In the hustle and bustle of London life it can be difficult for new mums or nannies to get to know other people with children of a similar age, and this is where playgroups are essential. They provide a safe and stimulating environment for children to socialize and play together, while providing a supportive network for parents and carers. Here are ten great playgroups in London:
- St. Peter’s Poppets is a playgroup held on a Monday morning at St. Peter’s Church on Eaton Square. It focuses on craft activities using a variety of materials.
- Buckaroochies at Westminster Chapel takes place every Wednesday morning during term time. It is a very popular group with soft play and a ball pool.
- St. Mary’s Toddler and Carer Group at St. Mary’s Church, Bryanston Square is often described as the best playgroup in Marylebone and is so popular you may need to join the waiting list.
- Little Lambs Playgroup at Christ Church in Mayfair takes place every Thursday morning and includes a craft activity for the children as well as song and rhyme time.
- The Jigsaw Club is a playgroup run on a Wednesday at Chelsea Methodist Church on King’s Road. It begins at 11am and a free lunch is served at midday.
- Mickey Star Playgroup at the Mickey Star Children’s Centre close to St. Mary’s Hospital is a fantastic modern purpose built facility with messy play and a range of educational toys and activities.
- Monkey Music at St. Stephen’s Church in Notting Hill is part of the Monkey Music franchise and has a very talented team of teachers running classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
- Baby Rhyme Time is held at Charing Cross Library on a Monday morning, Pimlico Library on a Tuesday morning, and Mayfair Library on a Wednesday morning and is a wonderful way for children to learn through music.
- The Violet Melchett Family Centre in Chelsea, which has gained an outstanding Ofsted rating, offers a number of drop-in play sessions during the week with modern toys and activities.
- Acorns Playgroup at Westbourne Park Baptist Church, Paddington is open on a Thursday and Friday morning and also has an excellent toy library associated with it.
Bilingual Playgroups in London If you’re raising your child as bilingual, a playgroup where both the adults and the other children speak in their second language is invaluable. A bilingual playgroup helps your child to see the value of speaking the language, and makes it seem like an everyday thing to do. It can also help you to build up a social network of other parents or carers that speak that language. London has some fantastic bilingual playgroups in a wide variety of languages. For Italian try the Ciao Ciao Baby Club in Islington (http://ciaociaobabyclub.co.uk/). For French check out the Cadet Rousselle in West Norwood (http://www.cadetrousselle.co.uk/). German speakers should consider Hansel and Gretel group around North Dulwich (http://hanselandgretel.org.uk/). Lingua Play (http://www.linguaplay.co.uk/) is ideal for Russian speakers while Play Cantonese (http://www.playcantonese.com/ ) is the UK’s first Cantonese play group, and Mandarin Play Club (http://www.mandarinplayclub.com/) is perfect for Mandarin speakers.