Red Bluff Playgroup Gives Kiddos (and their Parents) a Place to Make New Pals

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Mojan Bailey’s son likes to tinker on toy cars with his plastic drill and wrench, but today the 3-year-old takes a break to sit at a toddler table and shape some homemade play dough with a new playgroup friend.

“My son would have no other means of socialization,” says Bailey, a Red Bluff mom who has been taking her son to Playtime Pals Playgroup every week for two years. “He has experiences here that he just wouldn’t get anywhere else. He learns how to share, how to play, how to behave around other children, how to be a good citizen. It’s just good for him,” Bailey explains.

art-1014-pg2Open to children 5 and under and their parents, Playtime Pals Playgroup meets every Monday at 10 a.m., at First Church of the Nazarene, 900 Johnson St. in Red Bluff, for free play, storytime, crafts, and a snack. The group also plans outings together, including field trips to the pumpkin patch, fire department, pet store, aquatic center, open gyms, and even a grocery store that let the kids play on a cash register.

Playgroup parent Erin Murphy says she has always loved to play with her kids, but she came to realize her three children needed to play with people their own size, too.

“It’s very important for little kids to be around one another. They can see how other kids talk and play,” says Murphy, now one of the group’s organizers. “It’s really important for them to learn to work things out with one another – to problem solve without yelling or screaming or even having Mom always step in.”

And experts say that such free play is an essential part of every child’s development. In the words of Fred Rogers, better known as television personality Mr. Rogers, “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.”

Eldora Webb watches one of her boys glide down an indoor slide while her baby crawls after a singing cat toy that moves in circle.

“I like the fact that it gives the kids who are too little to go to preschool a place to go to learn how to share, how to do snack time, and how to clean up,” says Webb, a mother of five who’s been part of the group for four years.

The parents work together to set up a safe and nurturing environment for the children, who stack Megabloks, cook on a play kitchen, sweep up with a googly-eyed vacuum, look through board books, and try out different puzzles. 

Moms add that the group also provides parents a chance to meet new friends who understand the joys of parenting – as well as its trials and tribulations.

“It’s been a great place to share ideas and make friends,” says Murphy.

For more information or to join the group, call (530) 526-4100. 

Sonia Giordani-Johnston
About Sonia Giordani-Johnston

Sonia Giordani-Johnston is a freelance writer inspired by generous people who do small acts of kindness with great love. She lives in Redding with her husband, their four children, a dog and 12 chickens.

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