Some mothers give birth to their babies around the same time as family members or friends give birth to theirs. If these mothers are even more fortunate, these babies will be the same gender or at least get along wonderfully throughout their young childhoods. However, some parents are the first parents of their generations and the first parents within their groups of friends. For these parents, unless they enroll children in daycare, finding little toddler friends for their own toddlers can be challenging. Here are some ideas of where parents can find other parents with children of similar ages.
Stay updated on church activities.
-Awana: If you don't attend a church with the Awana program, you can visit Awana.org for nearby churches.
-Vacation Bible School (VBS): VBS occurs every summer in many churches. Not only is this a neat program for young children, but they generally look for volunteers.
Watch for announcements for children-related activities and events.
-Newspapers: Local newspapers often have online websites that you can search for activities and community events.
-Craigslist.com: Although Craigslist.com sometimes has a bad rep, this site does have a few legit ads for group activities.
Enlist your toddler in a sport or class.
-Boys and Girls Club: There are plenty of Boys and Girls Club sports available for children of many ages, including toddlers.
-Swimming Lessons: Search around for local group swimming lessons.
-Gymnastics: Toddlers have a lot of energy that can be released during gymnastics lessons. There are generally plenty of teachers to choose from, so shop around before deciding.
-Karate: Structured classes are great for little minds. While your toddler is in class, you will have the opportunity to meet other parents there.
-Day Camps or Summer Camps: While costs of camps can sometimes be high, these are fun ways to introduce your toddler to other kids his or her age.
-Play and Learn Classes: These classes are fun, though sometimes expensive, and allow kids of all ages to come together by age group to do activities appropriate for their ages. An example of such an organization is Gymboreeclasses.com.
Stop by community areas.
-Local Library: Most libraries offer free story-times for young children.
-Playgrounds: This is a free- to low-cost activity for families. Playgrounds also offer many ways for toddlers to burn off energy.
-Parks: Also a low-cost activity, many parks have picnic tables available for use; packing along a lunch is also an option.
-Swimming Pools: Swimming pools typically have a low cost to get in, and not only offer opportunities to meet other parents and children, but provide great exercise.
-Recreation Centers: There are many recreation centers that offer times for young kids to play. Most have a low fee, while some are free.
Search online websites dedicated to playgroups and meet-ups.
-MOPS.org: MOPS groups are throughout the United States and in 35 countries. The age range for children who can participate are birth through kindergarten.
-Playgroupusa.com: All the groups found on this site are dedicated to play groups. If you are unable to find a group in your area that interests you, there is the option to create your own.
-Meetup.com: Groups that are found on here aren't necessarily for play dates, though many of them are. Just search for your zip code and request to be added to groups that you are interested in.