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Family & Pets

A Guide To Finding Play Groups And Setting Up Play Dates

January 11, 2011 9:01 AM

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Children Playing

Children Playing

When I was a newly turned SAHM (Stay At Home Mom), I never imagined how isolated I’d feel being home all day with my little one. It was a real challenge finding other moms (to commiserate with) and kids (to tucker my kid out) until I found my playgroup. And thank goodness I did, because the sense of community you get from spending time with other moms (and dads!) and the socialization and early interaction with other kids for your little one is invaluable. These moms are now “my people” – they brought me home-cooked meals when I had my second baby and offered to run errands and watch my toddler while I was recovering (heck, not even family did that!). Here are some ideas to help you find your very own playgroup peeps:
freelib A Guide To Finding Play Groups And Setting Up Play Dates

credit: libwww.freelibrary.org

Your Local Library

Free Library of Philadelphia Branch Listings
libwww.freelibrary.org/branches/brnlist

I found my playgroup through my local library’s storytime; turns out it got close-knit enough and large enough that they formed their own sub-group, set up an email list and now, that playgroup has also formed a community playschool. Cool, huh? So don’t overlook your local library and be sure to find out when the storytimes are. Somebody there is likely to know when and where the local playgroup meets, too.

MeetUp.Com

www.meetup.com

Meet-ups may seem a little old-school now, but you can find some great playgroups through wwww.meetup.com. A quick search on the Philadelphia area for “mommy” yields 17 results ranging from Mommy & Me Bootcamp (http://www.meetup.com/BootCampFitnessforMoms/) to Philly GothParents Group (http://www.meetup.com/gothparents-13/) to Mocha Moms (http://www.meetup.com/NortheastMochas/) and more! MeetUp has a little something for everyone in all parts of the city and surrounding areas. Be aware that some groups don’t allow you to view content until you join and are approved (to weed out any weirdos). So if you find one you like and it’s closed, just apply to join and you’ll be able to read all the past posts and calendar events, too.

Google Groups

www.groups.google.com

The Google version of MeetUp.com, you can find groups of parents in your particular part of the city or ‘burbs by checking out GoogleGroups. A search of “playgroups Philadelphia” yielded a Passyunk Square-South Philly Moms group (http://groups.google.com/group/passyunk-square-south-philly-moms?lnk=srg) and a search on “Clark Park” gets you to the Clark Park Tot Lot group (http://groups.google.com/group/clarkparktotlot?lnk=srg). So try a few searches based on your neighborhood and/or interests and see what you can find. Again, be aware that some groups don’t allow you to view content until you join and are approved (again, trust me–you want to weed out any potential weirdos). If you find one you like that’s closed, just apply to join and you’ll be able to read all the past posts.

You can find other like-minded moms and dads at different support groups all around town — and then ask them where the playgroups meet!! Look into everything, from breastfeeding support groups (via La Leche League or the University City Breast Feeding Support Group) to new parent support groups (and what new parent couldn’t use a little support once in a while anyway?), such as those offered on sleep at Birth Mark in Media, PA.

Breastfeeding and New Parent Support Groups

La Leche League
(Philly chapter meets at Essene Natural Foods Market at 719 S. 4th St. on the first Tuesday of the month at 10am)
www.lllusa.org/web/PhiladelphiaPA

West Philly Breastfeeding Support Group
(meets at Studio 34 at 4522 Baltimore Ave. every other Wednesday from 10am-12Noon)
www.studio34yoga.com

Ali’s Wagon Parenting Center Classes
2017 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
215.787.0611
www.aliswagon.com/classes

Birth Mark Support Groups
107 S. Monroe Street
Media, PA 19063
Phone: 610-892-5051
www.familybirthmark.com/support_groups

Jennifer Oxenford is the founder of phillyfun4kids (www.phillyfun4kids.com), your place to find free and mostly free things to do with your kids in and around this great city of motherly love.
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