I started an education play group and today was our second meeting. It's been small both times, but since our space is limited, small is good. I call the group "Flechitas" (little arrows) because of Psalm 127:3-4. The women mostly come from impoverished homes, so the group has two goals: encourage one another through prayer and a mini-lesson each week on topics of interest. The format is simple, a welcome and prayer, free play based on that week's topic, a snack combined with story time, and then the moms pray in pairs. My goal is for it to last about an hour, but so far the moms haven't been very punctual, so we start and end late. I don't really mind though, I'm just glad they're coming!
Week 1 - the importance of reading to your children for 10 minutes a day. There is so much research out there that children from lower economic backgrounds enter school with only a handful of hours spent reading with their parents, whereas upper class children spend between 1,000 to 3,000 hours of reading with their parents before kindergarten. Basic literacy skills is a major flag for success or failure in school, and many people sent to prison are illiterate or school drop-outs.
Week 2 - we talked about the group's name, along with the role of imaginative play in developing creativity, vocabulary, and a positive parent/child bond. I brought two large cardboard boxes with cutout doors and windows, along with some plastic animals, foam animal masks, and a wooden Noah's ark. It was fun to see the mothers playing with their children.
Next week - gross and fine motor activities with balls and puzzles, and words of affirmation (from the 5 Love Languages).
If you have any ideas for a topic of interest or simple & fun mom/child activities, leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you.