play groups


Lead the Little Children: 
How To Start a Christian Playgroup
Carren W. Joye

Teaching our children about God is a big responsibility for parents. One way of gently leading children to God is through participating in the fun activities of a Christian-based playgroup. Many parents are either seeking or starting playgroups these days. Although many groups include Christian members, not all playgroups focus exclusively on Christian activities. If you want to start a playgroup with Christian activities or incorporate Christian activities in your existing group, here are some ideas to help. 

Finding Parents to Join
Start your group by inviting the young parents in your church to join. Personally ask those you know, and encourage them to invite others. Perhaps place a notice in your church bulletin and post flyers near the nursery, toddler and preschooler rooms.

If you need more members, then consider opening membership to parents in the community. To advertise, place your group's activities in the community calendar of your local newspaper and post flyers in libraries and local businesses frequented by parents. 

Finding a Location to Meet
Since most of your members will probably be attending your church, see if you can use a room at the church. If this does not work out, meet in each otherís homes or consider requesting a room at your local community center or YMCA. 

Finding Activities to Do
Although the focus will be on the children, the parents will learn a great deal from the activities as well. All of you can provide inspiration and support for each other and relive your childhood while teaching spiritual lessons. 

To keep a Christian theme, consider these activities for your group: 

* Have a prayer at the beginning of the session once everyone has arrived and at the end before everyone leaves.

* Use Christian storybooks and resources like that have Christian-themed toys and items, such as felt boards, felt puppets and felt books. You can read the stories aloud from storybooks or act out the stories using felt boards and puppets.

* Sing biblical songs such as "Jesus loves Me," "Jesus Loves the Little Children," "Zacchaeus," "Heís Got the Whole World in His Hands," "This Little Light of Mine," and "Father Abraham." The web site has links to lyrics and music to hundreds of childrenís songs, both Christian and secular. Also, has taken the most popular children's songs, such as "Farmer in the Dell" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and created new lyrics that teach about Christ.

* For preschoolers, you can have mini-devotionals, nature walks to point out what God has made, Christian color pages and crafts. Visit for childrenís crafts, Bible games, Christian skits and Bible object lessons.

* If the children are old enough, have them memorize short Scripture verses.

* Organize field trips and service projects to nursing homes, retirement homes, hospitals and clinics. Most likely, various charities in your area give tours or allow visits.

* Try to schedule some time during the playgroup for free play. While the children are playing, the parents can talk and get to know each other. That way, the playgroup will benefit the parents as well.

* Serve refreshments. A snack time provides a different kind of social interaction for parents and children, with conversation, sharing the food, serving one another and learning manners. 

Participating in a Christian playgroup can be a rewarding experience for the parents and the children, so start one in your community today! 

About the Author:
Carren W. Joye is the author of A Stay-at-Home Mom's Complete Guide to Playgroups (ISBN 0-595-14684-8). A homeschooling mom of four children, she has founded five successful playgroups and helped start countless other playgroups around the world. Visit her web site at for more information about playgroups.

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(c) 2003 Caton Development, Inc.

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