How do I find a playgroup?
If you aren’t already a member, you should start by Joining Sierra Moms. Once you are a member, you can access the list of existing open playgroups and activity groups by clicking on the subgroups tab of our BigTent page. Please see our tutorial on joining subgroups or contact our Director of Member Activities for additional help.
Where do playgroups meet?
Most playgroups will be held either at a member’s home or at a public venue such as a playground or splash park. Typically, playgroups rotate locations each week depending on availability of hosts or based on weather. Need venue ideas?
What happens at a playgroup?
Each playgroup is slightly different, but in general moms and their kids get together to play and socialize with their playgroup on a predictable schedule. It is a great opportunity to get to know other moms who have similar aged kids. Often playgroups are hosted at a member’s home, and the kids will play with toys provided by the host. Other playgroups frequently meet at playgrounds, and members may bring any desired supplies such as sand-toys, picnic blankets, or just show up ready to play.
What happens when my child reaches the age limit for a particular playgroup?
Unlike many age-specific programs where your child must changes classes or groups when they hit certain milestone ages, Sierra Moms playgroups age with your children. The age range for the group will be updated periodically to reflect the current age of the group members.You will stay with the same group of children and parents as long as the group is interested and able to continue meeting.
May I bring siblings (of different ages) to the same playgroup?
It depends on what group you join. Groups that are labeled “all ages” or a particular age range “plus siblings” always welcome siblings to attend. Additionally, most playgroups don’t mind the presence of younger siblings. However, as older siblings can sometimes play rougher or get bored if there are not age-appropriate toys, some playgroups prefer older siblings not attend their group on a regular basis. Please check with the leader of the group to find out what that group’s siblings policy is.
What if I don’t see any playgroups listed for my child’s age?
Although we have groups for almost every age, including all-ages playgroups, on rare occasion there may be gaps in list of open age-specific playgroups if all of the playgroups for a particular age simultaneously become too large. Also, since groups age with their members, new infant groups have to be formed regularly—if you do not see an infant group, it is likely a new one needs to be formed!
Should you have any trouble finding a suitable playgroup, please contact the Director of Member Activities for help getting started. Other options include joining a siblings or mixed ages playgroup, starting a new playgroup, or posting to the general forum to see if anyone else is interested in starting a new playgroup. You could also get involved in other Sierra Moms activity groups such as Let’s Explore or Senior Friends, or use the general forum to locate other parents with similar aged kids.
What if the open playgroups don’t fit my schedule?
Although the majority of playgroups meet on weekday mornings, some playgroups meet in the afternoon or on weekends at times that may be more convenient for some parents. If you can’t find a playgroup that fits your schedule, you might consider starting a new playgroup at a more convenient time. Keep in mind most playgroups are fairly flexible, and will not mind if you need to leave early to pick up an older sibling, or arrive late because your child was napping through the first half of the playgroup!
How do new playgroups form?
Anyone who is a member of Sierra Moms can start a new playgroup. Often members choose to start playgroups because they don’t see an existing group with the age range or meeting time that they would like. There’s a good chance there are other moms looking for the same thing. Playgroups are not restricted to only age-based groupings, in the past some playgroups have formed around common interests such as bilingual parenting or discussing the joys and challenges faced by starting a family later in life. Contact the Director of Member Activities to let us know you’re interested in starting a new group, and you’ll be attending your first playdate in no time!
What if I don’t want to lead a new playgroup?
You can post to the general forum if you are interested in forming a new playgroup, even if you would rather not lead the group. Often, someone else will step up and volunteer to be the group’s leader.
What does it take to be a playgroup leader?
Playgroup leaders coordinate when and where the group meets, and communicate that information to the group’s members. Some playgroup leaders discuss hosting of future events in person during their group events, others use their playgroup’s discussion forum to decide where and when to meet, while still others have the leader pick (particularly if the group usually meets at parks or other public locations). Once a date and location are selected, the leader updates the playgroup’s BigTent event calendar and/or group news for their playgroup to let everyone know when and where to meet, and may optionally schedule BigTent to send out automatic reminder emails before the event.