One of my parenting resolutions for this year was to find more opportunities for Luella to spend time with other kids. During the school holidays, all our regularly scheduled play groups and rhyme times are on hiatus. So instead of lamenting the lack of activities, I decided to start up one of my own.
On Tuesday a group of Inner West mums and I launched a new Creative Play Group. Luella is getting to the age where she’s taking in so much new information constantly. Words, numbers, colours, motor skills, etc. I want to make sure that I’m also fostering her imagination and giving her opportunities for open-ended play.
The playgroups we’ve gone to have been great but I wanted to give her more chances to get messy, experiment, and do her own thing. I’ve long been interested in Montessori, Steiner and Reggio Emilia styles of education, particularly at the toddler level. While I don’t subscribe religiously to any of these, I like the idea of sensory play, and giving her opportunities to just “do” without being guided towards a particular end result.
I’ve started off with some pretty loose themes. On Tuesday I simply asked everyone to bring along some instruments, and we had a “jam session” and did some bubble-blowing. It was nice for a wide age range. Next week we’re busting out the finger paint. I used this recipe to make an edible goopy batch and we’ll bring some materials for the kids to experiment with. Good for these crazy hot days so that we can just hose them off when they’re done.
Another benefit is that I see lots of activities on Pinterest that sound great but by the time you buy all the supplies, you’ve spent $50 on a craft they do for 10 minutes and then the junk sits in your cupboard. By doing activities in a group, it’s almost like a co-op where we can share random supplies that we’ve all, no doubt, gathered over the last year.
I’ve called it a “toddler’s group” but we had kids ranging from 6 months – 7 years and they all had fun. We’ve got a Facebook group here, if anyone is interested in joining – just send a request. I’m really excited to get to know other mums and their kids.
Oh, and for a Creative Play Group, we certainly don’t have a very creative name. Anyone got any suggestions???