by Erin Ciciora
Whether you are new to the Champaign-Urbana community or just want to find additional social opportunities for you and your children, joining a playgroup can be an enriching way to give your child new experiences while making friends (and parents can make friends, too!)
Do you know a playgroup that isn’t listed? Give us the details and we can add your information. (And if you’re looking for Champaign-Urbana area moms groups, click here).
Mahomet Tots is a playgroup geared towards children aged two and under. Care givers are invited to attend a weekly playdate at Bridle Brook (1505 Patton Dr.) on Friday mornings from 9:30-11am. Attendees are encouraged to bring a toy to share and a snack. In addition to the weekly play date, others are frequently scheduled throughout the CU area and include parks, indoor playgrounds, museums, etc. Mahomet Tots is preparing to celebrate its first birthday at the end of this month! For more information, please join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/108476846208570/?ref=bookmarks
Weekdays, Evenings and Weekends Playgroup. Sometimes it can be hard to find playgroup activities that occur at times that are convenient for all families. Let’s change that! The intent of this group is to allow all parents the opportunity to participate in playgroup activities! Join us on Facebook and make sure to check out the events page for lots of activities. More events are being added all the time. Let’s Play!
CU New Parents’ Group
Come meet other new parents & caregivers in the CU area! Share the joys and troubles of raising babies with others. Let us be your goal in week 3; your solace in week 14; your admirers in week 52! Working parents are welcome: join us during maternity leave & help build yourself a strong network. Join the Facebook group. Dads are welcome! Other caregivers are welcome! We are supportive of all families & loved ones of babies! Target ages: pregnancy through 15 months. Siblings are welcome too.
Good Beginnings is a program for parents and their children ages newborn – 5 years old. According to the website, “Children are introduced to socialization and hands-on activities that help stimulate and develop the various senses while allowing you, the parent, to be a part of it all! Music, Arts/Crafts, and circle time can be expected each session.” Read a past Chambanamoms post about this unique playgroup. They meet once a week at the Cooperative Nursery School in Urbana. Call (217) 384-1128 to register. See more information at http://www.coopnursery.org/beginnings.htm.
Mothers’ Center of Champaign County
Mothers’ Center of Champaign County is a mom’s group that also coordinates playgroups, field trips, and other activities. Playgroups meet once per week at a variety of locations, including members’ homes. There is a yearly membership fee to participate (the website also notes that scholarships are available). Playgroup meetings can be found in the Chambanamoms calendar or on the group’s website. They are also on Facebook.
International Families Playgroups at Orchard Downs
University Housing facilitates playgroups at Orchard Downs for its residents, and they take place Mondays, Thursdays, and some Saturdays. For children ages 0-5 and their caregiver(s).
Parent/Child Interaction Groups
Crisis Nursery (1309 W. Hill Street in Urbana) offers free, regularly scheduled parent/child interaction groups that are open to the community and accommodate working parents. They describe the groups as an “… opportunity to discuss parenting and child development topics directly related to your child’s age. Join us for fun activities, songs, and outdoor play in our gardens!” See the Chambanamoms calendar or the Crisis Nursery calendar for dates and times.
Library Story Times
There are so many great libraries in the Champaign-Urbana area and beyond that offer a story time for specific age groups. Story times usually include a craft, songs, games and more. Check out the Chambanamoms calendar to find out when and where they are offered.
Many local churches and religiously affiliated groups offer playgroups. Check around to find out what is available near you.
Did we miss your favorite playgroup? Let us know so we can add it to the guide!
Originally from Pennsylvania, Erin Lukehart Ciciora first arrived in C-U as a graduate student in 2003. After leaving for a short time she returned in 2006 and has been living here ever since. She is the proud mom of a 5-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, and works as a communication coordinator at the University of Illinois.