Setting up a play group is a great idea if you want to involve yourself in the local community and provide a valuable service then this is a fantastic way to do it. Although a fulfilling venture there are a few things to consider beforehand, this guide will help you navigate through it all.
Where are you going to find your customers? Once established you might find word of mouth is enough but you need that first wave of parents to help you achieve this. Firstly, you’re already a parent, let all your other parent friends now, be it at the school gates or other children’s events then simply talk about your new group. Also set up a Facebook Group so that people can find you and get information and updates. Be sure to not neglect the traditional route of printing off flyers and attaching them to community notice boards or asking local shop keepers to post them in their windows.
Premises – Where Will It Be?
This is a very important aspect of setting up a play group as there are a few options. You could hire a local community or church hall for a few hours each week and set up relatively easily, this give you the advantage of low start up costs and people will already know where the venue is but you will need to set up and pack up every session and have somewhere to store all the toys and equipment. If you have enough space you could look at using a part of your own property which will be cheap but you will need to be very careful that your property is suitable and meets any legal criteria in your local area. If your plans are a bit more grand you could look at bespoke venue but would need to be aware if you are able to meet the costs of this based on how many children you have coming and what revenue they will bring in?
Legal, Health and Safety and Insurances
Don’t neglect to find out the proper health and safety and insurance required to run a group, things like public liability insurance or employer’s insurance if you’re paying any of the helpers. If you are using your own premises you might want to install a fire protection system which may seem a little extreme to think of at first but is worth considering and could actually help you get a lower insurance quote.
Toys, Games And Play Equipment
This will be your biggest out-lay and is a potential stumbling block to starting, but if you are careful and can look around for deals or even ask for donations from large toy companies or local businesses, you’re most likely a not for profit organisation so they might be willing to help. Many toys and games will have educational or developmental advantages to them, for example it has been said that children experience learning through sand and water play so that’s a good aspect to keep in mind when setting up and a good selling point. If you are having a range of ages in the group be sure to keep in mind how many toys and games you have for each age range you have attending.
Cost of Each Session
Sounds basic, yes but you need to plan out what each session costs, refreshments, venue price and even longer term toy replacement costs. Take all of this info and you can work out how many children you need and what they need to pay per head to make it work.
So once you have all of the above in place then remember to have fun and enjoy being a provider of happiness and community for the parents and kids coming to your play group. If properly run this can be one of the most rewarding things you might have ever done.