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What is a playgroup?

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 developmentMum - Rooty Hill Playgroup 

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.Mum, Denistone East Playgroup

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

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
  • Dads
  • Family Day Care
  • Grandparents
  • Intergenerational
  • 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.

Through our Play Baby initiative, we're giving the the gift of FREE Playgroup NSW membership to families with a baby under 12 months old.

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

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.

Rainbow 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.

Supported Playgroups

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.

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

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Click here to find out More + Start a playgroup

Why start a playgroup?

  • You would like to transition a mother’s group or new parent’s group to a playgroup

If your local mother’s or new parent’s group is interested in continuing to meet as your children get older, forming a playgroup is a great option.

Often parents will find it difficult to continue to meet at cafes or in similar environments once children are older and more active. Playgroup provides a dedicated space for children to play, allowing parents to continue to connect.

  • There is no local playgroup

If you don’t have a playgroup close to home, why not consider starting one? Not only is this more convenient for local parents, it also helps bring communities together.

  • You would like to focus on a language, culture or particular interest

Playgroup NSW provides a range of special interest playgroups including culturally specific playgroups, grandparent’s playgroups, LGBTI playgroups and disability-focused playgroups. If you’re looking for a playgroup with a special interest or focus, we can help you start one.

Interested in starting a playgroup? Playgroup NSW can help you get started.

There are 10 steps involved in starting a playgroup:

  1. Find interested families
  2. Identify the playgroup’s purpose
  3. Select a day of the week and time
  4. Choose an appropriate location
  5. Identify play activities
  6. Select toys and equipment
  7. Establish policies and guidelines
  8. Join Playgroup NSW
  9. Identify costs
  10. Get started!

To read more about each of these steps, read our guide on How to Start a Playgroup.

Playgroup NSW are here to help you at all stages of the process

Playgroup NSW offers a membership package with insurance coverage designed specifically for playgroups.

Contact us if you:

  • Want to start a playgroup
  • Want to affiliate an existing playgroup with Playgroup NSW
  • Already run a playgroup that has adequate insurance coverage and would like to access some of the services provided by Playgroup NSW

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