What goes into setting up a playgroup

Setting up a playgroup sets up a whole new community for both parents and their children. Playgroups are similar to childcare centres in how they operate, but they’re known for having a less formal setting. If you’re thinking about setting up a playgroup of your own, here’s what you need to do.

 

  • Do your research

If you’re setting up a playgroup, check if there’s another one (or more than one) close by that presents competition. Another angle to approach is a speciality playgroup. Some children can have difficulties thanks to disabilities, coming from a disadvantaged background, and a myriad of other reasons. If you’re looking into creating a group aimed at families with special needs, you might be eligible for government assistance.

 

  • Find a venue

You can hold community playgroup meets at member’s houses, but they mightn’t have the right facilities as the group grows.

Look at venues available for hire on a regular basis like council halls and community centres. When setting up a playgroup, you need a space with:

  • Areas for indoor and outdoor play
  • A kitchen
  • Restrooms
  • Parking spaces or close to public transport
  • Low or manageable rent

 

  • Make a schedule

Playgroups have a schedule of their day planned in advance that gives children the chance to play, and the adults time to relax.

Playgroups normally meet for a few hours. This includes time for structured and free play, meals, and clean-up.

 

  • Make a list of fees

You’ll need to charge fees so that you can pay for venue hire and equipment. Parents might pitch in with snacks, but fees can also cover some amount of catering.

 

  • Find families

Where there’s a gap in the market, people are looking for something to fill it. If you’re setting up a playgroup for families with special needs, it’ll provide much-needed respite and an opportunity to socialise.

Advertise your group on community sites and social media. You can post paper notices on community boards found in parks, churches and local schools.

 

  • Source equipment

Playgroups need items to play with, and the venues you use mightn’t have anything available. Facilitators can go to childcare equipment providers, like Kinder Design, for the necessary materials. You need something that’s durable and meets all safety guidelines.

 

  • Register your playgroup

Playgroup Queensland is the place to register your group so other families can find you. Membership benefits include access to comprehensive insurance, an essential in case of accidents, injuries, or materials breaking.

 

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Play centre equipment and amenities you can’t go without

Play centre, kids zone, fun zone, etc; kids indoor play centres go by lots of different names and you’ll find them dotted all around Australia. These places are decked out with play centre equipment and services that give parents a break and provide children with hours of entertainment. We list the play centre equipment and amenities you need to cater to both children and their parents.

 

For the kids, you’re appealing to their desire for fun and the need to play with the newest toys. When you’re shopping around for play centre equipment, look for role play sets and some cubby houses. Children love to play house, and role play encourages them to socialise with new kids. They can make a new friend in five seconds over a tea party!

 

On the more practical side, make sure you have essential play centre equipment like tables and chairs. Parents book fun zones for birthday parties and you must have one or several spaces for the children to sit in groups. You’ll also need shelves and other storage units for the kids to put their bags and presents.

 

Parents also need a place to relax, preferably where they can watch their children at the same time. Offering an on-site cafe with a view of the play area kills two birds with one stone. Besides pint-sized play centre equipment, you’ll need regular sized furniture. Make room for a kitchen/coffee bar as well. Little touches also matter, and it’ll give parents a chance to decompress. Something simple, like copies of the latest magazine releases and newspapers, is a great addition to a cup of coffee.

 

Parents need some TLC, too

 

Bathrooms are one of the most important amenities in a play centre, so don’t treat them as an afterthought. Play centres cater to toddlers and babies. Make sure there’s change tables and a nursing room available for younger ones. These areas help parents immensely during change or feeding time.

 

When you’re setting up a commercial space, the quality of your play centre equipment and amenities is what’ll make you stand out from the rest. Parents rate fun zones based on what they provide and their reviews make or break businesses. Don’t scrimp on the small stuff!

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Your commercial play centre setup guide

Are you a landlord or a franchisee? Commercial play centre setup takes effort and time. If you’re an independent operator looking to start a small business, or a head office opening another centre, our basic guide is great to have handy.

  • The money

Funding has to come from somewhere. Play centre setup isn’t just picking out paint colours and deciding what cubby house to have in the backyard. Centre operators need money for licensing, leasing, and other general overheads. This is tough for independent operators who are just starting out. It helps to make a business plan, including these things:

  • Licensing fees
  • Payroll
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Bills and body corporate fees
  • Finance repayments

To have a grasp of the costs and maintain control, meet with your accountant and hire a bookkeeper. You don’t want the expenses to run high.

  • The atmosphere

Play centre setup includes planning the more ‘cosmetic’ details, like the exterior yards and facade of the building. It takes less than three seconds to make a good or bad first impression. Independent operators will have more freedom with picking out a theme to base their centre around. Franchisees already have a set standard to follow, sent from head office in a welcome/play centre setup package.

Commercial play centres cater to children, but you must impress the parents first. They’ll spread the word about your fun zone, and won’t hold back. Think about the atmosphere you want to provide. Can parents take time to unwind while the kids play? Is there an outdoor area with access to sunlight and decent equipment to play on?

  • The staff

When you hire staff to supervise the children, they’ll need to have certification in first aid at least. It also helps if they’re qualified to work with children. For childrens’ parties, have ‘party hosts’ on contract. For the restaurant area, your staff won’t need childcare qualifications but it’ll be helpful if they have barista training under their belt.

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