At playgroups parents and carers get together with their young children for a couple of hours each week to connect, learn through play and most importantly, have fun. Essentially, playgroup is one of the first, and most important social networks for children and families.
Held at a variety of community venues in cities as well as regional and remote areas, playgroup activities may involve craft, indoor and outdoor play and morning tea. At playgroup, families can learn new ideas for playing at home, make new friends and share their experiences in a relaxed environment.
Who can attend playgroup?
Playgroup is for babies, toddlers and pre-school aged children. They can be accompanied by mothers, fathers, grandparents, nannies or other carers. Playgroup NSW affiliated playgroups are inclusive, providing welcoming supportive environments for all families to come together regardless of cultural, social or economic backgrounds.
Throughout NSW 800 playgroups meet weekly within local communities. The majority of these are community playgroups and we also operate numerous facilitated playgroups and peer support groups for families with particular needs.
How does playgroup benefit children?
Creative and unstructured learning through play is essential to the development of young children, helping them explore and understand their world. According to research by the Telethon Kids Institute, the benefits of playgroup are seen across all domains of child development: physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive development and communication. Read the full research report.
I was having a few issues with my girls getting along with each other before we attended playgroup. Now they love chatting with the other kids, doing crafts and activities. Playgroup has been great for their development
Major benefits of playgroup include:
- Provides opportunities for creative, unstructured learning through play;
- Builds attachments between adults and children as they play together and share time and experiences;
- Helps children develop social skills as they learn to interact with others, take turns, share and make friends;
- Provides experiences that enable them to manage stress and adapt to change;
- Offers opportunities for children to explore, invent, reason and solve problems.
How does playgroup benefit families?
Playgroup is a wonderful opportunity to meet other people in a similar situation. It gives parents the chance to make new friends, learn from one another and develop a supportive local network for you and your family.
Playgroup offers you and your family:
- A place where parents and carers can support each other through sharing ideas, parenting experiences, concerns and information.
- A place where families can build long-term friendships as their children grow and transition to school.
- An affordable and regular opportunity to enjoy a shared outing.
I joined playgroup as a young stay-at-home mum who had no other friends with children. I love the opportunity to chat with other parents in an informal environment. My children love going to playgroup and have made real friendships with other kids their age.
Are there different types of playgroups?
Playgroup NSW oversees the development and provision of playgroups in NSW ensuring that playgroups are inclusive and accessible to everyone.
Community playgroups comprise the majority of the 800 playgroups affiliated with Playgroup NSW. These groups cater to a range of children, from babies up to school age. They are run by local parents on a voluntary basis.
In addition to hundreds of general community playgroups that meet across NSW each week, we offer numerous community playgroups that satisfy more specific needs of parents and children, including groups for:
- Allergy Awareness
- Families with Babies
- Family Day Care
- LGBTI families (Lesbian Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex)
- Montessori & Steiner families
- Mothers who have postnatal depression
Baby and first time parents groups
Changes happen quickly as your baby grows and develops. Recent research indicates that your baby's first three years are vital for brain development and future health and wellbeing. Babies need a stimulating environment to play and learn.
Playgroups offer babies a wide variety of early learning experiences, as well as giving parents and carers a chance to discuss ideas, problems and the joys and frustrations of parenting.Learn more about baby development.
Click to find an existing baby playgroup, or, if you are part of a Mother's group and would like to start your own baby playgroup in your local area, contact us.
Language specific and culturally diverse groups
Playgroup NSW has a long tradition of supporting culturally and linguistically diverse families through introducing language and culture specific playgroup experiences. We offer offer playgroups specifically catering to over 20 different languages and/or cultures. View video of Lakemba Indonesia playgroup.
Click to search and use the “Playgroup Type” drop down menu to find a language or cultural specific group near you.
Intergenerational playgroups bring together three generations – seniors, children and their parents. Interacting with seniors adds a new dimension to the playgroup experience for children, and can be especially enriching for children who don’t have access spending time with their grandparents. Often located in aged care environments, these playgroups are a joyful celebration between multiple generations.
Read more about Intergenerational playgroups.
Rainbow playgroups create inclusive, supportive and positive playgroup experiences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) parents and carers. Rainbow playgroups can provide peer support networks, create opportunities for parents to share ideas and experiences while children meet others and play.
Contact us to find out more about Rainbow playgroups.
PlayConnect groups for families with a child with autism
Playgroup NSW also runs facilitated groups, called PlayConnect, specifically for children aged 0-6 years with autism-like behaviours and their families.
Read more about PlayConnect.
MyTime Support groups for families with a child with a disability or chronic medical condition
MyTime groups provide peer support to parents or carers of a child up to age 16 with a disability or chronic medical condition. Read more about MyTime.
Playgroup NSW offers a limited number of supported playgroup for parents and carers who are experiencing isolation or need support to access a positive, facilitated experience. Read more about our supported playgroups.
A Bush Playgroup is much like a traditional Playgroup in that it is an inclusive, informal opportunity for families to get together and play, except it is held outside and focused on exploring nature. Bush Playgroups often involve an age-appropriate walk to discover new places and natural wonders, such as waterfalls, giant trees, ponds or woodlands. Bush Playgroup leaders generally have some outdoor/bush skills so that they can keep the group safe and help everyone make the most of their time in nature. Find out more.
Want to start a playgroup?
You may want to start your own playgroup affiliated with Playgroup NSW if:
- There is no playgroup in your local area;
- You want to transition from a mother’s or new parent’s group to a playgroup;
- You would like to focus on a language, culture or particular interest.
Read about how to start a playgroup