daunting. The way you set up the room can make all the difference to whether they stay clung to your leg or go off to play with friends (both new and old).
Ensure the environment is friendly by setting up some familiar activities e.g. a home corner or cars on a mat. Children may be familiar with these so they will often just start playing again once they see them. This is a great way to encourage their social skills too as they will need to talk to organise sharing, problem solving, and turn taking.
Set up an art activity that can go up on the walls and make them colourful straight away (as long as you are allowed to put things up on the wall in your venue of course).
Take the time to enjoy the activities with your children especially as they settle back in to the routine of playgroup. This valuable time will be gone all too quickly. Someone once asked me “what do you want your children to remember of their childhood, a tidy house or playing with you?” This comment can be applied to many settings.