Some of our most frequently asked questions. Click on the question to be taken to the answer below:
What does the PLAY Network do?
Why isn’t the PLAY Network free? What do membership fees pay for?
Who runs the PLAY Network and can I help?
I joined the Facebook Group but the moderator hasn’t approved me yet. Why not?
How do PLAYgroups work?
How often do PLAYgroups meet?
How long does it take to be placed in a PLAYgroup?
How old should my child(ren) be to be in a PLAYgroup?
I really just need a PLAYgroup for ME?! Is that okay?
What times are PLAYgroups scheduled?
Where do PLAYgroups meet?
My house is too small! I can’t host a PLAYgroup but would still like to join one.
How young/old should my child be to attend PLAY Network activities?
What kinds of activities are offered?
At what times are the activities scheduled?
How am I notified about events?
Can grandparents/the nanny/other caretakers bring my child to PLAYgroup or activities?
The PLAY Network’s mission is to connect families with families. Those early parenting years can be tough! As parents ourselves, we know just how hard it can be to find other parents out there with kids the same age. We facilitate connections by organizing PLAY Network members in PLAYgroups and organizing activities for kids and parents to get out and meet people while having fun!
The PLAY Network occasionally purchases items for Network activities, such as pizza for the Holiday Party (with special guest Santa) or Easter eggs and prizes for the Spring Brunch. Also if an activity requires an entry fee we try to pay that fee for the children or get a discounted rate for attendees. Our ability to do so depends on our current budget, which is replenished by membership fees. The PLAY Network is also a registered non-profit organization, and as such we are required to maintain a P.O. Box and pay a yearly registry fee.
No one on the Leadership Team is paid, and we ask for donations from other organizations and businesses to meet our needs whenever possible.
However, if the membership fee is not affordable for you, please contact us to talk about reduced membership fees, payment plan options or a scholarship. We currently offer two scholarships a year. We are always happy to work with you, just contact us with any questions or if you have need of assistance.
The PLAY Network is run by a volunteer group of parents who invest their time and energy into coordinating activities, managing the website, planning annual events, outreach efforts, contacting new members, updating membership lists, and renewing the PLAY Network’s non-profit status. The continued existence of the PLAY Network depends on members volunteering their time! Leadership positions turn over every April.
Many activities the PLAY Network offers are dependent on the time and energy of our volunteers. Would you like to see a kid-friendly Lunch Bunch, Walking Group, Book Club, or some other fun activity? We’d be happy to include you in our volunteer board!
We’re so glad you found us on Facebook!
If you have already sent in your membership paperwork, please be patient. You will receive an invitation to join the group.
If you haven’t joined the PLAY Network yet, please know that we restrict membership in our Facebook group to currently registered PLAY Network members. Because most of our events involve children, we do not advertise details about the time and place we are meeting. Thank you for your understanding.
If you’d like to follow PLAY Network on Facebook without becoming a member, check out our public Facebook page, where we post occasional event updates and information. We are also on Instagram.
As members join and express interest in joining a PLAYgroup, our PLAYgroup Coordinator tries to match the children’s ages and member’s schedule with other members with the same criteria. Playgroups are “private” groups of members and group meetings are not network-wide events. Each Playgroup as a POC (person of contact) and members determine the Playgroup schedule and communicate within their group to make changes.
PLAYgroups typically meet once a week. Individual groups may decide to meet more or less depending on their members schedules.
We try to place new members in PLAYgroups as soon as possible. Placement depends on the member’s schedule and availability of other children in the same age range.
We have children in PLAYgroups from 3 months to approximately 5 years old. Although any age is welcome and encouraged. We do find that once children enter kindergarten they tend to leave playgroup.
Absolutely! One of the most valuable parts of our PLAYgroup is the time to connect with other parents. Making space for sharing the parenting experience is part of our mission.
This is determined based on the schedules of the individual members. Most PLAYgroups tend to meet mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
This depends on the individual members and what works best for them. Some PLAYgroups meet at a different member’s house each week. Others meet at the playgroup leader’s house, or meet at a different public venue or park.
We have many members who cannot host a PLAYgroup at their house for a variety of reasons. These members often choose to meet at a park or a public venue. Popular choices include the EmPower Place and the Library downtown.
Most of our activities are oriented for the 3-5 year old age range. However, we often have older siblings who attend, especially in the summertime when school is out.
We schedule a wide variety of activities. In the past year we’ve scheduled: tours of the Post Office, Police Station, Fire Station, Smoke Jumper center, bakeries, and local farms, gymnastics open play dates, cookie decorating with senior citizens, ice cream socials, apple pressing at Fort Missoula and our regular annual events such as the PLAY Network Family BBQ, Favorite Things Party and many more!
Activities tend to be scheduled for mid-morning or mid-afternoon. If we have a large number of members with an alternative schedule, we try to meet their needs as well.
We use the Evite system to make sure everyone knows about the event and to keep an RSVP count – especially for those activities with limited space. We also send out a monthly newsletter with information about the events and other PLAY Network news.
We have many grandparents who sign up as members and bring their grandchildren to events. We also have many children who attend PLAYgroup or other events with their regular caretaker, especially when their parents usually work during those hours.