Fall is officially upon us, which means it’s time to head inside. How will we keep the kids happy without turning on the TV? Ah, the beauty of the playgroup, a haven for child and parent alike. Here are four top indoor playgroups chock-full of friends, toys and activities and each with its own special focus and personality.
Kids at Work Playgroup
39 W14th Street, Suite 508
New York, NY 10011
The Kids at Work playgroup is not only a fun place, it’s also a special training ground for “gentle separation”, a program that works with child and parent over a period of time eventually enabling kids to stay at the playgroup by themselves to participate in the art, music and play activities. One of the best things about Kids at Work is their crop of fun and outgoing teachers, real professionals in their fields of art and music who love teaching kids the disciplines that they love, and inspiring self-confidence in their students.
Ready, Set, Play
85 Warren Street, NYC
Ready, Set, Play! is a learning playgroup for special needs children aged 18 months to 8 years old, with a focus on improving social interaction and communication skills through play. Creator Shirley Aninias and her team of awesome teachers are very creative at developing new methods of play and using props to rehearse social situations with the kids while engaging their interest. RSP offers a variety of short and manageable drop-off classes and private therapeutic lessons.
Hola! A Playgroup in Spanish
(multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn)
Hola! offers free play and classes that integrate the Spanish language in fun and creative ways. Founder and creative director Veronica Braun is seemingly tireless and endlessly innovative in her use of music, drama and dance to teach vocabulary and phrases. Try Yoga en Espagnol, Ballet en Espagnol or Radio Lab, a fun way to learn Spanish through multimedia. Parents have been amazed at how much their kids learn and retain from this program.
The Neighborhood Playspace at Christ Church
326 Clinton Street | Brooklyn, NY 11231
This is a good old-fashioned drop-in program for babies through preschool age in a beautiful well-lighted space with lots of toys and coffee for the parents. This play group is run by caring volunteers with no other focus than to provide a warm, caring space to play and some social interaction for caregivers. It is bare bones, inexpensive and tons of fun.
Shari Simpson-Cabelin is a blogger with Dusty Earth Mother.