Thursday, June 16, 2011


I’ve been sending my 3 year old daughter, Aliah to a nearby playgroup, ALIMKids, for about 6 months now. The playgroup is held on Saturday mornings, perfect for working parents like me. Despite the belief that playgroups are for stay-at-home parents to be able to get together with other parents with their children in tow, my ultimate reason of sending my daughter to a playgroup is for her to socialize with other kids her age. As she stays at home with her little brother and my maid all week long, I thought it would be good for her social skills, besides the fun things she could do and learn at the playgroup.

As my kids age gap are quite close (their birthdays are 20 months apart), the sibling rivalry is pretty intense i.e. a lot of fighting and bickering and pushing, and of course, bawling. The playgroup actually teaches my daughter to share things, take turns at doing something and learn some manners and the appropriate behavior with her friends. In turn, she teaches her little brother how to share. It’s really funny to see them ‘sharing’ a toy; they weren’t even playing, they just keep passing the toy back and forth to each other!

As a working parent, I have to admit, it’s difficult to find time to do activities with your kids by yourself. Just imagining myself sitting with them, painting and scribbling, gives me a headache. Because they definitely won’t sit down quietly; they’ll bicker over the crayons or paints, or even worse, run around the house and mess up the walls, sofas and the tv! A child may not be allowed to use scissors or make messes at home, but painting, scribbling, cutting, gluing and messes are definitely encouraged at playgroups.

Activities like these are best supervised by parents, but knowing the busy moms nowadays, who would have the time to play all day when you have cleaning and cooking and laundry to do? At playgroups, the playtime is somewhat structured; you sing first, then do some crafts, then you put away the crafts and do some physical play, then finally a group reading. When it’s time for the next activity, the children would clean up to get ready for the next task. For example, when a child wants to keep on colouring, she sees her friends cleaning up and gathering around the teacher to read a book, she quickly cleans up too, not wanting to be left behind. It’s like the children are automatically conscious of their peers, making them want to blend in, do the same things together, conform to each other and work as a team.

It’s kinda funny, but I myself look forward to these Saturday playgroups, which means exclusive bonding time spent with my daughter. This exclusive time is pretty scarce, as both my kids are endlessly fighting for my attention (sounds flattering, I know. But believe me, it’s a lot of headache.). It’s nice to be able to focus on her alone, see her play and sing and scribble. This one hour is also like a break for me from things, stuff, tasks – to do at home.

Here are some of the activities they do at the playgroup, which are mostly group reading, craft play, alphabets, singing and some physical play.

Group reading

Singing and dancing with body movements

Messy crafts such as finger painting


Even birthday celebrations

Making music

Lots and lots of colouring

Ribbon play

A special activity done by ALIMKids – Parachute play

The truth is, I’ve never seen a parachute play before encountering this playgroup. So I feel that it’s worth a brief explanation in itself.

Benefits of Parachute Play

  • Encourages cooperation, teamwork and creates a group awareness
  • Non-competitive - Differing abilities and even differing ages are non-issue. It focuses on playing, not winning
  • Refines perceptual skills - Reinforces turn-taking/ sharing
  • Develops a sense of rhythm - Requires following directions
  • Promotes social interaction - Enhances language development
  • Delightful imaginative play – encouraging role play such as pirates, princess or treasure hunter


Finally, graduation!

I highly recommend enrolling your kids to a playgroup like this. It’s a fun and great social environment plus informal learning for your child. It’s also a great bonding experience for you and your child. What’s not to love?

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