Child playing with wooden block toy

Playgroups – Love them or Loathe them?

Playgroups. You either love them or loathe them. There are those that go along religiously every week and those that actually wrinkle their nose at the thought. There are many urban myths about playgroups and they’re often the subject of humourous social media posts – all limbless toys and religious do-gooder volunteers.

When my first born was a baby I was definitely in the avoider camp. Even though I had many mum friends who extolled the virtues of local groups, I couldn’t face the (perceived) threat of germs, nits and kum-by-yahs.

Just by chance when we moved house I found that one of my new neighbours ran a group within walking distance, and I felt it would be rude not to show my face. I was an instant convert, and here’s why:

Different toys

It’s not like a day out in Hamleys but you’re guaranteed to find at least three toys that your children doesn’t have at home, or hasn’t played with for a while. Rest assured that the helpers do have scrupulous hygiene and health and safety standards, so the threat of major illnesses is very minor!

Aaaand relax

It’s a safe environment and no-one minds if you show up in your trackies with a mum-bun. Thanks to the welcoming nature of playgroups, you’ll find parents (and grandparents) from all walks of life. There’s always at least one person in the same situation as you and lots of people ready to offer advice or a shoulder to cry on. Plus plenty of extra hands to help with burping, feeding or just a cuddle with your little one whilst you have a hot drink.

Sharing is caring

Even if your child has been bought up with the highest standards of kindness and empathy, sharing at such a young age can still be a challenge, especially with unknown children. However I’ve found that with a little practice, playgroups can be brilliant for learning about sharing and your child might surprise you!

Your child will love it

Alongside the array of toys, cups of squash and malted milk biscuits, many playgroups offer songs, books, crafts and even messy play. None of which you need to clear up.

Worthing has an amazing selection of playgroups on offer, at various locations and times to suit. The majority of them are ‘turn up on the day’ types but it’s always good to check availability, especially during the school holidays. Here’s a few examples:

The Ark, River of Life Church (Broadwater Road), Mondays 10.00 – 11.30

St Andrew’s Church Playgroup, The Old Palace (Tarring), Wednesdays 1.15 – 2.45

Little Angels, English Martyrs Church (Goring), Thursdays 10.00

Goring Methodist Church (Bury Road), Tuesdays 9.30 – 11.30

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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